Tag Archives: Mike Huckabee

South Carolina Special

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2017 — Voters in north-central South Carolina’s 5th District cast ballots yesterday in partisan primaries as the people voted to choose a replacement for ex-Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-Lancaster/Rock Hill), now director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Unlike the four previous special elections in California, Kansas, Montana, and Georgia, the Palmetto State neither holds a jungle primary nor a nominating convention. Just as in the regular election cycle, candidates first run in partisan primaries. If no one secures a majority in the first vote, partisan run-offs occur in a short two-week time frame under South Carolina election law. The eventual nominees then advance to the general election.

In a district that voted 57-39 percent for President Trump, and elected Rep. Mulvaney four times by an average of 57.6 percent of the vote, including his initial percentage when defeating veteran incumbent Rep. John Spratt (D) in 2010, the Republicans were heavy favorites to hold the seat in the current special election process.

Seven Republicans are on the ballot, and most observers agree that former state representative and 2006 congressional nominee Ralph Norman and state House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope were the two leading candidates. With five others on the ballot, it appeared unlikely that either Norman or Pope would command a majority of the primary vote, hence a May 16 GOP run-off was viewed as the likely outcome of yesterday’s voting.

Norman had the most in the way of funding, securing almost $600,000 according to the pre-primary Federal Election Commission filing report through the period ending April 12. Half of that amount was from a candidate loan, however. State Rep. Pope, who was planning to run for governor had not Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) become the incumbent state chief executive when Gov. Nikki Haley (R) was appointed US Ambassador to the United Nations, had only banked $226,002 during the same period, which was a surprisingly low amount.

Both of these candidates have cut television ads, but more airings have been through the digital medium rather than the airwaves. (See below samples)

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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.

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Cruz; A Tie; Rubio the Surprise

Feb. 3, 2016 — The Iowa Caucuses ended in a bit of a surprise. Despite the last 10 public Republican contest polls all finding Donald Trump leading the Iowa vote by anywhere from one to eight points, it was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who claimed first place last night with a 28 percent preference. Trump finished a close second with 24 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) stronger than expected 23 percent.

It is the latter number that few saw coming. Sen. Rubio had been consistently scoring a third place finish in most polls, but a distant one. Of the final 10 Iowa polls from nine different pollsters, cumulatively conducted during the Jan. 18-31 period, only two — the Emerson College Polling Society and Opinion Savvy — forecast Rubio in as formidable a third position as actually occurred.

The Democratic side turned out equally interesting. In their much different system where voters’ choices translate into state delegates for each candidate, it is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders ending in a virtual tie. According to the latest available number, the two split the delegate pool almost evenly, with Clinton leading by only three delegates from a pool exceeding 1,300.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

“Trumping” North Carolina; Grayson In

July 10, 2015 — Public Policy Polling tested the electorate in their home state of North Carolina (July 2-6; 529 registered North Carolina voters; 288 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters; 286 likely North Carolina Democratic primary voters), a monthly practice for the firm, and detected a new Republican leader moving to the forefront.

Though the GOP candidates are tightly bunched here as polls detect in all key primary states – meaning the 16 tested candidates fall within 16 points from top to bottom – the PPP North Carolina survey finds that businessman Donald Trump has captured first place. This is the first study producing such a result.

Trump attracts 16 percent support from the North Carolina polling respondents with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker each four points behind at 12 percent. Ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee closely follows with 11 percent, while Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio poll nine percent apiece, and Sen. Rand Paul registers seven percent. The remaining nine candidates fall between 0 and six percent with two contenders, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and ex-New York Gov. George Pataki, each finding no supporters within this North Carolina polling sample.
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LaHood Scores in Illinois;
The Fox News Dubious Debate Plan

July 9, 2015 — As expected, Illinois state Sen. Darin LaHood (R) cruised to an easy special election primary victory Tuesday in the vacant Peoria-anchored congressional district. Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R) March resignation created the vacancy, which is the only unrepresented seat in the entire US House.

LaHood, whose father, Ray LaHood, represented the seat for 14 years before becoming President Obama’s Transportation Secretary, topped 69 percent of the vote against two weak GOP opponents who spent less than $50,000 combined on their campaigns. Democrats officially nominated educator Rob Mellon, an Army Reserve officer who lost his party’s congressional primary in 2014.

LaHood will easily defeat Mellon, but must wait until Sept. 10 for the next vote in what is an unusually long special election cycle. His eventual victory will bring the House party division back to 247R-188D, the spread generated on Election Night 2014.
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Christie In; Trump Ties for Second in Michigan

July 2, 2015 — Returning to his high school roots in Livingston, NJ Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie officially became the 16th Republican presidential candidate when he declared his political intention at a rally-style announcement event. It is apparent that three more current or former governors will soon follow suit, bringing the record-size field of candidates to 19. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, John Kasich of Ohio, and former Virginia chief executive Jim Gilmore will each enter the race in July.

Saying that he’s “ … not looking to be prom king of America,” Gov. Christie elaborated, telling the assembled group and media that, “I mean what I say and I say what I mean and that’s what America needs right now.”

Christie has a long way to go in order to propel himself into the top tier of Republican candidates. Languishing in mid-single digits in most polls, usually with an upside-down personal favorability ratio, Christie will have a difficult time developing a path to the GOP nomination. Positioning himself to the left of the typical Republican primary voter with a brash personal style that many people find offensive, the Jersey governor will have to rebuild his personal image before he can hope to effectively compete for the nomination.
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How Bush, Kasich, Rubio Line Up
in Three Key Swing States

June 22, 2015 — Quinnipiac University released the second part of their June 4-15 polling set for the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The follow-up data covers the early primary polling results for each place. The sample sizes are small: 458 Republicans and 378 Democratic primary voters in Florida, 434R; 388D in Ohio, and 413R; 402D for Pennsylvania, which of course decreases reliability.

That being the case, the three Republican polling leaders are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the Sunshine State, Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his home domain, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for Pennsylvania. But, in all cases, the margins are small and the field is bunched close together. In the aggregate, the three states account for 236 delegates — FL: 99 Winner-Take-All; OH: 66 likely Winner-Take-All; PA: 71 likely Loophole (voters select individual delegates) — which represent 9.5 percent of the entire Republican nominating universe.

In Florida, Bush tops Sen. Rubio by only two points, 20-18 percent. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker trails in third place with nine percent. Dr. Ben Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are next with seven and six percent, respectively. All other candidates finish at five percent and below.
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Q-Polls: In the Swing States,
Hillary is Both Up and Down

June 19, 2015 — On the surface, the numbers from three key polls look good for former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton (D), but the underlying figures tell a different story.

Quinnipiac University released simultaneous polls in a trio of key states, places where the pollster says no candidate since 1960 has been elected without carrying two of the three. Hence, respondents in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania were randomly queried. The questions were posed during the June 4-15 period and the sample sizes ranged from a low of 970 (PA) to a high of 1,191 (OH). The format included hypothetical ballot tests between Clinton and various Republican candidates, in addition to asking personal favorability and political environment questions.

Clinton does well on the ballot tests. In Florida, she leads both Sunshine State GOP favorite sons Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. Clinton tops Bush 46-42 percent, and Rubio 47-44 percent. Her best performances are against Ohio Gov. John Kasich (13-point spread), and Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) and ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR), each by 11 percentage points.
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With Bush Officially In, New Polls Suggest Broker

June 17, 2015 — Just as former Florida governor and presidential son and brother Jeb Bush formally declared his national candidacy, several new polls were released all pointing to Republicans’ having no clear leader. The surveys provide further evidence that the underpinnings for a brokered convention continue to solidify.

Monmouth University (June 11-14; 1,002 adults; 351 likely Republican voters) released the results of their national poll, while the Morning Consult group (weekly surveying equaling 2,000 respondents; combination of live phone interviews and online responses) simultaneously tested the Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina Republican electorates.

National polls, particularly in nomination contests, are not particularly useful because the contests are state-based. But, they can be a good momentum indicator. In this instance, Monmouth, using a very small 351-person sample segment, finds Dr. Ben Carson leading the group of 16 candidates but with just 11 percent preference.
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Perry Makes Ten; North Carolina Shaping up as Major Battleground

June 8, 2015 — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced for the presidency last week, becoming the tenth official GOP candidate; more are coming.

Perry will run nationally for the second time. As you will remember, his last campaign ended with him making a major debate gaffe when he couldn’t recall the federal agencies that he was promising to eliminate. In addressing how this campaign will overcome the mistake of the past, Perry former chief of staff and 2012 communications director Ray Sullivan said that “ … people realize that what the governor did in the high-profile debate, stumble, everyone has done as some point in their lives. I think he’s already earned a second look, particularly in Iowa.”

Arguably, had he not self-destructed during the early 2012 stages, Perry may well have defeated Mitt Romney and the rest of the field to become the party nominee. His record as the longest-serving governor in Texas history is strong, and plays well to a Republican primary electorate. He was polling at, or near, the top of the 2012 polls at the time of his well-publicized debate mishap.

The big question for Perry goes beyond whether or not he can repair his reputation from mis-speaking. In the 2012 race, the then-governor raised over $20 million for his campaign effort and considerably more was invested in various super PACs that were supporting him. But, at that time he was the sitting governor of the nation’s second largest state. Now, as a former state chief executive who failed badly in his first presidential run, it is believed his fundraising apparatus will generate far less this time around.
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The Ever-Widening and Tightening Pack of GOP Presidential Candidates

June 4, 2015 — Two national presidential polls were released this week and we continue to see survey results yielding a pack of Republican candidates either tied for, or in close proximity of, the lead. Each hovers around 10-15 percent with no clear path to a majority.

Both the new Washington Post/ABC News (May 28-31; 1,001 adults; 376 registered Democrats; 362 registered Republicans) and CNN/ORC (May 29-31; 1,025 adults) polls tested the national candidates, and though neither survey is particularly sound from a methodological nor practical political perspective, their results are consistent with most other available research.

A national poll of the presidential primaries is not a particularly useful tool because votes are cast on an individual state, and not a national basis. Secondly, the registered voters segmentation for each survey is very small. The Post poll, where only 376 Democrats and 362 Republicans are sampled for their views and attitudes about primary candidates and ballot tests, possesses a high unreliability factor. The CNN survey tests 483 Republicans and 433 Democrats. This is a better sample draw, but not substantially. Third, and again particularly pronounced in the Post poll, the sample skews highly negative. In fact, all tested candidates have unfavorable personal ratings, which is not consistent with other known data.
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