Today's political speak (and other signs the end is near): "The only poll that matters is the one in November." Translation: I am running second or worse.
A lot of candidates were at least thinking that Monday on the heels of the disconcerting news that Donald Trump has held on to his big lead in New Hampshire. He and Ben Carson also are pulling away from the rest of the Republican field in a national poll. And that's without Trump offending anyone for hours. Expect Trump to up his game before the next debate Wednesday.
Only three Republicans were in double figures in the Monmouth poll of New Hampshire voters -- Carson (who's gaining on Trump) and John Kasich. Here's some advice for the other candidates: Drop out.
That's what former Texas Gov. Rick Perry did last week and interest in his campaign, as measured by Google searches, went up sharply. He got a similar boost when he stopped paying his campaign staff.
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Speaking of dropping out. Looks like Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin could be the first of the "upper tier" candidates headed for the door. After peaking at about 13 percent in polls this spring, his trajectory has been downward lately. Real Clear Politics puts his average at 5 percent. Worse, in an Iowa poll of likely caucus goers, he's at 3 percent. In the Washington Post/ABC poll, he's at 2 percent, down He should be back home in Wisconsin in time for the Jack Frost Fest.
Then there's the rest of the field, those Republican candidates relegated to the not-ready-for-prime-time debate. Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham are hovering around 1 percent (or worse) in most polls. My take on this, you technically have to be in it before you drop out.
The choice for GOP voters seems to be between the unapologetic Trump and the somewhat more humble Carson.
On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to confound by talking more about the issues and less about his opponent. His poll numbers are trending up while front-runner Hillary Clinton's are headed the opposite direction.
Sanders' latest paddling upstream episode came Monday at staunchly Christian Liberty University, where he opened his remarks with a defense of abortion. Props to Liberty for saving Sanders' supporters some seats down front, though.
In the Washington Post/ABC poll Sanders has 24 percent and Vice President Joe Biden, who isn't a candidate has 21 percent. Clinton at 42 percent has an uncomfortable lead. That's because it's down sharply from 72 percent since July.