Ohio Governor’s surge is terrible news for Marco Rubio
Against the general consensus, and betting markets that pointed first towards Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, John Kasich is emerging as the biggest challenger to Donald Trump in the key New Hampshire primary.
The latest poll puts him on 20%, seven points down on long-term leader Donald Trump but 10% ahead of Marco Rubio. This is the fourth straight survey putting the Ohio Governor in at least a tie for second place.
Whereas the Iowa Caucus is expected to be dominated by the two leading candidates from the GOP insurgent wing – Trump and Ted Cruz – NH is traditionally won by a mainstream, pro-establishment candidate. However as I wrote several weeks ago, this lane is unusually crowded, with Rubio, Bush, Kasich and Chris Christie splitting around 50% of the vote.
Kasich, dismissed in the nationwide betting at around 300-1, seemed the least likely to emerge as the challenger to Trump, with Rubio looking the best placed. This could either change those calculations or ensure the mainstream remains hopelessly split. It is unambiguously bad news for Rubio.
I don’t expect Kasich to be the nominee, and have no money on it as yet. However as I argued in yesterday’s interview with Steve Hexom on KBUR Radio in Iowa, Kasich may well be the most electable GOP candidate in a General Election. However, the plan mentioned there to back Marco Rubio for New Hampshire is now very much on hold!