Kelly Beyond Margin of Error in AZ Polling; Tightening Race for GA Senate; Dead Heat in MO

By Jim Ellis — July 6, 2022

Senate Polling

Sen. Mark Kelly (D) strong in new polling

Arizona: Sen. Kelly Beyond Margin of Error — Last week, we reported on a Public Policy Polling survey (June 28; 595 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) that projected venture capitalist Blake Masters, who former President Donald Trump endorses, to a 29-15-10 percent advantage over Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) and businessman Jim Lamon (R). Earlier, the Trafalgar Group (June 7-9; 1,077 likely Arizona Republican primary voters) found the Masters’ lead at a more modest 29-24-17 percent over Brnovich and Lamon.

Change Research just released their new general election poll (June 24-27; 705 likely Arizona general election voters; online) and projects Sen. Kelly to be holding a substantial 48-39 percent lead over Masters. Lamon performs better. He would trail Sen. Kelly, 47-41 percent. Surprisingly, it does not appear that CR tested Brnovich against the incumbent.

Georgia: Closer Than Quinnipiac — Last week, we also covered the Quinnipiac University survey (June 23-27; 1,497 registered Georgia voters; live interview) that forecast Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) leading Republican Herschel Walker, 54-44 percent. The more recent Change Research poll (June 24-27; 704 likely Georgia general election voters; online) projects a closer contest, however. The CR results find Sen. Warnock’s lead to be 48-44 percent, which is more consistent with other publicly released data for this campaign.

Missouri: Trafalgar’s Dead Heat — The Trafalgar Group tested the open Missouri Republican US Senate primary (June 28-30; 1,072 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; multiple sources) and found a virtual three-way tie for the GOP open seat nomination. Their latest ballot test finds US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) and former Gov. Eric Greitens tied at 24 percent, with Attorney General Eric Schmitt right behind at 23 percent. US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield) and state Senate President Dave Schatz (R) are way back at six and two percent support.

Greitens was forced to resign from the governor’s office in 2018 because of an extra-marital affair and charges brought against him in St. Louis County. The indictment was later dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct. The former governor and ex-Navy SEAL recently released an ad showing him holding an automatic weapon, attacking a vacant house, and claiming he is chasing down “Republican RINO’s” (Republicans in Name Only). Despite the negative feedback, Greitens continues to promote the theme.

The Democratic race features Afghan War veteran Lance Kunce and philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the August Busch Budweiser beer family. Sen. Roy Blunt (R) is retiring.

Nevada: Another Toss-Up Result — Change Research also tested the Nevada Senate race as part of their multi-state series. The Silver State survey (June 24-27; 701 likely Nevada general election voters; online) again finds Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) running neck and neck. The CR Nevada ballot test finds the Senator holding a 46-43 percent lead, which is consistent with five other polls that have been conducted from March to the present time. Nevadans are no strangers to close elections. In their past 10 statewide contests, only four winners have topped the 50 percent mark with the strongest victor receiving only 50.6 percent.

New Hampshire: Sen. Hassan Expands Lead, But Against Weakest Opponent — Continuing with the series of late June Change Research online polls, the New Hampshire race was also tested. At this point, the only released data is of an unlikely general election pairing between Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) and retired Army General Don Bolduc (R). This poll (June 24-27; 704 likely New Hampshire general election voters; online) gives the senator a 49-40 percent lead.

Gen. Bolduc, however, is an underdog to win the Republican primary as state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), Londonderry former town manager, Kevin Smith, and investor Bruce Fenton all look to be stronger candidates in the Sept. 13 Republican primary race. This poll should be considered the base Republican position against Sen. Hassan.

Governor

Texas: Gov. Abbott Maintains Advantage — International online pollster YouGov, for CBS News, tested the Texas general election electorate and again finds Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leading in his quest for a third term. The poll (June 22-27; 548 likely Texas general election voters; online) sees the governor topping former US congressman and 2020 presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke (D), 49-41 percent. Considering that Texas Republican candidates tend to under-poll based upon the eventual final election result, it is conceivable that Abbott is in an even stronger position than this survey indicates.

Masters Opens Significant Lead in AZ; Faulty FL Poll; Fung Unopposed in RI

By Jim Ellis — July 5, 2022

Senate

Venture capitalist Blake Masters (R)

Arizona: Masters Staked to Significant Lead — Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling went into the Arizona Republican field at the beginning of this week to test the GOP battle for the party’s Senate nomination. The survey (June 28; 595 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) finds venture capitalist Blake Masters, who former President Donald Trump endorses, opening up a significant 29-15-10 percent advantage over Attorney General Mark Brnovich and businessman Jim Lamon. This is the first time since the early campaign days when we’ve seen a poll featuring any one of the three candidates holding a significant edge.

When asked if the Trump endorsement would make voters more or less likely to vote for Masters, 53 percent of the respondent sample said much more likely (31 percent) or somewhat more likely (22 percent), while those saying they would be less inclined to support Masters because of the endorsement reached only 20 percent.

House

FL-27: Close Poll Not What it Seems — State Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) until quite recently was in the governor’s race challenging Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) for the Democratic nomination, even though he chose her as his lieutenant governor running mate in 2014. Now a congressional candidate, Taddeo’s campaign released a SEA Polling & Strategic Design survey that shows her trailing Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami) by just two percentage points, 47-45 percent.

This poll should be discounted. It was conducted well over a month ago, during the May 23-25 period, which is before Taddeo even left the governor’s race. Therefore, too much has changed for this survey to be taken seriously.

RI-2: Fung Unopposed — It appears Republicans are uniting around former Cranston mayor and two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung to make a serious run at converting Rhode Island’s open 2nd Congressional District. Former state Rep. Bob Lancia (R) decided not to enter the race at the filing deadline. Trailing badly in the polls to Fung, Lancia ended his campaign, which opened the door for Fung to run unopposed for the party nomination. A published Suffolk University poll (June 19-22; 423 likely Rhode Island general election voters; live interview) finds Fung leading all six top Democratic candidates, including perceived leader Seth Magaziner, the Rhode Island general treasurer.

The 2nd District covers most of the small state’s western region including a portion of Providence County where more than half of Rhode Island’s population resides. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the 2nd as D+17 and Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the “partisan lean” as 56.9 percent D to just 41 percent R. Though a long shot, it appears this district is on the GOP conversion target list. Veteran US Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Warwick) is retiring after serving what will be 11 terms at the end of the current Congress.

States

Maryland: Rep. Brown in AG Dogfight — When US Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Bowie) announced for the open state attorney general position, he looked difficult to beat. A new poll, however, shows him dropping into a dead heat with retired state judge Katie Curran O’Malley, the wife of former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

The Goucher College poll conducted for the Baltimore Banner news site (June 15-19; 501 Democratic Maryland registered voters; 403 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters) finds O’Malley now edging ahead of Rep. Brown with a 30-29 percent margin. The O’Malley campaign is running ads crediting Rep. Brown with being an able congressman, but saying he does not have the legal experience to be an effective attorney general. The delayed Maryland primary is July 19.

Sen. Warnock Jumps to Significant Lead, Kemp & Abrams Tied in Georgia; Incumbent Rep. Lee Trailing in NV-3

By Jim Ellis — July 1, 2022

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Jumps to Significant Lead — The new Georgia Quinnipiac poll (June 23-27; 1,497 registered Georgia voters; live interview) finds Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) claiming a 54-44 percent lead over Republican Herschel Walker, the most lopsided pro-Democratic ballot test to date. The previous polling from December to mid-April (six polls) had given Walker a slight edge.

Sen. Warnock carries a positive 49:39 percent job approval rating in contrast to President Biden’s upside-down 33:60 percent approval rating. Walker scores rather poorly on honesty, 39:43 percent honest to dishonest, and is not perceived to have particularly good leadership skills, 37:43 percent. As point of reference, the same polling sample finds Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D) tied at 48 percent.

However, the study could be an anomaly.

Though polls have been moving toward Sen. Warnock, the Q-Poll takes a giant leap, so it is possible that this survey is an outlier. Democrats support Warnock, 97-2 percent; Republicans are for Walker in a 93-7 percent clip.

The Independent sector is where we may be detecting a significant skew. This group, on virtually every question but the Biden job approval query moves significantly toward the Democratic position and/or candidate, and in a greater degree than one would expect from people who self-identify as “independents” (62-33 percent for Warnock).

While this particular poll may well skew toward Sen. Warnock, it is probable that we will soon see other data yielding a much closer ballot test. The Georgia Senate race is one that is far from over.

Missouri: Independent Joins Race — Answering former Sen. John Danforth’s (R) call for a new candidate in the Senate race, former US Attorney John Wood announced his plans to enter the contest as an Independent. He claims this is a move to potentially stop former Gov. Eric Greitens from prevailing in the general election should he win the Republican nomination. In reality, however, by splitting the vote in such a manner — if Wood were to become a top-tier candidate — would likely elect the Democratic nominee.

Wood says that if elected, he would support Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for Majority Leader and would presumably caucus with the Republicans. To qualify for the ballot in Missouri, an Independent candidate must submit 10,000 valid registered voters’ signatures by an Aug. 1 deadline.

House

FL-2: Close Poll in Paired Race — The new northern Florida’s 2nd District is rated R+16 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. A new Sachs Media poll (June 20-23; 400 likely FL-2 general election voters), however, finds Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) leading Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) by only a 43-40 percent margin. Perhaps the most troubling segment for Rep. Dunn is the unaffiliated voters who are breaking for Lawson by a 42-18 percent margin.

NV-3: Rep. Lee Trailing in New Survey — The Tarrance Group, polling for the April Becker (R) campaign (June 20-23; 400 likely NV-3 general election voters), posts their client and Republican challenger to a 46-44 percent edge over incumbent Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas). Likely most troubling for the Lee campaign is her deficit among Hispanic voters who comprise almost 19 percent of the 3rd District of Nevada’s population. Within this segment, Becker leads the congresswoman 48-42 percent. President Biden’s job approval rating here is a poor 37 percent.

OK-2: Runoff Set — With enough votes counted, it is now clear that the Republican runoff to replace Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) will feature state Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee), who finished first with just 14.7 percent among the crowded field, and former state Sen. John Brecheen, who was close behind with 13.8 percent support. The two just eclipsed Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee (13.0 percent) and Oklahoma Republican Party chairman John Bennett (11.3 percent). The runoff winner is a lock to win the general election in a R+55 rated seat according the the 538 data group.

Redistricting

Louisiana: Supreme Court Stays Ruling — The federal judge’s ruling that disqualified the new Louisiana congressional map because it did not draw a second black district has been stayed. The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) took the action to at least temporarily block the ruling from taking effect. The conclusion will mean the legislature’s map will return at least for the 2022 election.

The courts, either through this case or the Alabama Voting Rights case that the SCOTUS has already scheduled for hearing, will likely determine how the Voting Rights Act is to be interpreted moving forward. This could mean that the Louisiana map and many others will be re-drawn for the 2024 election and beyond.

Republicans Trying to Bring Down Greitens in MO; Likely OK Runoff; Tight GOP Contest Forecast in MI

By Jim Ellis — June 30, 2022

Senate

Ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R)

Missouri: Republicans Trying to Bring Down Greitens — The Politico publication is reporting that a group of Republicans are funding a major new “Show Me Values” super PAC in order to run negative ads against resigned Gov. Eric Greitens (R) before the Aug. 2 US Senate primary. The former governor was forced out of office less than two years after he was elected based upon a sex scandal and legal charges that were later dismissed because of prosecutorial misconduct.

Attempting a return in the 2022 Senate race, Greitens ex-wife is accusing him of domestic abuse in their child custody hearings. Despite all of the negativity surrounding Greitens, the other Republican candidates have been unable to break through, and the former governor continues to maintain small leads in most polls. Fearing that Greitens will lose the general election, the Show Me Values organization is attempting to help another candidate, whether it be Attorney General Eric Schmitt or Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) and Billy Long (R-Springfield), to victory in the upcoming GOP primary.

Oklahoma Special: Runoff Likely — According to a new Sooner Poll, a combined effort from the news departments from Oklahoma City and Tulsa Channels 9 and 6, respectively (June 13-21; 350 likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters), finds US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) and former state House Speaker T. W. Shannon headed for a Republican runoff after Tuesday’s primary voting. The poll results are consistent with others that have been periodically released since March.

In this Sooner Poll survey, Rep. Mullin commands 39 percent support and Shannon 13 percent. State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) is well back with eight percent, and former Sen. Jim Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland trails with a five percent preference factor. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two finishers will advance to an Aug. 23 runoff election. The eventual Republican nominee is a lock in the general election and will serve the remaining four years on resigning Sen. Inhofe’s current term.

House

MI-7: Rep. Slotkin in Toss-Up Race — State Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Lansing) released an internal Cygnal campaign poll (June 14-16; 400 MI-7 registered voters; peer-to-peer text) that gives the candidate a 46-44 percent ballot test lead over two-term US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly). Michigan’s primaries are scheduled for Aug. 2. In what appears to be worse news for the Democratic incumbent, the generic question yields 50.3 percent of the respondents saying they will vote for a Republican congressional candidate versus just 39.3 percent who plan to support a Democratic contender in the US House campaign. The Biden job approval index is an upside-down 36:62 percent positive to negative. The FiveThirtyEight organization rates the new 7th CD as R+4. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan factor at 49.3 D – 47.9 R.

In 2020, Rep. Slotkin was re-elected to the 8th CD with a 51-47 percent margin. The new 7th District contains just over 38 percent new constituents for the congresswoman. The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission drew several toss-up congressional districts, similar to the statistics we see from the new 7th CD.

Governor

Michigan: Tight GOP Contest Forecast — Michigan pollster Mitchell Research, conducting a political poll for the Michigan Information & Research Service (June 21-22; 588 likely Michigan Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system & text) finds the Republican primary falling into a dead heat still several weeks away from the Aug. 2 primary election. The field drastically changed when leading candidate James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief, businessman Perry Johnson, and several others failed to qualify for the ballot because they lacked the required number of legal petition signatures.

Such being the case, the new Mitchell poll finds talk show host Tudor Dixon and businessman Kevin Rinke tied with 15 percent support. Closely following is real estate broker and Trump activist Ryan Kelley at 13 percent, while chiropractor Garrett Soldano posts eight percent preference. Michigan uses a plurality system to determine their party nominees, meaning the person with the most votes wins the single nomination election regardless of percentage attained. The eventual nominee will then challenge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the general election.

Casten and Miller Win in Illinois; Colorado Statewide Races Set;
More Primary Results News

By Jim Ellis — June 29, 2022

Primary Results

Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove)

Illinois: Reps. Casten and Miller Win — The big news from last night’s primary election surrounded the two paired districts. In the Chicago suburbs, Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove), who unexpectedly lost his 17-year-old daughter just two weeks ago, scored a landslide win over fellow Rep. Marie Newman (D-La Grange) in the new 6th District that contained more of the latter member’s current turf.

Freshman Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland)

In the downstate Republican 15th CD, freshman Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland), armed with an endorsement and rally appearance from former President Donald Trump, recorded a decisive 57-43 percent over veteran Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville). Davis will now see his congressional career draw to a close after serving what will be ten years in the House.

The Democratic pairing occurred in order to create a new Chicago-anchored Hispanic district. State Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) easily won the Democratic nomination in this seat, and becomes the prohibitive favorite for the general election. State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) won an outright majority with 57 percent of the vote opposite five opponents in the governor’s primary. He advances to the general election to oppose incumbent J. B. Pritzker (D). Conservative activist Kathy Salvi won the Republican Senate nomination, and now faces a likely insurmountable opponent in Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D).

Colorado: Statewide Races Set — As expected, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl captured the Republican gubernatorial nomination with a 53 percent majority over GOP nominating convention winner Greg Lopez. In the Senate contest, as most predicted, construction company owner Joe O’Dea defeated state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose) with just under 55 percent of the vote. Like Lopez, Rep. Hanks also won the Republican nominating convention endorsement.

The two will advance to the general election against Gov. Jared Polis (D) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D). Neither incumbent was opposed for re-nomination and both are now heavy favorites to win re-election in November.

MS-3 and 4: Guest Wins; Palazzo Loses — As predicted, despite a scare in the primary election, Mississippi 3rd District Rep. Michael Guest (R-Brandon) easily won re-nomination last night in the Mississippi congressional runoff election. He topped challenger Michael Cassidy with two-thirds of more than 70,000 votes that were cast in last night’s election. Rep. Guest will now have an easy run in the general election.

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Biloxi) was not so fortunate in his southern Mississippi 4th CD. He failed to overcome Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell and lost his seat in a 54-46 percent count. Palazzo becomes the eighth House incumbent to be denied re-nomination and the fourth who lost to a challenger that was not a fellow incumbent forced into a paired district. Sheriff Ezell is now the heavy favorite to win the seat in November.

NE-1: Flood Wins Special — Another special congressional election was held last night, and this result ended in a closer final tally than originally expected. Nebraska state Sen. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), a media company owner, claimed the seat with a 53-47 percent victory over fellow state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks (D-Lincoln) in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+17.

Flood will be sworn into the House upon official election certification. He will replace convicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln). Rep-Elect Flood and Sen. Pansing Brooks will see each other again. Both are the party nominees for the regular general election in November.

New York: Hochul vs. Zeldin — The New York statewide contests also ended as expected. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who ascended from the lieutenant governor’s position when Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned, easily defeated NYC Public advocate Jumaane Williams and US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), 68-19-13 percent. Williams was unopposed for the Working Families ballot line, so he will advance into the general election despite his loss last night.

The Republican battle was a bit closer. US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley; East Long Island) topped Andrew Giuliani, son of ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in a 44-23 percent split. Former Westchester County executive and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino and businessman Harry Wilson recorded 18 and 15 percent, respectively. Gov. Hochul begins the general election as the decided favorite.
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