Tag Archives: Gov. Chris Christie

Election Day: Before vs. After

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 10, 2017 — Voters went to the polls in three places Tuesday to elect two governors, state legislators, and a new member of Congress. Multiple local elections, including mayoral contests in 59 of the nation’s largest cities, with New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Charlotte among them, also were on the various ballots.

Much was written and discussed about the Virginia gubernatorial election leading into Election Day, clearly the most important contest from a political perspective. It appeared clear that the campaign between Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie was a tight one. That proved not to be the case with Northam’s nine-point win.

Polling suggested that either candidate could win. Most surveys showed either a dead heat or Northam maintaining a small lead. Research for the last Virginia gubernatorial race, that in 2013 when Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) was elected, badly under-estimated Republican strength. Therefore, should the same methodologies be present in this latest data, Gillespie’s chances of victory may be better than the raw numbers indicate. That line of thinking was dashed by the results.

Continue reading

High-Stakes Voting

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 3, 2017 — Three important campaigns will be decided Tuesday, and the stakes are actually quite high for both major political parties. The favored entity losing an upset contest in any of the venues would immediately darken the particular party’s 2018 outlook. New Jersey and Virginia voters will elect new governors in regular cycle campaigns, and the Utah special congressional election will also be settled.

New Jersey

Former US ambassador to Germany and Wall Street executive Phil Murphy (D)

Former US ambassador to Germany and Wall Street executive Phil Murphy (D)

The race between Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) and former US ambassador to Germany and Wall Street executive Phil Murphy (D) already seems decided. Polls for months have varied only slightly. The latest published polling numbers, those from Monmouth University (Oct. 27-31; 529 likely New Jersey voters), find Murphy holding steady with a 53-39 percent advantage. Virtually every poll has projected a margin of this size.

This campaign has seemed over since the beginning. Gov. Chris Christie (R) has historically poor approval ratings – still more than 70 percent negative – and research shows the voters do link Guadagno to the current governor despite the two of them having a frosty relationship.

Continue reading

Jockeying for Position

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 21, 2016 — Already, there is a lot of talk about various senators considering races for governor in their respective states, while at least one term-limited governor publicly muses about running for Senate.

With 38 governors’ races coming to the forefront in the next 24 months — two (New Jersey, Virgninia) in 2017 and 36 in 2018 — we already know that 20 of these states, due to term limits, will choose new governors.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) cannot succeed himself after four years at the state’s helm. Virginia is still the only state in the country that limits its governors to just one term. In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie is ineligible to seek a third term. There is a chance, should Christie obtain an appointment from the Trump Administration, that Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) would ascend to the governorship and be in a position to run as an appointed incumbent, however.

In the coming even-numbered year 36 gubernatorial chairs are in-cycle. Eighteen state chief executives are barred from seeking a third term (15 Republicans; 3 Democrats), while eight GOP governors and six Democrats can run for re-election. Alaska Independent Gov. Bill Walker is also eligible for a second term.

Continue reading

Trump’s VP Selection

By Jim Ellis

July 18, 2016 — Donald Trump had scheduled an announcement Friday in New York to introduce who would be his vice presidential running mate. A plethora of media reports suggested that he would select Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The reports were right. Gov. Pence withdrew from the governor’s race before the noon CDT, for that was the established deadline when the ballots became final under Hoosier State election law. Once a vacancy is registered, the Indiana Republican Party has 30 days to name a replacement for the gubernatorial ballot, and already at least three individuals have informed the party leadership that they are candidates. Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb and representatives Susan Brooks (R-Carmel) and Todd Rokita (R-Clermont) are withdrawing from their respective campaigns, but the ones not chosen could conceivably be reinstated in order to keep their present ballot position.

Choosing Pence makes sense for Trump, at least from the standpoint that the conservative Indiana governor will help unite the Republican base. Though Trump’s GOP support numbers in national polling appears on par with Hillary Clinton’s backing within the Democratic Party universe in most polls, the bedrock Republican states, particularly in the central and Rocky Mountain regions of the country, are a slightly different story.

Continue reading

The VP Sweepstakes

By Jim Ellis

July 6, 2016 — The media carried stories over the July 4th weekend that one or both of the presidential candidates is close to naming a running mate. It is a virtual certainty that Donald Trump will announce first, since there is little or no incentive for Hillary Clinton to do so. It is to her advantage to wait until after Trump makes his move, since the Democratic National Convention follows the Republican conclave.

Clinton has the opportunity to pivot from Trump’s eventual choice, and help use the VP choice to balance her own ticket and counter whomever the Republican eventually selects.

Some media reports are suggesting that Trump will unveil his running mate this week. It would make better political sense for him to wait until convention week, thus drawing more attention to the national assemblage, but there is one reason he might announce earlier.

Continue reading

The Changing Presidential Campaign

Feb. 12, 2016 — The presidential candidates are now exiting the race just as fast as they were entering about a year ago. In early to mid-2015, there were 17 Republican candidates and five Democrats, but after yesterday those numbers are now, respectively, seven and two.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and businesswoman Carly Fiorina joined the cavalcade of Republican candidates abandoning their presidential quest, as both came to the realization through disappointing New Hampshire finishes that neither has a path to victory in the national contest. Since the Iowa Caucus ended, ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD), ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Christie, and Fiorina have all left the race.

Breaking 10 percent of the New Hampshire vote was a must for Christie, because that is the minimum vote threshold required in the state’s delegate apportionment formula. Realistically, the New Jersey governor needed a John Kasich-type finish (second place) to jump-start his effort in order to seriously vie for the moderate and establishment sectors’ support. Virtually making New Hampshire a watershed state for his campaign, it was little surprise that Gov. Christie ended his national effort when he failed to achieve his stated Granite State goals.

Continue reading

Bush Surging in NH?

Jan. 29, 2016 — A new Emerson College Polling Society New Hampshire presidential primary poll suggests former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is moving into second place among Republicans ahead of his principle establishment rivals, governors John Kasich (R-OH) and Chris Christie (R-NJ).

According to the ECPS survey results (Jan. 25-26; 373 likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters), Donald Trump maintains a large lead over the Republican field posting 35 percent preference. Bush followed with 18 percent, just ahead of Gov. Kasich’s 14 percent standing. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) scores nine percent; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) eight percent; and Gov. Christie just five percent among the polling respondents.

However, these numbers are unsubstantiated. No other survey research organization has detected such a Bush forward drive. Though the Polling Society is comprised of students from Emerson College in neighboring Massachusetts, their track record has been impressive, coming closer to the actual final result in the 2013 Virginia governor’s race than the professional firms, for example. The American Association for Public Opinion Research extended the organization membership status in recognition of their previous work.

Continue reading

Kasich Surging in New Hampshire; Sanders’ Lead Clear

Jan. 21, 2016 — The new American Research Group (ARG) poll (Jan 15-18; 600 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters) finds Ohio Gov. John Kasich forging his way into second place for the Feb. 9 New Hampshire Republican primary, and narrowing the gap between he and leader Donald Trump.

According to the data, Trump’s support has risen to 27 percent on the ARG scale, while Gov. Kasich has soared to the 20 percent mark. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) leads the group in the middle, but by only a single point: 10-9-9-8-5 percent, over Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), respectively.

The survey reveals Kasich’s strongest showing to date in a place outside of Ohio. The Buckeye State chief executive has been working hard in New Hampshire, virtually forsaking Iowa in hopes of scoring a better-than-expected performance in the first-in-the-nation primary state. Should this late polling trend be verified, it would appear that he could achieve such an objective.

Continue reading

Cruz Edging Trump in California

Jan. 8, 2016 — The California Field Poll was released early this week and the results show a surge for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential race, but their conclusions are largely irrelevant. California polling can’t accurately project the state’s all-important delegate count, hence the statewide ballot test total is less important here than in other places.

Despite Republicans performing poorly in California since the turn of the century, the Golden State still sends the largest delegation to the Republican National Convention (172). The California apportionment system yields a more open contest than most states because finishing first statewide is worth only 10 at-large delegates.

As in six other states (Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, South Carolina and Wisconsin), California apportions upon congressional district vote in addition to the aggregate statewide total. Since the Golden State possesses 53 CDs, California primary day actually yields 54 separate elections: one in each congressional district in addition to the statewide tally. The candidate placing first in each individual district, regardless of vote percentage or raw total, is awarded three delegates in winner-take-all fashion.

Continue reading

“Cruz-ing”

Dec. 15, 2015 — Two new surveys, both conducted during the Dec. 7-10 period from two different pollsters, find Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) eclipsing Donald Trump in Iowa for the first time in a month. A third poll, that from Monmouth University (Dec. 3-6; 425 likely Iowa caucus attenders) and reported upon last week, also found the Texas senator surging into first place among likely Hawkeye State GOP caucus attenders.

The Selzer & Company poll conducted for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg News (804 likely caucus attenders; 400 Republican; 404 Democratic) posts Sen. Cruz to his largest lead to date, 31-21 percent over Trump. Dr. Ben Carson, consistently losing support in Iowa since topping Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Trump 27-17-15 percent, respectively, in the Iowa State University poll (Nov. 2-15; 518 likely Iowa Republican caucus attenders), places third with 13 percent. Sen. Rubio follows with 10 percent, the last candidate placing in double-digits. Former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) trail with five percent apiece.

The Fox News poll (807 likely caucus attenders; 450 Republican; 357 Democratic) finds similar results, but with closer margins. Here, we see Cruz leading Trump 28-26 percent, with Rubio and Carson trading places and percentages. This poll finds Rubio at 13 percent and Carson with 10 percent, meaning the two are virtually tied when comparing results. Bush registers six percent, with Sen. Paul, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), and ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) each drawing three percent support.

Continue reading

Calculation Politics

Dec. 11, 2015 — A just-released New Hampshire poll gives us meaningful insight into delegate projections and the small size of each candidate’s support basis by the time February concludes. Though the first four voting entities — Iowa caucus (Feb. 1), New Hampshire primary (Feb. 9), South Carolina primary (Feb. 20), and Nevada caucus (Feb. 23) — will be portrayed as trendsetters, in terms of delegate calculation these states will likely have reduced influence upon the 2016 election cycle’s direction.

Early this month, CNN and WMUR television sponsored a University of New Hampshire poll of Granite State voters (Nov. 30-Dec. 7; 954 registered New Hampshire voters; 402 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters, 370 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters), the results of which were released yesterday. On a cautionary note, UNH has not proven itself as a particularly strong pollster, often producing wild results inconsistent with other similar surveys. The liberal Daily Kos Elections organization, for example, rates them as one of the least reliable pollsters on the political scene irrespective of partisanship.

For purposes of our delegate calculation exercise, however, the survey’s accuracy is not particularly relevant. The Republican delegate calculation formula is of prime importance, the actual determining factor about who will win the party’s presidential nomination. Therefore, in order to process New Hampshire’s delegate apportionment we will consider this poll the benchmark.

Continue reading

Media Misses New Polling Story

Nov. 23, 2015 — Reporters from several news publications, such as The Hill newspaper, along with various commentators are mis-reading the latest polls*. They’re trying to craft a premise that Donald Trump is again spiking, and that his improved status is directly related to the France massacre. But, the survey data are consistently revealing a much different point.

Considering that Trump ranges from between 23 and 38 percent support in all of these studies, taking into account their various sampling groups and methodological factors, isn’t much different than where he’s been standing for months. Trump continues to place first in most polls, but is far from the 50 percent majority figure he will need to capture the nomination.

The missed point is that these polls and other research conclusions are beginning to reveal a separation among the candidates. Most recent polling consistently shows that the top tier revolves around Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz, with Jeb Bush falling into the second tier but remaining within striking distance of the upper echelon.

While true that the third and fourth place finishers in these studies sometimes do not touch double-digits, the standing order appears consistent throughout most of the survey research that now resides in the public sector.

Continue reading

Hassan Waiting Too Long?

Aug. 31, 2015 — New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) continues to remain non-committal about whether she will seek re-election or challenge Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), and her ambivalence could be hurting her. Long saying she would decide when the state budget situation was resolved (she signed the budget bill on July 9), Hassan has yet to give any indication of what she might do. Refusing to wait any longer, others are stepping up.

Earlier this week, state Rep. Frank Edelblut (R) announced his gubernatorial candidacy regardless of what Hassan decides. Previously, US Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH-2), long thought of as a challenger to Sen. Ayotte should Hassan stay put, announced that she will seek re-election next year irrespective of what statewide position may or may not be open.

Now a new Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 21-24; 841 registered New Hampshire voters) that skews decidedly to the Democratic side finds Hassan making no gains against Sen. Ayotte, still trailing her by just one point, 44-43 percent. Normally, this would be considered good news for a potential challenger but, in this case, the opposite might well be true.

Continue reading

Trump Ahead in Iowa; New Dem Numbers, Too

Aug. 12, 2015 — Public Policy Polling (Aug. 7-9; 619 usual Iowa Republican primary voters; 567 usual Iowa Democratic primary voters) surveyed the Hawkeye State electorate and found, as in all other places, that Donald Trump has pulled into a lead. The survey has a methodological issue, however.

The pollsters screened for “usual primary voters” and not likely caucus attenders. As we know, both parties hold caucus meetings in Iowa rather than a direct primary. How this affects the poll’s reliability is open to conjecture, but it is a considerable factor.

According to the data, Trump has overtaken Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the man who has been leading here for the better part of a year. In this study, Trump takes 19 percent of the committed support, followed by Walker and Dr. Ben Carson with 12 percent apiece. Ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush posts 11 percent, and Carly Fiorina, enjoying a major bump from her debate performance in the secondary event, catapults to 10 percent. It remains to be seen if Fiorina can develop staying power or whether this improved performance is simply a debate hype blip.

Each of the Republican candidates, including Trump, has healthy favorability ratings with the exception of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (34:44 percent positive to negative), Sen. Rand Paul (31:45 percent), Sen. Lindsey Graham (22:33 percent), former governors George Pataki (14:25 percent), and Jim Gilmore (4:16 percent).

The poll detects how the candidates might fare if people went to the polls and voted, but organizing a caucus participation system is a dissimilar format that could produce substantially different results.

For the Democrats, headlines continue to suggest that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is gaining on Hillary Clinton, but his movement is negligible. According to PPP, Clinton leads Sanders 52-25 percent, which isn’t markedly different than what we have previously seen.

No other candidate scores in double-digits. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley registers seven percent, with ex-Virginia Sen. Jim Webb attracting three percent, and former Rhode Island Governor and Sen. Lincoln Chafee barely scratching the polling surface at one percent. The poll did not include Vice President Joe Biden.

The methodology has two flaws for the Democrats. As on the Republican side, the sample is based upon “usual primary voters” and not caucus attenders. Considering that Clinton will likely have a superior campaign ground organization to Sanders, her numbers will probably increase in the caucus format.

Excluding Biden, however, may be the bigger problem. Since the Vice President is seriously considering entering the race, the poll does not provide an accurate depiction of the electorate’s position without his presence.

Webb and Chafee are the two candidates who have upside down favorability ratings. Webb records a 16:21 percent negative ratio, while Chafee, a former Republican, scores 9:22 percent.

Clinton does extremely well on the favorability question among members of her own party, scoring 75:15 percent. Again, we see the pattern that virtually all of her negative ratings, which normally do produce overall upside-down ratios, come almost wholly from Republicans and Independents.

Perry Out in GOP Debate

Aug. 5, 2015 —  Fox News’ dubious way of choosing their 10 presidential debate participants for this Thursday’s event has reached its predictable ending.  One candidate was rejected on the basis of just a few responses from an averaged set of small-sample polls.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has apparently secured the tenth and final debate spot, edging former Texas Gov. Rick Perry by what appears to be an imaginary percentage point at most.  Kasich joins Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul, Dr. Ben Carson, and Gov. Chris Christie on the Fox debate dais.

Also failing to make the cut are Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore.

The huge Republican field puts Fox and the other media outlets sponsoring debates in a difficult situation because the logistics of managing a 17-candidate forum are quite unwieldy.

Choosing to divide by an averaged set of national polls, many with samples comprised of less than 300 people, is not an equitable way of deciding which contenders are invited.  A series of smaller debates, with participants selected in random order would have been a fairer way to bring equal exposure to the candidates.