Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Cross-Districts

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 24, 2017 — With all but North Carolina now publishing their final county returns –- a glitch in absentee balloting still remains unsolved, so the final Tar Heel State numbers are not yet officially reported –- we can now look at which congressional districts split their votes.

In 2016, for the first time in electoral history, we saw all Senate race states voting consistently. That is, each of the 34 states holding a Senate race voted for one party’s candidates at both the presidential and senatorial levels.

In House districts, we see some divergence, but again very little. As in the 2012 campaign, when only 7.1 percent of the districts chose one party’s candidate for president and the other’s for the US House, a similar pattern arose this time. In the election just completed, voters in 400 CDs chose the same party’s candidates for president and the US House. In 2012, that number was 404.

While Hillary Clinton was carrying the national popular vote, and Donald Trump took 30 of the 50 states, the Republican also carried a majority of House districts, 230-205.

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A Perplexed America

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 23, 2017 — On the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States this past Friday, new surveys just out suggest the American people are polarized about how they view the present and future.

While Trump was sworn in as the fifth minority president (in terms of popular vote) since 1960, his 46.1 percent share of the popular vote is not the lowest among the last 10 to attain the office. Actually, looking at the initial election of Presidents #35 (Kennedy) to 45 (Trump), his popular vote total is actually close to the average election percentage of this relatively contemporary group. When first winning office, and not counting President Lyndon B. Johnson who assumed the position after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the average incoming presidential victory percentage is 48.5 percent. Of the group, the two lowest are Presidents Bill Clinton (43.0 percent) and Richard Nixon (43.4 percent).

Trump is the oldest person ever to be sworn in as the nation’s chief executive, at 70 years and 220 days. The previous two oldest were Presidents Ronald Reagan at 69 years, 349 days, and William Henry Harrison who was 68 years and 23 days of age. The youngest to be sworn in was Theodore Roosevelt at 42 years, 322 days, while John Kennedy aged 43 years, 236 days, was the youngest to be elected. Roosevelt assumed office after President William McKinley was assassinated.

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South Carolina’s Political Conundrum

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 20, 2017 — Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) confirmation hearing to become US Ambassador to the United Nations and an expected quick Senate approval vote will ignite a rather unique South Carolina constitutional and political situation. Tangentially, the evolving lieutenant governor office quandary also has an effect upon the upcoming special congressional election in the state’s 5th District, to occur once incumbent Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-Lancaster/Rock Hill) is confirmed as Office of Management & Budget director.

When Gov. Haley resigns to accept the UN position, Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) will immediately ascend to the governorship. Under the state’s constitution, at least until right after the 2018 election, the Senate President Pro Tempore, a powerful legislative leader, automatically becomes lieutenant governor. In this situation, however, the sitting President Pro Tem does not want to be lieutenant governor, preferring to keep his Senate post.

Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence), who is 85 years old and is a 36-year veteran state senator, has little interest in relinquishing his more powerful leadership position in exchange for a largely ceremonial statewide office. His problem, however, is that the state Supreme Court just ruled that he has no choice. According to the Court’s directive, Leatherman, or whoever sits in the Senate Pro Tem’s office, must fill an open lieutenant governor’s office.

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A Hillary Comeback?

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 19, 2017 — On the eve of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, we again hear talk about a potential political campaign involving the woman he defeated in November, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

There has been conjecture during the past couple of weeks from Democrats and Republicans both in and out of New York City that Clinton may make a political comeback in the upcoming New York City mayoral election to be held later this year. The rumors are fueled because Clinton is not denying interest, instead she simply is not saying anything about the subject.

Why would she challenge incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who supported her, especially when he commands relatively strong support among Democrats, the city’s dominant political party?

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More Virginia News

By JIm Ellis

Jan. 18, 2017 — Yesterday, we wrote an update that quoted a December Public Opinion Strategies (POS) survey testing the Virginia gubernatorial candidates (Dec. 11-13; 500 likely Virginia voters; Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) 43 percent — ex-RNC chairman Ed Gillespie 38 percent) and made the statement that the poll is still worth considering because not much would politically change over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Apparently, such is not the case.

A more current study (Mason-Dixon Polling & Research; Jan. 5-10; 625 registered Virginia voters) shows a different result. According to the Mason-Dixon data, it is Gillespie who leads, forging a 44-41 percent advantage over Lt. Gov. Northam.

In the previous POS poll, the other Republican potential candidates, Prince William County Board chairman Corey Stewart and state Sen. Frank Wagner, were within basically the same range as Gillespie.

That’s inconsistent with Mason-Dixon, however. In this poll, Northam does considerably better against Stewart, leading him by a relatively robust 45-38 percent spread. Wagner was not tested, probably because the state legislator had less than 10 percent name identification according to this same sampling universe.

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