Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Sen. Scott Brown’

Is New Hampshire Shifting Republican?

In Polling, Senate on September 23, 2014 at 10:14 am

A new Vox Populi poll is either confirming a swing toward the New Hampshire Republican candidates, or is a clear outlier.

According to this new survey research firm’s latest Granite State data (Sept. 15-16; 550 likely New Hampshire voters), former Sen. Scott Brown (R) has now taken a surprising lead over Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), 47-43 percent, a spread close to exceeding the polling margin of error. The totals reach the stated share for each candidate when the respondents leaning to each individual are added.

Since Sept. 10, the results from six polls, via six different pollsters (two of which were polling for a partisan interest), find Sen. Shaheen leading in four of the scenarios and Brown, two. This suggests that Brown has growing momentum because he is now leading or trailing by a smaller number than found in previous studies.

Both Rasmussen Reports and Public Policy Polling for the League of Conservation Voters find the incumbent leading by six points, while the American Research Group posts her to a five-point advantage. The fourth survey, from New England College, gives Sen. Shaheen an 11-point margin. This latter study clearly seems to be an outlier because no other pollster has come anywhere near such a conclusion within the Continue reading >


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 >

Scott Brown Closing … or Not in New Hampshire

In Polling, Senate on August 25, 2014 at 10:48 am

Though the New Hampshire Senate race has been flirting with becoming competitive for months, no pollster has projected the race in the toss-up realm since January … that is, until now. The University of New Hampshire (Aug. 7-17; 827 New Hampshire adults) finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) by only a 46-44 percent clip. On the other hand, if ex-Sen. Bob Smith were to become the Republican nominee, the incumbent would enjoy a 50-36 percent margin.

In terms of public perception, Sen. Shaheen scores a 48:36 percent positive to negative personal favorability ratio, while Brown is upside-down at 36:38 percent. Smith is down to only 15:20 percent positive to negative, with just 35 percent saying they know enough about him to form an opinion. This gives us an idea as to how fast a population can change. The polling history shows that at Smith’s high point during his dozen years in the Senate (February, 2002 in this instance), he recorded a 51:31 percent favorability index with as many as 82 percent of the voting universe knowing enough about him to form a specific opinion.

The UNH ballot test is the good news for ex-Sen. Brown. The bright side for Sen. Shaheen is that they are the polling source. UNH has one of the worst track records in Continue reading >

Jousting in New Hampshire

In Election Analysis on October 2, 2013 at 11:07 am

In April, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) surprisingly admitted that he was considering moving to New Hampshire to challenge first-term Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D). Brown followed his statement by spending time in the Granite State, meeting with the party faithful and explaining that he truly does have New Hampshire bona fides.

After initial polling showed large Shaheen leads, talk of an impending Brown move seemed to dissipate. The political focus surrounding him shifted to whether he would run for governor of Massachusetts, a prospective race in which polling posted him well ahead of every potential candidate from both parties. Then, a show trip to Iowa immediately preceded his announcement declining a run for governor, but his verbiage certainly left the door wide open for a 2016 presidential run.

Now, however, the talk surrounding Brown’s next political move is returning to New Hampshire and even Sen. Shaheen, herself, is participating.

First, in a look back to last week, Public Policy Polling (Sept. 13-16; 1,038 registered New Hampshire voters) released a poll showing Brown just four points behind Sen. Shaheen, 48-44 percent, hardly an insurmountable deficit and a net seven-point gain in his direction from PPP’s April poll.

Apparently Sen. Shaheen is not taking the survey nor the potential Brown move to her state lightly; or, she is simply using the potential threat as a fundraising ploy. In the past few days the senator began sending communications to supporters repeating a WMUR television report that Brown is selling his home in Massachusetts, while asking for “$5,780 in six hours” to make her arbitrary campaign finance deadline goal.

The Democrats and media’s talk of Brown now moving to New Hampshire in order to challenge Shaheen may be much ado about nothing, or it could have substance. The idea is certainly attractive to the national Republicans because they are desperate to expand the Senate playing field in order to maximize the number of opportunities necessary to convert the six Democratic seats they need to capture the majority.

While Scott Brown would certainly begin the campaign as an underdog to Sen. Shaheen, it is unlikely the Republicans could recruit a  Continue reading >

Trust in Government Falls; Capuano Backs Out – Again – in Mass.

In Polling on September 27, 2013 at 10:34 am

The Gallup research organization just completed a study about people’s level of trust in the various branches of government. The poll, conducted Sept. 5-8 of 1,510 adults but released just yesterday, reveals that governmental trust levels have fallen across the board since 2009, and are well under the levels found at the beginning of 2003.

According to the study, remembering that the sampling universe is simply of adults who are not necessarily registered voters, trust in the Judiciary, the highest rated governmental entity, is off 14 points from 2009. Sixty-two percent of the respondents say they trust the Judiciary as compared to 76 percent who did four years ago.

The Executive branch is also down during the same interval, in this case 10 points, from 61 percent who expressed trust to 51 percent. Finally, the Legislative branch, which has been pilloried in opinion polls for the past several years, again finishes as the least trusted governmental segment at 34 percent. This represents a decline of 11 points from our benchmark year of 2009, but the result actually ticks upward from 30 percent at a point in 2011.

The fact that all levels of government are down significantly suggests a negative trend about Americans’ confidence in their governmental entities’ ability to implement their responsibilities.

The same sample also believes that the government has too much power. A full 60 percent of the polling sample (81 percent of Republicans; 68 percent of Independents; 38 percent of Democrats) believe government’s role in society is too vast. Thirty-two percent say the level of governmental authority is “about right”, and 7 percent say the government has too little power. Interestingly, the 7 percent “too little power” response has varied only one point during the past 10 years.

Predictably, Democrats have the highest levels of trust in government almost across the board; Independents next; and Republicans the least. The only entity rated higher among Republicans than any other partisan segment is, unsurprisingly, the Legislative branch.

Interestingly, the parties switch their views when questioned about state and local government. It is the Republicans who have  Continue reading >

Daley Out in Illinois; Brown Improves in NH

In Governor, Senate on September 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Bill Daley

Bill Daley


As quick and surprising as former US Commerce Secretary Bill Daley’s entry was into the Democratic gubernatorial campaign, so too is his exit. Daley, also a former White House chief of staff to President Obama, had been challenging Gov. Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary. Quinn assumed office when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) was sentenced to prison and then won a razor-thin one point victory in the regular election against Republican Bill Brady back in 2010.

With Quinn’s approval numbers lagging and the state facing serious financial difficulty, Daley launched his effort to deny the governor renomination in April when he formed an exploratory committee. But now the former cabinet secretary and son of legendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley says he cannot “commit to what the voters may need,” meaning that he does not feel up to serving at least five and potentially nine years (counting the campaign time) in order to get the state “on the right track.”

The decision is good news for at least two people, Gov. Quinn and the eventual Republican nominee. Quinn will now likely avoid a serious primary contest that could heavily damage him for the general election. Early polling showed both he and Daley in the high 30s percentile. Obviously, an incumbent failing to break even 40 percent among members of his own party is a clear sign of inherent political weakness.

Despite abandoning his campaign, Daley reiterated that he believes he could win the race and that Quinn will lose his re-election, asking for “forgiveness” for being honest. Through the last financial disclosure report in June, Daley had raised over $800,000 for his gubernatorial campaign. He says he will conduct an audit of his committee and return contribution money that was not  Continue reading >

Camp Says No in Michigan; Brown for President?

In Governor, Presidential campaign, Senate on August 19, 2013 at 9:55 am


House Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4), after flirting with running for his state’s open Senate seat, again says that he will remain in his current position so he can continue leading his committee’s tax relief efforts.

Back in March, when veteran US Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he would not seek a seventh term next year, Camp immediately declined to run statewide. Last month, however, the congressman appeared to come full circle by publicly indicating that he was reconsidering his previous decision to remain in the House.

His move gave national and local Republicans reason to begin upgrading their chances to defeat Detroit Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14), who already appears to be the Democrats’ consensus candidate. Virtually all political analysts gave Camp higher marks as a Michigan Senate candidate than ex-Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), partly due to his ability to amass funds as Ways & Means Committee chairman.

Now, Camp has yet again re-reconsidered his position and invokes his initial decision to forgo a statewide run. He again said, over the weekend, that he wants to remain in his current position to concentrate on tax relief legislation. The northern Michigan representative will continue to chair the committee until the end of this current Congress. Under party rules, his allotted service will then end.

The Republicans need six seats to wrest Senate control away from the Democrats, and the open Michigan contest is an important one if they are to achieve such a goal.

Today, it appears highly likely that GOP candidates will capture open Democratic seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana, leaving them with three more conversion victories to obtain, assuming the three aforementioned states do come through. Realistically, even with Michigan included as a target, there are only six more seats where competition is likely to occur, assuming the GOP holds their own potentially vulnerable positions in Georgia and Kentucky. A lesser Michigan Republican challenge obviously reduces their chances of gaining the majority.

Brown in Iowa
 Continue reading >

Massachusetts Senate Snapshot

In Senate on June 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm

The long-anticipated special US Senate election to replace Secretary of State John Kerry (D) is being held today, and the final three polls all favor Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) to carry the vote over Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez.

Suffolk University (June 19-22; 500 likely Massachusetts voters) projects Markey to a 52-42 percent advantage. New England College (June 18-20; 579 likely voters) gives the congressman an even wider 56-36 percent majority. Finally, the Western New England University Polling Institute (June 16-20; 503 likely Massachusetts voters) shows a much closer 49-41 percent spread.

There has been no poll throughout the entire special election cycle that projected Markey to be trailing. One survey, a Republican study from McLaughlin & Associates, showed the congressman in the lead at one point, but that is as close as challenger Gomez has gotten.

The Suffolk U. and Western New England polls are clearly more reflective of each other, and in line with the vast majority of surveys commissioned during the previous weeks. The New England College poll appears to be skewed in favor of the Democratic nominee.

Though Gomez conducted a spirited campaign, it is not likely that the magic surrounding former Sen. Scott Brown (R) in his 2010 special election victory will reappear in this battle. There is simply no evidence to suggest that this Republican is close enough to score an upset victory.

Despite Rep. Markey being poised to win the race, his percentage might be below that of usual Democratic performance in Massachusetts. In such an open seat special election race, a Bay State Democratic nominee should finish in the high 50s. By most accounts, Markey will likely score in the low to mid-50s.

The winner of today’s election will serve the balance of Kerry’s term and be eligible to seek a full six-year term in 2014. If Markey does win, as predicted, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) will then schedule a new special election for his 5th Congressional District. Already several candidates are actively campaigning for this post, in anticipation of a Markey win today.

A Race or Not for the Massachusetts Senate?

In Polling, Senate on June 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

The Massachusetts special Senate election is scheduled for June 25, and there is rather a large discrepancy amongst the myriad of polls that have just recently been released. Depending upon which survey you want to believe, the race is either Rep. Ed Markey’s (D-MA-5) to lose, or one in which he is dangerously close to falling behind Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez.

Here are the most recent polls:

  • McLaughlin & Assoc. – June 4-5; 400 likely Massachusetts voters – Markey 45% – Gomez 44%
  • Public Policy Polling – June 3-4; 560 Massachusetts likely voters – Markey 47% – Gomez 39%
  • New England College – June 1-2; 786 Massachusetts registered voters – Markey 53% – Gomez 40%
  • UMass (by YouGov) – May 30-June 4; 357 Massachusetts likely voters – Markey 47% – Gomez 36%

As you can see, Markey’s advantage varies from one to 13 points. All of the studies agree that the Democrat is leading, but is the race of razor-thin proportion, or does the suburban Boston congressman enjoy a comfortable lead?

When considering polls released prior to these four, it does appear that Gomez is becoming a formidable challenger. Almost all of the post-April 30 primary day surveys have shown him to be within single-digits of Markey, an unusual circumstance for a Republican in Massachusetts.

But the major point of contention surrounds the Republican and right-of-center organizations and whether or not they will actively support Gomez. So far, there is little evidence of independent expenditure activity for the Republican nominee, but there is still time for such to occur.

Questions remain for the National Republican Senatorial Committee brain-trust, however. Is the polling foretelling a close race, or are the current numbers fool’s gold? And, even if Gomez somehow pulls the upset, would such a victory mean anything more than “renting” the position  Continue reading >

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