Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Archive for the ‘Polling’ Category

New Senate Polling Begins

In Polling, Senate on January 21, 2015 at 10:06 am

Pennsylvania Senate

Last year, a record number of publicly released polls led us to tracking what proved to be an extraordinary set of US Senate races. For the 2016 election cycle, we can expect more of the same.

Public Policy Polling commences the off-year campaign with a survey from what promises to be one of the more competitive of the in-cycle US Senate states, Pennsylvania. Here, first-term Republican Sen. Pat Toomey begins a drive for re-election before a presidential year electorate that normally backs a Democratic candidate in the national vote. Sure to be a top presidential campaign target state, Pennsylvania voters can expect to witness an onslaught of political communication about both the presidential campaign and their important US Senate contest.

Though viewed as a swing entity, the Keystone State has voted Democratic in the presidential race consecutively since 1992, inclusive. But, during that same period, Pennsylvanians have elected and/or re-elected three Republican US senators and two GOP governors.

According to this new PPP survey (Jan. 15-18; 1,042 registered Pennsylvania voters) Sen. Toomey registers tepid numbers, relatively commonplace at this point in time for a senator who belongs to the state’s minority party. And, as typical for a Public Policy Polling survey, almost every political figure tests with a negative favorability image.

While President Obama’s job approval is a poor 42:51 percent in a state where he received 52 and 54 percent in 2012 and 2008, respectively, Sen. Toomey registers a 28:35 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio. Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D), who doesn’t again face the voters until 2018, does much better at 41:33 percent. The only other political figure to score a positive rating is former Gov. Ed Rendell (D), and he can only muster a 43:42 percent score.

Also typical of a PPP poll, is the testing of many well known politicians who will not be candidates in this particular Senate race. Among the six scenarios polled, only former Gov. Rendell, surely a non-candidate, out-polls Sen. Toomey. According to the results, Rendell would lead the incumbent, 44-41 percent. Against all others, the senator leads by margins of four to eight percentage points, but never breaks the 43 percent support level.

The one pairing that matters most, however, is with the only announced 2016 senatorial candidate, and the man who Toomey beat 51-49 percent in 2010, former US Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA-7). Here, Toomey has a 40-36 percent advantage.

Sestak, a former Navy Admiral who was a member of President Clinton’s National Security Council, served two terms in the House from a Philadelphia suburban district after unseating 20-year veteran Rep. Curt Weldon (R) in 2006. Sestak was re-elected in 2008, and then ran for Senate two years later. Already announcing his statewide candidacy last year, Sestak has raised $1.6 million for the race through last September, with $1.28 million on hand. By contrast, Sen. Toomey had more than $5 million in the bank during the same time frame.

The Pennsylvania race promises to be one of the most polled during the 2016 election cycle. The fact that an incumbent senator registers numbers only in the low 40s under all scenarios is not necessarily a harbinger of a poor re-election performance, but it clearly indicates Sen. Toomey’s support must grow. In the last cycle, Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mark Udall (D-CO), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) each found themselves mired in the low 40s for more than a year, and all lost. It remains to be seen if a similar pattern ensnares Sen. Toomey, or whether he expands his appeal.

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Pessimism Abounds Among Electorate

In Polling on December 12, 2014 at 11:23 am

A new USA Today/Pew Research poll (Dec. 3-7, 1,507 adults; 408 Republicans, 445 Democrats, 574 Independents) tested a representative American sampling group about their attitudes and impressions toward national political institutions, now that we have moved into a post-election period.

Back in 2009, when asked whether the country was more politically divided than in the past respondents answered that it was, but only by a 46-45 percent margin. The latest data finds that 81 percent believe America is more ideologically divided, as compared to just 15 percent who say it is not. And, 77 percent say they believe the nation will become either even more divided or stay at this same apparently unbridgeable level. Additionally, 71 percent say that such a situation hurts the country “a lot”, with an additional 16 percent believing that seeing such a starkly divided ideological nation is “somewhat” harmful.

The pollsters then asked respondents to name the most important problem facing the country. Of those who answered, 76 percent (71 percent of Democrats, 78 percent among Republicans, and 80 percent from the Independent sector), said they believe President Obama and Republican congressional leaders will make little or no progress in solving the issue they identified, regardless of the topic.

In terms of job approval, 42 percent gave President Obama a positive rating as compared to just 22 percent who have a similar impression of Congress. This marks Continue reading >

“First” Presidential Primary Poll Yields Interesting Numbers

In Polling, Presidential campaign on November 25, 2014 at 10:35 am

Though election results rarely resemble survey research data that is conducted more than a year in advance, early polling still provides benchmarks from which to begin analyzing a particular future campaign; in this case a presidential contest that promises to be, perhaps, the most wide open, interesting, and exciting political forum of the modern era.

As we stated many times during the immediate past pre-election coverage, 2016 campaign activity begins right after the mid-term voting concludes. Consistent with that axiom, the Purple Insights organization – the survey research arm of the Purple Strategies consulting firm – conducted a “first in the nation” presidential primary poll for Bloomberg Politics and St. Anselm’s College (NH). The survey was commissioned during the Nov. 12-18 period, interviewing 989 New Hampshire general election voters, including 407 previous Republican primary voters and 404 past Democratic primary voters.

Purple Insights tested 18 different political figures, 17 of whom have been linked to the upcoming presidential race. The only person not in the national category is New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), who will stand for re-election in the next cycle. She scored a strong 47:27 percent favorability ratio, and a 28:42 percent positive to negative score among Democratic primary voters. The latter rating is actually quite Continue reading >

Louisiana Polls Show Definitive Trends

In House, Polling, Senate on November 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

JMC Analytics, a Louisiana polling staple, conducted two surveys for the upcoming run-off election: one for the US Senate contest and other in the open Baton Rouge congressional district. Both campaigns will be decided on Dec. 6. The third federal run-off election, that in the state’s 5th Congressional District, was not tested.

Senate

Like all other pollsters, JMC finds Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6), the challenger, holding a big lead over incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D). The automated poll of 754 Louisiana registered voters who participated in the Nov. 4 election was conducted on Nov. 20. The ballot test yields Cassidy a 53-38 percent lead, the fifth post-election poll to find the Baton Rouge Congressman holding a double-digit advantage.

But the underlying result is actually a bit worse for Landrieu. Posing a follow-up question to those saying they were undecided, in order to determine the direction they are leaning, the group breaks 55-40 percent in Cassidy’s favor.

The third question queried the respondents’ impression of Landrieu’s leadership on the Keystone Pipeline issue, her sponsored legislation that failed by one vote in the Senate lame duck session, and drew the support of only 13 other members of her party. Twenty-nine percent stated that she used her clout effectively, while 39 percent said she did not. The remainder were undecided or had no opinion.
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McCain Targeted by Both Democrats and Republicans

In Polling, Senate on November 21, 2014 at 10:21 am

In the past few days, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) made another public statement about his political plans for 2016, underscoring that he is leaning toward running for another term. The Arizona senator, who you will also remember as the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, will be 80 years old at the time of the next election and would be running for his sixth consecutive term in office. But it already appears that potentially he will have to overcome a double challenge two years from now in order to continue his career in elective politics.

Already, Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ-6), who was easily re-elected to his Scottsdale-anchored congressional district two weeks ago after defeating then-Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ-3) in the post-redistricting 2012 Republican primary (after the Arizona Redistricting Commission plan drastically changed the latter’s district boundaries), is considering mounting a Republican primary challenge to McCain.

Schweikert, as a House freshman in 2013, quickly angered the GOP leadership and found himself as one of three members to be removed from a plum committee assignment. The Arizonan had been a member of the Financial Services Committee, but was summarily removed. So he is no stranger to controversy. Schweikert said he will begin serious consideration of potential future political moves, including a Continue reading >

The Polling Report Card

In Polling, Senate on November 19, 2014 at 11:00 am

As we all know, a plethora of polls were conducted throughout the country but some proved much more accurate than others. By and large, virtually every pollster correctly forecasted the races in Colorado and South Dakota, but fared very poorly in Kansas and Virginia.

Of the late polls taken, usually the last five immediately prior to the election, we look at which pollsters did the best and worst in the most competitive Senate campaigns.

Alaska
• Actual result: Dan Sullivan (R) 48%; Sen. Mark Begich (D) 46% – +2 points
• Closest Pollster: Public Policy Polling (Nov. 1-2): Sullivan, 46-45% – +1 point
• Worst Poll: Ivan Moore & Assoc (Oct. 24-26): Begich 48-42%; missed by 9 points

Arkansas
• Actual result: Rep. Tom Cotton (R) 57%; Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 40% (+17)
• Closest Pollster: University of Arkansas (Oct. 21-27); Cotton 49-36% – +13 points
• Worst Poll: Opinion Research Assoc (Oct. 25-26); Pryor 45-44%; missed by 18 points

Colorado
• Actual result: Rep. Cory Gardner (R) 49%; Sen. Mark Udall (D) 46% (+3)
• Closest Pollster: The final Public Policy Polling, Quinnipiac University, and YouGov surveys were all between one and three points
• Worst Poll: None; all of the Colorado participating pollsters correctly predicted the final trend.
Continue reading >

Election Day is Here – Final Predictions

In Governor, House, Polling, Senate on November 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

Today is Election Day, and this long 2014 voting cycle will now finally conclude. When the votes are finally counted, it is probable that the Republicans will gain a significant majority in the Senate and expand their controlling position in the House. But, the governors’ races could yield a much different story.

Senate

As reported yesterday, all indications suggest that the Republicans will score enough conversion victories to assume majority control in the Senate. It appears the GOP will win enough victories to claim 52 seats and it’s possible their total will go higher, maybe even to 53 or even 54 states.

Three races in Kansas (Sen. Pat Roberts), North Carolina (Sen. Kay Hagan), and New Hampshire (Sen. Jeanne Shaheen) appear to be the closest contests. The Republicans winning any two of this group would secure 54 seats for the party, assuming a run-off in Louisiana eventually goes the GOP’s way, as does Georgia, though chances of Republican David Perdue winning outright tonight have greatly improved.

House

Expect the Republicans to hit the 240 mark Continue reading >

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.
Continue reading >

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)
Continue reading >

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