Monthly Archives: August 2013

Filner Resignation Affects House Race

It appears that the San Diego City Council and scandal-ridden Mayor Bob Filner have reached a tentative resignation agreement, but the ensuing mayoral replacement process will probably adversely affect Republican chances of unseating freshman Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52).

Apparently Filner’s lawyers have prepared a document that outlines their client’s departure terms. The council is dealing with the situation in closed session, so the public is not yet privy to what’s contained in the settlement. Attorney Gloria Allred, representing one of the women that the mayor and former congressman allegedly sexually harassed, is saying that the proposal includes a provision for the city to pay Filner’s legal fees. Allred is voicing opposition to such an arrangement and it is likely that she won’t be the only one to object. Therefore, the end of the Filner tenure may not be as close as media reports suggest.

Regardless of when the mayor leaves office, a special election will be conducted for voters to choose a replacement. The legal calendar dictates that the special primary be scheduled within 90 days of the vacancy occurring, followed by a run-off contest between the top two finishers within an additional 49 days if no candidate receives an outright majority in the first election.

Former city councilman Carl DeMaio (R) lost a close 52-48 percent election to Filner last November, after placing first in the primary election. Upon absorbing the loss, DeMaio began taking steps to challenge freshman Rep. Peters, citing 2012 precinct vote totals. The figures prove that he out-polled Filner by 12 percentage points in CD-52’s overlapping city portion. The district area outside the city is even more Republican, so to argue that DeMaio, or any other Republican candidate, would do better outside San Diego than inside is reasonable.

The budding congressional race was developing into a major campaign and one of the best Republican conversion opportunities in the country. Both candidates reported robust fundraising in late June – Peters more than $621,000 raised with $525,890 cash-on-hand; DeMaio an impressive $487,983 raised with $469,644 in the bank – while two early polls staked the challenger to a sizable lead. The Tarrance Group, for Mr. DeMaio back in April, posted their client to a 49-39 percent advantage over the new incumbent. In June, Survey USA confirmed the spread, reporting  Continue reading >

Analyzing the Numbers in Virginia Governor’s Race

cuccinelli-mccauliffe

Yesterday, Quinnipiac University released their new Virginia poll (Aug. 14-19; 1,129 likely Virginia voters), which projects former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe to be leading Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) 48-42 percent on the ballot test. This poll actually shows an increase in support for both candidates over their two previous Old Dominion surveys. In July, the Q-Poll gave McAuliffe a 43-39 percent edge, and the May study returned an almost identical 43-38 percent result.

Though the spread between the current numbers is the largest of the campaign according to this pollster, the number of self-identified Republicans (23 percent) and Democrats (30 percent) are the lowest to date. Those describing themselves as Independents or unaffiliated topped 39 percent, the largest number in comparison to the previous surveys.

Curiously, though Cuccinelli has a two point (44-42 percent) preference among Independents, he’s still trailing. He scores a 90-6 percent tally from Republicans, but gets buried 1-92 percent within the Democrat segment.

The Negatives

The way this campaign is going, with both candidates heading toward negative approval ratings – in this survey, Cuccinelli scored a 35:41 percent positive to negative on the personal approval index; McAuliffe 34:33 percent – it is likely that the overall turnout will be depressed. Large numbers of voters expressing continued disapproval of their political choices tend to lead to low turnouts on Election Day. Considering this is an odd-numbered election, which always features a low voter participation rate, 2013 could see one of the lowest-ever turnouts if the current campaign tone continues. As the heat of the contest grows more intense, the tone will likely worsen and not lighten.

Polling this race is difficult because the potentially record low turnout will be a critical determining factor. Virginia Republicans tend to run better in lower  Continue reading >

Louisiana Data Conflict; Kasich Down in Ohio

Two days ago, a pair of polls were released into the public domain projecting that Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6) is faring well against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D). Yesterday, Public Policy Polling publicized a counter-study showing the senator to be in much better political shape, thus calling the Republican data into question. Why the stark difference? We’ll explain shortly.

The two Republican polls were conducted by OnMessage for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and Harper Polling for a conservative website. The OnMessage data (Aug. 12-15; 800 registered Louisiana voters) gave Sen. Landrieu only a 45-41 percent advantage over Rep. Cassidy. HP (Aug. 14-15; 596 registered Louisiana voters) found even better results for the Baton Rouge congressman, actually placing him ahead of the incumbent on a 47-45 percent count.

The PPP data (Aug. 16-19; 721 registered Louisiana voters) forecasts quite a different take. According to these results, Sen. Landrieu has a comfortable lead over Rep. Cassidy, 50-40 percent, when the two are paired in a hypothetical post-primary December 2014 run-off election.

Seeing Democratic and Republican pollsters surveying the same race at the same time but arriving at drastically different conclusions happened relatively frequently during the last election cycle. Particularly in the presidential campaign, we often saw the Republican data placing GOP nominee Mitt Romney in much better position against President Obama than was actually the case.

The chief reason for the past projection disparity was the turnout screening mechanism used in qualifying those who constituted the various sampling universes, and such is undoubtedly the case with these conflicting Louisiana numbers.

In the presidential year, the Democratic pollsters were much closer to accurately forecasting the participation model in what will prove to be the higher turnout year of 2012. Now heading into the mid-term cycle, where voting participation is always lower than in presidential elections, it may be the GOP numbers that yield the more accurate prediction.

As we know, who turns out always determines an election winner, and no one suggests that election year 2014 will be any exception to that rule. Defining the most  Continue reading >

Louisiana Polling

louisiana

Several polls were just conducted about upcoming Louisiana campaigns, specifically the Senate challenge to incumbent Mary Landrieu (D) and the new House special election for resigning Rep. Rodney Alexander’s (R-LA-5) seat.

Senate

Two pollsters went into the field to test Sen. Landrieu and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6). OnMessage, conducting an internal poll for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (Aug. 12-15; 800 registered Louisiana voters), found the senator to be leading the congressman by just a 45-41 percent count.

Party loyalty is strong for both candidates. Sen. Landrieu captures 77 percent of the Democratic vote, while Rep. Cassidy seizes 72 percent of the Republicans. In what could be a looming problem for Landrieu, Independents already break 41-37 percent in favor of Cassidy.

The one issue tested, reaction to the Obamacare mandatory health insurance program, was viewed very negatively. Of those sampled, 33 percent favor the program while a whopping 62 percent expressed opposition to the concept; and 53 percent of the 62 percent described their negative impressions as “strong.”

Meanwhile Harper Polling, during the same time frame (Aug. 14-15; 596 registered Louisiana voters) reports even better numbers for Republican Cassidy. According to HP, the Baton Rouge congressman enjoys a 47-45 percent advantage over the senator.

Two lesser known Republican candidates also poll well. Sen. Landrieu surprisingly only ties state Sen. Elbert Guillory (R), with each individual registering 44 percent preference of those polled. Retired Air Force officer Rob Maness (R) does not fare as well. In this pairing, Sen. Landrieu posts a 47-41  Continue reading >

Camp Says No in Michigan; Brown for President?

Michigan

House Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4), after flirting with running for his state’s open Senate seat, again says that he will remain in his current position so he can continue leading his committee’s tax relief efforts.

Back in March, when veteran US Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he would not seek a seventh term next year, Camp immediately declined to run statewide. Last month, however, the congressman appeared to come full circle by publicly indicating that he was reconsidering his previous decision to remain in the House.

His move gave national and local Republicans reason to begin upgrading their chances to defeat Detroit Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14), who already appears to be the Democrats’ consensus candidate. Virtually all political analysts gave Camp higher marks as a Michigan Senate candidate than ex-Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), partly due to his ability to amass funds as Ways & Means Committee chairman.

Now, Camp has yet again re-reconsidered his position and invokes his initial decision to forgo a statewide run. He again said, over the weekend, that he wants to remain in his current position to concentrate on tax relief legislation. The northern Michigan representative will continue to chair the committee until the end of this current Congress. Under party rules, his allotted service will then end.

The Republicans need six seats to wrest Senate control away from the Democrats, and the open Michigan contest is an important one if they are to achieve such a goal.

Today, it appears highly likely that GOP candidates will capture open Democratic seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana, leaving them with three more conversion victories to obtain, assuming the three aforementioned states do come through. Realistically, even with Michigan included as a target, there are only six more seats where competition is likely to occur, assuming the GOP holds their own potentially vulnerable positions in Georgia and Kentucky. A lesser Michigan Republican challenge obviously reduces their chances of gaining the majority.

Brown in Iowa
 Continue reading >