The Phony Campaign

2018-11-18 Update

[phony baloney]

Welcome to our first update to our phony polling of the 2020 presidential contest. And there's lots of excitement, honest. Predictwise has wised up (or, better, the bettors at the sites Predictwise samples have wised up) and dropped the nomination probabilities of Caroline Kennedy, Michelle Obama, and Paul Ryan below our 3% criteria for inclusion. But to make up for that, they've brought in John Kasich, Bobby "Beto" O'Rourke, and (oh oh) Hillary Clinton.

Beto is especially impressive, since he has a 14% probability of grabbing the Democratic nomination, higher than any candidate besides Kamala Harris. (In contrast, our other "new" candidates, Hillary and Kasich, are just barely making our cut, each with a 3% probability.)

Our update table shows our current candidate crop, and, for each candidate, today's probability (again, from Predictwise) of getting the nomination of their parties, and the Google result count of searching for their names with "phony" appended. And, for candidates that we looked at in the previous week, the changes in both numbers.

Which (as noted before) is bogus. Look at Bernie: did over a half million pages labeling him a phony really disappear from the Web in a week? No, of course not.

And did nearly three million new web pages appear over the week calling Donald Trump a phony? Well, maybe… Um, probably not.

But we'll keep doing this, because it's fun.

Candidate NomProb Change
Donald Trump 71% -2% 4,990,000 +2,920,000
Beto O'Rourke 14% --- 1,170,000 ---
Nikki Haley 6% +1% 1,160,000 -330,000
Hillary Clinton 3% --- 733,000 ---
Kamala Harris 16% unch 529,000 +23,000
Mike Pence 7% unch 334,000 +137,000
Joe Biden 7% -2% 273,000 +67,000
Bernie Sanders 7% unch 239,000 -537,000
Elizabeth Warren 11% +1% 206,000 +27,000
Kirsten Gillibrand 4% -1% 150,000 -29,000
Sherrod Brown 3% unch 137,000 +12,000
Amy Klobuchar 4% -1% 99,100 -1,900
Cory Booker 3% -1% 70,600 +6,900
John Kasich 3% --- 43,300 ---

  • Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke probably has a high phony count due to the recent elections, when he was much in the news for losing to America's most-disliked senator, Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz. News stories like this one from NBC are high in the Google rankings, reporting on President Trump's rally in support of Cruz:

    "Ted's opponent in this race is a stone-cold phony named Robert Francis O'Rourke, sometimes referred to as 'Beto,'" Trump told the crowd, mocking the Democrat's nickname, which he has gone by since childhood. "He pretends to be a moderate, but he's actually a radical, open borders left-winger."

    As Business Insider notes, it's only been a few years since Cruz and Trump were going at it, with Trump calling Cruz "lyin' Ted", tweeting out unflattering pictures of Heidi Cruz, etc. Cruz, for his part called Trump a "narcissist" and "serial philanderer", and there was that whole "New York values" thing.

    In all fairness, Trump is a narcissist and (at least used to be) a serial philanderer.

  • I, for one, encourage Hillary to get into the race. We all remember how shocked (shocked!) she was that Trump might not accept the results of the 2016 election. She was "appalled"! She called it "horrifying"! She called it "a direct threat to our democracy"!

    And now

    One year after losing the presidential race, 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is still questioning the “legitimacy” of President Trump’s victory, accusing Republicans of voter suppression tactics in swing states and Russians of influencing votes through a “disinformation campaign.”

    “I think that there are lots of questions about its legitimacy,” Clinton said of the election during a video interview posted online Friday by the liberal Mother Jones website.


    “I think [the Russian disinformation campaign] was one of the major contributors to the outcome,” she said. “Propaganda works. Advertising works. It’s a form of propaganda. So the Russians may have started out a little heavy-handed and clumsy about it, but they were clearly getting guided as to where to target a lot of their fraudulent claims and phony news.”

    Hillary, how can we miss you when you won't go away?

  • And President Trump got into the phony act too, complaining about a New York Times story:

    The NYT story by Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers is here. Key allegation:

    In recent weeks, with his electoral prospects two years from now much on his mind, Mr. Trump has focused on the person who has most publicly tethered his fortunes to him. In one conversation after another he has asked aides and advisers a pointed question: Is Mike Pence loyal?

    Mr. Trump has repeated the question so many times that he has alarmed some of his advisers. The president has not openly suggested dropping Mr. Pence from the ticket and picking another running mate, but the advisers say those kinds of questions usually indicate that he has grown irritated with someone.

    Lots of entrail-reading there, based on anonymous sources ("nearly a dozen White House aides and others close to Mr. Trump"). And the story also gives the NYT a chance to resurrect …

    Mr. Trump has never completely forgotten that during the 2016 campaign Mr. Pence issued a disapproving statement the day after the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape was made public, on which the president was heard making comments boasting about grabbing women’s genitals.

    You know who else has never completely forgotten that? The New York Times.

Last Modified 2018-12-20 7:18 AM EDT