Less Than Zero

Want to see how wide the chasm is between current GOP rank-and-file sentiments about the 2016 presidential nominating contest and the verities of political science? Check out my much-esteemed friend Jonathan Bernstein’s latest handicapping of that race.

He places Rubio and Bush alone in the top tier, followed by John Kasich in the second tier and Huckabee, Christie, Santorum and Jindal in the third tier.

Trump, Carson and Fiorina, along with the rest of the field, aren’t even on the lowest tier, which means Jonathan thinks they have less of a chance to win that people like Bobby Jindal, who came in at 3% in his home state in a poll last week. To put it another way, all these candidates are at less than zero.

So: looking at the RCP average of recent national polls, Jonathan’s top tier comes in at a combined 17.8 percent, the second tier is at 3.1%, the third tier is at 6.3%, and the no-tier is at 63.2%.

You really have to be confident about The Party Decides to figure that John Kasich has a vastly better chance of being nominated that the candidates absorbing well over half the current rank-and-file preferences.

We’ll see, of course, but you sure need to ignore a lot of empirical evidence to be “scientific” about the process this year, don’t you?

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.