June 30, 2015 — Saturday’s meeting of the Virginia Republican State Central Committee (SCC) was thought to be the venue for adopting the convention presidential nominating option, but a surprise secret ballot vote changed the committee’s direction.
Eighty-two SCC members participated in the Staunton, Va. meeting to determine the apportionment system for the state’s 49 Republican presidential delegates. Though a primary was held in 2008, Virginia has typically been known as a convention state. Most of the state Republican nominees have been chosen in this fashion before assemblages usually exceeding 12,000 individuals.
Things started to unravel for the pro-convention contingent when a motion was made to convene in executive session for purposes of considering a measure to allow a secret ballot vote on the question of convention or primary, instead of employing the traditional roll call method. When the vote to adopt a secret ballot procedure passed on a 41-39 vote with two abstentions, it became apparent that the primary forces had a shot at carrying the day. When tabulated, the vote for a primary system was adopted 42-39, with one member abstaining. Continue reading >
June 29, 2015 — There has been some skepticism expressed about whether Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) can successfully run for both the Republican presidential nomination and re-election to his current position. A new survey suggests that at least this particular Kentucky polling segment doesn’t seem to mind his simultaneous campaigns.
Public Policy Polling (June 18-21; 1,108 KY registered voters) finds that Sen. Paul should have little difficulty in securing a second six-year term. If the election were today, and his opponent is outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear (D), the senator would enjoy a full 10-point, 49-39 percent, advantage over the retiring chief executive. It is conventional political wisdom that Beshear would be the strongest possible general election opponent to Sen. Paul and, if so, these polling results undoubtedly cast the Kentucky Democratic leadership into a state of despair.
Not only is Gov. Beshear trailing Sen. Paul, but the former has given no indication of even considering making such a challenge. Ineligible to seek a third term this year, it appears that the governor is heading toward political retirement rather than gearing up for a new campaign. Continue reading >
June 26, 2015 — Former Sen. Kay Hagan (D), who unseated then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) in 2008 only to lose six years later to Sen. Thom Tillis (R), 47-49 percent, Wednesday announced that she would not challenge Sen. Richard Burr (R). Polling consistently made her the strongest Democrat to challenge the two-term incumbent Republican, but even she was nowhere near upset position.
Democrats do not yet have a viable candidate in the state that has defeated the most senators since the 1960s.
Red and Blue Recruitment
As we approach the midway point of the off-year, it is a good time to check how the two parties are faring in regard to candidate recruitment. A quick, cursory glance tells us that each side has a success ratio of about .500. Continue reading >
June 25, 2015 — Despite universal media condemnation and being the butt of almost every joke on the late night TV circuit after officially launching his presidential campaign last week, international businessman Donald Trump has already moved into second place according to a new poll of New Hampshire Republican voters.
The Suffolk University Political Research Center (June 18-22; 500 highly to moderately likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters) finds Trump jumping from the low single-digits to moving ahead of every opponent but one, and trails former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by just three points.
Obviously, some members of the New Hampshire electorate do find Trump’s brash and blunt style attractive. He has been making appearances throughout the state, and is clearly having at least a modicum of success.
The fact that he could make such a quick move also reveals extreme fluidity within the massive field of Republican candidates. It is important to remember that, among the unwieldy group of almost 20 contenders, no candidate even touches 15 percent. Additionally, even individuals receiving one and zero votes are still within 15 points of topping the field. Continue reading >
June 24, 2015 — This week, Quinnipiac University brings us the general election preferences from 970 to 1,191 respondents who were questioned in the critical Senate states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Earlier, the university pollsters released partisan primary Senate data from their June 4-15 polls in each of those places. The early results favor Democrats in Florida and Ohio, and Republicans in Pennsylvania.
The Sunshine State poll tested the four most likely 2016 open seat Senate participants: Representatives Ron DeSantis (R-FL-6), Alan Grayson (D-FL-9), Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18), and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R). In all scenarios, the Democrats perform better. None of the candidates, however, is well known. Of the group, Rep. Grayson is most familiar but 62 percent of the respondents have yet to hear of him. The least known is Rep. DeSantis who only 19% of the polling sample can identify.
The biggest spread, 40-28 percent, belongs to Rep. Murphy over Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera. The closest early contests are six-point spreads: Rep. Grayson over the lieutenant governor, and the same Orlando Democrat topping DeSantis by an equal margin. Continue reading >
June 23, 2015 — Over the weekend, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona was giving undue credence to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) leftward challenge to Hillary Clinton, all the while claiming to support the latter candidate. She even stated on the ABC This Week program that Sanders could actually upset Clinton in the first two voting states, Iowa and New Hampshire.
The statement tells us a couple of things. First, if Cardona’s comments were part of a defined campaign strategy, they would signal a move typical of Clinton political efforts. The many national Clinton presidential quests have always handled adversity by directly addressing a particular issue or area of weakness, and then creating a spin opposite of conventional perception.
For example, the pre-Clinton campaign leaked months ago that the former Secretary of State and First Lady’s brain trust believe that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would be the strongest candidate the Republicans could field against Hillary Clinton. They site his fundraising ability and universal name identification as the reasons. Translation: Bush is exactly who the Clinton strategists want to run against. In a race about the past, early polling suggests that the Clinton era beats the Bush era, especially during the period of President George W. Bush. In fact, the Jeb Bush profile is one with which the Clinton people are very comfortable in painting contrast. Continue reading >
June 22, 2015 — Quinnipiac University released the second part of their June 4-15 polling set for the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The follow-up data covers the early primary polling results for each place. The sample sizes are small: 458 Republicans and 378 Democratic primary voters in Florida, 434R; 388D in Ohio, and 413R; 402D for Pennsylvania, which of course decreases reliability.
That being the case, the three Republican polling leaders are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the Sunshine State, Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his home domain, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for Pennsylvania. But, in all cases, the margins are small and the field is bunched close together. In the aggregate, the three states account for 236 delegates — FL: 99 Winner-Take-All; OH: 66 likely Winner-Take-All; PA: 71 likely Loophole (voters select individual delegates) — which represent 9.5 percent of the entire Republican nominating universe.
In Florida, Bush tops Sen. Rubio by only two points, 20-18 percent. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker trails in third place with nine percent. Dr. Ben Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are next with seven and six percent, respectively. All other candidates finish at five percent and below. Continue reading >