Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Post-Primary Mississippi Polling Gives McDaniel the Edge; California Counting Continues

In House, Polling, Primary, Senate on June 10, 2014 at 10:22 am

The first two public polls were just released in the Cochran-McDaniel Republican senatorial run-off campaign (June 24 election), and both the Democratic and Republican survey research firms conducting the studies arrived at the same conclusion: challenger Chris McDaniel is leading.

As you will remember, last Tuesday’s Mississippi primary contest found incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel headed to a run-off because neither garnered an outright majority of the vote. McDaniel placed first with 49.4 percent as compared to Sen. Cochran’s 49.0 percent.

The Democratic polling firm, Chism Strategies, which may have been the most accurate bellwether in the primary (predicted a 46-44 percent McDaniel lead going into Election Day), returns for the run-off. Their new data (June 5; 835 likely Mississippi Republican run-off voters, self-identifying as primary voters and equally divided between those claiming to have voted for Cochran and McDaniel in the June 3 election) gives McDaniel a 51-48 percent edge.

The Republican/conservative firm, National Strategic, drawing their sample in a much more traditional manner, (June 5; 442 likely Mississippi run-off voters) finds McDaniel leading by a slightly larger 52-46 percent margin.

Much will happen in the remaining two weeks before this nomination is decided, but at least in the first few days after the primary, McDaniel appears to be building upon the momentum he created last week.

California Counting

Though a full week has passed since California voters went to the polls, several races are still not fully counted. Three congressional races languish in this situation, all of which are important.

Freshman Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15) is very likely rooting for Republican Hugh Bussell to qualify against him for the general election as the count winds down. The 15th CD is heavily Democratic, so if the congressman is paired with a member of the GOP, he will win easily. With still more ballots to count, Bussell leads state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D) by just 721 votes, up from the last released count that gave him a 610-vote advantage. Should Corbett overtake Bussell, then a Democrat vs. Democrat general election would transpire. Rep. Swalwell attracted 49 percent of the primary vote against both Corbett and Bussell in last week’s primary vote. He will be favored against either opponent, but the Democratic nature of this northern California East Bay Area seat makes him a cinch against any Republican candidate.

In Santa Barbara’s 24th District, it is still undetermined which Republican will advance to the general election and earn the right to challenge Rep. Lois Capps (D). The new 24th is now a marginal seat, and Capps’ opponents held her to an aggregate 45 percent in the jungle primary – a number that has to be viewed as an under-performance. At this point Chris Mitchum, the son of the late actor Robert Mitchum, maintains a shrinking lead over former UCLA football player Justin Fareed. Mitchum’s edge is now just 498 votes, down from an original 914-vote spread. With adequate funding, this could become a competitive race.

Finally, in the open 31st Congressional District (Republican Rep. Gary Miller retiring), Republicans continue to perform well in what should be a reliable Democratic seat. In the 2012 election, Rep. Miller and then-state Sen. Bob Dutton, both Republicans, advanced to the general election. Now, former Navy veteran Paul Chabot (R) has already clinched first place. The remaining battle for second is between Redlands Democratic Mayor Pete Aguilar and former congressional aide Lesli Gooch (R). The latest count gives Aguilar just a 181-vote edge, which is enough for the Democrat to declare that he will advance. More than 1,800 votes remain to be counted. Regardless of how this result unfolds, Republicans will again be surprisingly competitive in this San Bernardino Inland Empire CD.

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