In Election Analysis on December 1, 2014 at 12:04 pm
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law just released a compilation of data relating to independent expenditures from the 2014 competitive senatorial campaigns. The compilation tells us some interesting facts about the scope of the outside group involvement, their impact upon the races (from an aggregate perspective), and whether Republicans or Democrats were the greater beneficiary from this campaign expenditure category.
The following are the Brennan Center’s tracked races – the ones the study conductors believed to be the 10 most competitive Senate races; Louisiana was excluded because a run-off appeared inevitable and no clear conclusion would be derived on Nov. 4 – providing totals for the independent money that was spent in each campaign.
The top indirect recipients of the independent outside spending (approximate figures) are as follows (winning candidates’ totals only):
• Thom Tillis (R-NC) – defeated Sen. Kay Hagan (D), 48-47% – $28 million
• Cory Gardner (R-CO) – defeated Sen. Mark Udall (D), 49-46% – $25 million
• Joni Ernst (R-IA) – defeated Rep. Bruce Braley (D), 52-44% – $23.5 million
• Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – def. Alison Grimes (D), 56-41% – $21.5 million
• Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) – def. Sen. Mark Pryor (D), 56-39% – $19 million Continue reading >
In Governor, House, Senate on November 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm
With the 2014 election cycle nearly complete, we can now begin to study the House and Senate freshman class composition.
If Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6) defeats Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) in the Louisiana run-off – he’s the favorite to win, despite her incumbency, with internal polls showing him ahead by as many as 16 percentage points – the Senate freshman class will feature 13 members, 12 of whom are Republican.
Of the baker’s dozen, again including Cassidy, five won their seats by defeating incumbents. Former Attorney General Dan Sullivan (Alaska), representatives Tom Cotton (Arkansas), Cory Gardner (Colorado), Cassidy (Louisiana), and state House Speaker Thom Tillis (North Carolina) are, or will be, the Republican challenger victors.
In the recent past, the House of Representatives had not proven to be a particularly favorable political position from which to launch a statewide run. This current cycle reversed that trend. In fact, a majority of the new members, seven, come to the Senate via the House: representatives Cotton, Gardner, Cassidy, Gary Peters (D-MI-14), Steve Daines (R-MT-AL), James Continue reading >
In House, Senate on November 7, 2014 at 11:20 pm
Georgia and Louisiana are the only two states that hold post-general election run-offs. In Louisiana, the state primary is concurrent with the general election and features all candidates appearing on the same ballot. Thus, if a contender exceeds 50 percent of the vote, the person is elected outright. In Georgia, all party nominees must obtain an absolute majority to secure election. Therefore, remembering that Georgia has a run-off system for primary nomination, it is conceivable that a candidate would have to endure four separate elections in order to claim a political office.
In 2014, despite many predictions that both the Georgia Senate and governor’s race would be forced into a post-election run-off, neither were. Businessman David Perdue (R) captured the Senate seat with 53 percent, the same percentage in which Gov. Nathan Deal (R) secured re-election. Therefore, the “second generation of Democrats”, meaning Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former US Sen. Sam Nunn (D), and Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, both failed to fulfill pre-election expectations.
And, with seven of the state’s 14 congressional district incumbents running Continue reading >
In Polling, Senate on October 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm
Republican David Perdue (above) has fumbled the ball recently, both in accusing opponent Michelle Nunn of having an unexplained role in funneling money to terrorist organizations and then saying he is “proud” of his business record for outsourcing jobs.
Despite the perceived gaffes, the polling was still showing him holding a small lead across the board until now. Survey USA (Oct. 10-13; 563 likely Georgia voters) yesterday released new figures placing Democrat Nunn ahead 48-45 percent, her first lead of the campaign. But, is this the formation of a new trend or a mere blip?
The same poll tested the top of the ticket and the down ballot races. In the governor’s race, S-USA finds what many pollsters have, Continue reading >
In Senate on October 2, 2014 at 12:46 pm
Candidates across the nation are launching comparison spots at rapid-fire pace just as political prime time begins in earnest. This is particularly so in Kansas and Georgia, where all four of the contenders in the two states’ Senate races are delivering major blows that will ultimately lay the final victory groundwork for two of the participants.
Roberts on Offense
Sen. Pat Roberts (R), reeling from self-imposed wounds administered weeks and months ago and now facing a unified Continue reading >
In Senate on September 22, 2014 at 10:34 am
Much has been written about which party will control the US Senate in the next Congress and, with seven pure toss-up races on the political board, there’s plenty of room for conjecture on both sides of the ideological aisle.
Let’s take a look at the aggregate Senate campaign picture, remembering that the Republicans must retain all of the seats they currently possess (15 in this election cycle) and convert six Democratic states just to reach the minimum majority level. Democrats will maintain control if the two parties deadlock at 50-50 (including the Independents who will caucus with one party or the other). The Dems hold power in such a situation because Vice President Joe Biden (D), the constitutional Senate president, will break any tie vote in his party’s favor.
The model also assumes Republican conversion victories in three Democratic retirement seats, Montana (Sen. John Walsh), South Dakota (Sen. Tim Johnson), and West Virginia (Sen. Jay Rockefeller). A three-way contest in South Dakota could Continue reading >
In Polling, Senate on September 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm
As we pass Labor Day and enter into Election 2014 stretch drive mode, it appears that four US Senate races are polling within one point. In Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina, a polling conglomeration over the last several weeks points to consistently dead-even contests.
Another race, in Alaska, could join this group, but their late primary (Aug. 19) has only yielded an official nominee for a short period. Once the polling crystallizes around Sen. Mark Begich (D) and former Attorney General and Natural Resources Department director Dan Sullivan (R) as the two official candidates, a more consistent close race will likely formulate. The recent polling history, virtually all of which was conducted before the state primary, has yielded inconsistent results.
Right now, it is clear that Republicans will gain seats in the US Senate, but will they score well enough on the conversion front to wrest a small majority away from the Democrats? Such is the major question that will be answered in the next two months.
If one considers that the GOP will likely hold its two vulnerable seats in Georgia Continue reading >
In Polling, Senate on August 26, 2014 at 12:01 pm
Conflict is arising once again in the Georgia Senate race. With six of seven post run-off polls showing Republican businessman David Perdue holding a lead over Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn, Landmark Communications released a new survey (Aug. 20-21; 600 registered Georgia voters) that projects a different result.
According to Landmark, Nunn has a 47-40 percent advantage over Perdue, virtually the exact opposite of other pollsters. Of the six polls that posted Perdue as maintaining the superior position, the Republican candidate’s average support factor was 48.3 percent. Nunn’s commensurate score was 41.2 percent. Six different independent pollsters conducted the half-dozen surveys.
Significantly, the seventh poll – the one that placed Nunn ahead – was also a Landmark study (July 25; 750 registered Georgia voters). While the others came to the opposite conclusion, Landmark, ironically a Republican firm, found the Democrat leading 47-43 percent. Prior to that, Landmark also found Nunn on top with their July 16 poll (1,720 registered Georgia voters), 48-42 percent. But, regarding that particular poll, they had company. Public Policy Polling (July 11-13; 664 registered Georgia voters) came to virtually the same conclusion during the same period: Nunn 48 percent – Perdue 41 percent.
Continue reading >
In Governor, House, Polling, Senate on August 15, 2014 at 2:28 pm
Polls are coming fast and furiously now, and will continue to do so throughout the remaining portion of summer and onto Election Day. Four post-primary surveys were just released that project flat ties or close contests between the various Democratic and Republican nominees, and each fit at least tangentially into the surprise category.
A poisonous political atmosphere exists between Kansas conservative and moderate Republicans, which is partially responsible for veteran Sen. Pat Roberts winning an underwhelming 48-41 percent primary victory over physician Milton Wolf. A new Rasmussen Reports poll (Aug. 6-7; 750 likely Kansas voters) gives the incumbent only a 44-40 percent lead over newly nominated Democratic candidate Chad Taylor, the Shawnee County District Attorney. Taylor, too, scored an anemic primary win (53-47 percent), but his standing right after the Aug. 5 vote is much better than Kansas voting history would suggest.
The Rasmussen numbers also reflect Republican weakness in the governor’s race. Despite a better-than-expected showing in his primary (63 percent), Gov. Sam Continue reading >