Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Pres. Barack Obama’

The Healthcare Football; AZ-1 Race Tightens

In House, Senate on August 22, 2014 at 11:01 am

Arkansas Senate

There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, will be a front-burner issue as we progress through campaign prime time. In the toss-up Arkansas Senate race incumbent Mark Pryor (D), a supporter of the national healthcare legislation, just released a new ad that handles the topic in rather unique fashion.

Seated at a kitchen table with his father, former Arkansas US representative, governor, and Sen. David Pryor (D), the current incumbent discusses his successful fight against cancer. In the ad, the senator and his dad outline the family’s battle with their health insurance company to pay for the treatment that ultimately proved life saving.

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Pryor’s Republican opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4), has been framing the senator as the deciding vote for enacting the ACA legislation. Since the original bill passed the Senate by only one vote, and the Democrats were unanimous in support, each can be individually credited with being the difference maker. Therefore, we are seeing this theme appear in every Senate Republican challenger race.
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Daley for Governor

In Governor on June 12, 2013 at 11:08 am

The Daley family Chicago political dynasty has never produced a governor, but that may soon change if former US Commerce secretary Bill Daley realizes his new quest. Announcing via video the formation of a gubernatorial exploratory committee, Daley, son of former Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley and brother of ex-mayor Richard M. Daley, will almost certainly challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

There has been little doubt that the unpopular Quinn would be in a difficult position for renomination, let alone re-election. Most of the attention, however, has been focused upon Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who is expected to make the race in 2014 after shying away from a similar challenge in 2010. A three-way contest among Quinn, Madigan, and Daley could produce unexpected results.

The move to run for governor is out of character for Daley in several ways. First, challenging a Democratic opponent is an unusual act for a man who has exemplified party unity throughout his entire political career. Daley is a former US Commerce secretary for President Clinton, chairman of Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, and an ex-chief of staff for President Barack Obama. He also spent time in the banking industry and as a law firm partner.

His video message is interesting in that it clearly reveals his political strategy. Obviously the product of extensive survey research of the Democratic voting base,  Continue reading >

New Iowa Data

In Polling, Senate on February 7, 2013 at 11:10 am

Public Policy Polling went to Iowa to test the potential Senate candidates and confirmed what Harper Polling had previously concluded: the Democrats are generally in better position statewide; Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4) is the stronger Republican primary candidate; and Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) fares better than King against all Democratic potential contenders.

PPP’s poll (Feb. 1-3; 846 registered Iowa voters; 326 self-identified “usual” Republican primary voters) shows similar levels of strength when comparing Democrats Tom Vilsack, the former governor and current US Agriculture Secretary, with Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1).

Vilsack would defeat King 49-39 percent, and Braley outpaces his Republican congressional colleague by a similar 49-38 percent. But against Rep. Latham, the margins tighten. Vilsack tops the Des Moines area Congressman 46-42 percent, and Braley only has a 44-41 percent lead.

A third Democrat, defeated one-term Gov. Chet Culver, who is publicly considering seeking a re-match with five-term Gov. Terry Branstad (R), is weaker in the statewide Senate contest. He leads King 48-41 percent, but trails Latham 41-45 percent.

In the Republican primary, King would place first in a four-way race at 41 percent, followed by Latham with 22 percent. If Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and ex-gubernatorial  Continue reading >

West Out; Sanford In

In House on January 17, 2013 at 11:06 am

FL-18

Former Rep. Allen West (R-FL), just after joining Internet-based PJ Media as a political pundit, says he will not seek a re-match with Rep. Patrick Murphy (R-FL-18) next year.

West originally was elected in Florida’s 22nd District, defeating two-term incumbent Ron Klein (D) in 2010. Redistricting made the 22nd CD heavily Democratic, as evidenced by Rep. Lois Frankel’s (D) win over Republican Adam Hasner (R), despite a strong campaign from the latter. Instead of staying in the Palm Beach seat, West bolted north to run in the open 18th District, a seat more hospitable to Republicans but containing only about one-third of his original voters. West failed to win a second term in a tight outcome.

Look for the GOP to make the 18th a heavy Republican target, but with a new candidate. The name being mentioned most often is that of former state Rep. Joe Negron, who ran an almost impossible race in 2006. When Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL-16) resigned his seat in disgrace, Negron was chosen as the GOP replacement nominee but, under a Florida election law quirk, voters still had to vote for Foley in order to support him since the change in nominees came after the ballots were printed. Needless to say, Negron failed to overcome this obstacle despite a valiant campaign Continue reading >

Fiscal Cliff Poll

In Polling on January 7, 2013 at 11:10 am

The Gallup research organization, moving forward after poorly forecasting the 2012 presidential election, released the results of their fiscal cliff agreement study. According to their Jan. 3 question to 1,026 adults as part of their ongoing national issues tracking program, the country is split as to whether it favors the final deal.

By a virtually even 43-45 percent margin, the respondents opposed the agreement but the closeness of the tally was largely due to a huge positive majority from Democrats. The self-identified Dems supported the congressional action by a 67-23 percent spread. In contrast, Republicans opposed the measure 27-65 percent, as did self-described Independents, but in a much closer 39-46 percent split.

Segmenting the numbers from an ideological perspective, liberals favored the settlement legislation 66-27 percent, while conservatives opposed it 28-62 percent. Self-identified moderates favored the plan 52-34 percent, a much greater positive percentage than did the voting Independents.

As has been the pattern ever since Pres. Barack Obama took office, he again polled far better than his rival Republican political leadership. Obama scored a relatively even 46:48 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio in regard to his handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH-8), on the other hand, fared badly registering only 31:50 percent on the favorability index.

The Gallup reporting information did not reveal how the partisan respondents viewed their own party’s leader, but it is a virtual certainty that Democrats had a much better opinion of the President than Republicans held of the Speaker.

Replacing Sen. Kerry?

In Governor, Senate on December 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)

Since US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has withdrawn from consideration as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s replacement, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) now appears to top the list of appointment candidates. Assuming Pres. Barack Obama chooses Kerry, speculation on Capitol Hill is already percolating about who will succeed the 28-year senatorial veteran.

Liberal Massachusetts and conservative Texas have at least one thing in common. They share the same uncommon way of replacing senators when a vacancy occurs. In each state, the respective governor appoints an individual to serve only until a special election can be held; the winner of which then serves the remainder of the term. Most states empower the governor to appoint an interim-senator until the next regular election, therefore bypassing a special vote. Continue reading>

Unexpected Voter Turnout Patterns

In Election Analysis, Presidential campaign on November 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm

We wish you the best for the happiest of Thanksgiving holidays. The PRIsm Political Updates will return Monday, Nov. 26.

The official state participation and candidate preference statistics are being released throughout the nation, and many of the numbers are quite surprising. While turnout was down nationally, it was up in most of the battleground states and, despite Pres. Barack Obama’s victory, it may be erroneous to assume that the turnout pattern completely favored him.

While it is clear the president obviously benefited from the voting preferences of the aggregate group of people who cast ballots during the election process, it is interesting to note that he was only able to return 91.5 percent of the total vote he received in 2008. In contrast, losing national Republican nominee Mitt Romney retained 99.4 percent of John McCain’s 2008 vote. Obviously Romney needed to do better than to simply equal McCain’s vote, but it is significant that Obama’s share of the vote declined by almost a full 10 percent from what he obtained four years ago, especially when understanding that the Obama campaign clearly had the superior grassroots organization.

Nationally, and rather astonishingly from what was widely forecast before the election, overall voter turnout was down six million votes from the number cast in 2008, or a fall-off of 4.7 percent. It appears that virtually all of the drop-off came from the Obama coalition, as the president’s vote receded by almost that same amount as did the national turnout (voter participation reduction: 6,148,768 individuals; Obama drop: 5,917,631 votes).

The four core states also recorded interesting turnout patterns. Of the quartet of places that Romney needed to convert if he were to unseat the president, it was North Carolina — the only state in this group that he did carry — that had the highest participation rate increase from 2008. North Carolina voter turnout was up 4.5 percent in comparison to their aggregate number of voters from four years ago. Virginia and Florida, two of the three core states that remained with the president, also saw increased participation. Virginia was up 3.5 percent; Florida 1.0 percent.

Ohio, often believed to be the most important state in the presidential contest because it was viewed to be a national bellwether, surprisingly recorded a lower turnout this year than during the previous Obama victory campaign. Ohio turnout was down a rather substantial 5.9 percent, or greater than 336,000 participants from 2008.

Of those seven states commonly viewed to be in the secondary target group — at least one of which Romney would have had to have carried to be successful, more if he failed to carry all of the core states — four saw increased participation, and three declined. The states producing a greater number of voters were in the Midwest (Wisconsin, up 2.4 percent; Iowa, increasing 1.9 percent) and West (fast-growing Nevada adding 4.5 percent; Colorado, up 3.1 percent).

The three eastern and Mid-Atlantic states all recorded a smaller voter participation rate. Pennsylvania, always considered a swing state and a place that attracts a great deal of campaign attention, saw its voter turnout rate fall 6.1 percent; Michigan, the only state in the Union that actually lost population in the preceding decade, dropped 5.7 percent; and New Hampshire returned almost the same number of voters, coming in just 5,091 ballots under their 2008 total.

It appears the biggest voter drop-off occurred in some of the nation’s largest states, those that are most Democratic and among the president’s strongest places. His home state of Illinois, for example, saw more than 431,000, or 7.8 percent, fewer people vote this year than when compared to their favorite son’s first election in 2008. New York had the largest drop-off, a stunning 19.8 percent below its participation level of four years ago. California, the nation’s largest state, was off 12.5 percent. But, lower turnout rates were not confined only to the large Democratic states. Texas, the biggest and most loyal Republican entity, also saw a reduction in turnout. Over 112,000 fewer voters went to the polls in 2012 when compared to 2008.

More analysis will be completed when additional data is available, but these statewide turnout numbers may have produced more questions about the nation’s voting patterns than answers.

Virginia Numbers Tell the Tale

In Election Analysis, Governor, House, Polling, Presidential campaign on November 16, 2012 at 11:18 am

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Virginia State Board of Elections just released their 2012 results segmented by congressional district, the first state to do so, and the data give us further insight as to why Pres. Barack Obama again carried the Old Dominion. The state was long known to be one of the determining voting entities of the campaign, therefore the refined and newly released information carries national significance.

Statewide, voter turnout was reported to be 75.9 percent of the registered voters recorded as “active” by the Virginia state elections officials. The highest turnout district was that of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-7), as 82.8 percent of the central Virginia active registered voters participated. The lowest turnout rate was found in Rep. Gerry Connolly’s (D) northern Virginia 11th District where only 68.9 percent of active registered voters went to the polls.

At the congressional level, eight of the 11 districts were drawn to favor Republicans. The map performed as designed, because the eight GOP congressional incumbents all won re-election. In the presidential race, however, Obama obviously outperformed his Democratic congressional running mates, but only carried one more district than they. Obama won Districts 2 (Rep. Scott Rigell-R), 3 (Rep. Bobby Scott-D), 8 (Rep. Jim Moran-D), and 11 (Rep. Connolly). Therefore, despite GOP nominee Mitt Romney carrying seven of 11 congressional districts, he still lost the state. Obama’s official margin over Romney was 149,279 votes, meaning at least this many people are ballot switchers or did not vote in their individual congressional race.

Perhaps the most extraordinary finding is how Romney’s performance compared to the Republican congressional candidates. In all but one CD, the Republican congressional candidate recorded more votes than Romney. The lone exception was the western-most 9th District, commonly called “The Fighting Ninth” or the “coal district.” Here, Romney scored 11,456 votes more than Rep. Morgan Griffith (R), even though the latter was winning a convincing 61.3 percent re-election victory.

But it is the Northern Virginia seats where the most eye-opening results occurred. Despite not running competitive campaigns against Reps. Moran and Connolly, Republican candidates J. Patrick Murray and Chris Perkins in Districts 8 and 11, respectively, actually recorded more votes than did Romney. Murray secured 4,933 more votes than the Republican presidential nominee; Perkins garnered 9,441 tallies greater than Romney’s total. But none can come close to the results found in the new 10th District, where veteran Rep. Frank Wolf (R) out-polled Romney by 38,362 votes.

To put this in perspective, even though Murray received only 30.6 percent support against Moran and Perkins 35.5 percent in opposing Connolly, more people voted for them in these two districts than for Romney.

The other determining region was the Tidewater area, where the former Massachusetts governor failed to carry Rep. Rigell’s District 2 (he scored 48.6 percent there) and ran 12,466 votes behind the congressman, who won his first re-election with 53.7 percent. The other marginal Republican Tidewater CD, Rep. Randy Forbes’ (R) 4th District, showed an even greater difference between Romney and the congressional candidate. Here, Forbes ran 18,287 votes ahead of the man at the top of his party’s ticket. Romney eked out a 50.1 percent win over Obama, while Forbes racked up 56.9 percent in clinching his sixth re-election.

Comparing the presidential and congressional races to the Senate campaign between eventual winner Tim Kaine (D), the state’s former governor, and ex-Sen. George Allen (R), it was the Democratic candidate who carried the majority of the congressional seats — six to the Republican’s five. In addition to the seats that went for Obama (Districts 2, 3, 8 and 11), Kaine also carried Republican districts 4 and 10.

In more Virginia news, Quinnipiac University (Nov. 8-12; 1,469 registered Virginia voters) just released the first public survey of next year’s gubernatorial contest. Not surprisingly, the results determined that popular Sen. Mark Warner (D) would easily defeat both known Republican aspirants, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Warner’s margins are 53-33 percent over Bolling and a similar 56-33 percent when paired with Cuccinelli. There has been speculation that Warner might enter the state’s 2013 governor’s race, thus giving him a better platform from which to launch a presidential campaign in 2016.

Former Democratic National Committee chairman and 2009 gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe was likewise tested against the two Republicans. These match-ups suggest a much closer statewide race. Against Bolling, McAuliffe jumps out to a slight 38-36 percent lead; the margin becomes 41-37 percent when Cuccinelli is inserted as the hypothetical Republican nominee.

Race Updates; Freshmen Stats

In Election Analysis, House on November 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

The remaining two California House races are developing clear and similar trends as more ballots are counted and reported. Both Reps. Dan Lungren (R-CA-7) and Brian Bilbray (R-CA-52) are falling considerably behind their Democratic challengers.

In Lungren’s case, physician Ami Bera has now jumped ahead by 3,284 votes in the last publicly released count with approximately 50,000 ballots left to verify and count. Bera’s lead has grown consistently since Election Day, when he led by less than 1,000 votes. In San Diego, Port Commission chairman Scott Peters has increased his lead to 1,899 votes with about 60,000 remaining to count. This race, too, showed less than a 1,000 vote differential on Election Day. The most recent trend is likely to yield two more Democratic congressional victories. If the challengers do go onto win, the new California delegation split will be 38D-15R, a gain of four Democratic seats.

Five Golden State districts can expect to see major competition in 2014, when the lower mid-term turnout could pose more favorable results for Republicans. Newly elected members in the 7th (Bera) and 52nd (Peters) districts, should they ultimately end in a Democratic victory, can expect strong re-election competition, as will freshman in the marginal 26th District (Rep.-Elect Julia Brownley; Ventura County), and the 36th District where Dr. Raul Ruiz defeated Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R). These seats were designed to be competitive for most of the decade. Republican Gary Miller who won the new 31st District after two Republicans surprisingly qualified for the general election can expect a strong Democratic challenger next time.

The new freshmen are beginning to file into Washington for orientation, and more is being learned about them and the electoral patterns that we all just witnessed. In the House, a minimum of 80 new freshmen will be sworn into office in January, more once the five outstanding races are settled. A dozen new senators will also take their seats as the new year begins.

Unlike the past three election cycles, 2012 proved to be an incumbents’ year. Pres. Barack Obama was, of course, re-elected as were all but one US senator (Scott Brown of Massachusetts) who chose to seek another term. In the House, not counting those members who faced their colleagues in paired incumbent situations, 368 sought re-election and a minimum of 344 were victorious. Therefore, the total congressional incumbent retention factor is right around 94%, proving that the electorate is returning to its pro-incumbent predisposition.

Of the 12 new senators, six are current members of the House of Representatives, three are former statewide officials (two governors and an attorney general), two are from the legal and private sector, and one is a state legislator.

Turning to the 80 known House freshmen, nine are former US House members, 29 are current or former state legislators, 21 from the legal and private sector, 14 currently hold or formerly held local office, three are federal officials, two physicians, and a pair of career military officers.

As you can see, these numbers represent quite a change from the previous House where a full 40 members held no previous political office of any kind.

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