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Analysis: Who's Really Leading the Presidential Race Now?

Democratic debate
Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders (L), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley pose on stage ahead of the second official 2016 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates debate in Des Moines, Iowa, November 14, 2015. |


Republican Analysis

In August, there were only two candidates in the top five for all three measures, Cruz and Rubio. Now there are three candidates in the top five who are now the leaders — Carson, Cruz and Rubio.

Fiorina is close to being in that top tier. She places sixth in cash on hand and number of donors. Her favorability score (35) places her in a statistical third place tie with Cruz (36).

As in August, Trump is still a wild card. Due to his ability to fund his own campaign, his scores for cash on hand and number of donors require an asterik beside them. He is sixth in favorability (22) and that score is a significant improvement since August, when it was at negative one.

The Bush campaign and outside groups supporting Bush have spent $20 million. The result is that Bush's favorability score has gone down, from 25 to negative nine, which is a sign of an ineffective political campaign. He leads by a lot in cash on hand, twice as much as second place Cruz, but will that even matter if his campaign can't spend the money well?

Democrat Analysis

Clinton no longer leads in all three categories. While Clinton's favorability score has remained the same (63), Sanders' favorability has much improved, from 49 to 68. Still, Clinton is almost even with Sanders on favorability and has large leads in the other two categories, and thus should still be considered the front-runner.

Sanders is a legitimate threat to Clinton's lead. He has enough cash on hand to stay in the race, a large base of strong supporters and a broad base of support among Democrats.

O'Malley is far behind in all three categories.

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