With the Republican field narrowed to four debaters there seems to have been little movement in the basic storyline that says that former President Trump has a large lead over all his challengers, and that the battle for number two has narrowed to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Governor and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

This was likely the last debate prior to the first votes being cast at the Iowa Caucuses, scheduled for the evening on January 15, 2024.  While polls show the former President with a commanding lead, Iowa caucuses are hard to poll as turnout is so hard to predict. A poll is only as good as the model – in other words, the poll sample must represent the voters.  For example, if the sample of women don’t vote as expected, or the caucus participants turn out to be older than those in the model, the actual election results can deviate significantly from the poll-based forecasts.

At this point, the general consensus is that Trump will win. The real drama is whether Haley or DeSantis go to the head of the line for number two. The latest polls seem to indicate that they are neck-and-neck.

Budget

Congress has left for the weekend without making any progress on the two large budget issues: the emergency supplemental and the 2024 fisc...

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