Tag Archives: Jim Ellis

Next for Democrat Candidates

By Jim Ellis

July 1, 2019 — The first Democratic candidate forum is in the books, and the question being posed is how the various performances over the two-night process will affect the candidates’ standing.

On the first night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), really the only top-tier candidate on stage, seemed to dominate the proceedings and clearly scored with her hard left base … a constituency she must wrest away from Sen. Bernie Sanders in order to become a major threat to win the nomination. Some post-debate polling suggests that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is the lower-tier candidate who significantly improved her standing from the first night group, but she still may not be able to break through to the top.

The general consensus for the candidate performing the worst on the first night, even though he rated his own performance as an “A”, was former Texas congressman, Beto O’Rourke. His attempt at answering questions in Spanish did not seem to be well delivered or received.

The second night, Thursday night, the center stage seemed to go to a pair of candidates, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Sen. Harris scored points in bringing the out of control group to order early, and then directly confronted former Vice President Joe Biden on his busing position from decades ago. Even Biden’s explanation of him opposing the Department of Education’s policy was fumbling and incorrect. The votes they were discussing occurred in 1975. The Department of Education didn’t even come into existence until 1979.

Mayor Buttigieg needed a strong performance to solidify his early rise in the polls, and it appears he delivered. He seemed to successfully diffuse the point about the police shooting in his home of South Bend by simply admitting that he failed to do the job. There wasn’t much to say on the topic after that, and none of the other candidates brought it back after Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) made a follow-up point that he should have fired the police chief.

Now, we will see how the candidates fare in post-debate polling, and whether their strategies change.

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Debates Begin; Some Polls Tighten

By Jim Ellis

June 28, 2019 — Several polls were released just before the presidential debate series began and we see some inconsistency. Former Vice President Joe Biden leads in the most recent national surveys, but by varying margins.

The closest poll comes from YouGov (June 22-25; 522 likely US Democratic primary voters) and finds Biden’s lead over Sen. Elizabeth Warren to be 24-18 percent. In a close third place is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 15 percent.

All other candidates are in single digits. Those who have been experiencing a recent downward trend, Sen. Kamala Harris, and ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke, again posted poor support scores, this time seven and three percent, respectively. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been polling inconsistently in recent surveys. Here, we see downward movement, as he registers only five percent support, a polling range that has also been detected in other late June polling.

YouGov also finds two of the lower-tier candidates performing a bit better in this survey. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard reaches three percent national support, and Sen. Cory Booker posts two percent support. All others are at one percent or below.

But the Morning Consult data, with a much larger survey sample, tells a much different story. Their poll (June 19-26; 7,150 likely US Democratic primary voters via automated response device) detects a much larger Biden lead. The results find the former vice president at 35 percent support with Sen. Sanders in second place – as he has been in most national polls – with 18 percent, and Sen. Warren in third at 12 percent. Like in the YouGov poll, only the top three finishers posted double-digit support numbers.

The lower tier is very similar to the YouGov results sans Gabbard. They find Sen. Harris (six percent), Mayor Buttigieg (six percent), O’Rourke (four percent), and Sen. Booker (three percent) comprising a second tier. All the rest are at one percent or less.

The HarrisX survey (June 24-26; 892 self-identified Democratic registered voters) brandished a middle-sized sample with commensurate results. HarrisX also finds Biden leading the Democratic race, but his 29 percent support factor falls virtually evenly between what was found in YouGov and Morning Consult.

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“Admiral Joe” Is Now 25th Candidate

By Jim Ellis

“Admiral Joe” Sestak

June 26, 2019 — The Democratic presidential field has now grown as large as a professional baseball team, as the 25th candidate came forward this week. Former Pennsylvania representative and defeated US Senate nominee Joe Sestak, who is emphasizing his long military career in rising to the rank of a Navy three-star admiral and serving on President Clinton’s National Security Council, officially entered the national campaign.

Sestak was first elected to the House in 2006 and served two terms from southeastern Pennsylvania’s 7th District. The new presidential candidate unseated 20-year congressional veteran Curt Weldon (R) in his first election and was easily re-elected in 2008. He chose to run for the Senate in 2010, defeating party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter 54-46 percent in the Democratic primary, but then lost to Republican Pat Toomey 51-49 percent in the succeeding general.

Sestak would return in the 2016 Democratic senatorial primary but fell to former gubernatorial chief of staff Katie McGinty after running a rather bizarre campaign that featured the ex-congressman walking the entire state of Pennsylvania but doing very few candidate appearances or media events along the way.

He joins the presidential field long after his new opponents have been campaigning for weeks and months but says he delayed his entry for family reasons. Sestak points out that his daughter has again been fighting brain cancer, which he claims she has beaten for the second time during her life.

Regardless of the reason, Sestak, who is calling himself “Admiral Joe” in this campaign and doesn’t use his congressional title in his new slogan, which reads, “ADM JOE, Accountability to America,” is likely entering too late to become an effective candidate with the ability to challenge for the party nomination.

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He’s Baaaaaack!

By Jim Ellis

                      Judge Roy Moore

June 24, 2019 — As expected and despite urgings from President Trump not to do so, former Alabama state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore announced his Senate 2020 candidacy late last week.

We will remember Judge Moore’s ill-fated 2017 special Senate election effort that resulted in Democrat Doug Jones becoming the first member of his party to win an Alabama Senate seat since Howell Heflin was last re-elected in 1990.

Even before the announcement, Moore and Sen. Richard Shelby (R) were again trading barbs. Judge Moore argued that Shelby’s involvement, which culminated in the senior senator saying he was placing “country before party,” led to Jones’ victory, while Shelby retorted that he still thinks “Alabama can do better,” in a reference about electing Judge Moore.

Arguably, Alabama is the most important Senate race on the 2020 election board. If the Republicans take back the seat, which is a must if they want to cement their hold on the majority, the Senate party division would increase to 54 Republicans. Looking at the remaining seats in play for the current election cycle it becomes increasingly difficult for the Democrats to reach majority status if they lose this race.

In 2017, Judge Moore, after defeating appointed incumbent Luther Strange 55-45 percent in a run-off election after placing first with 39 percent in the original special primary, was found to have attempted to date, or did date, between two and nine underage girls when he was a deputy district attorney in Etowah County some 40 years ago. The controversy likely cost Moore the election, a battle that he lost to Jones 50.0 to 48.3 percent.

The 2020 regular primary appears to feature a more difficult field of opponents for Moore than did the special election. Appointed Sen. Strange waded into his own batch of quicksand when allegations surfaced that he allegedly cut a deal with Gov. Robert Bentley (R) when the former man was Alabama’s attorney general and the state chief executive was being scrutinized for spending and utilizing state resources for his personal use.

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Florida: Biden Up

Former vice president, Joe Biden (Getty Images)


By Jim Ellis

June 20, 2019 — Quinnipiac University surveyed the Florida electorate (June 12-17; 1,279 registered Florida voters, 417 self-identified Democrats) and found former Vice President Joe Biden opening a substantial lead over Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) there. He also posts a healthy advantage against President Trump in a hypothetical general election pairing in what is always a critical voting domain.

The Q-Poll numbers find Biden scoring a 41-14-12 percent advantage over Sens. Sanders and Warren, respectively, with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) trailing in single-digits with eight and six percent, sequentially.

As Nate Silver, founder of the 538 statistical website, said in an interview this week that looking at general election polling this early is basically a futile exercise. It does, however, provide us a clue into candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. In the general election Q-Poll pairing, Biden records a 50-41 percent advantage over President Trump in Florida. This poll, of course, was taken before Trump’s Florida rally Tuesday night in which he kicked off his 2020 campaign.

Silver’s spoken sentiments are true because, among other reasons, so much time remains between now and the 2020 Nov. 3 election, and so many unknown events will occur that could alter the final outcome. Additionally, the campaign will drastically change when both parties have nominees and voters begin paying serious attention to the race.

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