Polls, Marco Rubio and Kevin McCarthy's Future

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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1. Rebecca Thorpe at the Monkey Cage on the difficult politics of opposing mass incarceration.

2. Also at the Monkey Cage, Justin Buchler has a nice analysis of Kevin McCarthy’s future -- if he does become speaker this month. One quibble. I agree that the House Freedom Caucus revolt would be less severe in a time of divided government -- but if the speaker’s job becomes a whole lot less impossible, then it also becomes more coveted. It’s possible to imagine someone who would be a real threat to win but doesn’t want the job now, only (if Republicans win next November) to challenge McCarthy at the beginning of the next Congress, especially if McCarthy is bruised by the various fights to come in the next year.

3. Steven Shepard at Politico relays a very good point: Pollsters don’t believe that their polls are accurate enough to do what the debate sponsor networks want them to do. And that’s before anyone gets into trying to figure out what polling months before anyone votes really “means”; this is just about whether current polls accurately estimate what the entire nation would say if asked the same question.

4. Ed Kilgore over at Washington Monthly is not convinced by my latest analysis of the Republican presidential nomination race. One defense: I’m not ignoring empirical evidence; I’m just weighing it all based on (as I understand it) what similar evidence has been worth in the past.

5. Largely agree with Stan Collender about the chances of a shutdown in December. The big variable? What, if anything, Speaker candidates have to promise to the Republican conference in order to get elected. Normally sensible leaders oppose shutdowns because they wind up trapped by them, but Kevin McCarthy may not have a choice. Worth following closely.

6. Perry Bacon Jr. at NBC reports on Republican insiders and Marco Rubio.

7. And Dan Larison raps Rubio on Syria.

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To contact the author of this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Maria Lamagna at mlamagna@bloomberg.net