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Saturday, December 10, 2016

The polls are moving nationally, with a potential major result already in the works: John Kasich might just edge out Rick Perry for the coveted last podium in next week’s big debate — a vindication of his late entrance into the race less than two weeks ago, which gained him publicity at a crucial time.

Fox News will host two debates next Thursday. The primetime one will be at 9 p.m., featuring the top 10 candidates in the national polls. But with a whopping 17 candidates in the GOP race, the remaining seven will be offered a turn in an earlier warmup debate at 5 p.m., when fewer people will be watching.

According to analyses in the last couple days from both NBC News and The Washington Post, the likely lineup of Fox’s primetime debate will be: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, and Kasich.

The candidates who will probably get consigned to the minor-league round: Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, and Jim Gilmore.

In the national races, a new Marist poll shows Hillary Clinton ahead of Bush in a two-way general election, 49 percent to 43 percent. If it becomes a three-way-race with Trump as an independent, Clinton gets 44 percent, Bush 29, and Trump 20.

It is very interesting to compare that hypothetical three-way race involving a Clinton and a Bush, to the result of the 1992 election, which was similarly split by an independent candidate: Bill Clinton 43 percent, George H.W. Bush 37, and Ross Perot 19.

Back to the primaries, the poll from Quinnipiac University has Trump at 20 percent, Walker 13 percent, Bush 10 percent, and 6 percent each for Carson, Huckabee, Paul, and Rubio.

In the Democratic primaries, Quinnipiac has Clinton with 55 percent, Bernie Sanders 17 percent, Joe Biden 13 percent, 1 percent each for Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb, and less than 1 percent for Lincoln Chafee. (Note: Vice President Biden is not currently in the presidential race, but the pollsters have included him in many of their surveys.)

Quinnipiac also tested a number of general election matchups.

With Clinton as the Democratic nominee:

  • Bush 42 percent, Clinton 41 percent
  • Clinton 44 percent, Walker 43 percent
  • Clinton 48 percent, Trump 36 percent

With Biden:

  • Biden 43 percent, Bush 42 percent
  • Biden 43 percent, Walker 43 percent
  • Biden 49 percent, Trump 37 percent

And a weaker performance for Sanders:

  • Bush 44 percent, Sanders 39 percent
  • Walker 42 percent, Sanders 37 percent
  • Sanders 45 percent, Trump 37 percent

The Morning Consult poll has Trump 24 percent, Bush 13 percent, Walker 9 percent, Carson 8 percent, and 5 percent each for Rubio and Christie.

CNN’s poll last Sunday had Trump 18 percent, Bush 15 percent, Walker 10, Cruz 7, and 6 percent each for Paul and Rubio.

For the Democratic primaries, CNN had Clinton at 56 percent, Sanders 19 percent, Biden 15, Webb 1, and less than 1 percent for O’Malley and Chafee.

CNN also had a very different set of general election matchups among registered voters, compared to Quinnipiac.

With Clinton:

  • Clinton 51 percent, Bush 46 percent
  • Clinton 56 percent, Trump 40 percent
  • Clinton 54 3 percent, Walker 44 percent

And with Sanders:

  • Bush 48 percent, Sanders 47 percent
  • Sanders 59 percent, Trump 38 percent
  • Sanders 48 percent, Walker 43 percent

In addition, Marist’s polls released last Sunday showed Trump doing well in the key pair of early states. In Iowa, Walker has a bare edge with 19 percent, then Trump 17 percent, Bush 12, Carson 8, and Huckabee 7. In New Hampshire, The Donald was up with 21 percent, then Bush 14 percent, Walker 12, Kasich 7, and 6 each for Carson and Christie.

On the Democratic side, Clinton is way ahead with 55 percent, then Sanders 26, O’Malley 4, Webb 2, and Chafee 1. It’s a bit closer in New Hampshire, but Clinton is still in first place with 47 percent, then Sanders 34, O’Malley 5, Chafee 2, and Webb 1.

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidate and Ohio governor John Kasich is accompanied by his wife Karen (R) as he arrives onstage to formally announce his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally in Columbus, Ohio, July 21, 2015. (REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

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