We're getting closer to all the horses having made their way to the track for the 2016 Presidential derby.
Two on the GOP side - Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio are not quite announced. One Democrat side, strangers here in Our Nation's Capital have been stopping one another on the street to ask: "What's wrong with Stephen Strasburg?" and "Is Joe Biden really going to get into the race?"
The betting line appears have shifted to "yes" on the latter. National's fans are just hoping for good news on the former.
In the most recent New Hampshire CNN/WMUR poll, Bernie Sanders has pulled to within eight percentage points of Hillary Clinton 43-35. Biden, in that poll, is at 8 percent. However in a Bloomberg/St. Anselm (field dates just one day earlier) Hillary still has a substantial 32 point lead, 56-24. Biden shows up as a dash which probably means he wasn't included in the
I should mention, though, that the Bloomberg poll is the only one in the past six weeks that has Hillary over 50 percent.
If Joe Biden really does get in to the race what he knows and when he knew it about Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA, the OPM leaks, and all the other scandals-of-commission or omission will dog him - and to some extent - Hillary.
Clinton made news by (a) keeping the press at bay by wrangling them within a rope corral, giving "rope line" a slightly altered meaning. There were suggestions from the stitting-at-home press to the travelling press as to how to handle it. Mine was: Get a pair of scissors, cut the rope, ask a question.
That, of course, ignored the reality of Hillary Clinton being protected by the Secret Service and guys with guns trump staff with rope every time.
Speaking of Trump, he finds himself in second place (behind Jeb Bush) in both of the most recent polls from New Hampshire. In one it's Bush 15, Trump 11, Walker 8; and in the other it's Bush 14, Trump 11, Walker 8.
Trump is in the same situation that anyone in politics who makes their living saying shocking things finds themselves: In order to continue to make news, you have to keep pushing the Outrageous Envelope.
A few days ago Trump wrote in a Tweet:
@realDonaldTrump #JebBush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife.
That might have been too offensive even for Trump because it was quickly taken down, but not before the press corps found it and published it.
In Iowa, Clinton is still the Ante-Post favorite scoring +19 and +26 ahead of Sanders in the most recent polls - in one she is at 52 percent, in the other at 50 percent. Like New Hampshire, Biden is at 7 percent in one poll an a non-starter in the second.
Among Republicans in Iowa, in the only poll published in the past three weeks, Scott Walker is in front with 17 percent, Ben Carson and Donald Trump are tied at 10. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are one point back at 9. Jeb Bush is at 8 and Marco Rubio is at 7.
Iowa is leaning Conservative. New Hampshire is leaning Moderate. All's right with the world.
Keep in mind there will be no "Republican Iowa Straw Poll" this year, so no one will get knocked out in that event. It's not clear what will be the moment when the field begins to contract rather than expand, but it might be the polling following the first debate on August 6, hosted by Fox News Channel.
The entry fee for that debate is to be among the top ten in recent polls. As Politico.com's Steven Shepard pointed out, Kasich's announcement - scheduled for July 21 - might generate enough interest to boost him onto the stage. He is currently polling at 1.1 percent in national polls. As of this writing, the cut line appears to be 3.3 percent where Chris Christie currently holds the final place.
Actually, having nearly two dozen people running for the nominations makes following the process more fun than in recent memory.