Who Will Win the Nomination: Republican Edition

The Answer May Surprise You!

Fears over Trump-O-Mania are, in my opinion, unfounded. Is the Donald doing well in the polls? Sure, though he is slipping, as evidenced by a recent poll that put Ted Cruz ahead of him in Iowa. A poll that was interestingly followed by one of the most outlandish statements yet from Mr. Golden Hair, putting him back in the news, and likely, back at the top of the polls. But these polls, based on name recognition, are not everything.

As of November, the Donald was polling at 29%, indisputably the highest percentage in the Republican field. The closest candidate is Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who is polling at 15%. A lead that big does make it appear that the Donald is a shoe-in for the Republican nomination.

Not so fast! Political Nerd Icon Nate Silver points out that this number only takes into account Republicans, not Independent or Democratic voters. Trump doesn't have 29% of Americans on his side, he has 29% of self-identified Republicans on his side

With 29% of voters identifying as Independents, and only 25% of eligible voters identifying as Republicans, Mr. Celebrity Apprentice has a much smaller pool of support than the media would have you believe. 29% of 25% is only 6-8% of the general population, or as my favorite statistician Nate Silver points out, "the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked.

Donald "It's Gonna be Huge" Trump's lead falls apart even more when you consider his favorables versus his unfavorables. Basically, how many people like Trump, minus how many people think he's a hot head with no political experience and fake hair.

Let's say 29% of Republicans say they would vote for Trump. Subtract from that the documented 26% of Republicans who say they would never vote for Trump. Suddenly, the Donald is polling at 3%, and not at all a danger of taking the Republican nomination, especially when he is compared against other candidates.

Take Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) for example. As of December 2nd, Senator Rubio had 66% favorability, and with only 8% of people viewing him unfavorably. This gives Senator Rubio a net favorability rating of 58%. Who is second behind Rubio? Not Donald "Only 3% Would Elect Me" Trump, but Senator Cruz, with 56% favorability.

If I was a betting woman, I'd put my hard-earned money on Senator Rubio taking the nomination. Why Rubio and not Cruz, who has a similar rating and may pull support from evangelicals? Apparently, Ted Cruz is an extremely unlikeable man, as evidenced by a recent quote from his college roommate.

"And, you know, I want to be clear, because Ted Cruz is a nightmare of a human being. I have plenty of problems with his politics, but truthfully his personality is so awful that 99% of why I hate him is just his personality. If he agreed with me on every issue, I would hate him only one percent less."

Yikes. I'm going to go out on a limb, and on the record to say, I predict Rubio will win the Republican Presidential nomination, and that he will pick Scott Walker as his running mate. Check back when the long primary nightmare is over, and see if I'm right!

First Published: December 9, 2015