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It's The Math, Stupid!

David Axelrod has gotten some pushback for his interpretation of Quinnipiac polling results. He specifically angered supporters of Senator Marco Rubio by questioning his strategy (and, ultimately, end game). Much to the chagrin of Rubio’s campaign & supporters, Axelrod’s point has more to do with numbers than politics.

This was his original Tweet (and you can read the details from the original Quinnipiac article & poll results here.)

His point is simple. While segments of the electorate may coalesce to Rubio or another candidate hoping for this outcome (see: Jeb Bush), the reality is that you have to win to earn the nomination! Currently, neither Rubio nor Bush are in a position to win any of the early states.

According to Real Clear Politics:

  • Iowa – Rubio 3rd & Bush 5th
  • New Hampshire – Rubio tied for 2nd (w/ Cruz) & Bush 5th
  • SC – Rubio 3rd & Bush 5th
  • FLA – Rubio tied for 2nd (w/ Cruz) & Bush 4th)

Editors Note: Primary in FLA will be two weeks after the March 1st “SEC Primary”. This group of states include delegate-rich Texas & Georgia where Cruz is strongly organized.

Voters are more likely to coalesce toward a campaign that is winning contests than compromise to a less-preferred option performing as poorly as their original choice.

Axelrod’s point is simple mathematics. A “coalesce strategy” is a pipe dream for candidates in a trailing position. It is predicated on building additional support from your existing strength; not creating a winning coalition from the rear.

Conclusion: Unless Rubio, Bush, or any of the other “Establishment” candidates find a way to beat Trump in New Hampshire, their realistic campaign hopes end in the snow.