Polls taken almost 15 months prior to a presidential election have little predictive value. But, with the level of interest and excitement here in August of 2015, there are a few observations about what the voters are responding to.
1. The most excitement in each party is being generated by a candidate who is perhaps the furthest removed from his party establishment: Donald Trump for the Republicans and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats.
2. People want someone who tells the unvarnished truth. No spin, no political correctness, no obfuscation. So we have: Trump because he has no filter to hold him back; and Sanders because he's been speaking the same truth for 25 years.
3. The governors aren't doing so well. The Republicans' "deep bench" of experienced chief executives (Bush, Walker, Christie, Jindal, Huckabee, Perry, Kasich, Gilmore) isn't playing out too well. In the post-debate FoxNews poll, the collective support for these 8 governors is 30% for an average of less then 4%; the three, never-held-office outsiders (Trump, Carson, Fiorino) have a combined 39% for a 13% average.
4. Cautious, scripted, and evasive is not what people want at this point. Take note Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. That may change as we get closer and people start paying attention to issues. Let's hope so. We probably aren't going to elect either Trump or Sanders president, but other candidates better listen and learn from what their current popularity means.