Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

New Senate Data Show Tight Races in Three States

In Election Analysis on July 11, 2014 at 10:42 am

Georgia

The Georgia Republican senatorial run-off enters the stretch drive and a new poll suggests that the two candidates, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1) and businessman David Perdue, are headed for a photo finish.

Insider Advantage, polling for Morris News and Atlanta TV-5 (July 7-9, 1,278 likely Georgia Republican run-off voters), finds the two candidates separated by just two points, 43-41 percent (in Kingston’s favor). Immediately after the primary, it was the Savannah congressman who jumped out to as much as a double-digit lead over Perdue, but now multiple research services are projecting a much closer contest, if not a dead heat.

The election is scheduled for July 22, so the final days will feature hot and heavy campaigning. Kingston has been a prolific fundraiser and attracts outside support from a major US Chamber of Commerce media buy of just under $800,000 for the run-off alone. Perdue is hammering the 10-term representative over his many votes as a member of the Appropriations Committee, accusing him of supporting tax hikes and excessive government spending.

The geography now favors Perdue. In the primary, Kingston racked up huge percentages in south Georgia, which catapulted him into the run-off against a field of candidates all having political bases north of Interstate 16. Perdue, in particular, ran well in the northern part of the state, which of course includes the vote-rich Atlanta suburbs. While Kingston’s solid southern state base was a major asset in the crowded primary field, the two-way numbers now favor Perdue because the preponderance of voters reside within the northern region.

Two of the losing GOP candidates, representatives Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11) and former Secretary of State Karen Handel, have endorsed Kingston, support the congressman is attempting to parlay into increased Atlanta area backing. A third defeated candidate, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10), remains neutral.

Louisiana

Rasmussen Reports (July 8-9, 750 likely Louisiana voters) tested the Bayou State electorate and found Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) to be holding a 46-43 percent edge over Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6).

But a significant point to consider is that two candidates for the Nov. 4 jungle primary, retired Air Force officer Rob Maness (R) and state Rep. Paul Hollis (R) who have together been registering in double-digits according to other polls, were not included in the questionnaire.

Additionally, another three individuals, a Republican, Democrat, and Libertarian, have publicly said that they, too, will enter the race (the candidate filing deadline does not expire until Aug. 22). Though this trio does not register as being significant on any poll, their place on the ballot will likely generate at least 3-5 cumulative percentage points, thereby increasing the potential of a post-election December 6th run-off. Such a secondary vote will occur if no candidate receives an outright majority on Nov. 4.

Under this circumstance, the Rasmussen poll makes sense. Assuming that Sen. Landrieu and Rep. Cassidy will be the run-off participants, the 46-43 percent spread is consistent with other findings. A late June poll (Public Policy Polling, June 26-29; 664 registered Louisiana voters), for example, found a 44-27-8-5 percent primary division among Landrieu, Cassidy, Maness, and Hollis, respectively. In this poll, the Landrieu-Cassidy run-off resulted in a 47 percent tie.

New Hampshire

Two days ago, the Granite State Poll (University of New Hampshire-WMUR TV, June 19-July 1; 669 New Hampshire adults) released data relating to the state’s two congressional races. Yesterday, as expected, the US Senate survey numbers became public information.

Though the sampling period is long and the aggregate universe was not segmented for registered voters, the margin between Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) is relatively close to numbers that have already entered the public domain. The Granite Poll split, leaning toward Shaheen a bit more than the others, gives the incumbent a 50-38 percent advantage.

Since the polling sample skews almost three percentage points younger than the New Hampshire population and Independents have a seven percent over-sample, the actual Shaheen lead, while evident, is probably under the 12 points shown here.

Because of New Hampshire’s swing nature, particularly since 2006 when the voters have defeated more high-profile incumbents than they have re-elected, the key to this Senate race will be whether or not a midterm Republican wave develops. Without a sweeping wave, the type that has occurred in New Hampshire for both parties since 2006, ’10 and ’12, Sen. Shaheen must be rated as a clear favorite to win re-election.

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