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RUSH: Did I not tell you? Did I tell you, right here it is in the Wall Street Journal: “Donald Trump Makes Pitch to Democrats in South Carolina.” That had to be the explanation for Trump’s strategy on Saturday night. It had to be. South Carolina is an open primary.

Polling data’s all over the place, by the way. The internal Bush poll for which there are two sources — so somebody in the Bush camp is leaking polling data, ’cause this is internal stuff — and the internal polling of candidates we hardly ever see, and, in this case, it’s not all that close to the public polls that we have. In the public polls, Trump still has a reasonable lead. In the internal Bush poll he’s only got two-point lead, which is margin of error tie. It is 26-24 in the internal. That would explain — Trump probably has the same data — that would explain Trump going after Cruz, and he did yesterday, the press conference. Got those sound bites, as I promised. He doubled down on it all today. And then backed off and then tripled down on it. Says he’s gonna sue Cruz, now he’s not sure if he’s gonna sue Cruz.

But, anyway, Trump is making a play for voters other than Republicans. Now, isn’t it fascinating, because let me ask you a little pop quiz. Who, in the Republican primary, started out by claiming happily and joyfully that he was gonna win the Republican nomination without the base? Exactly right, Mr. Snerdley. It was Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush and the donor class were gonna win this nomination despite the base. Remember this, now? And isn’t it fascinating that the guy who’s actually trying to pull that off and may have some success at it is Donald Trump.

Isn’t it amazing the way things turn. Yet Jeb and the donor boys were gonna go out and just flood this primary with money. They were gonna divide the conservative candidates in the race. They were gonna divide their money, divide their voter support. And the old rule of politics, that he has the money wins, Jeb was gonna end up scorching the field simply because they wouldn’t have anywhere near the amount of money he did.

And look, Jeb is in last place depending on the poll you look at, and there hasn’t been any significant upward movement in any way, shape, manner, or form. He brings out former President George W. Bush yesterday. And I don’t know.
Have you seen some of the comparisons? Some of the comparisons are why isn’t W. running again, this guy is on top of it, this guy comes off as a confident cowboy, all kinds of rave reviews about W. out there, but I’m hearing people say that the contrast from W. to Jeb is not that good. Anyway, I find it curious, that they were gonna race to victory without the base, and Trump is the guy doing it.

Now, in Trump’s case, it’s not the original — or maybe it is. You know, maybe Trump has all along known that he was going to make this move in open-state primaries. I told you for the longest time here, Trump’s constituency is not just members of the Republican base. It’s not just conservatives. It’s from all over the place. A lot of independents, a lot of moderates, a lot of what they call Reagan Democrats make up the Trump coalition. But this internal Bush poll, I’m sure Trump has access, makes it look like that he’s not gonna have the slam-dunk South Carolina victory. Cruz creeping up so hence the attacks on Cruz. And for good measure he throws in similar attacks on Rubio.

But it is clear that that’s what Trump’s trying to do. Now, it could be self-preservation or it could be a desire just to smoke the field. If he wins big in South Carolina with a broad-based coalition, then he pretty much thinks that he may be able to hammer the final nail in the coffin, or it could be that he has to do this in order to win and the win might not be that big, because as I say, the polling is all over the place. But the internal Bush poll reported in two different places, there isn’t any other pool that has Cruz anywhere near that close. Cruz is gaining, Cruz is outperforming in every primary election, he’s outperforming where he stands in the polls. So we’ll get into that in detail here in just a second.


RUSH: Now, let’s move on to the Republican race here. There are a series of stories on polls, and some are conflicting. Some are confirming. Let’s see. Here we go. First up is the Columbia, South Carolina, The State newspaper poll. Donald Trump is still leading in the poll. This is after the debate, by the way — after, as they call it, “the explosive Republican debate on Saturday night in Greenville, Trump still leads. The race for second place appears to be narrowing behind Trump, who has 35% after the debate.”

Behind Trump’s 35%, Rubio and Ted Cruz are tied now at 18%. Now, Trump almost doubles them individually. If you combine Cruz and Rubio, they lead Trump by a point; and that is interesting. Keep that in mind. Cruz and Rubio in South Carolina, The State poll, each at 18; Trump is at 36%. So you have… Well, another way to look at it on the Trump side is that 35% of the electorate in South Carolina, the Republicans. These are Republicans being polled, and Trump’s at 35%, and all the other Republicans are picking up the remaining 65%.

And two of them, Cruz and Rubio, combined are at 36%. Public Policy Polling has the same results. In fact, it might be a Public Policy Polling poll. Yes, I’m sorry. The State is where this was published. It’s PPP, Public Policy Polling, the left-wing polling outfit out of North Carolina. So Trump 35%, Cruz and Rubio 18% each. On the Democrat side, Hillary leads Bernie Sanders by 21 points. “Sanders is making gains among black voters but still trails by…” Well, it can’t be 40, if Hillary has a 21-point margin.

In this story from Breitbart… Let’s see if this is the same poll. Can’t tell. I guess we’ll have to read it together here to find out. “A new poll in South Carolina finds Donald Trump maintaining his large lead among likely Republican voters, but also shows Trump slipping slightly since Friday, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Gov. John Kasich edge higher. The new poll was conducted on Sunday by the South Carolina House Republican caucus and follows their previous poll released Friday, ahead of Saturday’s Republican debate in Charleston.”

The Sunday poll also conducted after the Republican debate on Saturday night. “In the new Monday poll, Trump leads the Republican field with 33% of the vote,” So over at Public Policy Polling he’s at 35. In the South Carolina GOP poll, he’s at 33. That’s “down two points since Friday.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rubio are tied for second with 14%. Cruz is down two points since Friday and Rubio is up one point. Former Gov. Jeb Bush is in 4th with 13% support, edging out Gov. John Kasich, who has 10%. Ben Carson is last, with just 6%” of the vote.

So what can we take away? Well, what we take away here is that in the immediate aftermath of the Saturday night debate, no measurable negative impact on Trump has been measured. But some people say that you need to wait two or three days for something like that to settle in and look at polls taken two or three days after a debate to have a more accurate portrayal of people’s opinions on it. Folks, you remember when Trump said that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any of his support? I think he’s fairly close to being accurate there.

We’ve spent hours on this program explaining why that is, explaining his appeal. There’s a guy in the New York Post named Mark Cunningham with another stab at explaining Trump today, which I’ll share with you in just a moment. But as I said yesterday, if this performance on Saturday night… Now, let’s sum it up again. This was a Republican debate. We had the front-runner extolling the virtues of Planned Parenthood. That’s never been done before. I don’t even think John Kasich would do it. We’ve never had that.

Did Romney do it? Did Huntsman do it? I can’t remember. I don’t think it’s ever happened. I don’t think a Republican front-runner has ever extolled the virtues of Planned Parenthood, as clearly and loudly as Trump did. Trump also went after, in South Carolina, a revered former president, George W. Bush, who still maintains an 80, 83% approval rating there. He not only went after Bush, he went after him as didn’t keep the country safe, the Twin Towers came down while he was president, and he knew there were no weapons of mass destruction.

I mean, he went into this debate and it was clear what he was doing, to me. It’s an open primary; Democrats and independents can vote. Trump needs them or wants them, one of the two. Either Cruz is gaining ground rapidly and he needs those votes or he wants those votes to just swamp the rest of the field in the Saturday night primary and put the final nail in the coffin, so to speak. It won’t be over if he wins big on Saturday, but it would be closer.

But he’s also signaling a bunch of other things that, as the front-runner, to say these things — and if it didn’t hurt… My point yesterday, I’ll repeat it: If it didn’t hurt, I think it demonstrates even more so the disconnect between the establishment and the people, Washington DC, and the rest of the country expect. And I don’t think the establishment even now has any idea the rage, the anger, the betrayal, which is what it is.

The majority of people in this country feel a profound sense of betrayal by the Republican Party, and there’s a deep resentment that a bunch of faceless, nameless money brokers, lobbyists, and donors are shaping the future of the country by virtue of neutering the Republican Party. And the outrage at that is profound and deep to the point that if this doesn’t hurt Trump, it’s just gonna put an exclamation point on how angry, how ticked off, on both sides of the aisle, people are.

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