Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page

Massachusetts Primary Today

In Senate on April 30, 2013 at 9:52 am

Massachusetts

Bay State voters go to the polls today to choose nominees for Secretary of State John Kerry’s vacant US Senate seat. Since the Democrats are in an overwhelming political position in Massachusetts, it is apparent that the winner of their party contest tonight will become the next senator. The special general election is scheduled for June 25.

The man favored to win is Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) who was first elected to the House in 1976. If victorious, he will be the longest-serving House member ever to enter the Senate. All polls show Markey leading his congressional colleague, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8), posting double-digit margins in all surveys with the exception of some Lynch internal polls. It will be a major upset if Lynch manages to eke out a close win. In all likelihood, Markey wins tonight and again on June 25.

For the Republicans, three individuals are vying for a nomination that will immediately cast the standard bearer as the underdog position for the special general. Former US Attorney Michael Sullivan, state Rep. Dan Winslow, and businessman/Navy veteran Gabriel Gomez are the three candidates. Polling, though most of the available data features unacceptably low sample sizes, has shown both Sullivan and Gomez in the lead during the closing days.

Once nominees are secured tonight, the money battle will begin for the special general. Scott Brown’s upset victory in a 2010 Senate special election notwithstanding, proving that a Republican can win under certain circumstances, it is unlikely such a configuration will occur in this situation. In fact, it will even be a surprise if the national and state Republican Party leaders decide to wage a serious fight. Democrats will not allow their candidate to  Continue reading >

Rehberg’s Return? Two Say No

In House, Senate on April 29, 2013 at 10:49 am

At the end of the 2012 election cycle, then-Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) said his Montana political career was at an end. Losing to Sen. Jon Tester (D) by three points, 45-48 percent, even though Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was racking up a 55-42 percent Montana margin over President Obama, the six-term congressman and former lieutenant governor said he would not again seek political office.

Now, with Sen. Max Baucus (D) announcing that he will not run in 2014, Rehberg may be changing his tune. “As to what the future holds, ever since Max (Sen. Baucus) announced his retirement two days ago my phone has been ringing off the hook,” Rehberg said. “The encouragement I’ve been getting from Montanans to take a serious look at this race has been overwhelming. I owe it to them, and to all the folks who I’ve served over the years, to keep listening and see how things develop. I’m not ruling anything out at this point.”

The top potential candidate is former Democratic governor Brian Schweitzer. If he decides to run, with his high favorability ratings that have continued into his retirement, it will be very difficult for Republicans to beat him. Conversely, should Schweitzer not enter the race and Rehberg run for the Republicans, he would likely become the decided favorite and the GOP would be in strong conversion position.

The Baucus retirement has clearly changed the outlook for the Montana Senate race. Until the candidates identify themselves, however, this race will remain in a state of flux.

Schock, Pingree Say No

Two US House members who have been mentioned as potential gubernatorial candidates in their respective states each publicly removed themselves from further talk about a 2014 statewide campaign. Republican Aaron Schock (R-IL-18) and Democrat Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) both confirmed that they will seek re-election to  Continue reading >

Markey Looking Strong; “Governor” Nelson?

In Governor, Polling, Senate on April 26, 2013 at 10:52 am
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5)

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5)

As we turn into the home stretch for the special Democratic primary election to fill John Kerry’s vacated Senate seat in Massachusetts on Tuesday, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) continues to appear well positioned for claiming his party’s nomination over fellow Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8).

A new Public Policy Polling brushfire survey (April 23-25; 563 likely Massachusetts Democratic primary voters) conducted for the League of Conservation Voters, an organization supporting Markey, continues to show the 36-year congressional veteran with a substantial lead. According to the PPP data, Markey posts a 50-36 percent margin over Lynch. The winner of the Democratic primary becomes the prohibitive favorite in the June 25 special general election.

Both candidates scored strong favorability ratings from the sampling universe. Markey registers 66:23 percent favorable to unfavorable; Lynch 50:32 percent.

Earlier in the week, the Western New England University Polling Institute released their survey (April 11-18; 480 registered Massachusetts voters; 270 Democratic primary voters) that showed  Continue reading >

Brown’s First NH Numbers

In Polls, Senate on April 25, 2013 at 10:33 am

Public Policy Polling (April 19-21; 933 registered New Hampshire voters) went to New Hampshire to test former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown’s (R) electability in the Granite State. Two weeks ago, Brown, who was defeated for re-election in Massachusetts last November, indicated that he is considering challenging Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) in 2014. Since publicly confirming that the idea is at least a possibility, he has made several appearances in the state.

The early PPP numbers, however, don’t look particularly promising for Brown, but he does fare better than any other Republican against Shaheen. If the election were in the current time frame, the senator would lead him 52-41 percent. Though being 11 points down early in the cycle is not the worst of positions for a challenger, it was believed Brown might fare better because of being so well-known throughout the entire New England region.

But, it’s not the ballot test results that suggest the former senator begins in relatively weak political position in New Hampshire. When asked if the respondents think that Brown should run for Senate in the state next year, only 32 percent said they believe he should as compared to 54 percent who said no.

Turning to whether those in the sampling universe consider Brown a New Hampshirite, only 18 percent said that they did. A full 63 percent said they did not.

As previously stated, Brown does fare better than any other Republican against Sen. Shaheen. Former US congressman Jeb Bradley (R-NH-1), who now is the state Senate Majority Leader, trails the senator 39-54 percent. Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas (R) is behind 34-53 percent; ex-congressman Frank Guinta (R-NH-1) comes up 18 points short at 37-55 percent. Finally, Executive Councilor Chris Sununu (R), the son of former governor and White House Chief of Staff John Sununu and brother of former senator John E. Sununu, would lose to Sen. Shaheen 39-53 percent.
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Montana’s Sen. Baucus Retiring

In Senate on April 24, 2013 at 10:54 am
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)

As was widely reported yesterday, six-term Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) announced his decision not to seek re-election next year. The decision appears to be a significant change of course for the senator, who was showing every early sign of jump-starting his political machine.

Baucus was actively raising substantial campaign money and, even as late as last week, voted against his party leadership and President Obama on the gun control bill; before that, the Democratic budget. The intent of his gun vote was to correctly position himself before an electorate that is highly sensitive toward 2nd Amendment restrictions.

He also just recently described implementation of the Obamacare legislation, a bill he co-authored and took the lead in passing the bill through the Finance Committee that he chairs and the Senate itself, as a “train wreck.” This move looked to be an effort to distance himself from the new healthcare system that is highly unpopular in Montana.

The Baucus about-face brings the total number of senators either leaving the body since the 2012 election, or saying they will, to 11 (Sen. Daniel Inouye passed away; John Kerry was appointed Secretary of State; Jim DeMint resigned; Saxby Chambliss, Tom Harkin, Carl Levin, Mike Johanns, Frank Lautenberg, Tim Johnson, Jay Rockefeller, and now Max Baucus are all retiring at the end of the current term). This obviously is a  Continue reading >

The Return of Anthony Weiner?

In Mayor, Polls on April 23, 2013 at 10:42 am

Last week, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY-9) who resigned from the House in disgrace in 2011, said publicly that he is at least contemplating a 2013 run for mayor of New York. This week, Quinnipiac University released their current poll of the race (April 15-18; 1,161 registered New York City voters; 740 Democrats) that shows Weiner in second position even though his popularity index is an upside down 33:41 percent favorable to unfavorable.

According to the data, Weiner scores support from 15 percent of the Democrats polled, compared to NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s 28 percent. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former city comptroller William Thompson, and current City Comptroller John Liu follow with 11, 10, and 9 percent, respectively. Of the entire group, Thompson has, at 32:9 percent, the strongest favorability ratio but it is not as yet translating into stated support.

Days earlier, the Marist Poll (April 11-15; 873 Democratic New York city voters) showed almost identical results. According to this data, Quinn leads with 26 percent; Weiner was again second with an identical 15 percent, and Liu, de Blasio, and Thompson follow with 12 percent, 11 percent, and 11 percent, respectively.

Weiner still has some time to decide whether to run. Mandatory “designating petitions” can be circulated beginning June 4, with the requisite number being returned no later than July 11. The primary election is scheduled for Sept. 10. If no candidate receives 40 percent plus one vote, the top two will participate in a special run-off election scheduled for Sept. 24. The municipal general election is Nov. 5.

The leading Republican candidate is Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board chairman Joe Lhota. It is clear from the polling, however, that the Democratic primary and likely run-off will determine the identity of the next mayor. Lhota is substantially behind all of the Democratic candidates, even Wiener though the Republican does perform best against him. According to the Quinnipiac survey, Weiner is the choice of 51 percent of those tested  Continue reading >

Dingell — Debbie Dingell — Won’t Run

In Senate on April 22, 2013 at 11:02 am
Debbie Dingell

Debbie Dingell (D)

Debbie Dingell, in a posting on her Facebook page over the weekend, said she will not seek retiring Sen. Carl Levin’s (D-MI) open seat next year. She had been actively testing the waters for such a race ever since Levin made known his 2014 political intentions. Dingell is the wife of venerable Rep. John Dingell (D-MI-12) who, first elected in a 1955 special election, is the dean of the House of Representatives.

In an email Mr. Dingell sent to supporters relaying his wife’s statement, Debbie Dingell said in part, ” … when Carl Levin announced he would not seek reelection, those plans (working for Sen. Levin’s re-election and other Democrats’ such as her husband) changed. Close friends, complete strangers, political allies and business colleagues encouraged me to take a long, hard look at running for the Senate myself — and that’s what I have done.”

She then goes onto say, ” … but I think it is critical that Democrats unite behind one candidate for what will be a difficult and expensive race, and it’s one of the reasons I have concluded that now is not the time for me to run for the United States Senate. We have good candidates like Gary Peters already running, and a primary would be divisive at a time that cries out for unity. As someone who has spent much of my career working to bring people together, it just  Continue reading >

Hickenlooper, Udall Cruising in Colorado

In Governor, Polling, Senate on April 19, 2013 at 10:51 am

Public Policy Polling just completed a survey of the Colorado electorate (April 11-14; 500 registered Colorado voters) and found both Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Mark Udall in strong position for re-election.

PPP surveys tend to produce more negative numbers of the various politicians tested than most polling firms. The Colorado results are no exception, as all eight tested Republicans registered upside down personal favorability ratings when the respondents were queried about whether they had favorable or unfavorable opinions about each individual. When testing Gov. Hickenlooper and Sen. Udall, the question only pertained to their job performance. On that scale, both men performed well: Hickenlooper scored 53:44 percent positive to negative (though his negative jumped up from 26% as recorded on PPP’s November ’12 Colorado poll); Udall 50:33 percent.

Despite all of the Republicans registering poor favorability ratings, their ballot test standing when paired with either Hickenlooper or Udall are better than one might expect after perusing the initial data.

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-CO-7), who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 after serving two terms in the House from a marginal suburban Denver district, comes within seven points of Hickenlooper, 43-50 percent, in a hypothetical general election. Attorney General John Suthers (R) scores 39-49 percent against the governor. Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO-4) tallies exactly the same result as Suthers. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO-3) also registers in the same range, behind 40-50 percent. Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO-6) does a bit worse, trailing 41-52 percent.

If these same Republicans were to challenge Sen. Udall, the results prove similar. Despite Beauprez scoring a 15:34 percent personal favorability index and Udall registering a 50:33 percent job approval rating, the Republican trails the senator only 41-48 percent. Suthers is down to Udall 38-50 percent; Gardner 39-49 percent; Tipton 37-50 percent; and Tancredo 39-51 percent.  Continue reading >

Sanford Does it Again!

In House on April 18, 2013 at 10:59 am
Mark Sanford (R)

Mark Sanford (R)

Mark Sanford is in trouble again. Allegedly violating his divorce agreement with his ex-wife Jenny Sanford, the former South Carolina Republican governor now faces a trespassing hearing two days after the May 7 special election. In response to the latest controversy, the National Republican Congressional Committee released a statement saying they will not fund the special election. This all but assures Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch will now win what should be a safe Republican seat.

Though it appeared Republican voters were willing to give Sanford the second chance he requested, it is highly unlikely that they will award him a third such opportunity. Thus, the string of bad Republican luck and performances they have experienced in special elections during the past few years looks to be continuing.

If Busch Wins

Let’s turn the clock ahead to the regular election next year, when Republicans should be well positioned to reclaim the seat from a Congresswoman Busch. With many potential candidates such as former Charleston County Councilman Curtis Bostic, state Sen. Larry Grooms, state Rep. Chip Limehouse, and businessman Teddy Turner, among others waiting in the wings, it appears the GOP will field a strong opponent to Busch in the regular election.
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