Monthly Archives: October 2014

Upsets Brewing as Election Day Nears

As we head into the final weekend before the election, several new pieces of data show a few major upsets brewing, while some other pollsters are in conflict when surveying the same race.

Maryland Governor’s Race

The biggest surprise amongst the late data comes from the Maryland governor’s race, where the Wilson Perkins Allen Research firm finds their client, Larry Hogan, Jr. (R), leading Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D), the prohibitive favorite to succeed term-limited Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). According to their latest poll (Oct. 26-27; 504 likely Maryland voters), Hogan leads Brown 44-39 percent, and 46-38 percent among respondents who can identify both candidates.

Concluding the poll’s analysis, WPA says that “while Hogan is well positioned heading into the final week, he isn’t there yet. Having the resources to go toe-to-toe with Brown on TV will be crucial in turning his current lead into a victory on Election Day.”

Though no other poll has actually shown Hogan leading, several surveys have detected a closer than expected race in what is normally one of the bluest states in the country. This could be a race to watch on Tuesday night.
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Trends & Outliers as Election Day Nears

Final pre-election polls are being released, and some new data is telling us different things in a series of key Senate, House and gubernatorial campaigns. The featured surveys depict forming trends, different race leaders in polls conducted simultaneously, or ones that appear to be outliers.

SENATE
Polls bucking the latest trend:

• Georgia: Monmouth University (Oct. 26-28; 436 likely voters):
David Perdue (R) ……….. 49%
Michelle Nunn (D) ……… 41%
Amanda Swafford (L) …… 3%
Perdue, if leading, has done so by a much closer margin.

• North Carolina: Public Opinion Strategies (Oct. 26-27; 600 likely voters):
Sen. Kay Hagan (D) ……. 44%
Thom Tillis (R) ………….. 44%
Sean Haugh (L) ……………. 7%
Sen. Hagan has been leading in most polls.

Differing results:

• Iowa: Garin Hart Yang Research for Braley campaign (Oct. 25-27; 802 likely voters)
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Governors Races Close Across the Country

Like the Senate and House races, 36 gubernatorial campaigns are also drawing to conclusion this week, and in as tight a fashion as the US Senate races that have dominated the political landscape.

Republicans hold a 29 to 21 advantage in the national gubernatorial division, but Democrats appear poised to gain a small number of state houses in this election. Strong competition is underway in 20 of the 36 states, a very high number. Nine races are thought to be too close to call headed into Election Day.

The tightest of all, not surprisingly, may be in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott (R) and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) are doing battle. Florida, as we know, is no stranger to tight campaigns, and the Sunshine State electorate will almost assuredly give us another one this year. The Scott-Crist race is a flat tie, with multiple polls yielding each candidate a very small lead. Democrats feel they have the ground game to win a close race, but Scott has the clear momentum fighting back from very poor approval ratings to force the race to a virtual draw.

One campaign that likely won’t be close is the Democratic conversion of Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) has virtually no victory path and has trailed Democratic businessman Tom Wolf for the entire general election cycle, usually by double-digits.
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A Snapshot of the 36 Senate Races

The international polling firm YouGov, in their ongoing project with the New York Times and CBS News, released another complete polling wave over the weekend. The data included results from all 36 Senate races.

According to the comprehensive totals, Republicans would gain the majority with 51 seats, winning in 21 states including a Louisiana run-off, while Democrats would claim fourteen. The 36th state, Iowa, is in a flat 44-44 percent tie between Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst and Democratic US Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1).

For Republicans, the safe list contains a pair of both Oklahoma (Jim Inhofe and James Lankford) and South Carolina seats (Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott) that are up for election this year in addition to Susan Collins in Maine, Jim Risch from Idaho, and Jeff Sessions (Alabama), among others.

The GOP nominee leads in 10 contested or open races from anywhere between three and 29 points. Only three of the contenders, however, exceed 50 percent in support. Below are the results in competitive campaigns:
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House Upset Updates

Money is flying in House races right now, and the respective party and outside organization spending is indicative about how the races are unfolding. Republicans are on the offensive in some obscure districts; Democrats, with the exception of their operations against Reps. Lee Terry (R-NE-2), Steve Southerland (R-FL-2), and Michael Grimm (R-NY-11), are generally retreating to protect endangered incumbents.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) just reported adding money to some existing media buys. They are increasing their presence for Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Bill Enyart (D-IL-12), Rick Nolan (D-MN-8), Dan Maffei (D-NY-24), and Nick Rahall (D-WV-3). This clearly suggests Republican challengers in each of those districts are legitimate upset contenders.

The following is a list of the latest action in what can be described as emerging races. All of the predictions in these campaigns originally favored the incumbent or the incumbent party in an open seat situation.

• AR-4: Rep. Tom Cotton’s (R) open seat is now yielding a competitive contest between Republican state Rep. Bruce Westerman and Democrat former Federal Emergency Management Agency director James Lee Witt. Westerman had the early lead, but a new Hendrix College Talk Business poll (Oct. 15-16; 410 likely AR-4 voters) shows the Republican advantage dwindling to 44-42 percent.
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