Monthly Archives: February 2014

Underlying Poll Data Shows Cornyn on Shaky Ground

On Tuesday, Texas officially kicks-off the regular 2014 election cycle. Voters from both parties will visit the polls to begin the first step in choosing Republican and Democratic nominees for the fall. Illinois follows with their nomination process on March 18, but the heaviest voting months are May and June.

A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll (Feb. 7-17; 1,200 registered Texas voters; online pre-selected group; number of likely Republican primary voters not released) is projecting that Sen. John Cornyn (R) commands a 62 percent support level in a Republican primary ballot test against Rep. Steve Stockman’s (R-TX-36) 16 percent, but digging below the polling toplines reveals a much different story. In actuality, Cornyn’s first ballot question percentage was 43 percent, the exact number that the Gravis Marketing poll (Feb. 10-12; 729 Texas Republican primary voters – Cornyn 43 percent, Stockman 28 percent) reported earlier in the month.
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A Cornyn Run-off?

Florida-based Gravis Marketing, one of the newer national pollsters, just released the findings from their recent survey of the Texas Republican US Senate primary (Dec. 10-12; 729 likely Republican Texas primary voters).  The results, rather surprisingly, give Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn only a 43-28 percent lead over US Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX-36).  

Though Sen. Cornyn registered just 43 percent support among a reflective voting segment within his own political party, his favorability rating was relatively positive, nonetheless.  When asked if the respondents have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Senator, by a ratio of 49:27 percent, they approved.  Asked the same of Rep. Stockman, the results were 28:18 percent positive to negative, but with 55 percent saying they were “unsure” or had no opinion of the southeast Texas Congressman.

Gravis was active in the 2012 election cycle, but some of their polls produced questionably reliable data.  In this Texas effort, 729 respondents is a healthy sample  Continue reading >

New Michigan Numbers – Senate, Gov.

The Michigan Senate race is in flux. When Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced his retirement early last year, Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) very quickly solidified himself as the consensus Democratic candidate with the help of the outgoing incumbent and his brother, Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI-9). The early maneuverings provided the Detroit congressman a favorite’s aura for the general election.

Initially, during Levin’s retirement announcement period, Republicans were making no secret of their inability to recruit a contender who they could proclaim as a top-flight candidate. When former two-term Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land came forward, the state and national party leaders continued to search for someone they felt would be stronger. Now, a fourth consecutive poll has forecast Land to be holding a small edge over Rep. Peters, thereby justifying the GOP’s renewed interest in making the Wolverine State a top Senatorial target.

According to the Michigan-based EPIC-MRA  Continue reading >

The FL-13 Special Election: A Proving Ground

The death of veteran Florida Congressman Bill Young (R) in October has led to a March 11 special election that may tell us a great deal about the impending regular general election.

The special election campaign, now turning into a multi-million dollar affair with both parties and all major outside organizations spending heavily, is proving to be a major testing ground for election themes. Both sides will soon see how their proposed general election messages play and, with the district’s electorate split almost evenly regarding the Obamacare law, much will be learned about how the two sides will portray the issue nationally this fall.

Florida’s 13th Congressional District appears to be a political microcosm of the state (Obama-Romney statewide 2012: 50-49 percent; FL-13 Obama-Romney: 50-49 percent), while arguably the Sunshine State itself is often viewed as a viable campaign test model for the entire country. The district  Continue reading >

Rep. Miller’s Retirement Repercussions – The CA-31 Turn-Around

Yesterday, Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA-31) announced that he would retire at the end of this Congress and not seek re-election in his San Bernardino County US House district. The 31st in California is the most Democratic CD in the country to elect a Republican congressman. Against national GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Pres. Obama scored 57.2 percent of the vote here, providing a clear example of its partisan leanings.

The now open CA-31 becomes the best Democratic conversion opportunity in the country. With registration in their favor and a weak Republican presence post-Miller, chances are strong of a double-Democrat general election, meaning a sure Democratic gain.

Here’s why: The 2012 congressional result was quirky in the fact that this decidedly Democratic district sent two Republicans to the general election under California’s new  Continue reading >

Filings Close in Several States

Alabama (Primary: June 3; Run-off: July 15)

The most notable point from the Alabama candidate filings is that four of the state’s six House members seeking re-election will be running unopposed this November. Only representatives Martha Roby (R-AL-2) and Mike Rogers (R-AL-3) have Democratic opposition, but both appear headed for little trouble in securing re-election.

Representatives Robert Aderholt (R-AL-4), Mo Brooks (R-AL-5), and Terri Sewell (D-AL-7) all drew primary opponents. Rep. Sewell’s challenger seems to be the strongest intra-party candidate. Former Birmingham city attorney Tamara Harris Johnson filed in the Democratic primary, but the incumbent remains the heavy favorite for renomination. In all three of these cases, once the individuals win their respective party primaries, the political opposition ends.

The governor’s race yielded an interesting political twist. Former Rep. Parker Griffith, who was elected to the 5th District in 2008 as a Democrat but became a Republican  Continue reading >

Democrats Make Important Endorsements for Upcoming Elections

California

Delegates from the California Democratic Party met in regional caucuses this past weekend to vote on a first round of official party endorsements. If a candidate becomes the party endorsed candidate, he or she is then placed on statewide slate mailers and can receive access to party campaign resources. At this preliminary endorsement level, a candidate must receive 70 percent of the voting delegates’ support in order to be placed on a consent calendar for pro forma approval at the Democratic State Convention. Falling short of the 70 percent plateau means further individual voting will occur at the convention, held this year on March 7-9 in Los Angeles.

With the state now instituting a jungle primary system where the top two finishers in the June 3 election advance to the general election irrespective of partisan preference, political party endorsements become more important. Therefore, these regional and  Continue reading >

Polls Confirm Key Senate Races are Toss-ups; Walsh’s Appointment Both Helps and Hurts

Karl Rove’s American Crossroads entered into the Senate polling arena in January, contracting with Harper Polling to provide surveys in seven key states. The HP results appear to be in line with other findings, except for one place.

Harper’s Alaska poll (Jan. 20-22; 677 registered Alaska voters) projects Sen. Mark Begich (D) to be trailing two Republican challengers, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and former Attorney General Dan Sullivan, by identical 41-47 percent margins. This is a much different result than found in the Public Policy Polling survey from a little more than a week ago (Jan. 30-Feb. 1; 850 registered Alaska voters), which posted the senator to a 43-37 percent advantage over Treadwell and 41-37 percent against Sullivan. Begich’s troubling factor, detected in both firms’ data, however, is his low 40s standing even when leading.
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Three New Senate Polls Show Rocky Roads Ahead for Incumbents

Colorado

We now have confirming data that Sen. Mark Udall (D) must traverse a rocky political road to secure re-election.

Last December, Public Policy Polling (Dec. 3-4; 928 registered Colorado voters) released a surprising survey that showed the senator leading a potential general election Republican opponent by a mere four points, 46-42 percent. The result occurred when pairing Udall with 2010 Republican nominee and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck. As you will remember, Buck lost to Sen. Michael Bennet (D) 46-48 percent even though they faced each other during the Republican landslide of 2010.

Yesterday, Quinnipiac University made public their latest Colorado poll (Jan. 29-Feb. 2; 1,139 registered Colorado voters) and the result verified PPP’s pre-Christmas finding. In fact, the current Q-Poll’s 45-42  Continue reading >

Waxman Seat Taking Shape

California Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D) surprise retirement announcement last week undoubtedly caught the Golden State’s Democratic establishment by surprise, but the local pols have quickly regained their bearings.

Two political heavyweights jumped into the race in the past three days, and it is possible that this could be the duo who qualifies for advancement to the general election. Los Angeles city controller and defeated mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel (D) and state Sen. Ted Lieu (D) have both officially entered the congressional race. Feminist Sandra Fluke (D), who came to prominence when Rush Limbaugh attacked her on his national radio program, says she isn’t entering the congressional campaign, but will run for Lieu’s now open state Senate seat.

Already members of the Los Angeles congressional delegation are taking sides, as is former mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40) announced her support for Greuel, while Rep. Karen Bass (R-CA-37) will back Sen. Lieu. The  Continue reading >

In Colorado, When You’re Up, You’re Down

Yesterday, we published a piece analyzing the University of New Hampshire’s poll and made special note of their readings for US Reps. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH-1) and Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH-2). The study results were unusual in the fact that they showed Shea-Porter’s job approval rising, but her ballot test declining, while projecting Kuster in the exact opposite position.

Now, a new poll from Quinnipiac University (Jan. 29-Feb. 2; 1,139 registered Colorado voters) finds Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in a similar position to Rep. Shea-Porter. The governor’s job approval has expanded to a solid 52:39 percent favorable to unfavorable, which is a strong improvement when compared to the numbers he was posting in the latter part of 2013. Added to his personal favorability of 47:37 percent positive to negative, one would expect that his ballot performance would be likewise improving, yet his standing continues to lag according to this data.

To further explain, while generally holding  Continue reading >

New Hampshire Consistent in its Inconsistency

No state has had more wild political swings than the Granite State of New Hampshire during the past four elections. Over that time, NH voters have turned out a US senator, defeated more members than they have re-elected, and deposed the majority party in five of the past 10 legislative chamber elections. A new early 2014 poll suggests that more upheaval is on the way.

The University of New Hampshire’s polling directors just released a survey completed during the Jan. 21-26 period in which 584 registered Granite State voters were questioned. A total of 304 respondents were in the eastern 1st Congressional District; 280 in the western 2nd CD. As has been the pattern with UNH polls, bizarre results are often produced that many times prove inconsistent with the findings of other pollsters and even their own previous data.

The Senate

The first bit of inconsistency in their latest poll comes in the Senate race. UNH finds  Continue reading >

Money Shows Who the Real Challengers Are

The Federal Election Commission has finally published the 4th quarter 2013 House financial numbers, and through the reports we can begin to ascertain the challenger candidates who are going to put forth serious political efforts later this election year.

Some who were predicted to be strong contenders are proving such:

• In Arizona, former Air Force officer Martha McSally (R), who lost to Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ-2) by just under 2,500 votes in 2012, out-raised the congressman by just over $63,000 in the 4th quarter.

• Democratic former Colorado state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff outpaced incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO-6) by $45,000. Both have posted highly impressive off-year financial numbers. Each  Continue reading >

The Fourteen Key Senate Races

Since venturing into 2014, a new round of US Senate polls came into the public domain giving us a better picture of the current state of political affairs. Now it appears that 14 seats can be considered competitive, or are on their way to becoming so. The early tightness of so many of these campaigns tells us that we are a long way from being able to confidently predict a national outcome.

For Republicans, the first step in achieving their goal of capturing the Senate majority revolves around the ability to convert the three seats from retiring Democratic senators in states that normally elect GOP candidates. Winning the Montana (Rep. Steve Daines), South Dakota (ex-Gov. Mike Rounds), and West Virginia (Rep. Shelley Moore Capito) seats becomes the foundation for the Republican drive to obtain Senate control. Democrats, on the other hand, need merely to re-elect their incumbents.

As we know, the Senate’s partisan division features 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans. If we remove the 14 competitive seats from  Continue reading >