Monthly Archives: April 2016

New Senate Primary Polls

By Jim Ellis

April 8, 2016 — Democrats have two near-term US Senate primary battles underway and both will be decided on April 26. The Maryland Democratic primary will almost assuredly determine who succeeds retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D). The Pennsylvania contest will identify first-term Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R) general election opponent in what promises to be a hotly contested campaign with national implications.

Maryland

The polls have seesawed for weeks between representatives Donna Edwards (D-Prince Georges County) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Montgomery County). Just last Friday, Van Hollen released his own Garin Hart Yang Research survey giving the candidate a 45-40 percent advantage, but this is the only recent poll arriving at such a conclusion. Several days earlier, the Baltimore Sun published their data giving Edwards a 34-28 percent lead.

Seeing this, the Washington Post, partnering with the University of Maryland, went into the field with their own poll (March 30-April 3; 539 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters) and also found Edwards ahead. The spread was 44-40 percent among likely Democratic primary voters and 44-35 percent when the entire registered Democratic universe (741) was queried. The conclusions are exactly the opposite of Van Hollen’s findings.

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Following Up on the
Big Wisconsin Wins

By Jim Ellis

April 7, 2016 — Both senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) handily exceeded expectations in Wisconsin Tuesday night. Cruz, in particular, had an impressive night, hovering around the 50 percent mark throughout the counting and finished just a point under the majority threshold. Donald Trump notched only 34 percent, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) came up way short with just 14 percent.

Wisconsin is a Winner-Take-All by congressional district state, and it is in the all-important delegate count where Cruz came close to running the table. Except for the two western state congressional districts, 3 (Rep. Ron Kind; D-La Crosse) and 7 (Rep. Sean Duffy; R-Wausau), the Texas lawmaker swept the state including the Madison-anchored 2nd District where Kasich appeared to be favored going into the election. Therefore, Sen. Cruz scored a 36-6 delegate apportionment victory over Trump, with Kasich being shut out.

The result should be seen as a significant setback for Trump, just as it is becoming clear that he will face a serious degradation in delegate support if the convention deadlocks and multiple ballots are required.

Reports emanating from states such as Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Dakota and Arizona suggest that the delegate composition from these places, once the members are released according to their individual state law or party rule, will back away from Trump and head toward Cruz or possibly another candidate if others can be introduced into the process at the convention.

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Cruz, Sanders Storm Wisconsin

By Jim Ellis

April 6, 2016 — The closing polls consistently found a tightening of both the Badger State Republican and Democratic races, but they were wrong. The data from Marquette University Law School and Fox News that revealed a widening spread, and reported more than a week ago, proved more accurate.

Last night, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) easily won the Wisconsin primary and took 36 of the 42 Republican delegates in the Winner-Take-All by congressional district format. His popular vote margin was 48-35-14 percent over Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH). Trump won CDs 3 and 7, located in the state’s western sector, giving him six delegates. Gov. Kasich, despite being favored in Madison-anchored District 2, failed to win any delegate votes.

The result was a major setback for Trump’s quest for a first-ballot victory. Early national delegate projections suggested the Republican front-runner needed a Wisconsin victory to secure the nomination on the first convention roll call.

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Wisconsin Today

By Jim Ellis

April 5, 2016 — Today’s Wisconsin primary looks to field a closer Republican race than was projected last week, as well as a very tight margin for Democrats.

Republicans

The closing polls find Donald Trump gaining momentum with the last research study from the American Research Group (April 1-3; 400 likely Wisconsin Republican voters) actually showing the national front-runner regaining the lead. This poll may be an outlier, however, as six others still find Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in first place, but with smaller margins.

Wisconsin Republicans apportion their 42 convention delegates through the Winner-Take-All by congressional district system, meaning three delegates awarded to each of the eight district winners. The 15 at-large votes and three Republican National Committee delegates are bound to the statewide winner. Therefore, in what projects as a close statewide finish, the delegate count will be relatively large because the winner will gain an extra 18 votes even if the candidates split the CDs. Most polling also suggests that Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) could take the Madison-anchored 2nd District, thus giving him three delegates.

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Understanding State
Delegate Nuances

By Jim Ellis

April 5, 2016 — This past Sunday, the Drudge Report led with a story from a St. Louis political blogger who claimed Sen. Ted Cruz will be eliminated from obtaining a first ballot victory on April 26 even if he wins the Wisconsin primary today as all public polls indicate (The Gateway Pundit). The story’s premise is incorrect.

Joe Hoft, writing for the Gateway Pundit political blog, errs because he misunderstands the Republican National Committee delegate apportionment formulas. Therefore, to set the record straight, although Cruz is on political life support for a first ballot nomination, he likely won’t be mathematically eliminated this month.

Hoft misstates several points regarding exactly how the delegates are apportioned, particularly in the remaining Winner-Take-All by congressional district states. To capture all delegates in the seven states that use this system, one would have to place first in the statewide vote, and then carry every congressional district. Donald Trump accomplished this feat in South Carolina, but it appears unlikely Cruz will do so in Wisconsin today. Plus, Hoft’s projection (see chart in the linked article) that Trump would win two delegates from the Badger State is impossible because winning a CD awards the candidate three delegates. And, since even the three RNC delegates here are bound to the statewide winner, the remaining votes are assigned in groups of three after the 15 at-large delegates go to the statewide first-place finisher.

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