A federal three-judge panel, on a 2-1 vote, yesterday declared the 3rd Congressional District of Virginia (Rep. Bobby Scott-D) unconstitutional because of racial gerrymander. This means a partial re-draw will commence at some point after the 2014 election and before the 2016 nomination cycle begins.
The 3rd District begins in downtown Richmond, travels to Petersburg, comes back toward the James River, and then juts south to annex most of the cities of North Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, and downtown Norfolk. The plaintiffs’ argument was basically that the Republican-dominated legislature drew this seat to pack as many African American Democratic voters as possible into this one district.
Because the specific communities were added to make the seat 56.9 percent black, the plaintiffs claimed the territory was “packed” for political reasons. They said the final racial composition figures diluted the regional African-American vote by drawing one such strong black district. Many have argued that this area could sustain two districts where African-American influence is heightened. The Republican defendants argued they were not retrogressing the district as dictated by the Voting Rights Act. Continue reading >
A new NBC News/Marist College poll provides some dire news for Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. Everyone knows the senator is enduring a rough election cycle, largely because of the rancorous Kansas political climate, a large number of the senator’s own unforced errors, and a shrewd coalition move between local Democrats and Independents. But this particular poll (released Oct. 6; 1,282 Kansas residents; 1,097 registered Kansas voters; 636 likely Kansas voters) places Roberts in his largest deficit situation of the campaign.
According to the data, Roberts trails Independent Greg Orman 38-48 percent among those in the likely voter category, and 36-46 percent within the registered voter segment. NBC/Marist has been among the more inaccurate pollsters in past election cycles, so their sounding the political death knell for a candidate is not necessarily taken as a sign of things to come, but this particular survey should be given greater credence.
Though one could question its methodology, the end result appears sound. The pollsters testing of residents, the sampling period not being disclosed – just that the questions may have been asked in October (the survey is labeled October 2014 and it is certainly released during such a time frame, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all the interviews were conducted in the early portion of this month) – and, we don’t know the duration Continue reading >
Now in the first full week of October, it is time to peruse the aggregate House political situation. The Republicans appear to be a cinch to retain control of the body, but several individual seats could well change hands. Below is a quick description of those with the strongest potential of switching parties.
Democratic Seats Headed to Republicans
• NC-7 (Rep. Mike McIntyre-D): The southeast North Carolina seat is now no contest with Rep. McIntyre retiring. The closest election district of 2012 now becomes an easy ride for Republican former state Sen. David Rouzer.
• UT-4 (Rep. Jim Matheson-D): This was the site of another close 2012 race, but veteran Rep. Matheson’s retirement should leave this south Salt Lake City seat in the hands of Republican Mia Love. Her victory percentage might be a bit lower against attorney Doug Owens (D) than many today project, but Love is almost assuredly headed to Congress.
Democratic Seats Trending Republican
• NY-21 (Rep. Bill Owens-D): It was always believed that when the Republicans and Conservatives could get behind the same candidate, the seat would return to the Continue reading >
Midway through the election cycle it appeared a solid bet that at least four candidates who would normally be favorites were headed for losses. But, predictions of such demise are now being proven premature.
First-term North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D) appeared doomed, unable to break 42 percent support in any poll, and was clearly sliding down a pathway toward defeat.
Democrats, in the person of Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1), were odds-on favorites to replace retiring Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D) but he, too, has experienced a reversal of political fortunes.
Republican Bruce Rauner was running consistently ahead of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and was on a clear track toward victory even in the heavily Democratic state. But the electoral patterns are beginning to reverse, and now Quinn has a fighting chance to survive.
Upon his indictment on federal charges relating to his restaurant business dealings prior to being elected to Congress, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY-11) looked to be headed toward the political scrap heap. But he is proving a much tougher “out” than the local Democrats originally perceived. Continue reading >
Candidates across the nation are launching comparison spots at rapid-fire pace just as political prime time begins in earnest. This is particularly so in Kansas and Georgia, where all four of the contenders in the two states’ Senate races are delivering major blows that will ultimately lay the final victory groundwork for two of the participants.
Roberts on Offense
Sen. Pat Roberts (R), reeling from self-imposed wounds administered weeks and months ago and now facing a unified Continue reading >
In our ongoing search to find intriguing campaigns below the political radar, we see two congressional races gaining more credibility. Though specific polling data now shows upset possibilities for a Maine Republican and an Iowa Democrat, just how reliable are the results?
Iraq War veteran Jim Mowrer (D) has captured some previous national attention with his prodigious fundraising in his battle with six-term western Iowa Rep. Steve King (R). Now well on his way to raising $2 million for his challenge campaign against King, a new poll gives Mowrer confirmation that he is positioning himself in upset territory.
DFM Research, a Minneapolis Democratic polling firm, conducted a 4th District survey for the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Union (Sept. 20-23; 450 IA-4 residents) largely for purposes of questioning people about transportation issues, specifically surrounding rail. The congressional and US Senate questions were of secondary importance. Because of that, the data contains some glaring political weaknesses.
The DFM conclusion suggests that Rep. King has only a 46-43 percent advantage over Mowrer. But keep in mind that the sampling universe was not even screened for registered voters, let alone those most likely Continue reading >
The Des Moines Register released its new Selzer & Company political survey and the results provide us with the largest lead for either Iowa Senate candidate in several months. The poll (Sept. 21-24; 800 Iowa adults; 546 likely voters) gives Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst a 44-38 percent advantage over Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1) in what has been a toss-up Senate race since early July.
The move is significant and clearly demonstrates a momentum shift in Ernst’s direction. Selzer also tell us that the negative attacks on both candidates appear to be working. When looking at the personal favorability ratings of each contender, both are in situations where their negatives equal their positive scores. Ernst ratio is 45:44 percent favorable to unfavorable. Braley’s is virtually identical at 42:42 percent.
Selzer & Company is the Des Moines Register’s usual pollster. They have developed a strong record, missing the latest Iowa gubernatorial, Senate, and presidential campaign by an aggregate two percentage points. Like all pollsters, Selzer has missed some, too. In the 2012 Republican presidential caucus, the firm projected Mitt Romney to win the Iowa Caucuses by approximately eight points. The actual result showed former Sen. Rick Santorum Continue reading >