Category Archives: Primary

The “First Four” And The Scramble
For Delegate Apportionment

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 11, 2019 — The YouGov international polling organization conducted four simultaneous surveys in the states whose electorates will cast presidential nominating ballots in February of next year, referred to in the college basketball tournament vernacular as “the First Four”. The quartet of states are Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.

Looking at the polls’ aggregate totals, it appears the contest is already gelling into a three-way race that could meld into a free-for-all should this particular YouGov polling trend translate into actual results.

All of the polling was conducted during the Aug. 28 – Sept. 4 period, and sampled between 492 (New Hampshire) and 785 (South Carolina) likely Democratic primary voters or caucus participants. All four polls found former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) occupying the first three positions, but in different orders.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg placed in the fourth and fifth positions in each entity, again not in the same order in all four states, yet neither reached double-digit percentages in any of the polls. Under this set of data, neither Harris nor Buttigieg would qualify for at-large delegates in any of the First Four states.

To reach the at-large delegate apportionment plateau, a candidate must receive 15 percent of the statewide vote. Candidates can also qualify for individual congressional district delegates, but those projections are not readily available from these polling results.

In Iowa, scheduled for caucus meetings on Feb. 3, Biden begins with a small lead according to the YouGov research. From the 682 individuals surveyed, the former vice president would score 29 percent, with Sanders closely following with 26 percent, and Warren posting 17 percent. Iowa has 41 delegates, and if the congressional district result followed the statewide percentage, Biden would receive 16 delegate votes, Sanders 15, and Warren 10.

Moving to New Hampshire, which will host the first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 11, 2020, it is Sen. Warren who places first, but the result among the trio is a virtual three-way tie. Warren recorded 27 percent in the YouGov poll, with Biden getting 26 percent, and Sanders 25 percent. Again, assuming New Hampshire’s two congressional districts would vote in the same proportion as the state, each candidate would receive eight delegate votes, equally splitting the state’s 24-person delegation.

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Warren Ahead in Iowa & Wisconsin

By Jim Ellis

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Aug. 19, 2019 — The Change Research organization, which has previously conducted simultaneous multi-state polling within the same sampling period, just repeated their process. This time, the firm surveyed likely Democratic voters in both Iowa and Wisconsin over the Aug. 9-11 period and found Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren topping the field in both states.

As we know, the Iowa Caucus, with only 41 first-ballot delegate votes, is an important trend-setting state because of being placed first on the national voting calendar. In 2016, after her campaign was selling Hillary Clinton as the “inevitable nominee,” she barely won the first vote in Iowa, which arguably began a downward spiral for her campaign. Though Clinton obviously won the party nomination, the long fight with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) politically weakened her for the general election campaign.

According to the Change Iowa data (621 likely Iowa Democratic Caucus participants through online communication), Sen. Warren would lead Sen. Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), 28-17-17-13-8 percent, respectively. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who needs to make a major play in her neighboring state, still only shows two percent support, tying her with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), billionaire Tom Steyer, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, but behind the three percent score of both Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX).

Biden may have a similar problem to that of Clinton, and it could prove to be a major stumbling block. As the presumptive national front-runner, under-performing in Iowa would show clear vulnerability. Traveling the following week to Sens. Warren and Sanders’ New England backyard for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary after sustaining an Iowa loss would strengthen the two local candidates and possibly cause Biden to again fall.

This scenario would be quite damaging to the former vice president. Because his momentum would significantly slow, re-starting for the succeeding Nevada Caucus becomes very difficult and he would need a boost here before heading to the South Carolina primary and the southern states-dominated Super Tuesday. Currently, Biden is polling very strongly throughout the south, but faltering early could quickly change that dynamic.

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Biden Rebounding Across the Nation

Former vice president, Joe Biden

By Jim Ellis

July 25, 2019 — Former Vice President Joe Biden is re-establishing his pre-debate lead in the Democratic presidential race according to a new Morning Consult political survey.

The poll (July 15-21; 17,285 likely Democratic primary voters from an online pool of 5,000 US registered voters), part of a regular ongoing Morning Consult research series, finds Biden registering 33 percent preference. Following with double-digit support are Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) at 18-14-13 percent, respectively. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who led all of the Democratic candidates in second quarter fundraising with $24 million obtained during the three-month period, posted only five percent support in placing fifth.

Though we see more support for both Warren and Harris than was present in pre-debate polling, the remainder of the field appears to be reverting to their support levels detected prior to the first Democratic presidential forum held in Miami at the end of June.

Results such as those found in this MC study still suggest the pressure is squarely on the former vice president to deliver an improved performance at his next debate scheduled for July 31 from Detroit. While it was clear his support dipped after the last debate, it will now become imperative for him to command the stage in order to re-establish long-lasting confidence from his political base.

The post-debate slippage indicated that much of Biden’s voter base can be described as vacillating, thus identifying a point of weakness. The upcoming national debate will give him the opportunity of cementing his early lead.

With Biden again pitted against Sen. Harris, and this time with Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) joining him as part of the 10 candidates appearing on stage, his key opponents make up a formidable presence who will likely seize more than their allotted share of speaking time. Fighting for time could become problematic for Biden, especially if he becomes a joint target as the evening proceeds.

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Change Reasearch Three-State Polling Shows Interesting Results

By Jim Ellis

July 15, 2019 — Just before the July 4th holiday break Change Research conducted a series of research studies in three of the first four Democratic presidential caucus and primary states.

The firm tested either 420 or 421 likely Democratic nomination event voters in each place during the period of June 29-July 4: in Iowa (420 respondents), New Hampshire (420), and South Carolina (420).

Iowa is, as we know, the site of the first caucus vote, which is scheduled for Feb. 3, 2020. This will be followed by the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11 and the South Carolina primary pegged for Saturday, Feb. 29. The Nevada Democratic electorate, with their caucus placed on the calendar for Saturday, Feb. 22, was not polled.

Part of the media coverage surrounding these surveys looks at the aggregate numbers that these three individual places produced. The three states are highly important because they, together, will set the race’s early tone. But, from a statistical perspective, the aggregate total has little bearing as to who would eventually become the Democratic nominee.

These aggregate Change Research numbers, however irrelevant to the actual race trajectory, have captured some attention because they are so close. The sum of the candidates’ support percentages from the combined three states, from a total of 1,261 respondents, find Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) leading the group with 19 percent apiece, closely followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 18 percent, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) with 17 percent, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg posting a combined 15 percent preference. No other even candidate breaks the three percent level.

What carries much greater weight, however, is the individual candidates’ status in the individual early trend-setter states. As has been prevalent in Iowa’s electoral history, neighboring regional Midwestern candidates have typically done well in the first caucus. Such is the case again according to this Change Research poll.

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The Early Primary Cycle

By Jim Ellis

June 6, 2019 — Looking at the 2020 primary calendar, it is obvious that the presidential race is already having an impact upon what is becoming an accelerated congressional campaign schedule in many states.

The analysts for the Daily Kos Elections website released their research posting all of the 2020 state primary dates giving us a better indication of which congressional primaries will be held earlier than their traditional scheduled primary slot.

Several states that have moved to early presidential primary dates have also transferred their entire ballot, meaning the congressional cycle will start earlier than usual for many members and challengers.

Texas and Illinois are typically the first states to hold primary elections, and they are again at the forefront of the congressional calendar. Texas will hold its presidential and congressional nominating elections on March 3, which will become the 2020 Super Tuesday. Illinois, along with Florida and Arizona, will vote on March 17. But, on that date, only Illinois will hold congressional nomination elections.

Next year, however, several other states, will join Texas with a full ballot primary on March 3.

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