Is it O'ver for Martin O'Malley?

The reviews are in on Martin O'Malley's performance in last week’s initial Democratic debate, and they're not raves.

Cheryl Senter/AP
Democratic presidential candidate former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley at a conversation with students forum at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, N.H., Friday, Oct. 16, 2015.

Martin O’Malley is set to appear Monday night on “The Daily Show” with new host Trevor Noah. Perhaps the former Maryland governor will bring his Irish band and perform a tune. Something lively. That may sound non-presidential, but at this point Mr. O’Malley really needs to do something to get some attention. Otherwise, his Oval Office hopes are very close to over.

Why? Because his best chance at starting to rise in the polls may have just passed, that’s why. The reviews are in on his performance in last week’s initial Democratic debate, and they’re not raves. According to a just-released CNN/ORC poll, 1 percent of voters thought O’Malley won the Las Vegas tussle. His actual support is even lower: Asked whom they would back for president, 0 percent of respondents supported O’Malley.

That’s right. Zero. Given the complications of polling, that might not literally mean nobody mentioned his name. There’s a margin of error involved, after all. But his total rounded down to zip.

Nor is that survey alone. A Monmouth University post-debate poll has O’Malley at less than 1 percent, if Joe Biden is included in the survey. Exclude Mr. Biden, and O’Malley makes it to the 1 percent threshold.

OK, but national polls can be a bit misleading. Long-shot contenders often devote all their time and money to the early primary states, hoping to slingshot out with a good result and build from there. O’Malley has spent a lot of time in New Hampshire, for instance. How’s he doing there?

He’s hovering around 1 percent, according to a new Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University poll.

He doesn’t have the money to build name recognition with paid ads, either. He raised $1.2 million in the third quarter, but he spent $1.8 million, meaning it was a red-ink three months. O’Malley isn’t actually in debt. But he’s got only about $806,000 cash on hand, according to his Federal Election Commission report.

Nor will he be lending his campaign money out of his own pocket. O’Malley is the poorest of all the presidential contenders, according to Forbes. His net worth is – surprise! – zero.

That’s largely due to educational expenses. O’Malley and his wife, a district court judge, have taken out more than $300,000 in loans to put two daughters through college. (Hmm. Bernie Sanders’s free college thing might appeal to the O’Malley tribe.)

All this points out the importance of O’Malley’s upcoming appearance on “The Daily Show.” Free media is now his last hope. He needs to build on interviews and talk show gigs, as Donald Trump has and as Ron Paul used to. He’s actually a very good musician – he plays the guitar far better than Bill Clinton did the sax. Maybe “Ellen” wants an Irish band segment. That might help.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.