We're two days away from the CNN Republican debates, which we'll be liveslogging from an undisclosed living room somewhere in Seattle, as we did back in August. Like last time, there will be a primetime debate (5 p.m. PST) and a fat-of-the-day debate (2 p.m. PST).
So! That means it's time to get a sense of where the candidates stand in the public eye and also figure out what sorts of metaphors we'll be using to frame this clown car horse race boxing match of a primary.
Here's an uppercut: According to a new ABC poll released today, Trump's polling at 33 percent among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents.
The pollsters find that Trump's core support comes from poople who believe we'd be better off with less diversity and a worse economy, and so endorse his view on immigration. (I use the singular "view," because "immigration reform" is still his only publicly available policy paper.) The fringe of the party likes him, surprise, because he's an "outsider."
While Trump's increasing his lead out front, Ben Carson, the hyperbolic surgeon, is surgin' (kill me) in the polls, taking 20 percent of the GOP's support, which is a 14 percent increase since July.
Before we make a quick run through the rest of the Republican numbers, look at these Clinton numbers. Her support has fallen by one-third since she started her campaign. Whyyyyy? Judging from the poll, reasons include (1) the e-mail scandal (2) the possibility of Biden (3) the rise of Bernie.
On that e-mail sitch: The poll was conducted from September 7 to September 10, so the majority of the responses were presumably received after Clinton apologized for using a private server during her tenure as secretary of state, which suggests that people aren't buying her apology. She's losing support among women, and so it's good timing that today she begins her "Women for Hillary" campaign in Iowa.
According to the poll, grieving charmer Joe Biden is up to 21 percent of Democratic support (a rise of 9 percentage points), Bernie's up to 24 percent (a rise of 10 percentage points), while Hillary's down 21 percent from the previous poll. So it looks like people are jumping the Clinton ship, for now. Her numbers among non-white voters are still way better than Bernie's (53 to his 13), but Cornell West is busy trying to close that gap among black voters, at least. Hillary's still got the base on lock, though. Her hundreds of endorsements and solid political machinery should see her through.
But, okay, back to Republicans. Who else will join Carson and Trump in sunny Simi Valley, California? And how do they fare?
Jeb! is down to 8 percent support among Republicans, just one lil' percentage point more than Rubio and Cruz, mostly because he can't convince anybody that he actually wants to be the president. C.f. Ted Kennedy's response to the same question Colbert asked Jeb!: "Why do you want to be president?"
Rand Paul's floating at 5 percent, hoarding the semi-sane libertarian Christian vote.
Carly Fiorina will also be among the 11 "top-tier" candidates in the CNN debates, thanks to her strong showing in Cleveland, despite the fact that she's polling at 2 percent. Others whose support is nearly negligible include Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, and John Kasich.
Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, and George Pataki, all of whom (save Santorum) are rockin' numbers below 1 percent, will duke it out for Master of Irrelevance during the first round debates at 2 p.m.