HUFFPOLLSTER: Signs Of Trouble For Donald Trump In New Hampshire And Beyond
| February 8, 2016 | 8:20 pm | Analysis, Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments

HUFFPOLLSTER: Signs Of Trouble For Donald Trump In New Hampshire And Beyond

Ted Cruz also faces a tough road ahead.

02/08/2016 08:22 am ET | Updated 8 hours ago

JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz face considerable challenges. We face a mountain of new polling in New Hampshire. And Hillary Clinton spent more on polling in the last quarter of 2015 than most of the GOP candidates combined. This is HuffPollster for Monday, February 8, 2016.

NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLSTER WARNS TRUMP COULD BE FALTERING – Howard Fineman: “Republicans who aren’t in Donald Trump’s camp and independent polltakers and experts here are increasingly convinced that the fear-peddling billionaire is losing momentum and could even lose on Election Day. ‘I’ve been convinced since day one that he would not win in the end,’ said Andy Smith, the respected dean of New Hampshire polling and a teacher at the University of New Hampshire…. More than a third of voters have said they definitely would NOT vote for Trump, a very high number at the same time that there is a huge undecided vote, Smith told The Huffington Post in an interview….Though Smith’s latest poll puts Trump at 28 percent and his nearest competitor — Rubio — at 15, Smith thinks that there is time for Trump to fall further, and perhaps for Rubio, Kasich or Cruz to catch up to him. [HuffPost]

Prediction markets show Trump in decline – Paul Krishnamurty: “When Trump came in second to Ted Cruz in Iowa, he took a big hit in the betting markets: His chance of winning the nomination was at 50 percent before Iowa, then almost immediately fell to 25 percent after the caucus results. As for New Hampshire, before Iowa, the market gave Trump a 75 percent chance in the state. Now he’s hovering around 65 percent, with the odds going up and down every five minutes. So yes, the market still favors Trump to win the state, but the key detail is that Trump is falling fast—faster than anyone else.” [Politico]

Note: The prediction market numbers change quickly, and since the Politico article was published Trump has rebounded to 80 percent in New Hampshire. His chances of winning the nomination remain far below Iowa levels.

Cruz also faces a difficult road ahead – Nate Cohn: “[Cruz] won Iowa for one reason: He excelled among people who described themselves as ‘very conservative.’…He lost every other ideological category, and often by a lot. The national Republican primary electorate is far more moderate than Iowa’s, so Mr. Cruz will need to attract a far broader coalition. The history of recent conservative Iowa winners — like Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee — offers plenty of reasons to wonder whether he can count on doing so….That’s why Mr. Cruz has so little traction in New Hampshire.” [NYT]

THERE HAVE BEEN A WHOLE LOT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS – HuffPollster: “Pollsters have been busy in New Hampshire the last few days. As of this post’s publication, HuffPost Pollster’s charts have added 15 [as of Monday morning, 25] polls of the New Hampshire primaries that were conducted after last Monday’s Iowa caucuses — nine [as of Monday morning, 13] of the Republican primary and six [as of Monday morning, 12] of the Democratic primary….Many of the New Hampshire polls show similar trends, although with some notable differences — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) might have a commanding 30-point lead over [Hillary] Clinton, or he might be up by only 9 points. Ohio Gov. John Kasich might be in second place for the Republicans, but it’s possible either Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) holds that spot. The best option for understanding where things stand is probably to look at polling averages.” [HuffPost]

Republican polls show a very close race for second – While Donald Trump, polling at nearly 31 percent in New Hampshire, has a clear lead in the HuffPost Pollster average, the race for second place is far more interesting. Rubio is slightly ahead with an average of 16 percent support, with Kasich and Cruz at 13 percent each. An average of 7 percent are telling pollsters they’re undecided. What those voters do — if they vote — will have a substantial effect on the outcome. [HuffPost]

Sanders leads on the Democratic side, but by how much? – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has a consistent lead in New Hampshire polling, but the size of that lead varies quite a bit. His narrowest lead is 9 points, still enough to be outside margins of error. His widest leads are over 20 points. The HuffPost Pollster average puts him 15 points ahead of Hillary Clinton. It would take a lot of late movement, well beyond the 5 percent of undecided voters, for Clinton to win in New Hampshire. [HuffPost]
But keep in mind, voters are still deciding – Rich Clark: “Polls are a snapshot of public opinion as it exists when the calls are made…and we see in New Hampshire that the possible of changing one’s mind is rather high….Pollsters, political activists, and reporters work in a bubble where everyone around them is intensely focused on the upcoming campaign, but most Americans have only a fleeting interest in politics and do not spend much time assessing the options long before it is time to vote, despite our wishes that they did. [Castleton]

POLLING MISS IN IOWA LENDS INSIGHT INTO NEW HAMPSHIRE AND BEYOND – HuffPollster: “In the aftermath of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) surprise Iowa win, pollsters have been trying to figure out why he and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) surged beyond expectations, even as businessman Donald Trump flopped. The reasons why pollsters got it wrong could be key to understanding how much trouble Trump faces in New Hampshire and beyond, and how accurate surveys of future primaries will be. There are two main theories: Polls screwed up in predicting which people would actually show up to the caucuses….. Voters changed their minds after most polls were finished…. Nearly a quarter of voters who’d supported Trump in Monmouth’s final poll never ended up voting, compared to just 13 percent of Cruz and Rubio supporters. But the more important factor was the 21 percent of those who did make it to the polls but ended up switching their vote. Those switches largely worked in favor of Cruz and Rubio.” [HuffPost]

GOP VOTERS ARE READY FOR SOME WINNOWING – HuffPollster: “Republican voters would be fine with seeing the field get even smaller, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.A majority of likely Republican voters think that every candidate save Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), businessman Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson should drop out….Trump is widely considered the favorite to win in New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday, but there’s less certainty about his ability to become the eventual nominee. Instead, the predictions are about evenly divided among three candidates — 29 percent think Rubio will win, 27 percent think Trump will and 24 percent think Cruz will. No other candidate is considered the likeliest nominee by more than 2 percent of respondents.” [HuffPost]

CLINTON SPENT MORE ON POLLS THAN MOST GOP CANDIDATES COMBINED – Ari Melber: “In the three months leading up to the Iowa caucus, many Republicans spent little to nothing on polling. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush each spent just over $150,000 on campaign polls, while the two non-politicians in the race, Ben Carson and Donald Trump, declined to buy any polling research at all….Ted Cruz was the only Republican who spent much on polls – over $380,000 – and his campaign threw another $3 million into separate data for ‘donor modeling.’…Hillary Clinton spent  $720,000 on polls last quarter – as much as the six top Republican candidates combined….In the third quarter last year, [Bernie Sanders] spent $52,000 on research, listing no outlay on polls. In the most recent quarter, his polling bill jumped above $500,000 – more than any other Republican candidate.” [MSNBC]

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Money, women and votes: Rattled Clinton supporters lash out at Sanders
| February 8, 2016 | 7:52 pm | Analysis, Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton assists former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at a 2010 event (file photo) © Lucas Jackson
Trailing behind Bernie Sanders on the eve of New Hampshire primaries, Hillary Clinton is bringing out the big guns. Prominent Clinton backers have accused Sanders of everything from sexism to hypocrisy on big banks.

The latest polls from New Hampshire show Sanders, an independent Senator from Vermont seeking the Democratic nomination, with a 54-40 percent lead over Clinton, a former Secretary of State. Last week’s controversial caucuses in Iowa saw Clinton getting one more delegate than Sanders.

Reeling from the revelations about Clinton’s speaking fees from Goldman Sachs and other large financial institutions, her campaign has lashed out at Sanders with allegations of double standards, dishonesty and sexism.

Former two-term president Bill Clinton took to his wife’s defense, pointing out that Sanders benefited from big banks too. Clinton referred to a CNN report that in 2006, Sanders received $37,300 from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, along with $60,000 worth of advertising. The Vermont Democratic Party, which backed Sanders in his independent Senate bid, received another $100,000. Much of that money came from Goldman Sachs ($685,000), Citigroup ($326,000), Morgan Stanley ($260,000) and JP Morgan Chase & Co. ($207,000), according to CNN.
Clinton also brought up the incident in December, when a software failure at the Democratic National Committee’s software vendor unlocked the campaigns’ private records. The Sanders campaign was accused of trying to steal the Clinton campaign data, and locked out of the database until it sued in federal court to regain access to own data.

READ MORE: DNC holds our data hostage – Sanders campaign on suspension over data breach

The most pointed attack from the former president touched on the so-called “Bernie Bros” phenomenon frequently brought up by the Clinton campaign: the notion that Sanders supporters are foul-mouthed, misogynist young men.

“People who have gone online to defend Hillary and explain why they support her have been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane – not to mention sexist – to repeat,” Bill Clinton said.

Sanders has repeatedly distanced himself from supporters who have used offensive language. “I don’t want anybody, anybody, who is engaged in sexism to support me,” he said in a NBC interview on Sunday night. Later, on CNN, he called it “disgusting” and added, “Look, we don’t want that crap.”

The attack comes on the heels of statements made over the weekend by feminist journalist Gloria Steinem and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, both Clinton supporters.  Appearing on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday, Steinem insinuated that young women favored Sanders because “the boys are with Bernie.”

Albright, a key foreign policy figure in Bill Clinton’s administration, said there was a “special place in hell for women who don’t help each other” at a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Saturday. The remarks prompted a backlash among feminists, who took issue with the notion that Clinton was somehow entitled to their vote.

Other observers are taking issue with the entire “Bernie Bro” narrative. While trolling and name-calling is a widespread problem online, “Clinton media supporters are cynically exploiting serious and disturbing phenomena and weaponizing them as tools for the Clinton campaign,” investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote in The Intercept.
Communists seek to denounce Russia-Turkey friendship treaty
© Aleksey Nikolskyi
Two Communist Party MPs have said in an official letter that Russia should denounce its 1921 friendship treaty with Turkey – the move that could potentially cause border demarcations in the Transcaucasia region.

We hold that in current conditions of mounting Turkish aggression we should look into the possibility to legally review all Russia-Turkey agreements that are not favorable for us or our allies,” one of the authors of the initiative, MP Sergey Obukhov, said in comments with popular daily Izvestia. “Ankara must understand the consequences of any further escalation of the conflict. Only this can sober it and keep it from further provocations,” the lawmaker added.

In the letter, addressed to the president and the Interior Ministry of the Russian Federation, the Communists proposed to denounce the 1921 Treaty of Friendship and Brotherhood between Soviet Russia and Turkey. They observed that Turkish leaders have not apologized for the November downing of the Russian frontline bomber that was taking part in the counter-terrorist operation in Syria and the reported incidents in which Turkish companies illegally purchased or transported oil from Islamic State (IS, previously known as ISIS and ISIL).

Valery Obukhov also noted in comments that the issue of cancellation or radical reviewing of the 1921 treaty was already raised after WWII. Back then The Soviet Union wanted to change the borders between its republics in the Caucasus and Turkey as part of the general post-war border demarcation, but the process lingered and eventually the Soviet officials dropped this idea.

READ MORE: Communists ask Putin to expand Russian flights ban to Tunisia & Turkey

It should be noted that two of the post-Soviet states south of the Caucasus Mountains – Armenia and Georgia – do not recognize the so called Treaty of Kars – the border agreement signed by Turkey, Soviet Armenia, Soviet Georgia and Soviet Azerbaijan in 1921 in execution of the Russia-Turkey treaty of friendship. Thus, denunciation of the principle treaty by Russia could lead to border conflicts in the region. One especially volatile point there is the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, which for decades has been a point of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The Communists’ initiative has already gained some support in the other leftist party in the Russian parliament – Fair Russia. MP Oleg Pakholkov noted in comments that the Moscow Treaty of 1921 was infringing Russian interests from the very beginning and it was a right thing to voice the protest even if such move has no consequences in real life.

This was not the first anti-Turkish proposal made by communist MPs over the past few months. In mid-November they asked President Vladimir Putin to ban all passenger flights to Turkey and Tunisia, citing the poor security situation in these countries.

United Russia renews leadership, sees Communists as main competitors in upcoming elections
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev addresses the plenary meeting at the 15th Congress of the United Russia Party. February 6, 2016. © Ramil Sitdikov
The latest convention of parliamentary majority party United Russia ended in staff rotation in its ruling bodies and the introduction of the first ever primaries procedure with which the politicians plan to beat leftists in the 2016 State Duma elections.

During the convention in Moscow over the past weekend, United Russia leader Dmitry Medvedev ordered urgent development of the program to be used at the forthcoming parliamentary elections, due in September. Members of the convention voted to set up a special commission for this purpose headed by Medvedev himself.

Major principles of the future program, outlined by United Russia leader at the congress demonstrate a shift from social-oriented policies successfully used by the party to gain popularity during the recent economic boom to pro-business steps and measures that would help to maintain social peace in times of the economic crisis. For this, United Russia launched a separate initiative group, or platform, within its ranks that would concentrate on support to various entrepreneurial initiatives.

READ MORE: New rules for next Russian parliamentary election

Medvedev told the congress participants that he considered it appropriate for United Russia MPs to voluntarily refuse salary compensations they are entitled to because of the polls’ rescheduling for an earlier period. When the Russian parliament voted to move the date of the polls from December to September it also agreed that the state must compensate the lost three months of salaries of State Duma members who either refuse to run or lose their seats.

Medvedev noted that despite the fact that the State Duma voted against cancelation of this compensation, the voluntary refusal to receive it by United Russia members would greatly boost the party’s image.

At the same time, the head of the party commission for work with citizens’ addresses, Galina Karelova, promised to conduct a research into the results of implementation of previous social projects and include those of them that had not yet been implemented into United Russia’s new elections program.

Speaking before the congress, Medvedev strongly denounced any attempts to use the revision of current property rights in the elections rhetoric, saying that such extreme ideas could lead the nation to catastrophic times, similar to those that followed the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

READ MORE: Putin orders all 2016 parliamentary polls move to single election day

The congress also introduced one major novelty for the party – the primaries or “preliminary party voting” that would take place on May 22.

The United Russia chairman told his colleagues that the rotation of party leadership was very important and assured them that only the candidates who would secure strong popular support would represent the party in the September elections.

The changes came into effect right away – the voting held during the convention resulted in replacement of about a third of people in its top bodies – the Supreme Council and the General Council. The people who had to leave the ruling bodies included federal ministers, such as Education Minister Dmitry Livanov and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Khloponin. This step had been anticipated by analysts, who said the party was about to get rid of figures connected with the social sphere as in crisis times they are too likely to become easy targets for critics.

READ MORE: Half of Russians express readiness to vote in 2016 parliamentary poll

Medvedev also told the convention participants that it faced competition from all sides of political spectrum – the leftists who attacked any pro-business initiatives and the rightists who were ready to completely cancel all social spending and projects. However, the prime minister named the Communist Party o the Russian Federation (KPRF) as the main competitor at the forthcoming polls, due to the difficult situation in the economy and populist rhetoric that the leftists had already perfected.

The countermeasures suggested in Medvedev’s speech included counter-attacks on the Communist Party, detailing its own problems and laying out an “alternative agenda” that would counter leftist ideas.

Good Bye, America! Record Number of People Rejected US Citizenship in 2015
| February 8, 2016 | 7:40 pm | Analysis, Economy | No comments
Passport US

Good Bye, America! Record Number of People Rejected US Citizenship in 2015

© Flickr/ clappstar

The number of people who decided to dump US citizenship last year surged, breaking all records ever registered.

At least 4,279 people rejected US citizenship and green cards last year, surpassing the previous record set in 2014 by 864 people, according to a US Treasury Department report.

Andrew Mitchel, an international lawyer analyzing Internal Revenue System (IRS) data, told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that 2015 was the third year in a row which beat prior records regarding deliberate deprivations of US citizenship.  He noted that the tendency may be related to the “hassle and cost of complying with US tax law.”The expert have suggested that the trend could be caused by US authorities’ efforts to tackle unregistered offshore accounts. The campaign kicked off in 2009, when the Swiss bank UBS AG admitted it had called for its clients, including US taxpayers, to hide their assets abroad.

Since then, the US raised $13.5 billion in taxes and fines from foreign-based individuals and legal entities. The campaign caused hurdles for roughly 7 million US nationals living abroad, pronpting them to cut ties with their homeland.

Under US legislation, American expatriates face double taxation and can only get part of their money back, tax lawyer Philip Hodgen pointed out.

In 1995, the US increased fines for Americans living abroad. Now if expatriates don’t return tax forms on time – even unintentionally – they will have to pay the state up to $70,000 in fines, Mitchell added.Another reason behind the record number of citizenship rejections is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Passed in May 2015, this federal law obliges foreign banks to provide the US IRS with information about accounts heldy by American nationals. If banks fail to comply with the act requirements, the US can take up to 30 percent of payments proceeded by those financial establishments in taxes. Over 180,000 have adhered to FATCA so far.

The US is the only nation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development  that imposes taxes on its citizens regardless to their location.

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Donald Trump ‘Rather Unlikely’ to Become Next US President – Ex-UK Envoy
| February 8, 2016 | 7:37 pm | Analysis, political struggle | No comments
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Donald Trump ‘Rather Unlikely’ to Become Next US President – Ex-UK Envoy

© AP Photo/ Mic Smith

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US Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is not likely to win the 2016 presidential race despite his strong showing in the polls, a former UK ambassador to Russia told Sputnik on Monday.

LONDON (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova – Sunday’s poll conducted by CNN/WMUR showed that the real-estate tycoon led with 33 percent in New Hampshire ahead of the first-in-the-nation primaries on February 9. He has a 17-percent advantage over his closest Republican rival, US Senator Marco Rubio.

“Mr. Trump is certainly doing very well but it is rather unlikely that he will win the elections,” Sir Tony Brenton said.

The former UK diplomat added that London, a long-time US ally, would continue “doing business” with Washington under Trump’s presidency.”If he is a choice of the American people, then we would have to respect that and do business with him but we are a long way away from that,” Brenton stressed.

Trump has sparked controversy in the country with his comments on Muslims, women, and migration, including calls to build a wall with Mexico and temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.

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Sanders, Trump Lead in New Hampshire One Day Before Primary Vote – Poll
| February 8, 2016 | 7:31 pm | Analysis, Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments
White House

Sanders, Trump Lead in New Hampshire One Day Before Primary Vote – Poll

© Flickr/ Glenn Pope

US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and billionaire Donald Trump are leading their Democratic and Republican opponents respectively a day ahead of the New Hampshire primary, a University of Massachusetts Lowell Center for Public Opinion poll revealed on Monday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On the Democratic side, Sanders has taken a 16 point lead over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a 56 percent favorability rating among likely Democratic primary voters. Moreover, 78 percent of Democratic respondents in the state said that they would “definitely” vote for the candidate they supported.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, real estate tycoon Trump has taken a lead of 34 percent ahead of all his top GOP contenders including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio tied at 13 percent. They are followed by Ohio Governor John Kasich and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tied at 10 percent.Among likely Republican New Hampshire voters, some 56 percent say they would “definitely vote” for the candidate they supported, while 44 percent said that they could change their mind, the poll revealed.

On February 9, the US state of New Hampshire will hold its primary election for Republican and Democratic presidential candidates seeking their parties’ nomination.

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