Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Fox Poll Blitz: Alaska, Ark., Colo., Kan. & Ky.

In Election Analysis on October 10, 2014 at 10:37 am

Fox News, which contracts with both a Democratic and Republican pollster to provide joint data relating to key political races, released a series of surveys yesterday, each providing good news for Republicans. The results may skew slightly Republican because in certain instances they exceed other similarly published survey suggests.

The two firms, neither particularly well known nor quoted in national polling circles, are Anderson Robbins Research (D) and the Shaw Polling Company (R). The two combined to produce polls in five different states during the Oct. 4-7 period. In each place, the sampling universe numbered somewhere between 702 and 739 likely voters. In all but Kentucky, both the Senate and governors’ races were tested. Blue Grass State voters won’t choose a new governor until next year. As identified in the headline, the other four polled states were Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado and Kansas.

Alaska

Here, the Fox poll gave former Attorney General Dan Sullivan (R) a 44-40 percent lead over Sen. Mark Begich (D), which could well be accurate. Sullivan and Begich have been running close for weeks, and there has been research that detected a severe Democratic skew in most polling. If the slant remains intact for 2014, then this data, assuming the skew is largely removed here, could well be on target.

The governor’s result posted incumbent Sean Parnell (R) to a 42-37 percent edge over Independent former Mayor Bill Walker. This is more optimistic than other recent polls, which have given Walker a slight lead. You will remember that the Democrats and Independents joined forces here to support Walker, thus significantly increasing Parnell’s vulnerability.

Arkansas

The Natural State race has been trending much more in Rep. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR-4) favor as of late, therefore it is of little surprise that the Fox bi-partisan poll would also find the congressman leading incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D). The results give Cotton a 46-39 percent advantage that is more generous than other released data, but is in the ballpark. Sen. Pryor has hit 45 percent on just one poll since Sept. 20, thus his low level of committed support signals great danger for his re-election prospects.

The Fox sampling groups finds ex-Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR-3) holding a similar 46-37 percent lead over ex-Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR-4) in their battle for governor. Again, this is a larger Republican spread than most polls project, but almost all show Hutchinson maintaining at least a small lead.

Colorado

The Colorado race has generally been a two-point spread for months. Sen. Mark Udall (D) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO-4) are locked in a very tight campaign, one that the actual turnout model will ultimately decide. The new voting system (predominantly by mail) will likely give the Democratic slate a small boost. This latest Fox poll, however, gives Gardner one of his best showings in the entire campaign. It posts him to a 43-37 percent advantage. All other recent polling suggest the contest is much closer to a tie.

For governor, the Fox data finds both Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-CO-7) deadlocked at 42 percent apiece. Most of the other data gives Hickenlooper a small lead, but a tie is a reasonable conclusion for this particular campaign at this point in time.

Kansas

The Fox Sunflower State data, which is way more optimistic for the Republican candidates than two others taken within the same time frame, gives both Sen. Pat Roberts (R) and Gov. Sam Brownback (R) leads at or beyond the margin of polling error. The Fox bi-partisan data finds Roberts leading Independent businessman Greg Orman 44-39 percent, while Gov. Brownback has a 46-40 percent advantage over state House Minority Leader Paul Davis (D).

But the two other simultaneously conducted surveys see things differently. The CNN/ORC poll (Oct. 2-6; 687 likely Kansas voters) finds Roberts up only 49-48 percent, and the two gubernatorial candidates tied at 49 percent. Complicating factors even further, Survey USA (Oct. 2-5; 549 likely Kansas voters) sees a much different result, altogether. Their data gives both challengers an identical 47-42 percent lead: Orman over Sen. Roberts, and Davis against Gov. Brownback. The diversity of the three results suggests a very fluid Kansas political situation.

Kentucky

Turning to Kentucky, new Survey USA poll (Sept. 29-Oct. 2; 632 likely Kentucky voters) placed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) two points behind (44-46 percent) Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D). The Fox data re-asserts what most pollsters have been finding: that McConnell is beginning to pull away. Their most current results give the senator a 45-41 percent edge.

Expect the polling results to keep streaming.

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