Political Notes – Predictions to the contrary, Trump still runs strong in polls

[private]Donald Trump’s campaign for the GOP presidential nomination provides another real-life example of why it’s dangerous for journalists to make political predictions — those predictions can be disproved in fairly short order.

Back on Oct. 28, my good friend and colleague Jim Galloway posted this prediction for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

By tapping this out even before Republicans begin their presidential debate in Boulder on Wednesday, I’ve crawled out on a limb. But the bough seems pretty solid, so I’ll continue.

Donald Trump’s hold on the GOP nomination process is coming to an end. He’s lost his lead in Iowa, and is unlikely to get it back. Maybe he still wins New Hampshire.

But South Carolina, Georgia and the rest of the South are likely to desert the Manhattan billionaire in the end.

If Trump’s “hold on the GOP nomination process” is indeed coming to an end, it’s very hard to discern that in the poll numbers.

Since Galloway made that prediction, there have been at least two independent statewide polls of Georgia Republican voters. Trump held a 35-28 percent advantage over Ben Carson in one poll, and the other poll was essentially a statistical dead heat: 26 percent for Carson and 24 percent for Trump. No other GOP contender was even close.

There were at least three polls released Wednesday that indicated Trump’s position was getting stronger, not weaker.

A survey of Florida voters by Florida Atlantic University shows Trump with at least a two-to-one lead over every other candidate, including two of Florida’s favorite sons: Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.

From the Tampa Bay Tribune:

“Despite conjecture that Donald Trump has plateaued, his support in Florida remains very strong and could be growing,” said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative.

A separate poll commissioned by WBUR in Boston has Trump with a double-digit lead over his closest challenger, Carson, among Massachusetts voters. That poll put Trump at 23 percent while Carson and Marco Rubio each drew 13 percent support.

From the WBUR report:

But the new WBUR survey, conducted by the MassINC Polling Group, shows Carson’s appeal may be waning.

Carson was in a near tie with Trump in September, but he’s 10 points behind now, with 13 percent support.

MassINC pollster Steve Koczela says voters gave Carson an early honeymoon, but the attraction is fading.

Finally, there’s an Emerson College poll that shows Trump with a solid lead over the rest of the field among Connecticut’s GOP voters: Trump was at 25 percent, Rubio 14 percent, Bush and John Kasich 10 percent and Carson 9 percent.

So far, the reports of Trump’s demise appear to be premature.

Westmoreland delves deeper into Benghazi

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Sharpsburg) is not about to let go of the Benghazi issue, even after participating in a House special committee’s marathon grilling of Hillary Clinton last month.

As reported by Buzzfeed, Westmoreland told a Nov. 10 Republican fundraiser:

“Next week we’ll [committee members] be going to Germany and to Italy to do some more research, on the Benghazi,” he said. “So this thing is not over, and I promise you one thing: We are going to tell you what really happened, and all the consequences that went with it, and to let you know if we are prepared for another situation that can possibly come up in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world where we have our men and women working for this country.”

At that same event, Westmoreland also complained that Clinton set “a trap” for House Republicans at that committee hearing to generate more sympathy for herself.

“As you know, some of you may have watched the marathon Hillary Clinton fiasco, and I say that because Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the committee, wanted to interview her in private, and she said, ‘No, I want to do this in public,’” Westmoreland said.

“Now to me, that was us stepping in a trap because we should have known that she was going to go on and just stall, debate, filibuster, on these answers to make it go as long as possible, so we would look cruel,” he said.

Lawsuit alleges massive data breach

This could be troublesome for Secretary of State Brian Kemp: a lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court this week alleges that his office sold or distributed voter registration data to outside parties that included sensitive information about registered voters.

“The Voter File [distributed in October] not only included the names and addresses of Georgia’s 6,184,281 registered voters, it now also disclosed the social security number, driver’s license number, and date of birth for these 6,184,281 registered voters,” the lawsuit alleged.

“The Secretary of State’s office has been made aware of the breach but has failed to inform the recipients of the CD about the sensitive nature of the information contained on the October 13, 2015 CD; has failed to secure the copies of the CDs containing the personal information; and has failed to give notice to the registered voters whose information has been unlawfully distributed,” the lawsuit added.

The lawsuit was filed by Elise Piper and Yvette Nancy Sanders, who say their personal information was part of the data disclosed by Kemp’s office. Their attorneys are seeking class action status for the lawsuit.

Washington discovers what Georgia already found out

The state of Washington has conducted its own investigation of Planned Parenthood and determined that the healthcare organization did not violate any state or federal laws in its handling of fetal tissue obtained from abortions.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson ordered the probe in July after an anti-abortion organization accused Planned Parenthood of “harvesting” body parts during abortions and “selling” the fetal tissue at a profit to medical research labs.

Ferguson noted that one of the medical centers donates fetal tissue to the University of Washington for birth defect research for the National Institutes of Health, but the university pays for shipping of the materials and does not compensate Planned Parenthood for the donation.

Gov. Nathan Deal ordered a similar investigation of Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics in Georgia by Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald and Community Health Commissioner Clyde Reese.

Neither Fitzgerald nor Reese found any violations of state or federal laws by the clinics.

Tisdale indicted

Nydia Tisdale, the volunteer videographer who was assaulted and arrested by a Dawson County law officer last year for taping speeches at a public political rally, has been indicted by a Dawson grand jury on charges stemming from that incident.

The indictment was handed down three months after Tisdale filed a civil lawsuit against the sheriff’s office seeking $550,000 in damages.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Benghazi , Brian Kemp , Donald Trump , GOP presidential nomination , Hillary Clinton , Lynn Westmoreland , Nydia Tisdale , Planned Parenthood , voter data