Tag Archives: Rick Santorum

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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Bush Surging in NH? Really?

Feb. 5, 2016 — A late-breaking Harper Polling New Hampshire survey (Feb. 1-2; 425 likely New Hampshire primary voters) finds ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush surprisingly claiming second place within the Republican presidential field, but he’s still far behind leader Donald Trump. There are, however, three reasons to question the results.

According to the new data, half of which was gathered after the Iowa Caucus results became known, Trump commands first position with 31 percent preference. Bush is second registering 14 percent, followed closely by Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 12 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) posts 10 percent, with Iowa winner, Sen. Ted Cruz, not faring particularly well in the Granite State, dropping to nine percent support.

All of the remaining candidates –- and still including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) who both suspended their presidential campaigns Wednesday morning -– find themselves landing only in the mid-to-low single digits.

There appears to be methodological flaws in the survey, which was conducted through an Interactive Voice Response mechanism. First, the favorability indexes are curious in that the only candidate with a positive ratio is Donald Trump. All of the other Republican contenders, remembering that the respondents are GOP primary voters, are seriously upside down.

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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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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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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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Shuffling Among The Broad Field
Of GOP Candidates In New Iowa Poll

June 2, 2015 — Iowa pollster Selzer & Company was back in the field conducting another presidential poll for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics and produced results showing a clear leader in the Republican field. The group has been the regular DMR pollster for the past several election cycles.

The survey (May 25-29; 402 likely Iowa GOP Caucus attenders from a pool of 4,161 Iowa registered voters) again finds Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) leading the huge pack of 16 Republican presidential hopefuls, just as he was in their previous January poll.

Despite not overtly campaigning, or being a major presence in the news during the last month, Gov. Walker is demonstrating staying power in this important first-in-the-nation caucus state. He garnered 17 percent support, with a combined preference number of 27 percent. Only 15 percent of the respondent sample said they would “never” consider voting for him, the lowest percentage of any candidate.
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A Bunched Pack of GOP Contenders

June 1, 2015 — Quinnipiac University just released a new poll (May 19-26; 1,711 registered U.S. voters; 679 likely Republican primary voters; 748 likely Democratic nomination system participants) that clearly reveals the closeness and fluidity of the Republican presidential contest. No less than five candidates are tied for first place, and the entire field of 16 tested individuals fall within 10 points of one another.

Though this is a small-sample national survey and not reflective of the state-based system in which candidates participate to win a presidential nomination, the data still has value because it suggests that no potential contender is summarily eliminated.

Jointly in top position with just 10 percent preference apiece are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (now also residing in the Sunshine State), ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Just three and four points behind them are Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (seven percent), and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (six percent).
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The Debate Game

May 27, 2015 — With yet another Republican ready to announce his presidential campaign tomorrow, last week’s declaration from two media sources saying they are going to limit the number of televised debate participants to 10 will soon ignite a firestorm of protest. It is probable that the question surrounding who is and is not invited to participate will probably create more intense political fireworks than the formal debates themselves.

It’s clear that Fox News and CNN want to have manageable television programs, hence the arbitrary limits placed upon who can attend. The fact that they want to base their exclusion on inexact national polls, using a mathematical formula that no pollster would deem legitimate (averaging diverse surveys), in order to produce an imaginary top 10 will certainly lead to extensive discussion and dissent, and possibly even legal challenges.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki is set to become the next official presidential candidate, and he would likely be one of the people excluded from the televised debates, assuming his effort does not catch fire between now and summer. Pataki is a three-term governor of New York, one of only three Republicans to hold this position since the early 1920s. The other two are Nelson Rockefeller, who would later become vice president, and Thomas E. Dewey, winner of the 1948 Republican presidential nomination but loser to President Harry Truman (D) in what was one of the more memorable campaigns of the 20th Century.
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Unreliable Poll Shows Bush Leading

May 11, 2015 — The University of New Hampshire is routinely among the most unreliable of public polling entities, and the institution’s new release in partnership with WMUR-TV in Manchester is no exception to that characterization. The poll is attracting attention because it is the first one in months to project former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as leading his fellow Republican competitors in any early voting state.

The survey, conducted during the very long sampling period of April 24 – May 3, interviewed only 293 “likely GOP primary voters.” The 10-day questioning period is seven days longer than the optimum timetable, and the sample size is only half as large as what one would typically see in a state the size of New Hampshire.

The pollsters will argue that because they are testing only likely Republican primary voters, the sample size will be smaller than a poll studying the entire electorate. While this is true, not even reaching 300 people taints the results with a very high error factor. By the pollsters’ own admission, the error rate in this study is greater than plus or minus 5.7 percent, which means the results could vary by as much as 10 points per individual.
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Walker’s Momentum Continues
in Latest Presidential Poll

April 30, 2015 — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been quiet during the past month, but if the new Iowa Public Policy Polling presidential nomination survey (April 23-26; 462 likely Iowa Republican caucus attenders; 469 likely Iowa Democratic caucus attenders) is any indication his momentum continues, nevertheless.

Walker, who reportedly will announce his presidential candidacy next month, tops this poll of likely Iowa Caucus attenders with 23 percent preference from the sample group respondents. Continuing his upward move since making his own presidential announcement on April 13, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio jaunts into second place but remains a full 10 percentage points behind Gov. Walker.

Jeb Bush, in another disappointing showing, places third at 12 percent, with former Arkansas governor and 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) rounding out the group in double-digits. Both of these men tie with 10 percent support. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the other formally announced participant among the tested group of nine candidates and potential contenders, scored eight percent.

Another eight individuals, including 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum, were not included on the ballot test question, but PPP did survey their personal approval ratings.
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Republicans: Headed for
an Open Convention?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker delivers his speech at Chatham House in central London, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015.  (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker delivers his speech at Chatham House in central London, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

FEB. 12, 2015 — A new poll provides us an early clue about how spoiler candidates could force the Republican nomination into an open convention.

TargetPoint Consulting (Jan. 30-Feb. 3; 400 SC Republican primary voters) finds Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading the GOP pack of candidates in a preliminary poll, finishing one point ahead of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) in their new survey of South Carolina Republican primary voters. Both just barely top the double-digit mark (Walker 12 percent; Graham 11 percent), but still fare better than the other candidates including ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee (10 percent), who finished second in the 2008 South Carolina primary, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (9 percent).

Though the difference among the candidates is negligible, the fact that Bush cannot break away from single-digits is significant. A recent Iowa poll (Selzer & Company for the Des Moines Register) also projected Gov. Walker leading with Bush similarly mired in the middle of the pack. These poll results provide further evidence that the Republican nomination battle is wide open.

Sen. Graham has been publicly toying with the idea of entering the presidential race and promises a decision by the middle of this year. Aside from this poll of his home state electorate, he hasn’t even registered in surveys conducted in other states. Still, it is regional, or favorite-son candidates like he, who could play a major role in determining who ultimately does win the nomination.
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Q-Poll: Hillary Cruising

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to a crowd in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Liam Richards)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to a crowd in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Liam Richards)

FEB. 4, 2015 — It is commonly believed that the path to the White House travels through big swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. If so, former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton is in strong shape less than two years before the next presidential vote.

Quinnipiac University went into the field to test the general electorates in these three critical places and found Clinton doing very well against the tested Republican candidates. The results, though too early to be a relevant predictor of any actual voting trend in November of 2016, provide us at least two important indicators.

First, the poll tells us that Clinton’s early low-key approach to this campaign is working. She has deliberately delayed forming a presidential committee, and kept a very low public profile. The Q-Poll results tell us that, so far, such a strategic move is paying dividends.
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Christie, Clinton Up in New Presidential Poll

CNN released the results of their latest 2016 presidential poll (ORC International; Nov. 18-20; 843 adults; 595 landline respondents; 248 via cellphone) during the Thanksgiving break, but their methodology leaves much to be desired, hence the conclusions are unreliable.

As we know, contemporary polls conducted on a national basis for a series of nomination elections that will occur more than two years into the future are merely for news consumption and have little real political value. Furthermore, polling “adults” as opposed to registered or likely voters yields even less reliability.

That being said, the data gives both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton (D) clear leads for their respective party nominations.

According to CNN/ORC, Christie leads the GOP field of potential candidates with 24 percent support from the poll respondents. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is second with 13 percent; Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-1), the 2012  Continue reading >

Is a Serious Race Developing in PA?

Yesterday, we mentioned two Senate races bridging the gap toward competitiveness, Florida and Ohio, but is a third campaign on the cusp of becoming a serious? A new Rasmussen Reports survey suggests that the Pennsylvania Senate contest, despite incumbent Bob Casey Jr. (D) holding a comfortable lead, is not yet clinched. Though Sen. Casey has had a controversy-free first term, he still does not exceed 50 percent support in various statewide polls. Rasmussen Reports (July 18; 500 likely Pennsylvania voters) gives Casey a 49-38 percent lead over the Republican nominee, businessman Tom Smith.

Casey destroyed former senator Rick Santorum 59-41 percent in 2006, but the 2012 political climate may be different. If this year is anything like 2010, when Republicans captured the other Senate seat, the governorship, gained five congressional seats, and won both houses of the state legislature, the Senate campaign could be headed toward battle status.

With President Obama running ahead in the Keystone State, but lagging behind where most Democrats begin in the state, Smith could become the beneficiary of a hard-fought, polarizing national campaign. Having enough personal money to become relevant, Smith may just seize the opportunity of putting this state in play. The period between now and Sept. 1 is a critical positioning time for the challenger. If he proves his viability during the current segment, then count on a wild finish.

Romney, Obama Both Must Contend With Weak Support

Just two days after Rick Santorum exited the presidential race, which unofficially began the Obama-Romney general election campaign, new data is showing that both candidates have work to do to improve their standing within the electorate.

According to the Gallup research organization, Mitt Romney has the second lowest level of party support after unofficially clinching a nomination since the polling firm began regular testing of the presidential candidates all the way back in 1972. Gallup’s latest poll (April 4-9; 1,149 self-identified Republican and Republican-leaning Independent voters) gives Romney only a 42-24-10-10 percent preference over Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX-14), respectively. Again, even after seeing major publicity surrounding the Santorum exit, Romney fails by a large margin to reach the 50 percent threshold among Republican voters.

The lowest candidate score since Gallup began charting this type of research occurred in 1972 when then-Sen. George McGovern (D-SD), upon practically clinching the Democratic nomination of that year, only polled three points ahead of former Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey, 30-27 percent. As we all remember, McGovern would go on to absorb a crushing 49-state loss to then-President Richard M. Nixon.

Even other candidates who were soundly defeated, such as John McCain in 2008 for example, recorded strong intra-party preference numbers when it became clear their nomination was secure. In the first poll after McCain unofficially claimed the Republican nomination, he posted a 63-20 percent margin over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the second-place finisher.

Former Vice-President Walter Mondale (D) who, like McGovern, would lose 49 states in his subsequent general election, scored a 54-39 percent Gallup mark over former Sen. Gary Hart (D-CO) when it became clear in June of 1984 that he would win the Democratic nomination. And, then-Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) who lost to President Bill Clinton in a similar statistical manner as McCain lost to Barack Obama, also registered strong intra-party numbers when it became obvious that he would be the GOP standard bearer. Dole was the choice of 58% in the final 1996 Republican presidential poll as compared to 15% apiece for businessman Steve Forbes and national political commentator Pat Buchanan.

But Romney is not the only one with problems. The Gallup data is still recording problematic numbers for President Obama, too. According to their latest monthly presidential job approval poll (March 1-31; a rolling sample of 16,037 adults) Obama stands only with a 46:46 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval ratio.

While he shows favorability improvement over the past several Gallup monthly studies, Obama still is not yet in good stead. Even his standing among minority voters is showing diminishing strength. While African-Americans still rate him extremely high, 43 percent above the national average, his support among Hispanics is declining. This group only rates him nine percent above the national average, down from their high of 22 percent above recorded in January of 2010. Whites have consistently rated him from seven to nine percentage points below the national average during that same time period.

Additionally, even the lowest income level group, those with less than $24,000 in annual household income, rate him now just five percent above the national average. Their high number was +11 percent, also in January of 2010. All other income groups, divided into three levels with the highest being over $90,000 annually, rate the President one percentage point below the national average of 46 percent positive.

In conclusion, it appears that President Obama and Mitt Romney must each contend with his own weakness issue. Therefore, in order to compensate for a lack of enthusiasm among his own support base, expect highly contrasting negative campaign strategies to emanate from both camps as the general election begins to formulate.