Monthly Archives: October 2022

Polls Confirm AZ Senate Race Tightening; Grassley Expands Lead in Iowa; Sen. Sasse to Resign;
Dems Up in NH

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 10, 2022

Senate

Venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) | Sen. Mark Kelly (D)

Arizona: Confirming Data — CBS News/YouGov released a survey of the Arizona Senate race last week (Sept. 30-Oct. 4; 1,164 registered Arizona voters; online) found GOP challenger Blake Masters pulling to within a 51-48 percent margin of Sen. Mark Kelly (D). CNN also publicized their Arizona survey (conducted by SSRS; Sept. 26-Oct. 2; 795 likely Arizona voters; live interview & text) that largely confirms the aforementioned results. In the CNN/SSRS poll, Sen. Kelly holds a 51-45 percent advantage.

Iowa: Grassley Expands Lead — In a national race that has not drawn much attention from pollsters, the Cygnal polling organization (Oct. 2-4; 600 likely Iowa voters) did test the Hawkeye State electorate and finds Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), running for an eighth term since originally being elected in 1980, leading retired Adm. Mike Franken (D) by a 54-40 percent count.

Though Sen. Grassley’s favorability rating has dropped to 50:44 percent favorable to unfavorable, the ballot test suggests he is still in strong position to win re-election in November. Adm. Franken’s favorability index is a similar, but lower at 33:28 percent. Cygnal reports the Republicans have a plus-13 on the generic ballot question, which should help the party’s candidates throughout the entire ballot.

Nebraska: Sen. Ben Sasse to Resign — Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R), who was first elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2020, announced late last week that, pending approval from the University of Florida Board of Trustees, he will resign his seat before the end of the year to become the University of Florida’s new president.

His leaving the Senate will mean that either outgoing Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) or the presumed incoming governor, Jim Pillen (R) — the University of Nebraska Regent who is heavily favored to win the gubernatorial election — will appoint a replacement. Since the current term for this seat does not expire until the beginning of 2027, the seat will go to special election in 2024 to fill the balance of the term. This particular Class II Senate seat next comes in-cycle in 2026.

House

NH-1 & 2: Dems Up in Both CDs — The St. Anselm College Survey Center conducted another of their regular New Hampshire electorate polls (Sept. 27-28; 901 registered New Hampshire voters; 450 NH-1 registered voters; 451 NH-2 registered voters; online) and while the electorate overwhelmingly believes the country is on the wrong track (20:69 percent), the state’s two Democratic US House incumbents appear in strong shape for re-election.

In the eastern 1st District, two-term Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) holds a 49-41 percent lead over former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt (R). In western District 2, five-term Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) holds a stronger 49-35 percent advantage over former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns (R).

RI-2: Republican Fung with Lead — Fleming Associates just completed a research survey for Rhode Island’s Roger Williams University (Sept. 29-Oct. 2; 254 likely RI-2 voters). The poll has less than the 300 minimum respondents one likes to see in a congressional study, but the results of this flash poll find Republican Allan Fung, the former Cranston mayor and two-time GOP gubernatorial nominee, holding a 46-40 percent lead over state Treasurer Seth Magaziner (D).

Though RI-2 is a heavily Democratic seat (D+17, according to the 538 data organization) Republicans have been targeting this open seat race for months because several polls have produced what they believe is promising data. The seat is open because Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Warwick) is retiring after serving what will be 11 full terms.

Walker Under Fire in Georgia; Masters Closing in AZ & A Dead Heat in the State’s Gubernatorial Race;
A Battle in Michigan’s 8th District

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Oct. 7, 2022

Senate

Herschel Walker (R), former University of Georgia and ex-NFL football star, 2022 Georgia Senate candidate

Georgia: Conflicting Data — Just as the negative stories about GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s personal and family life began to appear in the media, along with his son coming forward to further the attacks, two conflicting surveys were released. The first, from Insider Advantage, a frequent Georgia pollster (Oct. 4; 550 likely Georgia voters), finds Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) holding only a 47-44 percent lead over Walker.

Survey USA (Sept. 30-Oct. 4; 1,076 likely Georgia voters; online) has a much different take, and actually produces one of the best polls from Sen. Warnock’s perspective since late July. The S-USA ballot test gives the senator a much larger 50-38 percent advantage.

With the negative publicity surrounding Walker, we can expect the Republican prospects to take a dip here during at least the next few days. Since the Georgia Senate race has trended close for most of the campaign year, and this type of story has been previously publicized about Walker, it would not be surprising to see a GOP bounce-back before election day.

Arizona: CBS News Projects Masters Closing — A new CBS News/YouGov survey (Sept. 30-Oct. 4; 1,164 registered Arizona voters; online) sees GOP challenger Blake Masters pulling to within three percentage points of Sen. Mark Kelly (D), 51-48 percent. With Masters finally running ads from his own campaign committee, and outside organizations coming into the state to further target Sen. Kelly, we can expect this race to continue its competitive pace all the way through Nov. 8.

Sen. Kelly, one of the most prolific fundraisers of any Senate candidate, will not likely reach the $100 million-plus in spending that he needed for the 2020 special election, but approaching the $75 million mark in outlays is highly possible. As we know, Arizona is one of the key races that will determine the next Senate majority.

House

MI-8: Junge Take Lead Over Rep. Kildee — A just released internal Cygnal poll for the Paul Junge (pronounced: Young) campaign (Sept. 27-30; 335 likely MI-8 voters) sees the GOP challenger, a former news anchor and 2020 congressional nominee in the former 8th District against Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly/Lansing), pulling into a one-point 45-44 percent lead against five-term Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flushing/Flint). This campaign has not gotten much national play, but the two candidates have been very active, and the party organizations are spending large amounts in eastern Michigan to deliver negative messages.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this seat a R+1, while the Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean sees a 50.8 – 46.0 percent spread in favor of the Democrats. This is a national under-the-radar race destined to attract more attention.

Governor

Arizona: A Dead Heat — The aforementioned CBS/YouGov poll (see Arizona Senate above) also tested the Arizona governor’s race. Here, as other pollsters routinely find, the race between Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and news anchor Kari Lake (R) is extremely close. In the CBS/YouGov survey that posted Sen. Kelly to a three-point edge, the gubernatorial ballot test finds both candidates deadlocked at 49 percent apiece.

New Mexico: A Tightening Ballot Test — After several weeks of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) developing comfortable polling leads over Republican former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti, a Cygnal poll conducted for GOP Attorney General candidate Jeremy Gay (Sept. 27-29; 400 likely modeled New Mexico general election voters; interactive voice response system & text) sees the pair of gubernatorial candidates falling within a two-point margin, 46-44 percent, but still in the governor’s favor.

The sample size for this statewide poll is low, so the error factor is relatively high. Both candidates are very active, so we can expect that the New Mexico gubernatorial contest will draw further national attention before the election cycle concludes.

House Updates – Including Gerrymandering: AL, CO, NM, NJ & NY

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022

House

Alabama redistricting map

Redistricting: Supreme Court Hears Alabama Case — In one of the first cases on the US Supreme Court’s new term docket, oral arguments were heard for the Alabama racial gerrymandering redistricting case, which could result in a landmark ruling relating to future interpretation of the Voting Rights Act.

The state of Alabama is arguing its reasons for keeping the state’s congressional map, which features one strong majority minority district. The US government is arguing that a second minority seat can be drawn. The presentations consumed more time than usual for Supreme Court oral arguments, and now it is up to the nine justices to craft a definitive ruling, which will be released sometime before June next year.

In November, the high court will hear oral arguments on the North Carolina redistricting case, which will lead to a definitive ruling pertaining to judicial power over the constitutional authority of state legislatures.

CO-3: Rep. Boebert’s Slight Lead — Despite representing a relatively safely Republican western slope 3rd Congressional District, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) looks to have a competitive race on her hands as we begin the campaign cycle’s final weeks. Colorado-based Keating Research conducted a poll for the Adam Frisch (D) campaign (Sept. 28-Oct. 2; 500 likely CO-3 voters; live interview & text). The ballot test results found Rep. Boebert’s lead shrinking to 47-45 percent, down from Keating’s 49-42 percent spread detected in its July survey.

Expect to see countering numbers from either the Boebert campaign or the National Republican Congressional Committee to soon be released.

NM-2: Gerrymandered District Yields Dem a Slight Edge — The Global Strategy Group, polling for the Gabe Vasquez (D) campaign, tested the NM-2 electorate to determine the state of the race featuring freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) and Vasquez, a Las Cruces City councilman. The GSG survey (Sept. 20-26; 500 likely NM-2 voters; live interview) sees Vasquez pulling ahead of Rep. Herrell, 45-43 percent.

The result is not particularly surprising in that the Democratic legislature and governor crafted the new 2nd CD to flip. Before redistricting, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated the seat, R+14. Post-redistricting, we see a D+4 categorization. This district will still yield a close finish, and voter turnout will tell the ultimate tale.

NJ-7: Rep. Malinowski Internal Poll Shows Dead Heat — The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research organization conducted a congressional poll for two-term Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill), who is again in a tight battle with former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R). In 2020, Kean held Rep. Malinowski to a 51-49 percent re-election win in a district that was more Democratic than the new 7th. The GQR survey (Sept. 20-26; 500 likely NJ-7 general election voters) sees both candidates now attracting 48 percent of the vote. The Democratic pollster, however, also detects a partisan generic party label split of 50-45 percent favoring the Republicans. NJ-7 is a key Republican conversion opportunity seat.

NY-22: Republican Breaks Ahead — The Syracuse-anchored 22nd District is open in the 2022 election cycle because Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse), one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump, is not seeking a fifth term. Ironically, the court-drawn map actually makes this district two points more Republican than the seat the Rep. Katko consistently won.

Siena College conducted an independent poll for the Spectrum News Service (Sept. 25-28; 453 likely NY-22 general election voters) and sees Republican technology company executive Brandon Williams jumping out to a five point, 45-40 percent, advantage over former intelligence agency analyst Francis Conole (D).

With the respondents believing the country is on the wrong track by a 25:63 percent margin, it is not particularly surprising to also see Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) falling behind Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) in this Upstate District. NY-22 is a must-win for the GOP in November.

Warnock Attracts Big Bucks in GA; Nevada Turning Red? Dem Leads in Open-Seat PA-17 Race

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022

Senate

Georgia freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock (D)

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Continues to Attract Big Bucks — Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D) campaign leadership is reporting that they raised an incredible $26.3 million just in the third quarter. Prior to this impending Federal Election Commission disclosure report due on Oct. 15, Sen. Warnock had outraised every Senate incumbent and challenger by at least $30 million. His new aggregate total of approximately $111 million raised for the entire campaign will certainly keep him in the financial driver’s seat. The campaign spokesperson said the Warnock committee has more than $13 million cash-on-hand available for the final five weeks.

Indiana: Another Close Survey — Back in August, Change Research released a survey that found Sen. Todd Young (R) ahead of Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott (D) by only a slim 45-42 percent margin. Most believed this survey to be an anomaly. Now, the ARW Strategies polling entity, surveying for the Indy Politics blog (Sept. 25-26; 600 likely Indiana general election voters), has arrived at a similar conclusion more than a month later. The ARW results find Sen. Young’s advantage to be only 39-37 percent opposite Mayor McDermott. Libertarian candidate James Sceniak accounts for six percent of the preference total with the remainder saying they are undecided.

These again are puzzling numbers since Sen. Young is not exhibiting any signs of political trouble in a state where his party consistently wins elections and is favored across the board in 2022. Chances are good we will see more attention from both sides being paid to this race as we move toward the campaign’s closing weeks.

Nevada: Laxalt Ahead in Sixth Consecutive Poll — OH Predictive Insights, a frequent pollster in the southwest, released their new Nevada numbers. The survey (Sept. 20-29; 741 likely Nevada general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) leading Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) by a 45-43 percent margin. This is the sixth consecutive poll, from six individual research firms during a long Sept. 8-29 time frame, that forecasts Laxalt with a small lead — an average of just over two percentage points.

The most troubling aspect from the Democratic perspective is that Sen. Cortez Masto only averages 43.3 percent preference with a high-water mark of just 46 percent within this group of studies. Her performance is far below the 50 percent plateau and very low for any incumbent. It now appears that Nevada is the Republicans’ best national US Senate conversion opportunity.

House

PA-17: Dem Leading in Open Seat Race — A just released brilliant corners firm survey (polling for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Sept. 18-20; 400 likely PA-17 general election voters) containing a high disclosed error rate of 4.9 percent, posts Democratic election law attorney and college professor Chris Deluzio to a six-point, 49-43 percent, lead over GOP engineer and former local elected official Jeremy Shaffer.

The open 17th District, located in the western Pittsburgh suburbs and encompasses the territory all the way to the Ohio border, is a swing district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+1. Detecting a Republican resurgence around the country after Sept. 20, it will be interesting to see what more recent data might show for this campaign. This region’s voting history suggests the 17th District remains a toss-up race.

Governor

Nevada: Republican Lombardo Pulls Ahead — OH Predictive Insights also released their new Nevada gubernatorial results. The survey (see Nevada Senate above) projects Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) to be running ahead of Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) by three percentage points, 45-42 percent. This is the third consecutive poll that finds the GOP challenger topping the Democratic incumbent. It is clear that the closing campaign weeks will be hot ones in the Silver State.

Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting System Favors Sen. Murkowski, Begich over Palin; Dr. Oz Closes On Lt. Gov. Fetterman in PA; CA-26 Race Tightens

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022

Senate

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska: Ranked Choices Favors Sen. Murkowski — The new Alaska Survey Research firm tested the Alaska Senate race, and we again see Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) having trouble distancing herself from challenger and fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka.

The ASR poll (Sept. 25-27; 1,282 likely Alaska general election voters; online) finds Sen. Murkowski leading Tshibaka only 41-39 percent on the ballot test question, with Democrat Pat Chesboro attracting 17 percent support, and Republican Buzz Kelley garnering a four percent preference factor. Kelley has already withdrawn as an active candidate and endorsed Tshibaka, but his name remains on the ballot as one of the four finalists from the Aug. 16 primary vote.

The Ranked Choice system then kicks in to put Sen. Murkowski well ahead in the final round. After Chesbro and Kelley are officially eliminated, Sen. Murkowski would top Tshibaka, 57-43 percent, once the second and third choice votes are added to the tabulation.

Pennsylvania: Movement Confirmation — Yesterday, as well as late last week, we reported upon a trio of surveys finding Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) coming within close range of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) on the various ballot test questions. Fox News, Franklin & Marshall, and Insider Advantage found the Fetterman lead dropping to three and four percentage points.

Now, Emerson College has released their Pennsylvania statewide survey, the fourth coming to a similar conclusion within a constant time realm. The new Emerson study (Set. 23-26; 1,000 likely Pennsylvania voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Dr. Oz coming within the polling margin of error, trailing Fetterman by only a 45-43 percent count.

House

AK-AL: Poll Finds Begich Passing Palin — The aforementioned Alaska Survey Research poll (see Alaska Senate above) also tested the state’s at-large US House District campaign and it discovered two significant data points. First, in the ballot test of the four candidates who advanced into the general election, businessman Nick Begich III now moves ahead of former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin by two and three percentage points on the initial vote and first Ranked Choice Voting round.

The second finding is newly elected Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) would defeat either Begich or Palin even before getting to the second Ranked Choice round. According to the ASR poll, Rep. Peltola would achieve majority support, thus winning the election, once Libertarian Chris Bye, the fourth-place finisher, is eliminated from further competition.

CA-26: Poll Suggests New Race Bubbling to the Surface — A just-released OnMessage survey (Sept. 14-18; 400 likely CA-26 voters; live interview) surprisingly finds Rep. Julia Browley (D-Westlake Village/Ventura) leading Republican Matt Jacobs by only a 48-43 percent point spread. This poll, that even finds Jacobs leading among the self-described Independents 44-34 percent, is quite a change from the June 7 jungle primary results. In that election, Brownley topped Jacobs, 54-38 percent, with three other candidates sharing the remaining eight percent of the vote.

Whether Jacobs can become competitive to the point of unseating Rep. Brownley remains to be seen in a southern California district that President Biden carried 61-36 percent. For her part, Brownley has averaged 61 percent of the vote in her last three terms, but did have close calls in both her original 2012 election (53-47 percent) and 2014 (51-49 percent).