Early Returns

How to Read the Polls Before Iowa

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. At U.S. News, Lara Brown finds a methodological flaw in the CNN poll showing a huge lead for Donald Trump. As always: Use the polling averages (which currently have a smaller if still large Trump lead).

2. At Brookings, Molly Reynolds works through why Senate Republicans were eager to use reconciliation for veto bait.

3. “Climate change is perhaps the toughest public policy challenge ever.” Elaine Kamarck, also at Brookings, on public indifference and climate.

4. Matthew Dickinson of Middlebury College takes notes on Republican candidates and surrogates at a New Hampshire event. While I support the current election schedule for other reasons, I agree with him that the small scale of the early events has democratic value. 

5. Alfred J. Tuchfarber at the Crystal Ball on projecting presidential nominations two months from the Iowa caucuses.  Read to the bottom for why “an eclectic multi-factor approach is necessary.”

6. See also Reason’s Stephanie Slade, who focuses on why the polls are still not predictive, although we’re getting close now.

7. Dan Larison at the American Conservative on Chris Christie, the Republicans and foreign policy.

8. Jonathan Chait isn’t impressed with John Kasich’s deficit-reduction plan. But Kasich might be an honest budget-balancer if he had his choice. His problem is he’s in a party that rewards wild claims about budget balancing, but punishes real deficit reductions.

9. And Adam Serwer at Buzzfeed: “Trump Adviser Doesn’t Get How Judaism Works.” Fair enough, but I did have to wolf down my last latke before listening to the president.

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