Harvard poll shows Sanders bests Clinton; 60% of those 18-29 want U.S. troops to fight ISIS. photo by Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America

Harvard poll shows Sanders bests Clinton; 60% of those 18-29 want U.S. troops to fight ISIS.

photo by Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America

The IOP’s newest poll results also show – in the wake of the mid-November Paris terrorist attacks – a solid majority (60%) support the U.S. committing ground troops to defeat ISIS. When asked how likely they would be to serve, 16% said they “have already,” “would definitely” or “would strongly consider” joining the U.S. military to combat ISIS if additional troops were needed. [Harvard IOP Fall 2015 Poll]

THE BEST thing that happened to Hillary Clinton‘s campaign in the fall of 2015 is that she’s been out of the news. From March 2015 until Labor Day, Clinton was besieged by Benghazi, then email questions, as well as serious performance issues. Now at Christmastime, all is calm on the Democratic side, as Donald Trump sucks the excitement and attention out of the 2016 primary race. Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, asked “the largest generation in U.S. history,” Millennials, to weigh in on it all.

The big mover in the Harvard polling is Bernie Sanders, who right now is seen as leading in New Hampshire, but behind Clinton in Iowa.

Starting at 1% in Spring 2015, Bernie Sanders Now Holds Lead (41%-35%) over Hillary Clinton;

Most Don’t Believe “Democratic Socialist” Label Makes a Difference.

While Hillary Clinton maintains double-digit leads over Bernie Sanders in national polls of likely Democratic primary voters, November IOP polling showed 18- to 29- year-old potential Democratic primary voters (definite, probable or 50-50; n=751) as an outlier – with Sanders holding a slight edge and leading Clinton 41%-35% (22%: don’t know).

Less than one percent (<1%) said they supported Martin O’Malley. A strong majority (66%) of 18- to 29- year-old potential Democratic primary voters said the fact that Bernie Sanders is a self-described Democratic Socialist made “no difference” in their likelihood to support his candidacy. Slightly less than one-quarter (24%) said the label made them “more likely” to support Sanders, with only nine percent (9%) saying it made them “less likely.” In addition, nineteen percent (19%) said they were “very satisfied” with the Democratic candidates for president this year (53%: “somewhat satisfied;” 21%: “not very satisfied;” 6%: “not at all satisfied”).

On the Republican side

Donald Trump and Ben Carson locked in Dead-Heat, Ahead of Republican Presidential Candidate Field. Among potential Republican primary voters (definite, probable or 50-50; n=472), fall 2015 IOP polling showed Donald Trump (22%) and Ben Carson (20%) in a statistical dead-heat – with a strong lead over the rest of the Republican candidate field. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz captured seven (7%) percent, closely followed by Rand Paul and Jeb Bush (each with 6%), Carly Fiorina (3%), Mike Huckabee (3%), Rick Santorum (3%), John Kasich (2%), Lindsey Graham (1%), Bobby Jindal (1%), Chris Christie (1%), and George Pataki (<1%) – with 17% undecided. Regardless of whom potential Republican primary voters plan to support, forty-three percent (43%) say they believe Ben Carson is “qualified to be president” (17%: “not qualified;” 41%: don’t know). Slightly more than one-third (38%) said the same about Donald Trump (39%: “not qualified;” 22%: don’t know). Seventeen percent (17%) said they were “very satisfied” with the Republican candidates for president this year (47%: “somewhat satisfied;” 25%: “not very satisfied;” 11%: “not at all satisfied”).

Perhaps the reason those included in the Harvard poll don’t consider Ted Cruz the real challenge to Donald Trump is that their relationship to evangelical voters, I’d bet, is slim to nil.

It’s Cruz who’s closing on Trump, which I see more as a bubble than a threat to The Donald, which may be why Cruz decided it was finally time to question the GOP frontrunner’s ability to be president. No worries, it was all done in private so it doesn’t count.

Senator Ted Cruz raised questions on Wednesday at a private fund-raiser about whether Donald J. Trump, his bombastic rival for the Republican presidential nomination, has the “judgment” to be president and mused about “strength,” according to two people who attended the event in Manhattan. [The New York Times]

When confronted about these remarks today this was the campaign’s explanation: “Judgment is a question for all candidates for president of the United States. That is the point Cruz was making.”