Monthly Archives: July 2013

NRCC Announces More Patriots

The National Republican Congressional Committee has released the names of their second round of Patriot Program members, those congressmen who the NRCC believes are its most vulnerable incumbents. Back in April, the Committee publicized the first group of 11 GOP members facing the most competitive political situations.

Yesterday, nine more Representatives became “Patriots.” The program is designed to recruit incumbents in safe political situations to help raise and/or contribute funds to the designated colleagues.

The nine new members are:
• Dan Benishek – MI-1
• Michael Grimm – NY-11
• Bill Johnson – OH-6
• Tom Latham – IA-3
• Gary Miller – CA-31
• Tom Reed – NY-23
• Scott Rigell – VA-2
• Keith Rothfus – PA-12
• Lee Terry – NE-2

Two are rather obvious choices who did not make the first cut when the original Patriots were tabbed three months ago. Rep. Benishek won a second term last November, but with just 48 percent of the vote, outlasting by one point the same opponent he topped in double digits just two years before. Rep. Miller holds the most Democratic seat, at least in terms of the 2012 presidential vote, of any Republican House member.

Rep. Grimm represents the Staten Island seat that generally votes Republican, but did elect a Democrat for a term in the original Obama presidential year of 2008. Announced Democratic candidate Domenic Recchia, a New York City councilman, has already raised more money than Grimm, hence the sophomore congressman being added as a Patriot Program participant.

Representatives Johnson, Rigell, and Terry all hold marginally swing districts. In the majority of political circumstances they, as Republican incumbents, should maintain their seats.

Rep. Reed scored only a 49-46 percent win last November in a district that is more Democratic than his original pre-redistricting 29th CD. Even with the change, the three-point victory was an under-performance.

Rep. Rothfus upset Democratic incumbent Mark Critz in 2012, taking advantage of a favorable Republican redistricting map. The fact that Critz is considering seeking a re-match lands Rothfus in the Patriot Program.

Rep. Latham won a huge victory (52-43 percent) over fellow Congressman Leonard Boswell (D) last November in an incumbent pairing situation, but the district is still very attainable for the Democrats who plan to make the seat a target. It’s unlikely they’ll succeed, but the NRCC action signals that their party will take no chances here.

Michelle Nunn to Announce for Senate

Michelle Nunn

Michelle Nunn

According to well-placed Georgia political sources, Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn (D) and the individual viewed as the presumed Democratic nominee for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ (R) open Senate seat, will officially announce her candidacy later today.

When Rep. John Barrow (D-GA-12) decided to seek re-election instead of entering the Senate fray, the nomination became Nunn’s for the taking.

Republicans are fielding five candidates, all of whom have a victory scenario. The Georgia Senate race promises to be both interesting and competitive.

Sen. Enzi Well Ahead in First Wyoming Poll

Last week, Liz Cheney, the daughter of Dick Cheney — former vice president, US defense secretary, and Wyoming congressman — boldly announced a Republican primary challenge to three-term Sen. Mike Enzi. This weekend, the first public poll of the match-up was released.

Harper Polling (July 17-18; 422 likely Wyoming Republican primary voters), for the Conservative Intelligence Briefing website, finds Sen. Enzi to be in strong shape on the initial ballot test. According to HP, the senator jumps out to a commanding 55-21 percent lead over Cheney.

The survey’s key finding is Enzi’s incredibly strong personal favorability rating among the Equality State Republican respondents. The results yield a 76:6 percent positive to negative ratio for the senator. Cheney’s numbers are relatively strong too, 45:15 percent favorable to unfavorable, but they pale in comparison to the incumbent’s. Interestingly, her father’s rating among his home constituency is almost as high as Sen. Enzi’s; the former vice president scores 74:16 percent.

Additionally, the senator’s job approval is just about as high as his personal rating. According to this survey, 73 percent of those polled have a positive view of his job performance in Washington, versus only 9 percent who hold a negative opinion. In terms of the standard “re-elect” question, 48 percent say that Sen. Enzi deserves re-election as opposed to 28 percent who believe that “we should give someone else a chance.”

The respondent pool is highly conservative. Forty-four percent of the participants describes themselves as “very conservative” and another 40 percent self-identifies as “somewhat conservative.” In contrast, only 1 percent of the group say they are liberal. By a margin of 44-35 percent, those questioned support the “goals and ideals” of the Tea Party.

Harper also asked the 2016 Republican presidential nomination question. They found that the Wyoming respondents answered similarly to early national samples, in that the many potential candidates are bunched closely together. In a bit of an aside, former vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) leads with 15 percent. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is second posting 12 percent, and three are tied at 10 percent: Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), former Gov. Jeb Bush (FL), and Sen. Marco Rubio (FL).

In conclusion, the poll illuminates Cheney’s high difficulty factor in her quest for the Senate. She has the ability to raise substantial resources, and it appears every penny will be needed if she is to make any headway against Enzi.

Two Skewed Polls: NH / Minn.

NH-MN-cds

Harper Polling conducted two surveys for the National Republican Congressional Committee and found a pair of potential 2014 GOP challengers in excellent shape, but the polls appear to contain methodological flaws.

NH-1

According to Harper, former New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta (R), who is considering a comeback attempt in the state’s 1st CD, leads Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) 48-41 percent in their poll of 408 registered voters released July 17. In 2010, Guinta defeated Shea-Porter 54-42 percent after she had served two consecutive terms in Washington. Two years later, the former congresswoman returned the favor, reclaiming the seat 50-46 percent before an expanded turnout of some 120,000 more voters than during the mid-term election. In the presidential years, the 1st District voted twice for President Obama: 53-46 percent in 2008, and 50-49 percent in 2012.

Though New Hampshire voters do not register by political party, it is clear from the voting history that the 1st District leans more towards Democrats than Republicans. Yet, there is no disputing that it qualifies as a true swing district. Hence, Harper’s sample consisting of 40 percent Republicans, only 31 percent Democrats, and 29 percent Independents is slanted in the GOP’s favor. This is not to say that Guinta may be performing well in comparison to the congresswoman, particularly considering the two candidates’ see-saw history when facing each other, but a seven-point lead at this juncture of the campaign seems out of whack.

Still, it is data like this that could encourage Guinta to get back into the race. He is also reportedly considering a US Senate challenge to incumbent Jeanne Shaheen (D), but such a move appears less likely as time progresses.
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Hagan Expands Lead; Three Others Out

Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling recently conducted their monthly survey of North Carolina voters (July 12-14; 600 registered North Carolina voters) and found that Sen. Kay Hagan (D), widely regarded as being among the most vulnerable senators facing re-election, is gaining strength. But, the poll may contain certain slight methodological flaws.

According to the data, Sen. Hagan leads all potential Republican candidates between 10 and 15 points and, as we see on almost all PPP polls, the incumbent and her potential opponents have received consistently poor job approval and/or personal favorability ratings.

Though the voting patterns are weighted to correctly reflect how the state voted in the 2012 presidential and gubernatorial races, flaws seem to be present in gender, geographic distribution, and perhaps ideology.

According to the latest census numbers, females in North Carolina comprise 51.3% of the general population. The survey sample tops 53%. The Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High Point area appears to be over-sampled, while the Charlotte metropolitan area seems to have a smaller number of respondents than accurately reflects its size. Additionally, a southern state topping 30 percent in those claiming to be very and somewhat liberal as compared to only a 43 percent factor self-identifying as very and somewhat conservative tilts abnormally to the left.

All of the slight skews help Sen. Hagan. The over-sampling of female voters, trending more liberal than their male counterparts, would certainly help the liberal incumbent. Since the senator hails from Greensboro, the over-sample from that region at the expense of the Charlotte area should also help her. And, of course, a slight liberal skew would also aid her.

The conclusion that Sen. Hagan leads her largely unknown potential Republican challengers is not surprising, and undoubtedly accurate. But, because of the slight methodological tilts in her favor, the lead might be in the mid-to-high single digits as opposed to the low to mid-double  Continue reading >