And so he departs the race; Jeb Bush is gone. After finishing a disappointing 4th in South Carolina, the once-front-runner has decided to call it quits. Note that was 4th, not 5th or 6th – those candidates are bizarrely clinging on. I’m looking at you Ben Carson!
We’ll be discussing the fate of Jeb Bush on this week’s edition of First Ade then Paul, but for now take a look at this video from the BBC. It details the increasing polarisation of American society, which I believe is a preview for the way our society in the UK is headed thanks to social media.
A surge! A Ben Carson surge! Yes, from 14 Feb – 18 Feb Ben Carson has seen his poll ratings in South Carolina rocket from a paltry 4.8% to a staggering 6.8%, taking him from a disappointing 6th place to… a slightly less disappointing 6th.
The real fight seems to be between Cruz and Rubio as to who can come second behind Trump, so very much a re-run of New Hampshire (albeit with Cruz as a contender for 2nd instead of Kasich). Bush… well… ah Bush. He’s still in there somewhere, spending so much money on a campaign that isn’t going anywhere that he’s starting to look like a socialist keen on redistributing all his wealth. Time to crack out another profound tweet methinks!
After a fiery Republican debate that saw clashes between Trump and Cruz, Trump and Bush, and Trump and the audience, one question remains as strong as ever: just how delusional is Ben Carson? The latest South Carolina poll has him on 4% and that was before his appalling debate appearance. The answer might be at his peak on Nov 9 he polled 23.3% and believes that somehow all those voters might come flocking back on election day. It’s doubtful. My guess would be that he made a promise to himself about SC when the polls were strong, and on FEB 21 he’ll bow out.
Other than Ben Carson’s decidedly sleepy showing, Trump suffered the brunt of the audience’s ire, especially when he attacked George Bush on Iraq and the 9/11 attacks. But Trump has never polled particularly strongly with the sort of loyal Republicans who attend or view these debates. He polls best amongst those who’d have considered giving up on the party, those who feel excluded from the political process, those that respond to Trump’s advertising sound-bite-style communications, and if New Hampshire is anything to go by, they’re still willing to turn out and vote.
For those who don’t quite grasp the uphill struggle the other candidates face, Trump currently polls 35.3% in SC. That’s 19.3% ahead of Cruz. It’s a hell of a lead, and not unique to SC either.