Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Trio of Incumbents in Jeopardy

cornucopiaHappy Thanksgiving from all of us at the PRIsm Information Network. Our Updates will resume on Monday morning, Dec. 2.

Developments occurring this week continue to suggest that three office holders are in serious trouble as they look toward re-election next year – two governors and a congressman:

Pennsylvania

Probably the most vulnerable governor in the country is Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett (R). Public Policy Polling just released a new survey of the Keystone State electorate (Nov. 22-25; 693 registered Pennsylvania voters; 436 Democratic Pennsylvania primary voters) and finds the governor with a terrible 24:65 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval rating. By contrast, President Obama’s approval index is also upside down but only to a 43:53% extent. The PPP job approval scores always  Continue reading >

An Electoral College Challenge in California

If a group of California citizens get their way, massive change will envelop the national presidential election process.

Yesterday, this group of individuals launched the “Make Our Vote Count” campaign by filing a Request for Title and Summary with the California attorney general’s office, attempting to begin the process of qualifying a voter initiative that, if adopted, would cause the state’s 55 Electoral College votes to be awarded on a proportional basis. According to the filing language, the new system would distribute electoral votes to the individual presidential candidates consistent with their statewide vote percentage earned, rounded to the nearest whole number.

From time to time, talk arises about states splitting their Electoral College votes, either as a way to gain partisan advantage or simply to make themselves more important in the general election.

Currently, two entities split their votes: Maine and Nebraska. Both do so in the same manner. The candidate who wins the statewide vote receives two electoral votes. One more is awarded for each congressional district carried. Maine has two CD’s;  Continue reading >

Polls Show Tightening in Michigan, Louisiana

Michigan

Late last week, local Michigan pollster Denno Research released the results of their new poll in conjunction with Lambert, Edwards & Associates, also a Michigan-based firm (Nov. 12-14; 600 registered Michigan voters). They again detect a statistical tie for the state’s impending open US Senate race, projecting Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) to a mere 37-36 percent advantage.

This past July, Denno (July 23-24; 600 registered Michigan voters) contradicted most conventional political analyses. They reported then that the two major party candidates had fallen into a 39-39 percent tie. EPIC MRA, another Detroit area survey research firm, later published confirming numbers (Sept. 7-10; 600 registered Michigan voters; 38-37 percent Democratic edge). Up until that time, Peters was a presumed solid favorite over former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R).

This race is already becoming more competitive than was once believed likely,  Continue reading >

Analyzing Florida Developments

Freshman Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL-19) announced at a news conference, after pleading guilty to cocaine possession, that he is taking an unspecified leave of absence from the House. He made it clear that he is not resigning, but questions are already being raised about potential primary challenges.

Radel was elected from a field of six Republicans, all who were vying to replace  Continue reading >

A Shocking Colorado Poll

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 >

Republican Senate Movement in Hawaii, Mississippi

Hawaii

Though America’s 50th state is heavily Democratic, intra-party political developments may yield extra value to Hawaii’s Republican senatorial nomination. A very tough Democratic primary held late in the cycle (Aug. 9) could potentially cause enough partisan upheaval to put the general election in play. Hence, former congressman, Honolulu City councilman, and state Rep. Charles Djou (R-HI-1) is reportedly considering filing as a senatorial candidate.

Djou won a special congressional election in early 2010 to fill then-Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s (D-HI-1) final term in the House when the latter resigned to spend full-time campaigning for governor. In the regular election later in the year, however, he fell to then-state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D), 44-50 percent.

Most analysts and observers expected him to run again in the open 1st District, since incumbent Hanabusa is challenging appointed Sen. Brian Schatz in the  Continue reading >

“Political Outsider” Strategy Wins in Louisiana

A new national political paradigm may have begun this weekend in northeast Louisiana. There, businessman Vance McAllister (R), who certainly ran as a political outsider but not an overt Tea Party Republican, easily overcame and defeated the GOP establishment candidate, state Sen. Neil Riser.

From the beginning of this special election campaign, the state legislator was viewed as the front-runner. He had strong regular  Continue reading >

Nelson Testing the Gubernatorial Waters?

Earlier this year a spate of political rumors abounded that Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D), fresh from his 2012 re-election to a third term, was looking at a 2014 gubernatorial run. Repeatedly denied by Nelson spokespeople at the time but never completely ruled out, more such stories are again surfacing. Now it appears that the senator’s political staffers are calling state Democratic political leaders to seek advice about their boss running for governor.

The Florida gubernatorial race should be one of the most competitive in the country. Incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R) continues to poll badly with job approval ratings in upside down territory. As we all know, Florida performs as the nation’s quintessential swing entity, so all statewide contests have the potential of becoming very close.

Two weeks ago, former Gov. Charlie Crist declared his candidacy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Crist was elected state chief executive in 2006 as a Republican. He then filed as a candidate for the 2010 GOP senatorial nomination, but when it became apparent that he would lose the primary to former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, he left the party and ran as an  Continue reading >

NC Senate Race Suddenly Tightens; A VA AG 164-Vote Winner

A new North Carolina Public Policy Polling survey (Nov. 8-11; 701 registered North Carolina voters) shows that, despite still being viewed as generally weak and for months viewed as a 2014 Republican candidate recruiting disappointment, the current challengers are pulling into a virtual tie with first-term Sen. Kay Hagan (D).

According to the results, Sen. Hagan actually trails physician Greg Brannon, heavily backed by Tea Party supporters, 43-44 percent. She leads state House Speaker Thom Tillis, the national Republican political committees’ favored candidate, by only 42-40 percent, and scores just a 43-41 percent edge over senior Baptist minister Mark Harris. Against virtually unknown nurse and Army veteran Heather Grant, the senator’s advantage is a mere 43-40 percent.

The new data provides evidence that Sen. Hagan’s political position weakening. In PPP’s October 4-6 poll (746 registered North Carolina voters), the incumbent held a 47-40 percent lead over Speaker Tillis, and similar spreads over Brannon (46-40  Continue reading >

Three Key Governor’s Races Narrowing

Now that the 2013 election is complete, the pollsters are back surveying races in states other than New Jersey and Virginia. Today, we cover some interesting numbers being returned in three competitive governors’ races.

Ohio

After seeing strong numbers come from Quinnipiac University in June (June 18-23; 941 registered Ohio voters) for Gov. John Kasich (R), the new Public Policy Polling data brings the race back to earth. Four and one-half months ago, the Q-Poll posted Gov. Kasich to a 47-33 percent lead over Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald (D). The latest PPP survey (Nov. 5-6; 595 registered Ohio voters) paints a different picture. According to this poll, Kasich and FitzGerald are tied at 41 percent apiece.

The latter data, which is much closer to normal Ohio voting patterns than the earlier Q-Poll, may suggest the pro-Kasich data is an anomaly or simply that the climate has changed during the lagging interval. Most probably, the time scenario is the more accurate.
 Continue reading >

A Virtual Dead Heat in Virginia; Texas Candidate Filings

The already ridiculously close race between Virginia Attorney General candidates Mark Obenshain (R) and Mark Herring (D), both state senators, is now down to a virtual tie. As election personnel continue to adjust vote totals, the official state Board of Elections count now shows Democrat Herring taking the lead over Republican Obenshain, the latter who has led most of the way.

The totals now show Herring with 1,103,610 votes and Obenshain claiming 1,103,493 tallies, or 49.89% to 49.88%, this from more than 2.212 million votes cast. The change comes with new vote counts coming from Democratic strongholds in Fairfax County and the City of Richmond. As usual in these types of close elections, uncounted machines or ballots always seem to appear long after Election Day.

Certification of the vote is required on Nov. 25, and if this current count ends up being final expect a very long recount process that will obviously end up in court regardless of which of the two candidates is officially certified. If the margin remains in the 100-vote range, anything can still happen.
 Continue reading >

The Governors’ 2014 Scorecard

The 2014 gubernatorial cycle is shaping up to become one of the most competitive in recent years.

Now that the 2013 governors’ races are in the books, it’s a good time to look at the state chief executives from a national political perspective. At the beginning of the cycle, the Republicans held 30 state houses versus 20 for the Democrats, the best GOP showing in the modern political era. With Terry McAuliffe’s victory in the Virginia open race last week, Democrats have already gained one governor’s post, meaning the updated margin is now 29R-21D.

At this early point in the campaign cycle, it appears that as many as 13 races, nine Republican-held and four Democratic, should be rated as highly competitive. The most vulnerable of all incumbents standing for re-election are governors Rick Scott (R-FL) and Tom Corbett (R-PA), who trail potential Democratic opponents in all surveys. The most vulnerable Democratic seat is the Arkansas open (Gov. Mike Beebe, D, is ineligible to seek a third term), where former GOP Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR-3) consistently polls ahead of ex-Rep. Mike  Continue reading >

Another House Member Set to Retire; A New Political Carter in Georgia

Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC-6), who has represented the Greensboro, N.C. area since his first “landslide” election in 1984 that featured a victory margin of less than 100 votes, announced that he will retire at the end of the current Congress. Coble, now 82 and dealing with health challenges, will close out 30 consecutive years of congressional service when his final term in office comes to an end at the beginning of 2015.

Though the 6th District is safely Republican and should not cause the national party any trouble in the replacement campaign, the Coble announcement yields the third such new open seat just this week. The grand total of 2014 open districts has now increases to 23, 16 of which are Republican held.

We can expect a spirited Republican primary, which is often the case when a region has not been open at the congressional level for a long period of time. Possibly the leading contender, and an individual who appears poised to run, is  Continue reading >

Post-Election Day Surprises

Rep. Jon Runyan

Rep. Jon Runyan

NJ-3

New Jersey Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ-3) yesterday became the second sophomore Republican to announce that he will voluntarily retire at the end of the current Congress. Like Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-2), Runyun was a clear favorite to win a third term in the House but has decided to end his congressional career. The Garden State congressman indicated that he wants more time with his family and was quoted as saying, “politics shouldn’t be a career and I never intended to make it one.”

Rep. Runyan was elected to the House in 2010 after spending 14 years playing in the National Football League, most notably with  Continue reading >

Election Night Analysis

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 >