Monthly Archives: August 2014

Scott Brown Closing … or Not in New Hampshire

Though the New Hampshire Senate race has been flirting with becoming competitive for months, no pollster has projected the race in the toss-up realm since January … that is, until now. The University of New Hampshire (Aug. 7-17; 827 New Hampshire adults) finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) by only a 46-44 percent clip. On the other hand, if ex-Sen. Bob Smith were to become the Republican nominee, the incumbent would enjoy a 50-36 percent margin.

In terms of public perception, Sen. Shaheen scores a 48:36 percent positive to negative personal favorability ratio, while Brown is upside-down at 36:38 percent. Smith is down to only 15:20 percent positive to negative, with just 35 percent saying they know enough about him to form an opinion. This gives us an idea as to how fast a population can change. The polling history shows that at Smith’s high point during his dozen years in the Senate (February, 2002 in this instance), he recorded a 51:31 percent favorability index with as many as 82 percent of the voting universe knowing enough about him to form a specific opinion.

The UNH ballot test is the good news for ex-Sen. Brown. The bright side for Sen. Shaheen is that they are the polling source. UNH has one of the worst track records in Continue reading >

The Healthcare Football; AZ-1 Race Tightens

Arkansas Senate

There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, will be a front-burner issue as we progress through campaign prime time. In the toss-up Arkansas Senate race incumbent Mark Pryor (D), a supporter of the national healthcare legislation, just released a new ad that handles the topic in rather unique fashion.

Seated at a kitchen table with his father, former Arkansas US representative, governor, and Sen. David Pryor (D), the current incumbent discusses his successful fight against cancer. In the ad, the senator and his dad outline the family’s battle with their health insurance company to pay for the treatment that ultimately proved life saving.

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Pryor’s Republican opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4), has been framing the senator as the deciding vote for enacting the ACA legislation. Since the original bill passed the Senate by only one vote, and the Democrats were unanimous in support, each can be individually credited with being the difference maker. Therefore, we are seeing this theme appear in every Senate Republican challenger race.
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Hanabusa Concedes in Hawaii; Tight NC Senate Race

Hawaii

In Hawaii, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1) announced yesterday that she will concede the contested Senate Democratic primary. The final unofficial count gives appointed Sen. Brian Schatz a 1,769-vote advantage, which is likely too large for any challenge to overturn.

Though Hanabusa may have grounds for contesting the results – ballots not counted together, extending the election for only certain people, etc. – she has decided not to pursue what are probably long-shot legal options. But, challenging Schatz again may not be out of the question. Because 2014 voters will only choose a senator to fill the last two years of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D) final term in office, Schatz, now the prohibitive favorite to win in November, will again be on the ballot in 2016.

North Carolina

Monthly, Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling surveys the tight US Senate race featuring incumbent Kay Hagan (D) as she attempts to win a second six-year term. The August PPP poll (Aug. 14-17; 856 likely North Carolina voters) gives the senator a 42-38 percent lead over Republican nominee Thom Tillis, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. Libertarian Party candidate Sean Haugh receives eight percent support.
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Sullivan Wins in Alaska ; Wyoming Results In; Kansas Candidate Emerges

Alaska Primary

Thirty percent of Alaska voters went to the polls last night in one of the nation’s last major competitive primaries. There, former Attorney General and Natural Resources Department director Dan Sullivan claimed the Republican senatorial nomination, winning the right to challenge vulnerable first-term incumbent Mark Begich (D). Sullivan took 40 percent of the vote, defeating surprise second-place finisher Joe Miller (32 percent) and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (25 percent).

For the second time in four years, Miller came from nowhere to vastly exceed his polling projection. In 2010, he upset Sen. Lisa Murkowski to win the GOP nomination. This time, he attracted far more votes than his single-digit polling status suggested. Treadwell, the early race leader, lost momentum months ago and never regained strength. Some late polling suggested that he was pulling closer to Sullivan, but that did not prove accurate as he finished behind Miller.

Sullivan now formally faces Sen. Begich, the latter of whom drew 83 percent in his own ADL primary against one Democrat, two Continue reading >

Primaries Today; Pressler’s Impact

Alaska, Wyoming
 
Another two primaries are on tap for today, as we continue to pass through the final quarter of nomination voting. Beginning tomorrow, only seven more states will hold primaries and one, Oklahoma next week, will decide a run-off situation.
 
The big vote of this evening comes in Alaska, in a primary that will be decided in the wee hours of the morning on the east coast. Here, Republicans will choose a nominee against first-term Sen. Mark Begich (D) in a three-way battle among the candidate projected as the favorite by most, former Attorney General and Natural Resources Department Director Dan Sullivan, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, and 2010 US Senate nominee Joe Miller.
 
Originally, Treadwell began the race as the leader but his poor early fundraising – he now has collected $1.2 million in campaign receipts – quickly put him behind Sullivan both in dollars raised (Sullivan has gone over the $4 million mark), and then in polling. Though the Alaska Republican establishment began to fall in line behind Sullivan, Treadwell has been hanging strong, remaining within single digits according to several late polls. Some believe Miller could be positioned to again come from nowhere to Continue reading >