Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Terry McAuliffe’

A Shocking Colorado Poll

In Election Analysis on November 21, 2013 at 10:46 am

Quinnipiac University, fresh from being the closest major pollster in the closing days of the Virginia governor’s race (they projected Terry McAuliffe to be leading 45-41 percent; the final result was 48-45 percent), released a new Colorado survey (Nov. 15-18; 1,206 registered Colorado voters) that produces surprising results.

Up until now, first-term Sen. Mark Udall (D) had been viewed as a prohibitive favorite for re-election. This Q-Poll, however, suggests that competition could be coming his way. According to the data, Udall leads former GOP nominee and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R) 45-42 percent. He’s ahead of virtually unknown businessman Jamie McMillan (R) only 43-40 percent. The incumbent expands his edge to five, six, and seven points over state senators Randy Baumgardner and Owen Hill, and state Rep. Amy Stephens, respectively. Clearly, all of these match-ups indicate that Sen. Udall is not yet an electoral cinch.

But, the real eye-opening data relates to opinions of federal leaders and issues, in  Continue reading >

Election Night Analysis

In Election Analysis, Governor, House, Mayor on November 6, 2013 at 10:42 am

Election Night 2013 may have turned out somewhat differently than political polling projected in terms of margin, but the actual voting yielded few surprise winners.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, as expected, Gov. Chris Christie (R) romped to a second term, defeating state Sen. Barbara Buono (D) 60-38 percent. The only question would be whether the governor could bring new Republican state legislators with him, but the legislative chambers remained virtually intact. The initial unofficial count shows the GOP gaining one state Senate seat and two Assembly positions, but strong Democratic majorities remain in both bodies.

Virginia

In Virginia, though polls were suggesting a Terry McAuliffe win of greater than five points over Ken Cuccinelli – the final Washington Post poll projected a 12-point gap, for example – the actual Democratic margin of victory was only three points,  Continue reading >

Look for at Least One Surprise Tomorrow on Election Day

In Governor, House, Mayor, Polling on November 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

It appears all of the “big” race outcomes, except one, are foregone conclusions in tomorrow’s significant 2013 election.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Christie has maintained leads approaching or exceeding 25 points for virtually the entire election cycle, and he will easily cruise to a second term when the ballots are actually tabulated. No one is predicting an upset for Democratic nominee Barbara Buono, a state senator. The only intrigue is whether Christie will extend political coattails to Republican legislative candidates in order to increase the party strength in the state legislature. Democrats are expected to maintain control of both the state Senate and Assembly.

Virginia

Turning to Virginia, former Democratic National Committee chairman, Terry McAuliffe, is likewise poised for victory tomorrow night. Every poll has staked him to a lead of at least four to as many as 12 points over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Christopher Newport University released the latest of the public surveys (Oct. 25-30; 1,185 registered Virginia voters; 1,038 characterized as likely voters) and the academic pollster projects McAuliffe to hold a seven-point lead over Cuccinelli, 45-38 percent, with Libertarian Robert Sarvis capturing 10 percent.

The CNU researchers asked further questions about why Sarvis respondents are supporting the independent gubernatorial candidate. They also queried those in the sampling universe about the Virginia down ballot races.

In responding to whether the Sarvis voters are supporting their candidate as a form of protest against both McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, 68 percent said yes. Thirty-seven percent said if Sarvis were not a candidate they would be supporting Cuccinelli; 17 percent made the same statement regarding McAuliffe. These findings are more dramatic than published elsewhere. When other pollsters have asked this question, they have reported results suggesting a more even distribution of Sarvis voters vis-a-vis major party candidate preference.
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Is Cuccinelli Suddenly Narrowing the Gap in Virginia?

In Governor, Polling on October 31, 2013 at 10:52 am

Two just-released polls suggest that Virginia’s embattled Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli is making strides in his battle against Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, but even this data still portends that the latter will win the race next Tuesday.

The least credible of the two surveys comes from Zogby-Newsmax (dates and sample size not released). The results reveal a McAuliffe lead of only 35-30 percent, with nine percent headed for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. No other poll has shown such a low determined number of voters. Zogby then removed all of the undecideds and the adjusted report gives McAuliffe a 43-37 percent advantage, with Sarvis posting 11 percent.

Two additional sector reports also initiate skepticism. First, the pollster suggests that Libertarian Sarvis “hitting double-digits is very doable.” Often times third-party candidates poll well during a race, normally when both major party candidates are negatively viewed as in this Virginia race. Rarely, if ever, do they exceed the 10 percent figure, however. The Zogby statement about Sarvis’ potential performance ignores virtually all previous trends.

In the most recent race where the Independent candidate was a potentially serious factor occurred in New Jersey back in 2009. Then, Chris Daggett was polling far better against Chris Christie and then-Gov. Jon Corzine than Sarvis is against McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, but finished with just under 6 percent of the vote.

Second, the Zogby poll projects that approximately one-third of African-American voters are still undecided. Based upon voting history and turnout projections, this is an unrealistic and clearly incorrect conclusion. Factoring in the typical African-American share of the electorate added to their traditional overwhelming support of the Democratic candidate would then allow McAuliffe to claim a much bigger lead than the five points illuminated in the spread above.

The second poll, from Quinnipiac University (Oct. 22-28; 1,182 likely Virginia voters) – an organization that regularly surveys the  Continue reading >

Is this the Death Knell for Cuccinelli We’re Hearing?

In Governor, Polling on October 29, 2013 at 10:22 am

The Washington Post’s latest survey portends good news for Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe and the rest of his ticket, and signals what could be the figurative death knell for Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the state’s gubernatorial contest. All of the various pollsters who have been studying the Virginia governor’s race will be releasing their final numbers in the next few days, meaning we will be exposed to a continual stream of Virginia political data.

According to the Post figures (Oct. 24-27; 1,061 registered Virgnia voters; 762 likely Virginia voters) McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli 51-39 percent, which is the largest Democratic lead recorded in any Virginia poll to date. Dozens of surveys have been conducted in the past eight weeks, reporting remarkably consistent results, with all of them posting McAuliffe to leads but within a five- to eight-point range.

The Post results are both believable and unsurprising. McAuliffe has overwhelmed Cuccinelli with late campaign advertising and continues to feature prominent Republicans around the state who have endorsed him over their own nominee. This has helped achieve McAuliffe’s goal of splitting the Republican base wide open, and thus exacerbate the rift between the Virginia conservative and moderate base Republicans.

According to the Post, the Cuccinelli collapse is likewise beginning to affect the rest of the ticket; in the lieutenant governor’s race, their data shows state Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk/Virginia Beach) running ahead of Republican nominee E.W. Jackson by a 52-39 percent margin. In the attorney general’s race between two sitting state senators, in which Republican nominee Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) has led Mark Herring (D-Loudon County) by small margins for weeks, the Post forecasts a change here, too. The poll yields Herring a slight 49-46 percent advantage.

The Washington Post survey also underscores that McAuliffe’s success in this race is less due to voters’ positive feelings about him than their negative views toward Cuccinelli. Asking people who earlier said they intend to vote for McAuliffe: “is your vote more for McAuliffe or more against Cuccinelli”, only 34 percent of the McAuliffe  Continue reading >

New Virginia Polls: Race Not Over

In Governor, Polling on October 7, 2013 at 10:59 am

There seems to be an air of defeatism surrounding many Virginia Republicans about the impending governor’s race, but three new polls still show that GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli is within striking distance of Democrat Terry McAuliffe. All three polls, from Hampton University, Emerson College and the University of Mary Washington, give McAuliffe a lead ranging from five to seven points, with both candidates well under 50 percent – data that hardly concludes the front-runner is on the threshold of clinching the election.

Hampton University (Sept. 25-26 and 28-29; 800 likely Virginia voters) gives McAuliffe a 42-37 percent edge over Cuccinelli, with Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis scoring eight percent. The Emerson College Polling Society (Boston, MA) conducted their survey Sept. 26-30 and interviewed 519 Virginia registered voters. They found McAuliffe to be leading Cuccinelli and Sarvis 43-38-11 percent, a five-point reduction in the Democrat’s lead from the ECPS August poll. Finally the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA), conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International during the Sept. 25-29 period of 823 Virginia registered voters (from a total resident sample of 1,001), posts McAuliffe to a 42-35 percent advantage, with Sarvis picking up 10 percent support.

The Sarvis number could be a wild card. Oftentimes when major party candidates display high unfavorable ratings, and all polling has consistently revealed such in this particular race, an Independent can score abnormally high in surveys, often reaching double-digits, as Sarvis is doing here. Such early support for Independents in polls, however, rarely translates into votes on Election Day. Should this pattern hold in the Virginia race, then Cuccinelli could be the benefactor because his lower numbers among conservative oriented independents portend that he is losing more support to Sarvis than is McAuliffe, thus his ability to gain may be greater once these people come to the conclusion that voting for a candidate with no potential to win is a waste.

Polling Segmentation

The Hampton poll segmented the state into regions. McAuliffe runs strongest in the Washington, DC suburbs (50-29 percent),  Continue reading >

Virginia Race Tightens

In Governor, Polling on September 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm

A brand new Quinnipiac University poll (Sept. 9-15; 1,005 registered Virginia voters) shows Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli closing the gap between he and Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe in the state’s gubernatorial race. According to the Q-Poll results, McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli 44-41 percent, a spread now within the polling margin of error. Previous studies from Quinnipiac and a myriad of other pollsters were consistently projecting McAuliffe to be holding a five to seven-point lead during the past month.

Though the trend suggests the momentum may be shifting back to Cuccinelli after going McAuliffe’s way for a considerable period of time, there is a major point of concern for the Republican political forces. Despite Cuccinelli pulling to within three points on the ballot test, his ability to personally connect with voters is poor.

Cuccinelli’s favorability index is an alarming 34:51 percent favorable to unfavorable. McAuliffe’s rating is better, but not stellar. His score is an even 38:38 percent.

There is a two-fold explanation for the Republican’s severely upside down rating. Most acutely, the sampling universe does not believe that Cuccinelli understands their problems. By a margin of 35:56 percent, the respondents believe that the Republican nominee does not understand problems of “people like me.”

Additionally, almost an outright majority of the sample does not believe Cuccinelli is “honest and trustworthy.” In answer to this particular question, the ratio is 39:49 percent with the higher number representing those who do not agree that the attorney general is honest and trustworthy.

The answers to both of these questions highlight a very serious image problem that the Cuccinelli team will have to correct if their candidate is to remain competitive.

McAuliffe does not score particularly well on these questions either, but he is stronger than Cuccinelli. He, too, is upside-down in regard to whether people believe he understands their problems, but is closer to parity than Cuccinelli. By a margin of 40:44 percent, the respondents don’t believe McAuliffe understands their problems. The Democrat, too, sees a higher number of people viewing him as not being particularly honest and trustworthy, but again his rating is not as negative as his Republican opponent’s. McAuliffe’s tally on this question is 39:42 percent.
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Analyzing the Numbers in Virginia Governor’s Race

In Governor on August 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

cuccinelli-mccauliffe

Yesterday, Quinnipiac University released their new Virginia poll (Aug. 14-19; 1,129 likely Virginia voters), which projects former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe to be leading Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) 48-42 percent on the ballot test. This poll actually shows an increase in support for both candidates over their two previous Old Dominion surveys. In July, the Q-Poll gave McAuliffe a 43-39 percent edge, and the May study returned an almost identical 43-38 percent result.

Though the spread between the current numbers is the largest of the campaign according to this pollster, the number of self-identified Republicans (23 percent) and Democrats (30 percent) are the lowest to date. Those describing themselves as Independents or unaffiliated topped 39 percent, the largest number in comparison to the previous surveys.

Curiously, though Cuccinelli has a two point (44-42 percent) preference among Independents, he’s still trailing. He scores a 90-6 percent tally from Republicans, but gets buried 1-92 percent within the Democrat segment.

The Negatives

The way this campaign is going, with both candidates heading toward negative approval ratings – in this survey, Cuccinelli scored a 35:41 percent positive to negative on the personal approval index; McAuliffe 34:33 percent – it is likely that the overall turnout will be depressed. Large numbers of voters expressing continued disapproval of their political choices tend to lead to low turnouts on Election Day. Considering this is an odd-numbered election, which always features a low voter participation rate, 2013 could see one of the lowest-ever turnouts if the current campaign tone continues. As the heat of the contest grows more intense, the tone will likely worsen and not lighten.

Polling this race is difficult because the potentially record low turnout will be a critical determining factor. Virginia Republicans tend to run better in lower  Continue reading >

Terry McAuliffe’s Risky Strategy

In Governor on May 24, 2013 at 10:35 am

Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and current party nominee for Virginia governor, just launched his second general election television advertisement (see link above), but his media strategy should raise questions.

The ad explains and emphasizes that McAuliffe lobbied Democratic legislators on behalf of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) controversial transportation bill. The underlying message credits McAuliffe’s involvement as a key factor in passing the legislation. The objective is to show his ability to deliver within the legislative process, while simultaneously proving that he reaches beyond partisanship in order to achieve the common good.

The ad graphics include a singular still photo of McDonnell and newspaper headlines that allude to “GOP infighting”, while an announcer mentions that “Tea Party Republicans refuse to support the plan.” The scene then fades to a banner illustrating that McAuliffe and McDonnell “congratulate each other” over achieving legislative success.

In our opinion, the ad is evidence that the McAuliffe campaign may be making some key strategic errors. First, they target “Tea Party Republicans” at a time when certain members of the Obama Administration are coming under intense fire for targeting Tea  Continue reading >

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