Monthly Archives: September 2016

State by State

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 9, 2016 — The Washington Post just released their Survey Monkey online polling data for all 50 states. (Poll: Redrawing the electoral map) It gives us our first complete look at the nation’s political predisposition on a state-by-state basis through August and early September (polling period: Aug. 6-Sept. 1).

The results, with several exceptions, are not particularly surprising. The answers you’d expect after understanding how this entire election campaign has unfolded relate to just how negatively people view both candidates. That is, 95 percent of the respondents said at least one of two major party contenders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, would “threaten the nation’s well-being”. Twenty-one percent believe both are a similar threat.

The polls’ cumulative effect gives Clinton a discernible electoral vote lead, which is consistent with other publicly available survey research information. But, several states are inconsistent with other published data and vote history.

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Stunning Arizona Development

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 8, 2016 — In last Tuesday’s Arizona primary, it appeared that former GoDaddy.com executive Christine Jones had all but clinched the Republican nomination in the state’s open 5th Congressional District. However, just as all votes were finally counted, the lead surprisingly switched. This means we are headed for a re-count and a long sorting out process because the result is a virtual tie.

The unofficial final tally shows state Senate President Andy Biggs now clinging to just a nine vote lead over Jones. On election night, the initial count found Jones leading Biggs by 876 votes with absentee and provisional votes remaining to be counted. In the early post-election counting her lead dropped to 578 votes, but it appeared that Jones would have enough of a margin to cement her preliminary victory.

The final pre-canvass report, however, shows Sen. Biggs with 25,228 votes as compared to Jones’ 25,219. Under Arizona election law, this slim margin triggers an automatic re-count and, with such a small difference separating the two candidates, this contest could still go either way.

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House Races: The Florida Bellwether

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 7, 2016 — The general election campaigns are just about set. Now into September, just two primary days remain (Sept. 8: Massachusetts — Sept. 13th: Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island) and only in New Hampshire’s 1st District – a seat that has defeated more incumbents than any district in the nation since 2006 – and the open Delaware at-large CD is there any remaining nomination uncertainty.

Looking at the entire House, the current majority stands at 246 Republicans, 186 Democrats, with three vacancies. Two of the seats with no current Representative are Democratic, that of the late Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI-1) and PA-2, which Rep. Chaka Fattah-D resigned after being convicted on federal corruption charges. The remaining position, coming open today, belongs to Kentucky Republican Ed Whitfield (R-KY-1). The congressman announced a year ago that he would not seek a 12th term and last week made public his plans to leave the House early. All three seats will remain with their respective parties, meaning the effective partisan division is 247R-188D.

In order to re-capture the House majority they lost in the 2010 election, the Democrats must first secure all 188 of their own seats, and then convert 30 Republican districts just to obtain a one-seat margin of control. No statistical forecasting suggests that such an outcome is in sight.

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The September Reset

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 6, 2016
— Labor Day is always viewed as the traditional general election initiation benchmark for presidential campaigns, so it is important to see where the candidates stand now that we have reached this point in time.

During the Aug. 24-30 period, five national polling entities surveyed the national electorate. The five: USA Today/Suffolk University, Rasmussen Reports, Fox News, Reuters/Ipsos, and The Economist/YouGov find a margin range of Hillary Clinton topping Donald Trump by seven percentage points (USA/Suffolk: Aug. 24-29, 1,000 US likely voters, 42-35-7-4 percent, including Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein) to the Republican going up by a single point (Rasmussen Reports; Aug. 29-30: 1,000 US likely voters, 40-39-7-3 percent).

Together, the five polls produce a net average Clinton edge of 3.0 percentage points with neither candidate exceeding 42 percent support nor dropping below 35 percent.

Turning to a historical comparison, where have other presidential campaigns stood on Sept. 1, and how can previous patterns help us project what may happen in this current election?

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McCain: A Bigger Target

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 2, 2016 — It is clear that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is in a more precarious political position the day after his primary than the day before. On Tuesday, the veteran Arizona senator recorded only a 52-39 percent victory over his top challenger, former state Sen. Kelli Ward. Two other Republican candidates, Alex Meluskey and Clair Van Steenwyk, received a combined 9.1 percent of the GOP primary vote: 5.5 percent for Meluskey and the remainder for Van Steenwyk.

But Tuesday’s underlying numbers illuminate what is likely a greater McCain vulnerability for the fall campaign against 1st District Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Flagstaff): a weak Republican base.

Looking at the state’s 15 counties, Ward actually defeated McCain in three of them, Cochise, Navajo, and Mohave. Additionally, the senator only carried Apache County by 75 votes. Together, this suggests McCain is doing poorly on the Indian reservations, which is not unusual since the region is a Democratic stronghold, but these votes came from within his own party.

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