Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Archive for February, 2015|Monthly archive page

The Tri-State Q-Poll Shows Electorate Optimism

In Polling on February 11, 2015 at 11:23 am

Quinnipiac University released the results of a three-state poll, covering the critically important presidential domains of Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.

The most interesting finding is how optimistic the people comprising the sampling cells are, particularly in Florida and Ohio. Such a tone is much different from what has been the norm for the past nine years.

All three polls were conducted during the Jan. 22 – Feb. 1 time period.

Pennsylvania

The Q-Poll surveyed 881 Pennsylvania registered voters, and tested Sen. Pat Toomey (R) as he begins his quest for a second term. At this point former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA-7), who lost to Toomey 49-51 percent in the 2010 Senate race, is the only announced major Democratic contender.

The results show Toomey residing in better re-election position than depicted in other early surveys. According to Quinnipiac, the senator has a job approval index of 43:25 percent positive to negative. Fellow Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) registered a similar 40:24 percent favorability ratio. On the ballot test, Toomey scores a healthy 45-35 percent advantage over Sestak.
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Advantage Republicans, or Democrats? Look to the President’s Job Performance

In Election Analysis on February 10, 2015 at 10:55 am

University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato and two others published an article that is still running in the Politico newspaper (The GOP’s 2016 Edge), but their conclusion is open to debate. They argue that the eventual Republican presidential nominee may have a slight advantage in next year’s election, yet analyzing the most recent voting data seems to point in the opposite direction.

According to Sabato and colleagues: “At this early stage, does either party have an obvious edge? Around the time of the GOP-dominated midterms, it seemed logical to say the Republicans held the advantage. Not because their strong performance in congressional and gubernatorial races has any predictive value — ask President Romney about how well 2010’s midterms predicted the future — but because President Barack Obama’s approval rating was mired in the low 40s. Should Obama’s approval be low, he’ll be a drag on any Democratic nominee, who will effectively be running for his third term.”

Doesn’t the actual voting pattern established in the two Obama elections supersede their observation about presidential job performance? Remembering, that voters in only two states, Indiana and North Carolina, changed their allegiance during those two election periods (both from President Obama to Mitt Romney), and that Continue reading >

Tragically, One More Special Election Now

In Election Analysis on February 9, 2015 at 2:38 pm
The late Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R, MS-1). Photo Courtesy Facebook

The late Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R, MS-1). Photo Courtesy Facebook

MS-1

The news that three-term Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R) tragically succumbed to a cancerous brain tumor on Friday at the age of 56 now means the northern Mississippi congressional district joins NY-11 in the 2015 special election category.

Under Mississippi law, Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has 60 days to schedule the succeeding vote, and the election date must be no sooner than 60 days from the time Bryant acts. It is conceivable that the special vote can be linked to the state’s regular 2015 elections, but that would mean waiting until August.
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How Can the Democrats Lose in 2016?

In Presidential campaign on February 6, 2015 at 10:10 am

According to the National Journal, the next Democratic nominee should win the Presidency in 2016. The magazine editors are publishing a series of articles that examine the demographic and voting trends of key swing states in the country’s various geographic regions, showing how the most recent patterns benefit the Democrats. But, the analysis fails to tell the entire story.

The articles show that important shifts in such states as Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada are cementing what were reliable Republican entities into the exact opposite status. But, under at least one certain scenario, switching as little as one Democratic state to the GOP would change the projected national outcome … even if the Journal analysis is correct and Democrats continue to carry the aforementioned swing states.

Looking at the early version of the 2016 map, it appears that the eventual Democratic nominee can count on carrying 16 states for a total of 196 Electoral Votes. Conversely, Republicans can reasonably tally 23 states in their column for a base EV total of 179. Adding another 33 votes from the former swing states of Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada brings the adjusted Dem total to 229, or just 41 votes shy of victory.

So, with all of this heading the Democrats’ way, how can they lose? While the trends may be moving decidedly their direction in Virginia and Continue reading >

The Strategy Behind Electing the First Latino US Senator in California

In Election Analysis, Polling, Senate on February 5, 2015 at 12:39 pm

After an immediate flurry of electoral activity dominated California politics once Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) announced her retirement, the open Senate race has slow-tracked, but its current, more passive status will soon change.

The California Latino Legislative Caucus is an organization comprised of Latino state legislators. This past week, they took the unusual step of sponsoring a political poll to test the viability of a single Latino candidate in the open Senate field. Currently, Attorney General Kamala Harris, an African American, has announced her candidacy and is quickly putting together a united northern California coalition. But, Hispanics want their own candidate and their leaders believe uniting behind one individual could carry that person to victory in November of 2016.

This week, the organization’s leadership released the results of their Garin Hart Yang Research poll (Jan. 27-29; 600 CA registered voters). Conclusion: Harris begins the campaign as the top Democrat, but she’s nowhere near a cinch to win the seat.

Recalling that California has adopted a jungle primary format where the top two finishers, regardless of political party affiliation, move to the general election the group hopes Hispanic voters will unite to ensure that one Latino candidate Continue reading >

Q-Poll: Hillary Cruising

In Polling, Presidential campaign on February 4, 2015 at 11:14 am

It is commonly believed that the path to the White House travels through big swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. If so, former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton is in strong shape less than two years before the next presidential vote.

Quinnipiac University went into the field to test the general electorates in these three critical places and found Clinton doing very well against the tested Republican candidates. The results, though too early to be a relevant predictor of any actual voting trend in November of 2016, provide us at least two important indicators.

First, the poll tells us that Clinton’s early low-key approach to this campaign is working. She has deliberately delayed forming a presidential committee, and kept a very low public profile. The Q-Poll results tell us that, so far, such a strategic move is paying dividends.

Second, it again confirms that Republicans are performing poorly in these three presidential battleground states (President Obama carried the trio in both of his campaigns) even though they have basically dominated elections for other offices. The GOP controls all six legislative houses in the tested states, all three congressional delegations, three of six US Senate seats, while holding two governors’ positions having just lost Pennsylvania last November. Yet, Clinton enjoys Continue reading >

Walker on Early Roll in Polls; Clinton Dominates

In Polling, Presidential campaign on February 3, 2015 at 11:20 am

Selzer & Company, the Des Moines Register’s standard polling firm, just surveyed the Iowa presidential field (Jan. 26-29; 402 Iowa GOP likely Caucus attenders; 401 Iowa Democratic likely Caucus attenders) and the results tell a surprising story. The survey was conducted just before 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney publicly announced his exit.

Selzer took into account, however, that the former Massachusetts governor and two-time national candidate was no certainty to run, hence asked ballot test questions with and without him as a projected participant. Even when included, Romney failed to lead and actually dropped behind two of his prospective opponents.

Irrespective of Romney’s presence, however, it was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who placed first in both configurations. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was second, just a point behind, each time. For the Democrats, not surprisingly, former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton held a huge lead, topping 56 percent among those comprising the sampling cell.

Gov. Walker has been on an early roll and is clearly trying to break into the first tier of candidates early in the process. Forming a political action committee, Our American Revival PAC, the organization released a strong video last week on Continue reading >

With Romney Now Out, Will Bush Benefit?

In Election Analysis, Presidential campaign on February 2, 2015 at 3:34 pm

It was a surprising Friday. As we are now well aware, Mitt Romney’s conference call with key supporters was not to “fire up the base” for another presidential run but rather to inform his listeners that he will not pursue the White House for a third time. As expected, much speculation is occurring as to how this development affects the remaining GOP presidential aspirants.

Many believe that the greatest beneficiary of Romney’s departure is former Florida governor, Jeb Bush; the impending battle between these two principals was commonly labeled as a fight for the heart of the Republican establishment. But, that may not be so readily apparent. Reports show that Romney, on the night of his announcement, actually met with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and not Bush. Though it is not known what Romney and Christie specifically discussed Friday evening, it is near certain that the conversation was not about helping Bush.

Romney’s decision not to run is likely a positive one for the former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee, himself. Though leading in virtually every early GOP poll, Romney’s margin was far below what one would expect for a reigning presidential nominee. In most surveys, he never broke even 30 percent, meaning seven out of every 10 Republicans polled were consistently choosing someone other than Romney.
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