Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Incumbents in Trouble in Ark., Mich.; Clark Wins in Mass.

In Governor, House, Polling, Senate on December 11, 2013 at 10:17 am

Arkansas

A new poll was just released for the Arkansas Senate race, the results of which give challenger Rep. Tom Cotton (R) a discernible seven-point lead over incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D). According to The Polling Company, Inc./Woman Trend for the Citizens United Political Victory Fund (Dec. 6-7; 400 registered Arkansas voters) Rep. Cotton projects to a 48-41 percent advantage. In an early race that features both candidates already airing television ads, this poll is the first to give either man a significant lead beyond the margin of error.

The Arkansas Senate race so far is performing relative to the national swing. When the Democrats were soaring during the government shutdown, Pryor took the lead. Now that Republicans are rebounding nationally, Cotton has likewise come back to erase his previous deficit and move significantly past the incumbent.

The early polling and trends reflecting the wild national movement we’ve seen during the latter part of 2013 suggest that this race will be extremely volatile throughout the next year and maintains an uncertain conclusion.

Michigan

Public Policy Polling’s latest Michigan study is producing conflicting signals. The survey (Dec. 5-8; 1,034 registered Michigan voters) shows Republican Terri Lynn Land taking a two-point 42-40 percent lead over Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) in the open Senate race, which might suggest a statewide Republican upswing. This is the first poll giving Land an advantage, though others have shown the contest tied or within a tight margin of error.

Once again, yet another poll portends a close Wolverine State Senate race. Though most national political analysts forecast a comfortable Peters victory, the survey research continues to tell a different story.

But the Democrats receive encouragement from the governor’s race data. There, incumbent Republican Rick Snyder records only a 44-40 percent advantage over former Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI-7), the consensus Democratic candidate.

The two results seem to conflict. With Land on the upswing in the Senate race, it would seem likely that Gov. Snyder would be expanding his edge over Schauer, rather experiencing a decline. This tells us that the sampling universe is responding to the individual candidates as opposed to the political parties they represent.

As in the Arkansas race, these Michigan campaigns are far from being decided.

Clark Wins in Massachusetts

As predicted, Massachusetts state Sen. Katherine Clark (D) easily won the 5th Congressional District special election last night for the right to succeed Sen. Ed Markey (D) in his vacated House seat. The senator held the congressional seat for 36-plus years prior to his winning the special statewide election earlier this year.

In the Boston suburban seat that lies to the north and west of the city, and includes the communities of Revere, Medford, Malden, Cambridge, and Framingham, Clark took 66 percent of the vote compared to Republican Frank Addivinola’s 32 percent. The total turnout was just over 60,000 individuals, low for a special general election but not a surprising number considering that the race wasn’t competitive.

Clark will be sworn into the House after the state certifies the result. She will stand for a full term in the regular 2014 election. Next Tuesday, the AL-1 special election is scheduled and voters will almost assuredly elect Republican Bradley Byrne. Concluding these two special elections will mean the House vacancy total will be down to only the late Rep. Bill Young’s (R) FL-13 seat.

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