Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Hillary Flies High on a Low-Flying Poll

A new Public Policy Polling national survey (Jan. 3-6; 1,100 registered voters; 400 Democratic and 536 regular Republican primary participants) projects Hillary Clinton to be in the strongest position of all potential 2016 presidential candidates from either party, but the poll has methodological flaws.

According to the data, Clinton would easily capture the Democratic nomination, scoring a 57-16 percent margin over Vice President Joe Biden. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren notched 4 percent, followed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at 3 percent, while Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner tallied 2 percent apiece.

The poll then paired only Clinton against a myriad of Republican potential candidates such as former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Clinton beats them all in hypothetical individual ballot test match-ups, but early results such as these are inconsequential and particularly so in this poll. Of the aforementioned, Christie fares best coming within two points of Clinton, behind 42-44 percent. All of the others trail her in double-digits.
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Sen. Rockefeller To Retire

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

At the end of last week, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) became the first 2014 election cycle senator to announce that he will not seek re-election. The move is not a surprise, particularly in light of his age (77, at the time of the next election), the attacks he’s launched on his home state coal industry, previously Democratic West Virginia now swinging decidedly toward Republicans, and looking at a tough new opponent in the guise of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2) who announced her own senatorial bid earlier this month.

Rockefeller will leave the Senate after he completes his fifth term. Prior to serving in Washington, the senator was a two-term governor, secretary of state, and member of the House of Delegates. In all, when his current term ends at the beginning of 2015, he will have served 48 of his last 52 years in public office.
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Poll: Alarm Bells for Lautenberg

Fairleigh Dickinson University, whose poll (Jan. 2-6; 700 registered New Jersey voters; 336 self-identified Democrats or leaning Democratic) we quoted earlier in the week pertaining to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election, now releases the US Senate portion of their data. For veteran Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), the news can either be taken as being a bitter pill or simply a wake-up call.

Background

Lautenberg, who will be 90 years of age at the next election, came from the business world where he was the chairman and CEO of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. In 1982, using his vast personal wealth earned through years of having a major position within the company, Lautenberg ran for his first political office, that of United States Senate. He scored a 51-48 percent win over the better-known Rep. Millicent Fenwick (R-NJ-5), at the time a 72-year-old four-term congresswoman who was often seen smoking her trademark pipe. Lautenberg was easily re-elected twice, but then decided to retire from politics in 2000.

Less than two years later, when Sen. Bob Torricelli (D) met with scandal and appeared headed for defeat, the New Jersey Democratic leadership forced him to resign well after the 2002 primary. Armed with a favorable political ruling from a Democratic state Supreme Court, the party leaders successfully installed Lautenberg to replace Torricelli. He went on to save the seat for the Democrats that year, and was re-elected without significant challenge in 2008.
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Polling Updates: New Jersey, Virginia

Gov. Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie

New Jersey

Fairleigh Dickinson University surveyed the New Jersey electorate (Jan. 2-6; 700 registered New Jersey voters), testing Gov. Chris Christie (R) against all comers.

For starters, the governor’s job approval rating remains in the stratosphere, as it has since Hurricane Sandy hit the state. Voters almost immediately began communicating positive impressions of the way he coordinated delivering aid to assist those suffering from the natural disaster. According to the data, a whopping 73 percent of the respondents give Christie’s job performance a positive rating, including Continue reading >

Brown Shows Interest; No Ohio Re-match; 22 Candidates File in IL-2 Race

Speculation continues over former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown’s political future, but his re-entry path into public life may be clearer after what happened this week. Brown, who lost his Senate seat to former national consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren (D) last month, says he plans to seek public office in the future but has been mum about which office and when.

Because of Sen. John Kerry’s (D) appointment as Secretary of State, a special election to fill his vacated seat will occur later this year. Brown, who despite losing still maintains high favorability ratings from the Bay State electorate, could also run for governor in 2014.

While Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) shows early strength in the Senate race and appears to be on his way of becoming a consensus Democratic Party special election candidate, the gubernatorial contest is not so secure for Massachusetts’ dominant political organization.

Gov. Deval Patrick (D) said a year ago he did not plan to seek a third term in office, thus paving the way for a competitive open seat contest next year. Though Massachusetts is one of the most loyal of Democratic states, Republicans have elected three of its last four governors.
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