Monthly Archives: May 2013

Massachusetts Senate Polls Show Tight Race

On the heels of Public Policy Polling surveying the Massachusetts Senate special general election that showed Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) holding only a slim four-point, 44-40 percent, lead over private equity investor and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez (R), MassINC and Suffolk University quickly released their data.

Though neither show the race as close as PPP, the MassINC poll lands in the same range as Public Policy Polling, while Suffolk gives Markey a double-digit lead. Over the course of the past two elections, PPP has proven to be the more reliable pollster than either of these other survey research entities, however.

The MassINC poll (May 5-6; 497 registered Massachusetts voters) conducted for WBUR-TV, the Boston region’s PBS affiliate, gives Markey only a 41-35 percent lead among those who stated a defined choice. When “leaners” are added, the Markey advantage increases to 46-38 percent.

Regionally, Gomez claims a big 47-28 percent (51-31 percent adding leaners) advantage in the western and central part of the state. Markey is up 41-40 percent in the area defined as the “outer suburbs,” the region beginning at the northeastern corner of the state on the New Hampshire border and swinging around the western end of Boston before wrapping its way back to the Atlantic Ocean south of the city. But, that slight edge is countered by a one-point 35-34 percent Gomez lead in the southeast, the territory including the cities of Brockton and Fall River, and then continuing all through the hook-shaped Cape Cod peninsula. Markey has a commanding 59-20 percent split in Boston and the city’s inner suburbs.

The Suffolk University poll (May 4-7; 500 likely Massachusetts voters) produces a much different result, forecasting Markey to have a substantial 52-35 percent advantage. The 17-point gap between the two is obviously far greater than PPP’s four-point margin and WBUR’s six-point spread.

According to MassINC’s Steve Koczela,  Continue reading >

Two VA Polls: A Trending Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli (R)

Ken Cuccinelli (R)

NBC News/Marist College and the Washington Post Media organization surveyed the Virginia electorate within the last week and though they report some different results, both show that Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe each can win the general election to be Virginia’s next governor.

The Washington Post Media poll (April 29-May 2; 887 registered Virginia voters) gives Cuccinelli a 46-41 percent lead and a major 51-41 percent advantage among an undisclosed number of “likely voters.” NBC/Marist (April 28-May 2; 1,095 registered Virginia voters; 692 likely election participants) posts McAuliffe to a 43-41 percent lead, but shows him trailing 42-45 percent among likely voters.

Remembering that Virginia holds it state elections in odd-numbered years, thus yielding a lower voter turnout, the “likely voter” category appears to be more important. There, both surveys agree that Cuccinelli has a discernible edge.

While the NBC poll shows positive personal ratings for both candidates — Cuccinelli 42:27 percent favorable to unfavorable; McAuliffe 32:24 percent — familiarity with each is low and both are largely a blank slate.

The Washington Post survey delved more deeply into the impressions of each candidate and found that people don’t yet associate anything in particular with either man. When asked what the respondents  Continue reading >

Sanford!

Seemingly against all odds, former governor Mark Sanford (R-SC) successfully re-claimed his former congressional seat with a stunning 54-45 percent victory over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch last night in southeastern South Carolina. The race drew major national attention because of Sanford’s highly publicized extra-marital affair and alleged violation of his divorce agreement, along with the Democratic nominee’s status of being the sister of Comedy Central television personality Stephen Colbert. Colbert Busch’s inability to dodge the liberal label, however, proved to be her undoing in this conservative Charleston-anchored 1st Congressional District.

It’s rare when a nominee winning a seat that overwhelmingly favors his party is considered an upset, but that’s exactly what happened last night. Sanford, running as a Tea Party endorsed fiscal hard-liner, successfully made his budget discipline message the focal point of the campaign and not his continuing personal scandals.

The Democrats poured a steady stream of money into the race, sensing that they could steal a solidly Republican seat and use the victory as a building block to support their 2014 House majority plan. Last night’s defeat is clearly a setback for them. When the final accounting is completed, the tally will likely show that Colbert Busch and the outside organizations supporting her or opposing Sanford spent between $1.7 and $2 million. Sanford, accompanied by very little outside spending, will come closer to, but will likely fall under, $1 million in total expenditures.

Earlier we projected that the former governor and congressman needed a high turnout to win because Colbert Busch would likely benefit from a lower voter participation rate. The former occurred. The final unofficial tally shows a total of 143,774 votes cast, from which Sanford garnered 54.0 percent. The total represents 31.6 percent of the 455,702 SC-1 registered voters.

Special elections commonly record total turnout numbers in the 100-120,000 range.  Continue reading >

King Won’t Run for Senate; SC-1

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4)

Via Twitter, as seems to be today’s norm for declining to run for political office, Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4) announced yesterday that he will not seek Iowa’s open Senate seat next year.

“I will not run for Senate in 2014. A Senate race takes me out of urgent battles in Congress that can’t wait until 2015,” King tweeted. “Many thanks to all.” Obviously, the message is an indication that he will continue his congressional service in the House, and is at least a tacit indication that he will seek re-election.

The move is likely a politically intelligent one for the congressman, even though he was virtually assured of the Republican nomination. Polling was explicit that the conservative King was the top choice of Iowa GOP primary voters. But, it was also obvious that he was fighting major head winds in the general election, and not just from Democrats.

Prior to Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) announcement earlier in the year that he would not seek re-election in 2014, former George W. Bush political chief Karl Rove announced the formation of his Conservative Victory Project, which is designed to unite the Republicans around a winnable general election candidate. It was made painfully clear upon Sen. Harkin’s announcement that Rove does not believe King can win statewide, leading to him making public overtures for Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) to run.
 Continue reading >

Sanford Pulls Ahead

Public Policy Polling released the results of their final special election survey (May 4-5; 1,239 likely SC-1 voters) of the SC-1 race and they confirm that former governor Mark Sanford (R) now has the upward momentum heading into tomorrow’s vote. According to the data, Sanford has taken a 47-46 percent lead over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D). Green Party candidate Eugene Platt posted 4 percent.

In the last PPP poll taken in mid-April, Busch had a 51-40 percent lead. Sanford’s favorability rating is still an upside down 43:54 percent, but that has improved from 38:56 percent. Busch’s rating dropped to 50:44 percent from 56:31 percent favorable to unfavorable. The key reason for her recession is being painted as a liberal. According to the data, by a margin of 47-4 percent, the respondents rated her as being too liberal. Forty-three percent said she is just “about right” ideologically.

Tomorrow’s race is back to a dead heat with Sanford now having the clear momentum. A Sanford victory tomorrow would be stunning, considering how far behind he had fallen just two weeks ago while enduring the National Republican Congressional Committee pulling out of his race.