Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Challenges for Incumbents Continue

In House, Polling, Senate on June 17, 2014 at 10:46 am

Yesterday, we covered several polls that showed incumbents – senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Mark Udall (D-CO) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), in addition to Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) – trailing their challenger opponents (Incumbent Surprises Lining Up, June 16). Today, that trend continues.

Mississippi

The run-off election to decide Mississippi’s Republican senatorial nominee is just a week away, and the polling company inc./Woman Trend for the Citizens’ United organization (June 12-13; 501 likely Mississippi Republican run-off voters) commissioned a survey, which finds challenger Chris McDaniel beginning to pull away from Sen. Thad Cochran. The results yield McDaniel a 52-40 percent margin. If leaners to each candidate are removed, the total becomes 47-37 percent in favor of the challenger.

Some interesting findings are included in the survey report. First, both men brandish a 93 percent loyalty factor within their own voter base. That is, 93 percent of the respondents saying they will vote either for McDaniel or Sen. Cochran report that their vote is a certainty, with no chance of changing their mind.

Within the age segmentation, all groups except the youngest of voters are backing McDaniel. Thus, the oldest candidate, Sen. Cochran at 76 years of age, attracts the most support from the youngest of voters.

Ninety percent of those identifying themselves with the Tea Party are supporting McDaniel. Among those who characterize themselves as Independents break for McDaniel by a 51-40 percent clip.

CA-52

On primary election night (June 3), a combined 57.7 percent voted for a Republican candidate in California’s 52nd Congressional District race even though incumbent Rep. Scott Peters is a Democrat. Being well below majority support in the preliminary election is an uncomfortable position for any candidate, but it’s particularly troubling for an incumbent.

A new Survey USA poll (June 11-12; 554 CA-52 registered voters) confirms the freshman congressman’s difficulties. S-USA posts former San Diego City councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio (R) to a 51-44 percent advantage over the congressman as the official general election begins. Under California election law, the top two finishers, in this case Peters and DeMaio, advance to the general election regardless of political party affiliation.

Next to the open seats in North Carolina – 7th District; Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) retiring – and Utah – 4th District; Rep. Jim Matheson (D) retiring – the San Diego-based 52nd CD may be the Republicans’ best opportunity to convert a Democratic seat in the country.

Through the pre-primary financial disclosure report (May 14), DeMaio had already banked close to $1.8 million. Peters had raised just over $2 million. So, we can expect the fireworks to continue flying from now until the vote is cast Nov. 4.

MI-14

A few weeks ago, when former Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI-13) announced that he would make a political comeback in the seat he failed to carry against fellow Rep. Gary Peters (D) in 2012, the earliest polling suggested that he was jumping out to a quick lead. Now, a new survey from Lake Research (June 3-5; 400 MI-14 likely Democratic primary voters) finds Clarke’s edge dissipating and Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence now assuming the top position.

According to the Lake data, Lawrence holds a 35-27 percent advantage over former Rep. Clarke with state Rep. Rudy Hobbs (D) trailing badly with only a six percent preference. Though Clarke is a former one-term member, his original district is much different that the current 14th’s configuration. Therefore, his name ID and former incumbent advantages are lessened.

Because the 14th is a heavily Democratic district, the Aug. 5 primary will decide Rep. Peters’ successor.

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