Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Archive for October, 2014|Monthly archive page

Upsets Brewing as Election Day Nears

In Governor, House, Polling, Senate on October 31, 2014 at 10:52 am

As we head into the final weekend before the election, several new pieces of data show a few major upsets brewing, while some other pollsters are in conflict when surveying the same race.

Maryland Governor’s Race

The biggest surprise amongst the late data comes from the Maryland governor’s race, where the Wilson Perkins Allen Research firm finds their client, Larry Hogan, Jr. (R), leading Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D), the prohibitive favorite to succeed term-limited Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). According to their latest poll (Oct. 26-27; 504 likely Maryland voters), Hogan leads Brown 44-39 percent, and 46-38 percent among respondents who can identify both candidates.

Concluding the poll’s analysis, WPA says that “while Hogan is well positioned heading into the final week, he isn’t there yet. Having the resources to go toe-to-toe with Brown on TV will be crucial in turning his current lead into a victory on Election Day.”

Though no other poll has actually shown Hogan leading, several surveys have detected a closer than expected race in what is normally one of the bluest states in the country. This could be a race to watch on Tuesday night.
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Trends & Outliers as Election Day Nears

In Election Analysis, Governor, House, Polling, Senate on October 30, 2014 at 11:03 am

Final pre-election polls are being released, and some new data is telling us different things in a series of key Senate, House and gubernatorial campaigns. The featured surveys depict forming trends, different race leaders in polls conducted simultaneously, or ones that appear to be outliers.

SENATE
Polls bucking the latest trend:

• Georgia: Monmouth University (Oct. 26-28; 436 likely voters):
David Perdue (R) ……….. 49%
Michelle Nunn (D) ……… 41%
Amanda Swafford (L) …… 3%
Perdue, if leading, has done so by a much closer margin.

• North Carolina: Public Opinion Strategies (Oct. 26-27; 600 likely voters):
Sen. Kay Hagan (D) ……. 44%
Thom Tillis (R) ………….. 44%
Sean Haugh (L) ……………. 7%
Sen. Hagan has been leading in most polls.

Differing results:

• Iowa: Garin Hart Yang Research for Braley campaign (Oct. 25-27; 802 likely voters)
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Governors Races Close Across the Country

In Governor on October 29, 2014 at 10:08 am

Like the Senate and House races, 36 gubernatorial campaigns are also drawing to conclusion this week, and in as tight a fashion as the US Senate races that have dominated the political landscape.

Republicans hold a 29 to 21 advantage in the national gubernatorial division, but Democrats appear poised to gain a small number of state houses in this election. Strong competition is underway in 20 of the 36 states, a very high number. Nine races are thought to be too close to call headed into Election Day.

The tightest of all, not surprisingly, may be in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott (R) and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) are doing battle. Florida, as we know, is no stranger to tight campaigns, and the Sunshine State electorate will almost assuredly give us another one this year. The Scott-Crist race is a flat tie, with multiple polls yielding each candidate a very small lead. Democrats feel they have the ground game to win a close race, but Scott has the clear momentum fighting back from very poor approval ratings to force the race to a virtual draw.

One campaign that likely won’t be close is the Democratic conversion of Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) has virtually no victory path and has trailed Democratic businessman Tom Wolf for the entire general election cycle, usually by double-digits.
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A Snapshot of the 36 Senate Races

In Election Analysis, Senate on October 28, 2014 at 9:03 pm

The international polling firm YouGov, in their ongoing project with the New York Times and CBS News, released another complete polling wave over the weekend. The data included results from all 36 Senate races.

According to the comprehensive totals, Republicans would gain the majority with 51 seats, winning in 21 states including a Louisiana run-off, while Democrats would claim fourteen. The 36th state, Iowa, is in a flat 44-44 percent tie between Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst and Democratic US Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1).

For Republicans, the safe list contains a pair of both Oklahoma (Jim Inhofe and James Lankford) and South Carolina seats (Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott) that are up for election this year in addition to Susan Collins in Maine, Jim Risch from Idaho, and Jeff Sessions (Alabama), among others.

The GOP nominee leads in 10 contested or open races from anywhere between three and 29 points. Only three of the contenders, however, exceed 50 percent in support. Below are the results in competitive campaigns:
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House Upset Updates

In House, Polling on October 27, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Money is flying in House races right now, and the respective party and outside organization spending is indicative about how the races are unfolding. Republicans are on the offensive in some obscure districts; Democrats, with the exception of their operations against Reps. Lee Terry (R-NE-2), Steve Southerland (R-FL-2), and Michael Grimm (R-NY-11), are generally retreating to protect endangered incumbents.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) just reported adding money to some existing media buys. They are increasing their presence for Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Bill Enyart (D-IL-12), Rick Nolan (D-MN-8), Dan Maffei (D-NY-24), and Nick Rahall (D-WV-3). This clearly suggests Republican challengers in each of those districts are legitimate upset contenders.

The following is a list of the latest action in what can be described as emerging races. All of the predictions in these campaigns originally favored the incumbent or the incumbent party in an open seat situation.

• AR-4: Rep. Tom Cotton’s (R) open seat is now yielding a competitive contest between Republican state Rep. Bruce Westerman and Democrat former Federal Emergency Management Agency director James Lee Witt. Westerman had the early lead, but a new Hendrix College Talk Business poll (Oct. 15-16; 410 likely AR-4 voters) shows the Republican advantage dwindling to 44-42 percent.
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A Different Georgia Race in the 12th CD

In Election Analysis, House on October 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Rep. John Barrow (D) has run several tough races in many different east Georgia locations, yet he always seems to find a way to prevail.  But, will this year be different?

Barrow’s trick for attaining political success is to champion several conservative issues, while simultaneously increasing the substantial African-American vote that resides in his 12th District.  The turnout patterns from his Augusta-anchored constituency suggests that the midterm cycle is when he is most vulnerable, so Barrow is again hitting on all cylinders for this election.

Originally a local elected commissioner in Clarke County (Athens), the current congressman successfully unseated one-term Rep. Max Burns (R) in a close race Continue reading >

A Quick Update on Key Senate Races

In Election Analysis, Polling, Senate on October 22, 2014 at 11:16 am

Here’s a look at the latest from the final drive for the Senate in key states:

Kentucky


Kentuckians for Strong Leadership: “Look”

Survey USA released a new poll (Oct. 15-19; 655 likely Kentucky voters) again showing a virtual dead heat between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D). This data finds the senator only holding a one-point lead, 44-43 percent, as the campaign again tightens. Also, the in-state Super PAC supporting McConnell, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, released a new attack ad, calling her “Obama’s Senator” (above).
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Upsets in the Making

In House, Polling on October 21, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Recent new polls have revealed lesser known US House challengers positioning themselves to either defeat an incumbent or win the other party’s open seat. We take a look at several:

AR-2

The Little Rock-anchored 2nd District in Arkansas has belonged to the Republicans for the last four years in the person of Rep. Tim Griffin, but having a GOP representative here is not the historical norm. With the congressman deciding to stay closer to home and running for lieutenant governor instead of re-election to the House, AR-2 is again open.

Before Griffin came into office, one must turn the clock back to the mid-1970s to see a Republican representing this seat. Rep. Ed Bethune (R) served three terms prior to retiring, but you have traverse history 104 years before to find another elected Republican from this district (Rep. Tommy Robinson did serve one of his three terms as a Republican directly succeeding Bethune, but only after switching from the Democratic Party).

Under this backdrop, Republican banker French Hill attempts to hold the seat for his party, but a new survey from the non-partisan, and highly accurate, Hendrix College – Talk Business & Politics (Oct. 15-16; 605 likely AR-2 voters) finds him Continue reading >

Bringing Heat Against Hagan in the North Carolina Senate Race

In Polling, Senate on October 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm

It’s no secret that one of the more disappointing Republican challenger campaigns has been North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis’ US Senate effort. With Sen. Kay Hagan (D) languishing in the low 40s for most of the present two-year cycle, voting liberally while representing a mostly conservative state, and hailing from a place that consistently defeats their incumbent senators (Hagan herself attained office by defeating Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) in 2008, for example), it seemed like the Tar Heel State posed Republicans their best opportunity to defeat a Democratic incumbent. But the campaign hasn’t quite yet unfolded that way.
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