Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Iowa’

House Takes Shape

In House, Polling on October 15, 2014 at 11:09 am

Several polls were released yesterday that bring some clarity to key races, most of which are considered sleepers or opportunity races for one side or the other.

Republicans talk about their chances to convert the western district of Maine (ME-2), the open seat vacated by Rep. Mike Michaud’s (D) run for governor. Democrats believe they have found a strong candidate to challenge Rep. Steve King (R) in Iowa, and the open NJ-3 seat is also high on the Democrats’ opportunity list.

The polling data seems to favor the incumbents’ party in each of these instances, however.

ME-2

A new Pan Atlantic SMS poll (Sept. 23-29; 200 likely ME-2 voters) gives Democratic state Sen. Emily Cain a 36-33 percent lead over former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin (R). Subtracting leaners, Cain’s lead falls to 31-29 percent. Independent Blaine Richardson tallies six percent.

The poll is part of a statewide survey of 400 Maine voters, so the 2nd District questions are asked of a polling segment. With a low sample size and a long interview period, the error factor is quite high, therefore, all we can legitimately deduce from the data is that the race is very close.
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Key Senate Battleground States Polling Reviews Show GOP Trend

In Polling, Senate on October 14, 2014 at 9:57 am

The best understanding of a political campaign’s status involves analyzing polling trends, rather than individual polls that simply capture the a snapshot of a particular point in time.

Using such a model, we take a look at the key races to determine what the long-term trends may be telling us about the final outcome. According to these trends, even with losses in Kansas and North Carolina, Republicans would likely capture the Senate majority, gaining a net of seven seats, reaching 52 members.

Alaska
Number of polls since Sept. 14: 7
Number of pollsters: 7
Number showing Dan Sullivan (R) leading Sen. Mark Begich (D): 7
Average Sullivan lead: 4.8%

Arkansas
Number of polls since Sept. 14: 7
Number of pollsters: 7
Number showing Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D): 4
Number showing Sen. Mark Pryor (D) leading Tom Cotton (R): 3
Average Cotton lead: 5.8%
Average Pryor lead: 2.7%

Colorado
Number of polls since Sept. 14: 8
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Boomerang Effect Hitting a Number of Campaigns

In House, Polling, Senate on October 3, 2014 at 11:12 am

Midway through the election cycle it appeared a solid bet that at least four candidates who would normally be favorites were headed for losses. But, predictions of such demise are now being proven premature.

First-term North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D) appeared doomed, unable to break 42 percent support in any poll, and was clearly sliding down a pathway toward defeat.

Democrats, in the person of Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1), were odds-on favorites to replace retiring Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D) but he, too, has experienced a reversal of political fortunes.

Republican Bruce Rauner was running consistently ahead of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and was on a clear track toward victory even in the heavily Democratic state. But the electoral patterns are beginning to reverse, and now Quinn has a fighting chance to survive.

Upon his indictment on federal charges relating to his restaurant business dealings prior to being elected to Congress, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY-11) looked to be headed toward the political scrap heap. But he is proving a much tougher “out” than the local Democrats originally perceived.
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Sleepers, or Bad Polling?

In House, Polling on October 1, 2014 at 10:20 am

In our ongoing search to find intriguing campaigns below the political radar, we see two congressional races gaining more credibility. Though specific polling data now shows upset possibilities for a Maine Republican and an Iowa Democrat, just how reliable are the results?

IA-4

Iraq War veteran Jim Mowrer (D) has captured some previous national attention with his prodigious fundraising in his battle with six-term western Iowa Rep. Steve King (R). Now well on his way to raising $2 million for his challenge campaign against King, a new poll gives Mowrer confirmation that he is positioning himself in upset territory.

DFM Research, a Minneapolis Democratic polling firm, conducted a 4th District survey for the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Union (Sept. 20-23; 450 IA-4 residents) largely for purposes of questioning people about transportation issues, specifically surrounding rail. The congressional and US Senate questions were of secondary importance. Because of that, the data contains some glaring political weaknesses.

The DFM conclusion suggests that Rep. King has only a 46-43 percent advantage over Mowrer. But keep in mind that the sampling universe was not even screened for registered voters, let alone those most likely Continue reading >

Ernst By Six in Iowa Senate Race

In Polling, Senate on September 30, 2014 at 10:17 am

The Des Moines Register released its new Selzer & Company political survey and the results provide us with the largest lead for either Iowa Senate candidate in several months. The poll (Sept. 21-24; 800 Iowa adults; 546 likely voters) gives Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst a 44-38 percent advantage over Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1) in what has been a toss-up Senate race since early July.

The move is significant and clearly demonstrates a momentum shift in Ernst’s direction. Selzer also tell us that the negative attacks on both candidates appear to be working. When looking at the personal favorability ratings of each contender, both are in situations where their negatives equal their positive scores. Ernst ratio is 45:44 percent favorable to unfavorable. Braley’s is virtually identical at 42:42 percent.

Selzer & Company is the Des Moines Register’s usual pollster. They have developed a strong record, missing the latest Iowa gubernatorial, Senate, and presidential campaign by an aggregate two percentage points. Like all pollsters, Selzer has missed some, too. In the 2012 Republican presidential caucus, the firm projected Mitt Romney to win the Iowa Caucuses by approximately eight points. The actual result showed former Sen. Rick Santorum Continue reading >

Senate: The Latest Trends for Majority Control

In Polling, Senate on September 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm
    Close Senate Races Leaning D:

  • Colorado
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
    Close Senate Races Leaning R:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
    Close Senate Races Leaning I:

  • Kansas
    Flat Tie:

  • Iowa
    Headed to Post-Election Run-off (Dec. 6):

  • Louisiana
    Today’s Count:

  • D: 46
  • Independent/D: 3 (Kansas, Maine, Vermont)
  • Total D/I: 49
  • Total R: 49
  • Undecided: 2 (Iowa; Louisiana)

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The State of the Senate

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 >

Kansas Senate Maneuverings; Alaska’s Polling Skew; Fox Polling Shows Interesting Data

In Governor, Polling, Senate on September 19, 2014 at 10:34 am

Kansas Senate

As had been predicted by Kansas political observers since the original judicial hearing earlier this week, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of former Democratic Senate nominee Chad Taylor’s petition to withdraw from the statewide race. Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), who refused to remove Taylor because he is not incapacitated to the point of being unable to fulfill the duties of the office sought as mandated in Kansas election law, says the Democrats have eight days to replace Taylor. The party leadership’s political goal of having Taylor withdraw is to form a united coalition behind Independent candidate Greg Orman who was proving himself stronger than their own nominated contender. Clearly their calculations showed that incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R) had the path to victory in a three-way race.

The Kansas Supreme Court, a panel of six justices (with one vacancy) dominated by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ (D) appointees, issue rather bizarre language to support their decision. The justices unanimously said that, “[w]e conclude the plain meaning of ‘pursuant to (the law)’ Continue reading >

Defensive Tactics

In Senate on September 16, 2014 at 11:06 am

Kentucky Senate


“Skeet Shooting”

Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes just launched a new television ad to strike back against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hard-hitting campaign against her. But the ad likely misses its mark. In reality, the message context may be reinforcing her opponent’s points instead of scoring some of her own.

Grimes, reciting her lines as she’s shooting skeet ostensibly to prove that she can handle a gun, directly responds to being painted a rubber stamp for the president by simply saying she’s not Barack Obama. Though the script takes an offensive tone, attempting to turn the tables on McConnell, the message fails. If anything, Grimes underscores the Republican attacks against her: that she supports Obama whose job approval score in Kentucky is 2:1 negative, while reiterating the charges that she is soft on guns and the EPA anti-coal regulations.

The campaign ad fails because it repeats the attacks being made against the candidate, and then likely leads the viewer to ask questions rather than providing answers.

Alaska Senate


“Message for Begich”

In a new ad, the Dan Sullivan (R) campaign attempts to repel Sen. Mark Begich’s (D) attacks that he (Sullivan) is an outsider who knows little about the “real Alaska”. Begich has been hitting Sullivan because he hasn’t personally lived in Alaska long, even though his wife, Julie Fate Sullivan, and her family have been mainstays in the state for years.

The theme of the ad, narrated by Mrs. Sullivan, is that Begich is attacking his opponent for being away on military duty and in State Department service. Whether this explanation completely covers where Dan Sullivan lived or for how long he’s been an Alaskan is unclear, but will undoubtedly be a topic of further discussion.

The ad is moderately effective because it attempts to change the dynamic when answering an attack. It will be interesting to see how Begich’s campaign responds, and whether the incumbent can again shift attention toward Sullivan’s lack of a sufficiently long Alaska history.

Iowa Senate


“Ernst: Really Cares”

Democrats and outside organizations have been attacking Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst for wanting to “cut Social Security and Medicare.” Ernst responds to the attacks by not directly mentioning them. Rather, she extols her support for Social Security as a fundamental goal and attempts to deflect the direct attacks subtly, through what should be perceived as a positive ad.

Hearing the exact opposite message from what is being launched in attacks will likely leave many viewers confused, which is a far better alternative than seeing a clear negative image.

The Ernst campaign presents an interesting approach, but a routine positive ad is often not memorable. The ad’s underlying purpose is to let voters see the candidate and encourage voters to form a positive image of Ms. Ernst, not necessarily through the ad’s script or the state legislator’s words, but through an image that can be seen and heard. The goal is to present the candidate as a disarming person, convincing the viewer that she would never harm those earning government transfer payments.

The Ernst counter is certainly acceptable, but not particularly memorable. Therefore, the ad does not fully cement the campaign’s stated goals in the viewers’ minds.

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