Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Cold Minnesota’s Hot Races

Northern Minnesota features one of the coldest climates in the United States, but the congressional politics of the region are turning red hot. Two new polls suggest that upsets of Democratic incumbents are now possible in both northwestern District 7 and the commonly called Iron Range District (MN-8) in Minnesota’s northeastern sector.

A new Tarrance Group poll (Oct. 12-14; 300 likely MN-7 voters) gives Republican challenger Torrey Westrom, a state senator, a 44-43 percent slight lead over veteran Rep. Collin Peterson (D). This is in sharp contrast to a previous Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll (Survey USA; Oct. 3-6; 545 likely MN-7 voters) that posted the veteran incumbent to a 50-41 percent advantage just 10 days ago.

Moving east, Survey USA yesterday released a new 8th District poll (Oct. 9-12; 555 likely MN-8 voters) that gives Republican challenger Stewart Mills a 47-39 percent lead over Rep. Rick Nolan (D). Previously, the last released data here, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee survey (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research; Sept. 25-28; 405 likely voters), posted the incumbent to a similar, but reversed, 48-37 percent advantage.

Both parties are now spending heavily in each northern Minnesota district, with the National Republican Congressional Committee stinging Rep. Peterson personally over his reimbursed expenses Continue reading >

Georgia Senate Turning

Republican David Perdue (above) has fumbled the ball recently, both in accusing opponent Michelle Nunn of having an unexplained role in funneling money to terrorist organizations and then saying he is “proud” of his business record for outsourcing jobs.

Despite the perceived gaffes, the polling was still showing him holding a small lead across the board until now. Survey USA (Oct. 10-13; 563 likely Georgia voters) yesterday released new figures placing Democrat Nunn ahead 48-45 percent, her first lead of the campaign. But, is this the formation of a new trend or a mere blip?

The same poll tested the top of the ticket and the down ballot races. In the governor’s race, S-USA finds what many pollsters have, Continue reading >

House Takes Shape

Several polls were released yesterday that bring some clarity to key races, most of which are considered sleepers or opportunity races for one side or the other.

Republicans talk about their chances to convert the western district of Maine (ME-2), the open seat vacated by Rep. Mike Michaud’s (D) run for governor. Democrats believe they have found a strong candidate to challenge Rep. Steve King (R) in Iowa, and the open NJ-3 seat is also high on the Democrats’ opportunity list.

The polling data seems to favor the incumbents’ party in each of these instances, however.

ME-2

A new Pan Atlantic SMS poll (Sept. 23-29; 200 likely ME-2 voters) gives Democratic state Sen. Emily Cain a 36-33 percent lead over former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin (R). Subtracting leaners, Cain’s lead falls to 31-29 percent. Independent Blaine Richardson tallies six percent.

The poll is part of a statewide survey of 400 Maine voters, so the 2nd District questions are asked of a polling segment. With a low sample size and a long interview period, the error factor is quite high, therefore, all we can legitimately deduce from the data is that the race is very close.
Continue reading >

Key Senate Battleground States Polling Reviews Show GOP Trend

The best understanding of a political campaign’s status involves analyzing polling trends, rather than individual polls that simply capture the a snapshot of a particular point in time.

Using such a model, we take a look at the key races to determine what the long-term trends may be telling us about the final outcome. According to these trends, even with losses in Kansas and North Carolina, Republicans would likely capture the Senate majority, gaining a net of seven seats, reaching 52 members.

Alaska
Number of polls since Sept. 14: 7
Number of pollsters: 7
Number showing Dan Sullivan (R) leading Sen. Mark Begich (D): 7
Average Sullivan lead: 4.8%

Arkansas
Number of polls since Sept. 14: 7
Number of pollsters: 7
Number showing Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D): 4
Number showing Sen. Mark Pryor (D) leading Tom Cotton (R): 3
Average Cotton lead: 5.8%
Average Pryor lead: 2.7%

Colorado
Number of polls since Sept. 14: 8
Continue reading >

Nationwide Gubernatorial Polling

Earlier this year, the New York Times and the international polling firm YouGov joined together to conduct an exhaustive series of nationwide political polls. CBS News has now joined them. Over this past weekend, a second wave of gubernatorial polls was released, testing all 36 campaigns between candidates running to become, or remain, the state chief executive. So we now can get a look at new numbers for every gubernatorial race on the ballot.

All of the surveys were conducted from Sept. 27 through Oct. 1, and the sample sizes fell into a range from 264 (Wyoming) to 7,943 (California) respondents, a formula commensurate with the size of the state’s population.

The Tightest Results

All of the races in this sector have been close for weeks and months, in most cases. They are likely to remain so all the way to Nov. 4:

Connecticut – Gov. Dan Malloy (D) vs. Ex-Amb. Tom Foley (R) – 41-41%
Florida – Gov. Rick Scott (R) vs. Ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) – 47-44%
Illinois – Gov. Pat Quinn (D) vs. businessman Bruce Rauner (R) – 46-43%
Kansas – Gov. Sam Brownback (R) vs. state Rep. Paul Davis (D) – 45-42%
Maine – Rep. Mike Michaud (D) vs. Gov. Paul LePage (R) – 39-37%
Michigan – Ex-Rep. Mark Schauer (D) vs. Continue reading >

Fox Poll Blitz: Alaska, Ark., Colo., Kan. & Ky.

Fox News, which contracts with both a Democratic and Republican pollster to provide joint data relating to key political races, released a series of surveys yesterday, each providing good news for Republicans. The results may skew slightly Republican because in certain instances they exceed other similarly published survey suggests.

The two firms, neither particularly well known nor quoted in national polling circles, are Anderson Robbins Research (D) and the Shaw Polling Company (R). The two combined to produce polls in five different states during the Oct. 4-7 period. In each place, the sampling universe numbered somewhere between 702 and 739 likely voters. In all but Kentucky, both the Senate and governors’ races were tested. Blue Grass State voters won’t choose a new governor until next year. As identified in the headline, the other four polled states were Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado and Kansas.

Alaska

Here, the Fox poll gave former Attorney General Dan Sullivan (R) a 44-40 percent lead over Sen. Mark Begich (D), which could well be accurate. Sullivan and Begich have Continue reading >

GOP Conversion of South Dakota Senate Seat in Jeopardy

A new Survey USA poll (Oct. 1-5; 616 likely South Dakota voters) conducted for various South Dakota news media outlets indicates that former governor and Republican US Senate candidate Mike Rounds faces a potentially imposing threat from an unlikely source.

Since the South Dakota Senate race is one of the three top GOP conversion opportunities that would replace a veteran retiring Democrat in what is normally a red state – in this case three-term Sen. Tim Johnson – Republican majority chances will likely be dealt a death blow if Rounds fails to come through. Now with a controversy brewing Continue reading >