Monthly Archives: March 2021

Florida Poll Boosts DeSantis

By Jim Ellis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) at the recent CPAC.

March 3, 2021 — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is quickly becoming a national talking point with regard to the 2024 presidential campaign, but he first must further prove himself with a 2022 re-election victory in the always politically close Sunshine State.

Over the weekend at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Gov. DeSantis was clearly the choice of the conservative base as a potential heir-apparent to former President Donald Trump.

In the future presidential straw poll, former President Trump placed first among the several thousand individuals who participated. He took 55 percent of the first-place ranked choice votes. Gov. DeSantis was a clear second pick, however, with 24 percent. Without Trump in the field, it was Gov. DeSantis running away with the lead, capturing 43 percent with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem a distant 11 percent second-place finisher. Donald Trump, Jr. followed with eight percent support.

Just after CPAC, Mason-Dixon Polling & Research released the findings from their Florida poll conducted during the Feb. 24-28 period. The organization surveyed 625 registered Sunshine State voters through a live interview process.

According to the M-D results, Gov. DeSantis’ job approval rating has improved to 53:42 percent favorable to unfavorable, a net 15-point gain from his standing in the July 2020 M-D survey that found him saddled with an upside-down ratio of 45:49 percent.

The job approval ratings are a precursor to his ballot test standing opposite a prospective Democratic gubernatorial nominee, of whom the two leading choices appear to be State Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Commissioner Nikki Fried and US Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) who may make his third run for governor.

From 2007-11, Crist was governor of the state, but served as a Republican. He switched parties after a failed run for the US Senate as an Independent, and won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2014, but lost to then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the general election.

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Ryan Hedging on Senate Run

By Jim Ellis

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown)

March 2, 2021 — Last month, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) indicated that he would launch a statewide campaign for retiring Sen. Rob Portman’s (R) open seat in March. Now, he looks to be backpedaling.

In an interview with the Spectrum News Service, Rep. Ryan said, “we’ll make a decision here, I guess, in the coming weeks. I don’t think a March kickoff is going to happen.”

Such equivocation has seemingly been the congressman’s standard operating procedure over the years. Several times before he has been looking seriously at races for the US Senate, governor, and even lieutenant governor, but has always retreated to the relative safety of his House seat.

He did briefly campaign for president in 2020 but dropped out of the race when it was obvious his message was falling on deaf ears, exiting in plenty of time to meet the Ohio candidate filing deadline. Last November, Rep. Ryan went onto win a more competitive House race than he normally sees, defeating former state Rep. Christina Hagan (R), 52-45 percent.

Going back to the House race, if that’s what Rep. Ryan ultimately decides, may look different in 2022. If redistricting actually happens, considering all of the Census Bureau delays, Ohio faces the loss of another congressional seat in reapportionment, and it may well be Ryan’s.

His current 13th District stretches from the Pennsylvania border, encompasses Youngstown and the congressman’s hometown of Warren, and then captures a large part of the Akron metropolitan area. From preliminary census reports, it appears OH-13 will require an influx of more than 75,000 people once the final numbers are calculated. The Ryan district looks to rank 13th in population of the 16 Ohio congressional districts.

Perhaps a bigger problem for the 10-term incumbent, and what makes his 13th District vulnerable to collapse, is the adjacent 11th District that houses the western side of Akron in Summit County, is the least populated seat in Ohio and will need to gain as many as 100,000 individuals.

Therefore, collapsing the 13th District portion of Akron into the 11th in order to keep the city and at least most of the county together would be a sensible draw, thus leaving Rep. Ryan’s eastern district sector as a standing fragment. Since Districts 14 to the north, 6 and 7 to the south, and 16 to the west will all require more population, eliminating District 13 becomes a plausible option.

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Poll: Sununu Pulls Ahead of Hassan

By Jim Ellis

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R)

March 1, 2021 — Republican leaders have been consistently promoting the idea that by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) challenging first-term Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) it would give the GOP its strongest chance of converting the seat. A new poll supports their assertion.

The University of New Hampshire’s pollsters released the results of their regular Granite State Poll, and though this organization was previously one of the least reliable survey research entities, their record has improved in recent elections. Before, they conducted polls over excessively long sampling periods, which led to a large error factor and was a key reason they badly missed some previous polling.

Such methodological flaws have been corrected in the past few election cycles, thus making their data a better gauge of the New Hampshire electorate. Their latest survey conducted over the Feb. 18-22 period and involving 1,676 likely general election voters from their pool of 1,868 Granite State Poll panel members was conducted online. Its results were then weighted to make their sample better resemble the New Hampshire voting universe.

The previous explanation is not to exempt the Granite State pollsters from producing some eyebrow-raising numbers, however. While its tight ballot test numbers are believable for a state’s electorate whose voting patterns have seemingly swung wildly since the turn of the century, seeing an incumbent trailing badly among Independents so early in an election cycle appears questionable.

The ballot test pairing Sen. Hassan with Gov. Sununu finds the Republican state chief executive taking a two-point lead over the incumbent, 48-46 percent. This is a believable outcome when seeing Sununu carrying a 55:19 percent favorability ratio as compared to Sen. Hassan’s 42:38 percent.

What appears bizarre is finding Sen. Hassan trailing the governor 56-18 percent among Independents. That such a widespread gap actually exists within this group seems unlikely, and even the depiction of voters identifying with a party compared with their reported voter registration appears inconsistent. While only 17 percent of the study respondents ID themselves as Independents, 42 percent say they are undeclared voters with regard to party registration.

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