By ALEX ALEXIEV
The Republican Party – As has been the case for most of the presidential campaign to date, the contest among the republican candidates continued to be more competitive and gather more media attention than the less competitive democratic one. The tone of the republican competition in the past week was strongly influenced by the terrorist attacks in Paris, which brought to the fore the views and experience of the candidates in foreign policy and national security issues. This new focus has caused some discomfort to Ben Carson, who does not have much if any experience in either one, while strengthening the positions of candidates known for their strong views on national security, such as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Overall, Carson’s rating has dipped to just under 20% from 25%, a sizeable drop, while Cruz has surged in Iowa, according to a new Quinipiac University poll to second place with 23% ahead of Carson’s 18% and just 2% behind Trump’s 25%.
Of considerable interest on the republican side, have been new efforts by establishment republicans to undermine support for Trump. Thus, republican strategist, Liz Mair, has launched an anti-Trump organization called Trump Card LLC, specifically dedicated to carrying out what has been described as a “guerilla campaign” against the billionaire candidate. The campaign of Ohio governor Kasich, has also begun airing ads directly attacking Trump. So far there is no evidence that these efforts have damaged Trump, but observers believe that they aim to trigger intemperate response from Trump that are likely to damage him. Others, however, believe that these establishment maneuvers, even if they damage Trump, could help Ted Cruz, who is another anti-establishment candidate.
The Democratic Party – on the democratic side, the process of consolidating support for Hillary Clinton has continued and it is less and less likely that Bernie Sanders can mount an effective challenge to her for the nomination. In fact, to many democratic voters, Sanders demonstrated his lack of expertise in national security, by claiming that “climate change is directly related to terrorism.”
Latest Polls – On the republican side according to the realclearpolitics.com average of national polls, Trump continues to lead with 28.7%, followed by Carson – 19.7%, Rubio -12.7%, Cruz – 12% and Bush – 5.3%
Iowa – Trump – 26.7%, Carson – 20%, Cruz – 18.3%, Rubio – 12.3%, Bush – 4.7%
New Hampshire – Trump – 26%, Rubio – 12.5%, Carson – 10.5%, Cruz – 9.5%, Kasich – 7.8%
Democratic polls – National: Clinton – 55.8%, Sanders – 30.2%, O’Malley – 4.4%
Iowa – Clinton – 52%, Sanders – 41%, O’Malley – 4%
Other polls indicative of the political mood of the country:
Presidential job approval: approve – 44.1%, disapprove – 50.8%
Generic congressional vote : GOP – 38.4%, democrat – 37.5%
Direction of the country: right direction – 27.6%, wrong direction – 64.4%