Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Lindsey Graham Factor

June 3, 2015 — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) officially entered the presidential contest Monday, with many questioning why he is running. Barely registering in any poll outside of his native South Carolina, the new Graham campaign must be rated as a long shot at best. But, looking at the possibility of a brokered convention changes the dynamics for he and other second tier candidates.

As the Republican field continues to expand – Graham’s candidacy now means nine individuals are official GOP candidates – the aggregate campaign direction becomes less predictable. In addition to the nine contenders, six more potential candidates including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, are poised to soon make formal declarations. Two of them, ex-Texas Gov. Rick Perry and businessman Donald Trump, have scheduled June 4 and 16 announcement dates, respectively.

The larger the campaign field with no sustained front runner means the odds of anyone failing to secure support from a majority of the 2,470 Republican delegates (1,236 delegate votes are required for nomination) are much greater. Thus, a candidate such as Graham, who is not viewed as a serious contender for the nomination but has potential to win some delegates, can become an important factor in deciding exactly who will be the nominee.
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MS-1 Underway Today

June 2, 2015 — The vacant northern Mississippi congressional district (Tupelo, Columbus, Memphis suburbs) will be filled today, as special run-off participants Trent Kelly (R) and Walter Zinn, Jr. (D) do battle in the secondary election.

The race shouldn’t be much of a contest. The 1st CD is heavily Republican and campaign resources greatly favor Kelly, the Alcorn County Prosecuting Attorney and Iraq War veteran who outpaced 11 other Republicans in the May 12 jungle primary. Zinn is the lone Democrat who filed, hence he was able to place first in the badly fractured field despite spending only $9,000 on his primary campaign effort.

Harper Polling released a survey of the race (May 28; 509 likely MS-1 voters), finding Republican Kelly with a big lead, as predicted. According to HP, the local Republican prosecutor would top the former Jackson Democratic mayoral aide 54-37 percent. This should translate into a victory margin approaching, if not breaking, the 60 percent threshold.

The district was left vacant in early February when three-term Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R) passed away. Filling this district tonight will mean only one vacancy remains, that being the IL-18 seat of resigned-Rep. Aaron Schock (R) who won’t be replaced until September.

Tonight’s winner fills the remainder of the current term and is eligible to seek re-election in the 2016 regular cycle.

Shuffling Among The Broad Field
Of GOP Candidates In New Iowa Poll

June 2, 2015 — Iowa pollster Selzer & Company was back in the field conducting another presidential poll for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics and produced results showing a clear leader in the Republican field. The group has been the regular DMR pollster for the past several election cycles.

The survey (May 25-29; 402 likely Iowa GOP Caucus attenders from a pool of 4,161 Iowa registered voters) again finds Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) leading the huge pack of 16 Republican presidential hopefuls, just as he was in their previous January poll.

Despite not overtly campaigning, or being a major presence in the news during the last month, Gov. Walker is demonstrating staying power in this important first-in-the-nation caucus state. He garnered 17 percent support, with a combined preference number of 27 percent. Only 15 percent of the respondent sample said they would “never” consider voting for him, the lowest percentage of any candidate.
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A Bunched Pack of GOP Contenders

June 1, 2015 — Quinnipiac University just released a new poll (May 19-26; 1,711 registered U.S. voters; 679 likely Republican primary voters; 748 likely Democratic nomination system participants) that clearly reveals the closeness and fluidity of the Republican presidential contest. No less than five candidates are tied for first place, and the entire field of 16 tested individuals fall within 10 points of one another.

Though this is a small-sample national survey and not reflective of the state-based system in which candidates participate to win a presidential nomination, the data still has value because it suggests that no potential contender is summarily eliminated.

Jointly in top position with just 10 percent preference apiece are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (now also residing in the Sunshine State), ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Just three and four points behind them are Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (seven percent), and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (six percent).
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