Ranking the Top 10

Rubio CPACAugust 6, 2015 – In the immortal words of Keith Jackson, “Whoa Nellie!”  Two hours flew by as the Top 10 Republican candidates (more like 9 plus 1 pretender) danced around a series of pointed questions about their respective positions.  As projected, there was a bit of carnage in the nightcap in Cleveland, but what I did not understand is why would Fox purposely phrase so many questions to make the candidates unlikeable.  They are still cleaning up blood from the wounds inflicted upon Rand Paul this evening courtesy of separate attacks from Trump and Christie.

Fox News Channel moderators Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier provided an awkward, chatty opening unfitting for a national discussion.  However, once the rhetoric began to fly, it was clear that Fox was targeting Trump’s candidacy and using their inquiries to expose his weaknesses as a Republican candidate.  That, I can understand.  But as a Fox product, why not have the moderators ask a few questions over the course of the evening that might allow the GOP to gain some support from the undecideds.  In my opinion, the phrasing of the questions by the Fox commentators did not bolster the Republican messaging, but instead made each of them appear weaker.

Right off the bat, Trump’s reluctance to waive the possibility of a 3rd party run set the tone for the debate.  With the independent elephant in the room immediately in play, I would have liked to have seen follow-up questions directed to some of the other candidates about “party versus person” in an effort to further isolate Trump since that was the clearly Fox’s intention. Always playing a hunch, it is interesting to note that during the debate, The Donald was overtly supportive of Jeb Bush – which might be a wise hedge bet.

Not all of the candidates were asked the same questions, but each got a crack at a domestic issue and a foreign policy matter.  Using a +2 to -2 rating for each response given, here is how we scored the candidates.

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Close Total
Bush 1 1 -1 1 1 1 1 0 5
Carson -1 0 -2 0 0 0 0 -3
Christie 1 2 2 1 0 6
Cruz 1 1 2 2 1 0 7
Huckabee 1 2 0 1 2 1 7
Kasich 0 0 0 1 0 -1 0
Paul 0 0 1 0 0 1
Rubio 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 9
Trump -1 0 -1 -2 0 1 1 -2
Walker 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 5

All of the candidates were confronted with similar opening questions which addressed their perceived weaknesses.  Notably, the candidates did not all receive an equal number of questions: Rand Paul and Chris Christie were severely shortchanged.  Huckabee, Cruz and Christie made the most of their opportunities, while the good doctor Carson looked uneasy and did not shine among the top tier candidates.

We had Marco Rubio as the winner for the evening session, but evangelicals, Huckabee and Cruz were close behind and each of the 2nd place finishers were offered one fewer question.  Trump was surprisingly well-behaved but offered little content.  Jeb Bush did not seem excited about his messaging but he plodded along.  Kasich benefitted from the Ohio home cooking, but did not score many points with the Bench Jockeys.

We are now just over 15 months away from election night 2016.  Much can happen between now and the Iowa Caucus (2/1/16), New Hampshire Primary (2/9/16) and Super Tuesday (3/1/16).  We aim to stay on top of the 2016 election, and accordingly, our odds have been adjusted. Click here http://thebenchjockeys.com/updated-odds-for-2016-presidential-nominations/ for our updates which consider our perceptions from both the early show and the main event.

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One Response to “Ranking the Top 10”

  1. Dump Trump Says:

    I was thinking the same thing. Megyn had an axe to grind. Who peed in her coffee?

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