Monthly Archives: August 2020

Where the Senate Stands

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 28, 2020 — A tough battle is underway for the US Senate majority, and both parties are fiercely attempting to assume control in the next Congress. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority, but a win in Alabama would send them to 54-46, and that makes the Democrats’ road to the majority all the more difficult.

Democrats need a net conversion of three Republican seats if Joe Biden is elected president, and four if President Trump wins re-election.

Today, we take a snapshot look at polling figures in the key campaign states. How the states listed below eventually fall will determine which party runs the Senate for the 117th Congress.

Below, we provide you the two most extreme results of recent publicly released surveys from the competitive campaigns. The Ellis Insight ratings depict where the race is today, which is not solely based upon polling.


ALABAMA – Lean R (possible conversion)

Morning Consult (July 24-Aug. 2; 80 likely Alabama voters)
• Tommy Tuberville (R) – 52%
• Sen. Doug Jones (D) – 35%

Auburn University at Montgomery (July 2-9; 55 registered Alabama voters)
• Tommy Tuberville (R) – 44%
• Sen. Doug Jones (D) – 36%


ARIZONA – Lean D (possible conversion)

Redfield & Wilton Strategies (Aug. 16-18; 856 likely Arizona voters)
• Mark Kelly (D) – 53%
• Sen. Martha McSally (R) – 34%

OnMessage (Aug. 2-4; 40 likely Arizona voters)
• Mark Kelly (D) – 48%
• Sen. Martha McSally (R) – 48%


COLORADO – Lean D (possible conversion)

Public Policy Polling (Aug. 18-19; 731 Colorado voters)
• Ex-Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) – 51%
• Sen. Cory Gardner (R) – 42%

Morning Consult (July 17-26; 61 likely Colorado voters)
• Ex-Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) – 48%
• Sen. Cory Gardner (R) – 42%


GEORGIA–A – Lean R/Toss

Garin Hart Yang Research Group (Aug. 10-13; 60 likely Georgia voters)
• Jon Ossoff (D) – 48%
• Sen. David Perdue (R) – 46%

Survey USA (Aug. 6-8; 62 likely Georgia voters)
• Sen. David Perdue (R) – 44%
• Jon Ossoff (D) – 41%


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Presidential Polling Progress

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 27, 2020 — The Republican National Convention coverage featured several mentions of swing state polling getting closer between the two presidential candidates, and recent moves from both sides would seem to suggest that internal survey numbers also reflect such a trend.

Below, we compare the 10 most recent polls with the 10 prior surveys in each of the key states to better illustrate the campaign’s movement:


ARIZONA

Last 10 Public Polls: July 17 – August 23
• Biden Aggregate Average Lead: 3.2%

Previous 10 Public Polls: June 26 – July 24
• Biden Aggregate Average Lead: 4.4%

Swing: Trump +1.2%


FLORIDA

Last 10 Public Polls: July 17 – August 22
• Biden Aggregate Average Lead: 3.2%

Previous 10 Public Polls: June 8 – July 21
• Biden Aggregate Average Lead: 6.9%

Swing: Trump +3.7%


GEORGIA

Last 10 Public Polls: July 9 – August 15
• Trump Aggregate Average Lead: 0.4%

Previous 10 Public Polls: May 4 – July 2
• Trump Aggregate Average Lead: 0.1%

Swing: Trump +0.3%


MICHIGAN

Last 10 Public Polls: July 24 – August 23
• Biden Aggregate Average Lead: 7.0%

Previous 10 Public Polls: July 9 – July 26
• Biden Aggregate Average Lead: 7.4%

Swing: Trump +0.4%


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OK-5: Bice Wins Runoff

By Jim Ellis

State Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-Oklahoma City) scored a mild upset victory last night in the OK-5 Republican runoff election.

Aug. 26, 2020 — State Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-Oklahoma City) scored a mild upset victory last night over former lieutenant governor nominee and businesswoman Terry Neese with a 53-47 percent OK-5 Republican runoff victory. She wins the right to oppose freshman Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Oklahoma City) in the November election from a district that voted 53-40 percent for President Trump in 2016.

Sen. Bice withstood strong opposition from a Club for Growth independent expenditure totaling just under $1 million, almost all of which was spent on negative media and digital ads, with the goal of denying her the congressional nomination. This, on top of the seven-figure resources that Neese expended for her own campaign.

In the June 30 primary, Neese placed first in a field of nine candidates with 36.5 percent of the vote, while Sen. Bice secured the second runoff position with 25.4 percent more than six percentage points ahead of the third-place finisher. In the primary, 68,032 GOP votes were cast.

Last night, it was the district’s predominant county, Oklahoma, which houses the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, that carried the day for Bice. She scored a 55-45 percent majority of the Republican votes cast in the county, while Neese recorded 57 percent in the district’s two other counties, Pottawatomie and Seminole. Both of those counties, however, are small and accounted for just over 13 percent of the aggregate Republican vote.

At this point in the counting process, and there will likely be votes added to the final total, 51,762 individuals returned for the run-off election, meaning a retention rate of at least 76 percent when compared to the late June primary.

The OK-5 general election now becomes a top-tier Republican challenger race, joining at least 13 other such contests from around the country. Each of these district political battles is of clear importance to any chance the Republicans have of re-gaining the House majority. Realistically, the party must win all of them to even be in position to challenge for the majority, and that also assumes the GOP holds its own defensive toss-up districts.

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House-Critical Runoff in OK-5 Today

By Jim Ellis

OK-5 encompasses just over 91 percent of Oklahoma County, and all of Oklahoma City.

Aug. 25, 2020 — Voters in the Oklahoma City area will go to the polls today to choose a Republican general election opponent for freshman Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Oklahoma City) who scored a major upset victory here in 2018. The Sooner State’s 5th District race is one of the top national congressional races, and a Republican must win if the party is to have any chance of re-taking the House majority they lost two years ago.

The 5th District of Oklahoma had been a Republican domain since 1977 when GOP candidate Mickey Edwards captured the seat after 47 consecutive years of Democratic representation, though in the final two years of Rep. John Jarman’s 26-year congressional career before retiring, he served as a Republican.

During the interval between Edwards’ election and 2018, four other Republicans were elected here including future Gov. Mary Fallin and current US Sen. James Lankford. In 2018, then-Rep. Steve Russell lost to Horn in a 51-49 percent result, a margin of 3,338 votes.

Today’s GOP competitors are former lieutenant governor nominee Terry Neese, from both the 1990 and 1994 elections, and state Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-Oklahoma City). In the June 30 Republican primary, Neese secured 36.5 percent of the vote, outdistancing Bice’s 25.4 percent from a turnout of 68,032 GOP votes cast. A total of seven Republicans were on the ballot. A mandatory 50 percent was required for outright nomination. With no one receiving the required majority, the top two finishers, Neese and Bice, advanced into today’s runoff election.

Both Neese and Bice were the top fundraisers for the primary. For the campaign through the Aug. 5 pre-election period before this runoff, Bice had raised over $1.463 million, just ahead of Neese’s $1.235 million. According to Neese’s financial disclosure report, however, $450,000 of her receipts were self-contributed in the form of a candidate loan. Helping Neese has been an ongoing $982,000-plus media independent expenditure from the Club for Growth whose leadership is opposing Bice. An expenditure of this size obviously gives Neese a huge boost in the runoff election.

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MA-1: Will Rep. Neal Become #9?

By Jim Ellis

Rep. Richard Neal (left) finds himself defending his seat against credible Democratic challenger Alex Morse.

Aug. 25, 2020 — The intense Democratic Senate primary battle between incumbent Sen. Ed Markey and challenger, Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Newton), is not the only Massachusetts competitive intra-party campaign to be decided in the upcoming Sept. 1 nomination election.

House Ways & Means Committee chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) finds himself defending his seat against credible Democratic challenger Alex Morse, the mayor of Holyoke, a city of 40,000-plus people located just eight miles north of Springfield on I-391. Neal is clearly taking this primary seriously and fighting hard to avoid being the ninth House incumbent denied re-nomination in the 2020 election cycle.

Rep. Neal has already spent $4.3 million for his re-nomination campaign as reported in the Aug. 12 pre-primary Federal Election Commission campaign finance disclosure report. Conversely, Mayor Morse has spent just over $1 million, but the contest still appears close.

Now, an outside organization, Democratic Majority for Israel, has launched an attack television ad that hit Morse for a poor attendance record at Holyoke City Council meetings while claiming the local schools are among the lowest performing in Massachusetts. They cite, in support of their contention, the state government coming into the Holyoke district and assuming control of their education system.

Earlier, controversy arose when the College Democrats organization at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, located within the 1st District, accused Morse of sexual impropriety, which resulted in an immediate loss of local and national support. The move backfired, however, when it came to light that no such incidents had occurred during the times when Morse appeared at the university both as a candidate and previously a guest lecturer.

This challenge appears typical of the other three Democratic primaries where candidates successfully opposed veteran incumbents from the political left armed with money and support from national activists and progressive organizations. The three such challenges that transformed into upsets came at the expense of Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL; 8 terms), Eliot Engel (D-NY; 16 terms), and Lacy Clay (D-MO; 10 terms). Whether the Morse effort proves as successful remains to be determined.

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