Despite his commanding lead at this early stage among GOP candidates, the 2016 nomination is anyone’s game.
It is risky to put too much stock in the latest findings, including the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday. That’s because the national telephone survey of 1,000 adults included only 252 registered voters who said they would vote for a Republican, and the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.17 points.
There are plenty of downsides to Trump’s candidacy – including his threat to mount a third-party campaign if he is denied the Republican nomination -- which has alarmed GOP leaders who are looking down the road to the general election.
Trump has the highest negatives of any of the top tier candidates, and a majority of Americans in the survey said they think Trump is hurting the Republican Party. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Democrats interviewed said Trump was harming his party’s image, but nearly half the Republicans interviewed said the same thing.
Political analyst Nate Silver notes that Trump ranks just 13th in overall favorability among Republicans in a series of national polls. “If you’re going to imply that a candidate is popular based on their receiving 20 percent of the vote, you ought to consider what the other 80 percent thinks about him,” Silver wrote recently in his FiveThirtyEight blog. “Most Republicans who don’t plan to vote for Trump are skeptical of him instead.”
What’s more, about three in four Latinos said they have a negative view of Trump – and that more than half consider his comments about lawless Mexican immigrants to be racist or highly inappropriate, according to a separate NBC News/Wall Street Journal Telemundo poll released today.
The survey of 250 Hispanic-American voters revealed widespread hostility towards Trump, with only 13 percent saying they have a positive view of him.
The Republican presidential frontrunner has said repeatedly that many Latino voters “love” and support him, and that he would win the majority of that vote if he ends up as his party’s nominee. There is little evidence in this poll to suggest Trump is dealing with reality.
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President Trump and the rest of the GOP are celebrating the recent burst in economic growth in the wake of the tax cuts, with the president claiming that it’s unprecedented and defies what the experts were predicting just a year ago. But Rex Nutting of MarketWatch points out that elevated growth rates over a few quarters have been seen plenty of times in recent years, and the extra growth generated by the Republican tax cuts was predicted by most economists, including those at the Congressional Budget Office, whose revised projections are shown below.
The Great Recession hit state budgets hard, but nearly half are now prepared to weather the next modest downturn. Moody’s Analytics says that 23 states have enough reserves to meet budget shortfalls in a moderate economic contraction, up from just 16 last year, Bloomberg reports. Another 10 states are close. The map below shows which states are within 1 percent of their funding needs for their rainy day funds (in green) and which states are falling short.
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act signed in August included 77 F-35 Lightning II jets for the Defense Department, but Congress decided to bump up that number in the defense spending bill finalized this week, for a total of 93 in the next fiscal year – 16 more than requested by the Pentagon. Here’s a look from Forbes at the evolving per unit cost of the stealth jet, which is expected to eventually fall to roughly $80 million when full-rate production begins in the next few years.
Average hourly earnings last month rose by 2.9 percent from a year earlier, the Labor Department said Friday — the fastest wage growth since the recession ended in 2009. The economy added 201,000 jobs in August, marking the 95th straight month of gains, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.9 percent.
Analysts noted, though, that the welcome wage gains merely kept pace with a leading measure of inflation, meaning that pay increases are largely or entirely being canceled out by higher prices. “The last time unemployment was this low, during the dot-com boom, wage growth was significantly faster — well above 3.5 percent,” The Washington Post’s Heather Long wrote. The White House Council of Economic Advisers this week issued a report arguing that wage gains over the past year have been better than they appear in official statistics.