Nearly all of the potential 2016 presidential candidates have graciously entered our NCAA tournament bracket pool, perhaps eager for some competition in this pre-campaign, exploratory phase of the 2016 presidential contest. So how are they doing?
Although he’s not ahead in the polls, neurosurgeon Ben Carson has a sizable lead in the ABC News 2016 presidential bracket pool. Carson’s bracket is currently in the 85th percentile of all the brackets on ESPN.com, a solid rank in a year full of upsets.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s not far behind, ranking in the 77th percentile. Though unlike the majority of candidates, Walker selected his home-state badgers to win the tournament, which sets him apart from the majority, who selected Kentucky.
The opening rounds have been tough on Rick Santorum, who sits at the bottom of the bracket pool. He picked the favorite in almost every game, which led to the early loss of half of his Final Four teams -- Villanova and Iowa State.
Jim Gilmore, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal and Martin O’Malley have each already lost their champion teams. Gilmore, Fiorina and Bush all had the swing state of Virginia selected as their champion -- a politically savvy move, perhaps, but not one that's paid off in our pool. Jindal and O’Malley picked their home-state teams of Louisiana State University and Maryland, which was a risky proposition to begin with because they were ninth and fourth seeds respectively.
Wisconsin isn't counted among the critical, early-primary states, but it may decide the winner of the 2015 presidential bracket pool. Carson has the Badgers coming up short against North Carolina this round and Arizona advancing to the Final Four from the West. Both Carson and Walker still have three teams left in their Final Four selections -- more than any other candidates in the top half of the presidential bracket pool.
But if Kentucky comes out on top, as ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight predicts, Carson will almost certainly win the pool.
In our women’s NCAA tournament pool, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is in the lead among five other 2016ers. With all of his final four picks still in the game, including his home state Maryland, Bolton ranks in the 97th percentile on ESPN.com.
Trailing not far behind, Carly Fiorina ranks in the 85th percentile on ESPN.com. With her calculated picks, Fiorina chose two of her alma maters, University of Maryland and Stanford, advancing to the Final Four with Maryland winning it all.
Bobby Jindal falls right in the middle, but his NCAA winner pick, his home team Louisiana State University, is already out of the game with an early loss this past weekend. Eleventh-seed LSU is the only low seed that Jindal picked for the Final Four, sticking by his home state.
Martin O’Malley and George Pataki are tied at the 40th percentile while Jim Gilmore, ranking in the 13th percentile on ESPN.com, lands at the bottom of the pool. Gilmore lost one of his teams from his home state Virginia, in the Final Four with James Madison University's early defeat in the first round.
If Maryland comes out on top, then Fiorina has a chance to win the bracket challenge. However, if Fiorina’s alma mater fails to advance even in the championship game, Bolton will most likely remain as the bracket winner.