Monthly Archives: February 2020

Sessions in Trouble

By Jim Ellis

Former US attorney general and Alabama senator, Jeff Sessions (R)

Feb. 13, 2020 — Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy conducted a new poll (Feb. 4-6; 400 likely Alabama Republican primary voters) of the Alabama Senate race and though former US attorney general and ex-Alabama senator, Jeff Sessions, still leads in what is a tightening Republican primary, peeling away the underlying data suggests that he could find rough going in an inevitable run-off election.

The M-D results find Sessions leading only 31-29 percent over former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) trails with 17 percent, but well ahead of former Alabama Supreme Court chief judge and 2017 special election Senate nominee Roy Moore who posts just five percent support.

Sessions’ numbers have declined significantly since he entered the race, obviously suggesting a downward trend pointing to a more serious situation when further seeing that his name identification is universal.

With a significant double-digit margin between the top two poll finishers and Rep. Byrne, it becomes highly likely that both Sessions and Tuberville would advance to a run-off election. Neither is positioned to win the nomination outright, however. With Sessions nowhere close to a majority and, after considering his long political history in the state and 100% name identification among Republican primary voters and his current tepid ballot test numbers, it would not be surprising to see Tuberville overtake him in a one-on-one battle.

Another clue that Sessions has political problems is his favorability index as detected in the Mason-Dixon poll. According to their cell responses, Sessions carries a 49:18 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio among Republican primary voters, which looks positive on the surface, but after overlaying the pervasive name ID percentage it becomes clear that half of the respondents fail to have a positive impression.

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Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 12, 2020 — At the beginning of this presidential campaign, the odds would have been very long to bet that neither former VP Joe Biden nor Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren would earn bound delegate votes from the nation’s first primary in New Hampshire, but that is exactly what happened last night.

All night long, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former mayor, Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) placed first, second, and third, and with all three of these contenders easily exceeding the 15 percent delegate apportionment threshold in both the at-large vote and in the two congressional districts, it is they who split the state’s 24 first ballot delegates.

Sen. Sanders ran just under 26 percent in first position, while Buttigieg was close behind with just over 24 percent, and Sen. Klobuchar hovered consistently around the 20 percent mark throughout the evening. Sen. Warren fell just short of 10 percent while Biden, who for most of the early campaign cycle was polling near the top of the candidate heap, dropped all the way to fifth place recording just about 8.5 percent of the vote.

While this is a crushing performance for both Warren and Biden, it is actually worse for the Massachusetts senator. Biden still has a base in the southern states and with so few delegates being chosen in Iowa and New Hampshire – 65 total from a 3,979 first ballot universe – he can easily soar to the top with a string of southern state victories on Super Tuesday.

Sen. Warren, on the other hand, has what now appears to be few opportunities for wins. Her home state of Massachusetts is on the Super Tuesday calendar and has 91 first-ballot delegates, but her performance in the interim will have to improve to make her competitive even there. The next state, Nevada, must become a point of emphasis for her to show viability because she has never demonstrated significant polling strength in the south.

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New Hampshire Primary Today

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 11, 2020 — At long last, the New Hampshire nomination election has arrived, and voters have already begun casting their ballots in what is often referred to as the “first in the nation primary.” The initial state in a line of 48 primaries (the other nine states and territories have caucuses), just how important is today’s vote in determining who wins the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination?

Considering the split Iowa vote where it appears that five different candidates will be awarded a certain number of first-ballot national convention delegate votes ranging from 14 to one, New Hampshire’s 24 aggregate delegates will not likely alter the current race trajectory; therefore, multiple candidates will still be battling through Nevada and South Carolina before Super Tuesday with no one having a clear early path to majority support.

First-ballot victory at the Democratic National Convention in July can only come when one candidate top 50 percent of delegate support. Therefore, regardless of the importance media analysts attempt to assign this New Hampshire race in terms of a momentum boost, it is the delegate numbers that will still tell the story.

Coming from Iowa, former South Bend mayor, Pete Buttigieg, looks to earn 14 delegates with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) close behind with 12. Now, Sen. Sanders’ team is requesting a partial recount in Iowa that might earn him an extra delegate or two, but it is doubtful the Iowa Democratic Party, with a party leadership still reeling over the vote counting debacle, will grant their request.

Continuing the projected delegate apportionment, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) would earn eight bound delegate votes, former vice president, Joe Biden six, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, one.

Polling suggests that Sen. Sanders will place first tonight, but several candidates look to break the 15 percent threshold to also qualify for bound delegate votes. Polling finds scenarios where Buttigieg, Warren, Biden, and even Klobuchar will surpass the minimum threshold, though it is unlikely that all will do so. In fact, with Biden’s early support evaporating before our eyes, it is possible that he will fall short of 15 percent tonight meaning that he would be shut out of delegate votes. Though Sen. Klobuchar appears to be closing fast, it is also likely that she finishes under 15 percent.

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Biden’s Survival Path

By Jim Ellis

2020 Presidential Candidate and former vice president, Joe Biden (D)

Feb. 11, 2020 — Former Vice President Joe Biden said his campaign took a “gut punch” with his fourth-place finish in the Iowa Caucuses and, in the nationally televised debate on Friday night from New Hampshire, lowered future expectations when indicating that finishing close to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary would be an acceptable showing.

Recent polls suggest Sen. Warren will do no better than third place, meaning Biden, who can no longer be considered the national front runner, again looks to be lagging behind in fourth place among the Democrat candidates. Does another fourth-place finish doom his national campaign? Would Biden have a path to the nomination even if failing to win yet again in Nevada on Feb. 22?

The answers to the two queries are no and yes, and South Carolina is the key. After a win in the Palmetto State, he would then need to strongly springboard into Super Tuesday just three days hence on March 3. On that day, citizens in 14 states and one territory are scheduled to cast votes, and half of those states are in the South, a region where the former vice president has been dominant in polling.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the likely national leader headed to Super Tuesday, should find some relative strength in the southern states, and billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg will likely also break the 15 percent threshold in some of these places and others to score a limited number of bound delegate votes. If Biden wins most or all of the southern states with approximately 30 percent of the aggregate vote, it would likely give him approximately 200 delegates, a number that certainly could boost his viability within a national context.

From a delegate count perspective, even if he fails to break 15 percent to qualify for convention votes in New Hampshire tonight and doesn’t win Nevada, he is still not going to be unreasonably behind. In Iowa, the projected delegate count suggests that former mayor, Pete Buttigieg, will record 14 first-ballot national convention votes, Sanders’ 12, Warren 8, Biden 6, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), 1.

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Top Senate Fundraisers

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, a Democrat, announced his candidacy for the party nomination for the Arizona Senate. He tops the 4th Quarter fundraisers list.

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 10, 2020
— Continuing to look at the just released 4th Quarter fundraising figures, below is a chart of the top Senate candidates (30) who raised more than $1 million in the previous quarter.

Of the top 30 Senate fundraisers, 17 are Democrats and 13 are Republicans. The incumbent to non-incumbent ratio is the same as the partisan division, 17 incumbents versus 13 non-incumbents pertaining to the $1 million-plus 4th Quarter 2019 fundraisers. The top two 4th Quarter fundraisers — Arizona retired astronaut Mark Kelly and retired Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath — are both Democratic challengers.

Among the top 10 Senate fundraisers, both parties place five candidates in the category. In 10 states, opponents both exceeded the $1 million receipt mark for the quarter just ended.

SENATE RECEIPTS (In Millions)

CANDIDATE PARTY STATE INCOME COH
KELLY, MARK D AZ $6.219 $13.609
McGRATH, AMY D KY $6.152 $9.133
McCONNELL, MITCH R KY $4.587 $11.579
McSALLY, MARTHA R AZ $3.990 $7.660
GRAHAM, LINDSEY R SC $3.837 $10.337
HARRISION, JAIME D SC $3.553 $4.700
JAMES, JOHN R MI $3.532 $6.085
GIDEON, SARA D ME $3.439 $2.778
HICKENLOOPER, JOHN D CO $2.756 $3.216
CORNYN, JOHN R TX $2.697 $12.117
PETERS, GARY D MI $2.487 $8.037
KENNEDY, JOSEPH D MA $2.405 $5.544
COLLINS, SUSAN R ME $2.228 $7.195
SHAHEEN, JEANNE D NH $2.040 $5.758
GARDNER, CORY R CO $1.969 $7.752
JONES, DOUG D AL $1.898 $5.477
TILLIS, THOM R NC $1.885 $5.307
PERDUE, DAVID R GA $1.838 $7.830
ERNST, JONI R IA $1.676 $4.856
SMITH, TINA D MN $1.670 $3.623
GREENFIELD, T. D IA $1.605 $2.158
CUNNINGHAM, CAL D NC $1.602 $1.701
HAGERTY, BILL R TN $1.504 $3.010
WARNER, MARK D VA $1.490 $7.460
MARKEY, ED D MA $1.387 $4.550
DAINES, STEVE R MT $1.386 $5.037
HEGAR, MJ D TX $1.142 $1.004
SULLIVAN, DAN R AK $1.129 $5.716
BOLLIER, BARBARA D KS $1.067 $0.810
LUJAN, BEN RAY D NM $1.016 $2.001

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