For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about your 2016 presidential predictions.
With so many candidates still in the running for the GOP presidential nomination, we figured the best way to start off this week's survey would be to ask whether Republican voters would make a clear choice at all. In other words, would Republicans choose a nominee before the start of the national convention this summer?
A strong majority (60 percent) of the insiders thought the party would have a presumptive nominee by the summer. Another 36 percent did not think that would happen.
The next question asked who would still be in the mix should a brokered convention happen. The clear choice among the insiders was for Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz to make it to the convention. Both men were favored to still be in the running at convention time by more than 70 percent of the insiders.
Donald Trump was favored by 55 percent of the insiders to make it to the convention with Jeb Bush named by 23 percent and Chris Christie named by 18 percent.
As far as who the insiders think right now will win the nomination, the insiders are most bullish on Rubio, named by 37 percent, and Cruz, named by 30 percent. A quarter of the insiders said Trump would win the nomination.
With the final question, we asked insiders about the likelihood that a Texas congressional incumbent would lose his or her primary race. On that question, the insiders split almost evenly with 42 percent saying an incumbent would lose and 45 percent saying all incumbents are safe.
We collected comments along the way, and a full set of those is attached. Here’s a sampling:
Will Republicans settle their presidential contest before their summer convention?
• "Don't underestimate the power of the establishment. They can end it when it is convenient for them."
• "Look no further than 2012 when Republicans had the same concern. It's still really, very early."
• "Cruz wins Iowa, then most of the Southern states. It'll be tough for the others to overcome that momentum."
• "The convention will be Trumped — the biggest RINO ever."
• "We may end up with a lunatic, but we'll decide before the convention."
If they don't, which of these candidates do you think would be in the running in a brokered convention?
• "Cruz has been cruising toward a brokered convention since day one."
• "The delegates to the national convention are much more mainstream than the radicals who attend to the Texas GOP convention. Texas is only one of a few states whose grassroots elect their national delegates. Most state delegate positions are handpicked by leadership. This will create an environment that is very difficult for Cruz or Trump to win."
• "Who owns the grassroots? Hmmmmm, Mr. Cruz does."
• "I vote in the GOP primary, and I have no clue who I would vote for today."
• "The race will be Cruz v. Rubio after New Hampshire."
Either way, who do you think (today, anyhow) will get the nomination?
• "The party needs a win and they can only get it with Rubio on top of the ticket."
• "It's anyone's guess. Going into South Carolina in 2008, McCain was considered to be down and out. He was hanging on with one staff member and carrying his own bags onto SWA while he traveled the country. It's early January, and anything can happen at this point."
• "Jeb is the only one who has figured out that the only way out is through (Trump). And he's got the money to last."
• "Anyone's guess. If Trump loses some primaries, it will be between optimist Rubio and dour Cruz. Rubio may edge due to electability."
• "I think Cruz is in the driver's seat. But he has to meet expectations in Iowa (first or second), then do the same in South Carolina (first or second). If he fails in either state, he's wounded and Rubio gets the nod. But if he can get Iowa, it shows the evangelical trend, and South Carolina shows his southern/conservative base — the combination of those two gives him the delegates to win the nomination."
Will a Texas congressional incumbent lose his or her primary race?
• "Gene Green will become Houston's Frank Madla. He stayed a little too late."
• "Chances are there might be one coming home. The base is fit to be tied."
• "I would hate to be known as the SOB who beat Sam Johnson. In addition to being a hero, Sam is still a conservative opinion leader, effective Ways & Means Member, and active within his District."
• "If voters are smart, Farenthold will lose. So I'm voting no incumbents lose their primary."
Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Clyde Alexander, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Raif Calvert, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Corbin Casteel, Elna Christopher, Kevin Cooper, Beth Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, June Deadrick, Glenn Deshields, Kate Doner, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jack Erskine, John Esparza, Tom Forbes, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Jim Grace, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Ken Hodges, Deborah Ingersoll, Mark Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Matt Mackowiak, Jason McElvaney, Mike McKinney, Steve Minick, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Nelson Nease, Sylvia Nugent, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Tim Reeves, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Carl Richie, A.J. Rodriguez, Jeff Rotkoff, Grant Ruckel, Jason Sabo, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Robert Scott, Bruce Scott, Ben Sebree, Christopher Shields, Ed Small, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Colin Strother, Sherry Sylvester, Sara Tays, Jay Thompson, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, Corbin Van Arsdale, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Angelo Zottarelli.