Tag Archives: North Carolina

Early Senate 2022 Previews:
Florida & North Carolina

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 14, 2021 — Regardless of how many in-cycle Senate seats – there are 34 in the 2022 election cycle – come into political play, we can count on seeing Florida and North Carolina once again hosting crucial battleground campaigns.

Florida is always consistent in their close vote totals, particularly when remembering the 2000 presidential campaign — and pollsters, while typically forecasting tight finishes, have often missed the outcomes. In fact, the cumulative polling community has predicted close Democratic victories in the last four key statewide elections: two presidential (2016 & 2020), one senatorial (2018), one gubernatorial (2018), and been wrong on each occasion.

Since 2016, inclusive, Florida has hosted eight statewide races with Republicans winning seven. Yet, their average cumulative vote percentage for these eight victorious campaigns was just 50.7 percent, with the high point being 52.0 percent (Sen. Marco Rubio-R, 2016). Democrats recorded the low winning total: 50.04 percent — 6,753 votes from 8,059,155 votes cast; agriculture commissioner, 2018; winner Nikki Fried (D) vs. Matt Caldwell (R). The aggregate average among the statewide contests in these three most recent election years is 50.7 – 47.9 percent in the GOP’s favor.

With this background, Sen. Rubio will presumably seek a third term next year against what will surely be a highly competitive Democratic opponent. At this point, most of the speculation surrounds two Democratic House members, neither of whom has closed the door on either running for the Senate or challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as he seeks a second term.

Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-Winter Park) and Val Demings (D-Orlando) are the two most prominently mentioned prospective contenders, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see one run for Senate and the other for governor. It is less likely that we would see a primary developing between the pair in one of the races.

Other names being floated are Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), who is always mentioned as a potential statewide candidate because he previously served both as attorney general and governor and lost two other statewide campaigns. Other potential contenders are Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) and former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Miami). The state’s lone Democratic office holder, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, is more often associated with running for governor as opposed to the Senate contest.

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NC Court Race Brings National Implications

By Jim Ellis

North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) conceded defeat to Associate Justice Paul Newby (R) on Saturday.

Dec. 15, 2020 — On Saturday, North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) conceded defeat to Associate Justice Paul Newby (R) in a political overtime electoral contest that dragged on for more a month. Though a state election, the result will undoubtedly affect some future congressional elections.

After a full machine recount and a partial sample hand recount, Justice Newby had a 413-vote lead from greater than 5.4 million votes cast, representing another photo finish election victory decided in the 2020 election cycle.

The result almost assuredly affects future national elections because the North Carolina chief justice, even when in a minority as are the Republicans on this particular high court, will set the special judicial panels like the ones that would decide future disputed congressional redistricting cases.

This tangential effect is particularly important because North Carolina is a lock to gain one new congressional seat in national apportionment and appears on the cusp of possibly gaining two considering the rate of growth in this southern state.

Ten years ago, North Carolina missed adding a new seat by approximately 15,000 people, the population figure that allowed Minnesota to retain its eighth district, which became the nation’s 435th CD.

Therefore, being so close to a seat gain in the 2010 census apportionment suggests that North Carolina could be in position to actually gain a pair in the current calculation. If so, the state judicial race decided Saturday would carry even greater importance because the courts will almost assuredly make the final decisions in the coming North Carolina redistricting battle. This is particularly evident when remembering that the state has endured three different congressional district delineations during the current decade.

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The Early Vote Predictor

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 3, 2020 — While it became clear that the plethora of polling data published during the 2020 election cycle again proved to be a poor predictor of eventual campaign outcome in most states, another resource was discovered that might be the more reliable prognosticator.

The states releasing early voting numbers before the election – not the actual election results, of course, but the numbers of Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliated voters who had returned their ballots – provided the opportunity of charting possible race outcomes. As a predictor, the early voting numbers, largely because they are actual votes and not extrapolations and estimates as found in polling, look to be a more reliable gauge.

Let’s examine the results in the key battleground states and compare them to both the 2020 and 2016 early voting numbers as compiled by the Target Smart organization. Target Smart monitored, categorized, and published the early ballot return numbers throughout the acceptance period in every state that publicly released such data. Unfortunately, for purposes of our exercise, the Georgia 2020 numbers are among the states not currently available.

In Arizona, we see a difference in the 2016 and 2020 early vote numbers that indicated a small shift in the voting patterns. Detecting that Democratic early vote participation had increased several points from four years ago while Republicans were down slightly did prove indicative in relation to the final Arizona result that yielded an official 10,457 vote Biden victory.

In Florida, we see the Democratic early vote numbers dropping slightly. This is a bit surprising in that 2020 featured a record voter turnout. The fact that Republicans gained a bit in the swing was a predictor of President Trump’s stronger performance in the Sunshine State as compared to the result from four years previous.

As we can see from the Michigan numbers, Democrats increased their early voting participation while Republicans saw a decrease. Unaffiliated voters substantially increased. Considering the final result, it is apparent that most of the Unaffiliateds voted Democratic in the presidential contest.

The North Carolina early vote numbers gave us our first clear indication that the pollsters were mis-casting the state’s electorate. The clear indication that Democrats were missing their marks in early voting while Republicans were exceeding their expectations was the first indication that the final vote would produce a different result than the plethora of polls were suggesting.

Pennsylvania featured drastic changes in not only the partisan early vote pattern, but also in volume as early voting increased by more than twelve-fold in comparison to 2016. The stark difference in Democratic versus Republican participation levels did forecast a swing to the former party, though the final totals were not as drastically different as the early voting yields.

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Presidential Polling Report – Part II

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 30, 2020 — Last week, we covered the cumulative polling community’s 2020 accuracy in the Great Lakes region (scroll down below), and today we look at how their predictions fared in President Trump’s five core states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. If the President had been able to carry all five states, and he has now officially failed in Arizona and Georgia, he would have only needed to win one of the battleground state bordering a Great Lake to secure re-election.

In each place, we take the five publicly released polls conducted closest to the election and analyze whether the cumulative and individual survey research firms came close to the final result or missed beyond the polling margin of error.


Arizona

Canvassing is not yet complete in Arizona, but it appears Mr. Biden scored a 49.4 to 49.1% victory, a margin of just 10,457 votes. Carrying Arizona was the first conversion step for Mr. Biden to win the national election.

The final five pollsters were the NBC News/Marist College; CNBC/Change Research; Reuters/Ipsos, Emerson College, and Rasmussen Reports. Here, NBC/Marist came the closest, predicting the two candidates landing in virtually a dead heat. All five, however, were within the polling margin of error, though Rasmussen Reports did call the winner wrong, predicting President Trump would carry the state by four percentage points.

Arizona – Biden 0.3 percent

NBC News/Marist 10/29 – 11/1 717 LV 48 48 Tie
CNBC/Change Research 10/29 – 11/1 409 LV 50 47 Biden +3
Reuters/Ipsos 10/27 – 11/1 610 LV 49 47 Biden +2
Emerson 10/29 – 31 732 LV 48 46 Biden +2
Rasmussen Reports 10/27 – 29 800 LV 45 49 Trump +4

Florida

Cumulative polling predictions again projected a close Democratic win during most of the late election cycle only to see, for the fourth consecutive time in a major Florida statewide race, the Republican candidate reversing the trend and clinching a close win. The latest Florida data was much closer to the mark as three of the final five pollsters correctly forecast a win for President Trump.

The Trafalgar Group proved the closest with their Trump +2 final projection. CNBC/Change Research missed by the most, a six-plus point swing from their Biden +3 prediction to a Trump +3.3 final result.

The final five Sunshine State pollsters were: Fox 35/Insider Advantage; the Trafalgar Group; CNBC/Change Research; Susquehanna Polling & Research; and Rasmussen Reports.

Florida – Trump 3.3 percent

FOX 35/Insider Adv 11/2 400 LV 47 48 Tie Trump +1
Trafalgar Group 10/31 – 11/2 1003 LV 47 49 Tie Trump +2
CNBC/Change Research 10/29 – 11/1 806 LV 51 49 Tie Biden +3
Susquehanna 10/29 – 11/1 400 LV 46 47 Tie Trump +1
Rasmussen Reports 10/29 – 31 800 LV 48 47 Tie Biden +1

Georgia

Just about everyone missed the final count in Georgia, though pollsters throughout the election cycle were clearly forecasting a close Peach State race that certainly ended in such a manner. With the race now certified, Biden won the state, 49.5 to 49.3 percent, a margin of just 12,670 votes.

The only pollster to correctly predict a Biden victory was Public Policy Polling, while the Trafalgar Group, despite being closest in Arizona, was furthest away in Georgia. The five pollsters were: WSB-TV/Landmark Communications; the Trafalgar Group; Insider Advantage; Emerson College; and Public Policy Polling.

Georgia – Biden 0.2 percent

WSB-TV/Landmark 11/1 500 LV 50 46 Trump +4
Trafalgar Group 10/31 – 11/2 1013 LV 50 45 Trump +5
Insider Advantage 11/1 500 LV 48 46 Trump +2
Emerson 10/29 – 31 749 LV 49 48 Trump +1
PPP 10/27 – 28 661 LV 46 48 Biden +2

North Carolina

North Carolina, being one of the quintessential swing states in the country, again produced a close race in 2020 as President Trump claimed the Tar Heel State with just a 1.3 percentage margin, 49.9 – 48.6 percent. Rasmussen Reports was again closest to the mark, as they were in Pennsylvania. Most of the polling throughout the entire election cycle, however, 57 of 85 published polls with eight ties, forecast Biden as holding a North Carolina lead.

The five final pollsters were: Insider Advantage; CNBC/Change Research; Emerson College; Reuters/Ipsos; and Rasmussen Reports. While RR was the closest, CNBC/Change Research was furthest away.

North Carolina – Trump 1.3 percent

Insider Advantage 10/30 – 31 450 LV 48 44 Trump +4
CNBC/Change Research 10/29 – 11/1 473 LV 47 49 Biden +2
Emerson 10/29 – 30 855 LV 47 47 Tie
Reuters/Ipsos 10/27 – 11/1 707 LV 48 49 Biden +1
Rasmussen Reports 10/28 – 29 800 LV 48 47 Trump +1

Texas

Media report after media report continued along the theme that the Lone Star State of Texas was in play for Biden but, in the end, Texas remained red and voted for President Trump in a 5.5 percentage spread, 52.0 – 46.5 percent, which was the closest major statewide race in nearly two decades.

At the end of the race, the pollsters were detecting a clear move toward President Trump largely because the oil and gas industry issues, so important to the Texas economy, became the focal point of attack throughout most of the campaign.

The University of Houston poll called the race almost exactly correct, while two academic institution pollsters, Emerson College and Quinnipiac University, were furthest away. The five pollsters were: Emerson College; University of Massachusetts at Lowell; Siena College/New York Times; Quinnipiac University; and the University of Houston.

Texas – Trump 5.5 percent

Emerson 10/29 – 31 763 LV 49 49 Tie
UMass Lowell 10/20 – 26 873 LV 48 47 Trump +1
Siena College/NYT 10/20 – 25 802 LV 47 43 Trump +4
Quinnipiac 10/16 – 19 1145 LV 47 47 Tie
University of Houston 10/13 – 20 1000 LV 50 45 Trump +5

ME-2

For the second time in two presidential elections, the 2nd Congressional District of Maine bucked the statewide trend and supported President Trump. Biden’s larger margin in the ME-1 CD allowed him to carry the statewide count, which earned him three of Maine’s four electoral votes.

As in the US Senate election in which the polling community missed the final result by the largest margin in the country, so too did they underestimate President Trump’s strength in northern Maine.

All five final pollsters forecast a Joe Biden victory in ME-2, but the end result was a substantial win for President Trump. Each missed well beyond the polling margin of error. The five polling firms were: Change Research; Emerson College; Survey USA; Colby College; and Pan Atlantic Research.

ME-2 – Trump 7.9 percent

Change Research 10/29 – 11/2 475 LV 47 46 Biden +1
Emerson College 10/29 – 31 301 LV 50 47 Biden +3
Survey USA 10/23 – 27 509 LV 48 45 Biden +3
Colby College 10/21 – 25 453 LV 46 42 Biden +4
Pan Atlantic Research 10/2 – 6 300 LV 47 43 Biden +4

More on Redistricting

By Jim Ellis

Winners & losers in the redistricting tug of wars

Nov. 19, 2020 — In yesterday’s Update, we ended with the paragraph, “Considering the states that are losing and gaining seats, party control, and changing political trends, the Republicans are still likely to lose a small net number of seats in the transfer process despite holding the most redistricting power.”

This statement generated some questions about why the Republicans could lose seats in the apportionment transfer when they hold the balance of power in more states. Today, we delve deeper.

At this point, and remembering these are only estimates that could change when the actual apportionment formula produces the official number of seats that each state will possess, it appears ten seats will move from one state to others. Therefore, it is projected that Texas (3), Florida (2), Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon will gain districts, while Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia will lose a seat apiece. We will now explore each individually:


States That Lose

• Alabama – Even though Republicans have full control and a 6R-1D delegation, the Republicans will take the loss here. The Democratic district is a Voting Rights seat, so the loss will come from the GOP column even though they hold the redistricting pen.

• California – The lopsided California delegation, even with Republicans gaining one to three seats here when the votes are all finally counted, will likely yield the Democrats losing the district. California is a commission state that operates under strict guidelines. Therefore, the mathematics suggest, in what will potentially end as a 43D-10R delegation that the transfer seat loss will come from the Democratic column.

• Illinois – Though the state delegation features only five Republicans from a group of 18 members, the Democrats control the redistricting process here and 10 years ago produced the most lopsided of partisan gerrymanders. Expect them to figure a way for the Republicans to take the one seat loss.

• Michigan – The voters adopted a new redistricting commission, but the composition parameters look to favor the Democrats. Therefore, expect the 7D-7R delegation to recede by one Republican seat.

• Minnesota – This state features the only state legislature where each party controls one legislative chamber. Though this gives the Republicans a seat at the redistricting table, the population loss in the northern part of the state, where they have two seats, will likely result in the 4D-4R delegation lessening by one Republican seat.

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