2016 presidential election could be tight. I love RealClearPolitics.com, in particular their summaries of polling data.  

Some of their data looking forward to the 2016 general election is fascinating.  Here are the results for a match-up of the leading Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, versus the various Republican candidates:

Hillary Clinton vs. Republican Candidates


Prevailing Candidate/Margin

Clinton vs. Trump

Clinton +3.4%

Clinton vs. Carson

Carson +1.4%

Clinton vs. Fiorina

Clinton  +3.2%

Clinton vs. Rubio

Clinton +1.3%

Clinton vs. Bush

Bush +0.3%


While Clinton, overall, has a small lead, the overall results point to a close, competitive general election. 

Idaho National Laboratory research waste resolution brewing? Last Thursday I attended the Idaho Falls City Club meeting where Attorney General Lawrence Wasden discussed his efforts to deny importation of additional nuclear waste for research purposes until the Department of Energy moved forward to comply with the 1995 Batt agreement (of which they are currently in violation).  This is a terribly important issue in Eastern Idaho as the waste research could generate up to $200 million in economic activity.  Wasden has been harshly criticized locally for not granting a wavier for this waste.  Wasden pointed out that the 995 Agreement was reflected in a court order and was approved by the Idaho electorate. He feels bound to enforce the terms.  He did hint broadly that DOE, in the past few days, is communicating with him on a possible resolution.  Stay tuned on this one.

Kudos to Woolf and Hagedorn. I’ve bemoaned the fact that Idaho officials have not been involved in the 2016 Presidential campaigns.  My biggest concern has been that failure to engage diminishes Idaho’s role on the national scene.  So I want to compliment State Controller Brandon Woolf for stepping up to Chair Marco Rubio’s Idaho campaign and Sen. Marv Hagedorn (R-Meridian) (also see his comment below) for signing on as the Idaho Co-Chair for Ohio Governor John Kasich.  Raul Labrador is already backing Rand Paul.  Anyone else want to step forward?

Would you like to share your insightful opinions? I am looking for 4-8 folks who would like to see their opinion in print on a matter of state or national import.  Each month, I’ll circulate a question and ask for a response.  If you’d like to participate, send me an email (see below) and give me a sentence or two justification of why I should use you.

This month, I asked for feedback from Republican and Democratic activists on the following question:   “Do you believe Donald Trump and/or Hillary Clinton will be leading candidates for president next spring?”

I received two great responses:

Ben Fulcher, Chairman of the Idaho Federation of College Republicans wrote:

"When looking at the Democratic presidential primary race, it seems as though the party has already collectively chosen their candidate in Hillary Clinton. The sheer lack of opposition suggests that she will likely be the Democratic nominee in 2016. The Republican primary, on the other hand, is a much different story. It would be extremely premature to assume that Donald Trump will be the frontrunner in May of 2016. With a roster of 16 candidates, the field is much too heavily-contested and thickly-crowded to jump to any serious conclusions. Trump has built a surprisingly sizeable following thus far. But Trump’s abrasive, outspoken nature which has propelled his campaign thus far may eventually be his demise. If nominees were elected in the fall before the general election, Rudy Giuliani and Rick Perry would have been the Republican nominees of 2008 and 2012, respectively. It is much too early to draw conclusions, especially in a field as crowded as this year’s Republican primary."

Likewise, Sen. Mav Hagedorn opined:

"I recall vividly when I was first appointed to the Idaho Legislature 9 years ago saying, “these guys just need someone with common sense to fix all the broken things about government.” As a businessman, I truly felt that was true.  I have now learned that managing a private company is much less restrictive than managing a government budget.  Yes, some business principles can be applied, but there are laws and regulations a private company doesn’t have to deal with, where a government budget must (and this is just one example).  It’s easy to talk the talk, but I believe we need someone who has been in both the private sector and also has a record of success in managing government issues and understands what it takes to navigate successful change through existing laws and regulations. I don't think Mr. Trump is the candidate we need. I believe Mr. Trump is much like I was when I first started getting involved in politics, his heart is in the right place, but he has little experience in managing change within the government system.  We all want the system to change and work better for us, but that change must come with new or changing laws that will allow more effective and efficient governing process.  Depending on the anger of citizens about our broken process and their ability to see how change must happen, will determine if Mr. Trump is our nominee or someone with a record of changing government is our nominee. As far as Hillary Clinton, if she is the nominee, then whomever is the Republican nominee will be the next president."

I’d like more respondents next month from a wide array of backgrounds.  I look forward to your emails.

Steve Taggart is an Idaho Falls attorney specializing in bankruptcy (www.MaynesTaggart.com).  He has an extensive background in politics and public policy.  He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..