Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Jousting in New Hampshire

In April, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) surprisingly admitted that he was considering moving to New Hampshire to challenge first-term Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D). Brown followed his statement by spending time in the Granite State, meeting with the party faithful and explaining that he truly does have New Hampshire bona fides.

After initial polling showed large Shaheen leads, talk of an impending Brown move seemed to dissipate. The political focus surrounding him shifted to whether he would run for governor of Massachusetts, a prospective race in which polling posted him well ahead of every potential candidate from both parties. Then, a show trip to Iowa immediately preceded his announcement declining a run for governor, but his verbiage certainly left the door wide open for a 2016 presidential run.

Now, however, the talk surrounding Brown’s next political move is returning to New Hampshire and even Sen. Shaheen, herself, is participating.

First, in a look back to last week, Public Policy Polling (Sept. 13-16; 1,038 registered New Hampshire voters) released a poll showing Brown just four points behind Sen. Shaheen, 48-44 percent, hardly an insurmountable deficit and a net seven-point gain in his direction from PPP’s April poll.

Apparently Sen. Shaheen is not taking the survey nor the potential Brown move to her state lightly; or, she is simply using the potential threat as a fundraising ploy. In the past few days the senator began sending communications to supporters repeating a WMUR television report that Brown is selling his home in Massachusetts, while asking for “$5,780 in six hours” to make her arbitrary campaign finance deadline goal.

The Democrats and media’s talk of Brown now moving to New Hampshire in order to challenge Shaheen may be much ado about nothing, or it could have substance. The idea is certainly attractive to the national Republicans because they are desperate to expand the Senate playing field in order to maximize the number of opportunities necessary to convert the six Democratic seats they need to capture the majority.

While Scott Brown would certainly begin the campaign as an underdog to Sen. Shaheen, it is unlikely the Republicans could recruit a  Continue reading >

The Vote: Potential Aftermath

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

The Ted Cruz (R-TX) informal Obamacare funding filibuster is predicted to inflict political harm, but there is a myriad of opinion as to who will suffer the most severe consequences for their respective votes at the polling place, if anyone.

Below are the names of the 18 Republican senators who supported Cruz by voting “No” on the continuing resolution cloture petition last Friday, and when they next face the voters:

    Senators voting NO (alphabetical by state):

  • Jeff Sessions (R-AL), 2014
  • Richard Shelby (R-AL), 2016
  • Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2016
  • Mike Crapo (R-ID), 2016
  • Jim Risch (R-ID), 2014
  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA), 2016
  • Pat Roberts (R-KS), 2014
  • Jerry Moran (R-KS), 2016
  • Rand Paul (R-KY), 2016
  • David Vitter (R-LA), 2016
  • Deb Fischer (R-NE), 2018
  • Dean Heller (R-NV), 2018
  • Rob Portman (R-OH), 2016
  • Jim Inhofe (R-OK), 2014
  • Pat Toomey (R-PA), 2016
  • Tim Scott (R-SC), 2014
  • Mike Lee (R-UT), 2016
  • Mike Enzi (R-WY), 2014
  •  
    Not Voting:

  • Jeff Flake (R-AZ), 2018
  • Orrin Hatch (R-UT), 2018
  • It’s possible, however, that certain Republican senators voting “Aye” and standing for election next year are in the more vulnerable position. The senators facing primary opposition include Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), himself. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is the other  Continue reading >

    Trust in Government Falls; Capuano Backs Out – Again – in Mass.

    The Gallup research organization just completed a study about people’s level of trust in the various branches of government. The poll, conducted Sept. 5-8 of 1,510 adults but released just yesterday, reveals that governmental trust levels have fallen across the board since 2009, and are well under the levels found at the beginning of 2003.

    According to the study, remembering that the sampling universe is simply of adults who are not necessarily registered voters, trust in the Judiciary, the highest rated governmental entity, is off 14 points from 2009. Sixty-two percent of the respondents say they trust the Judiciary as compared to 76 percent who did four years ago.

    The Executive branch is also down during the same interval, in this case 10 points, from 61 percent who expressed trust to 51 percent. Finally, the Legislative branch, which has been pilloried in opinion polls for the past several years, again finishes as the least trusted governmental segment at 34 percent. This represents a decline of 11 points from our benchmark year of 2009, but the result actually ticks upward from 30 percent at a point in 2011.

    The fact that all levels of government are down significantly suggests a negative trend about Americans’ confidence in their governmental entities’ ability to implement their responsibilities.

    The same sample also believes that the government has too much power. A full 60 percent of the polling sample (81 percent of Republicans; 68 percent of Independents; 38 percent of Democrats) believe government’s role in society is too vast. Thirty-two percent say the level of governmental authority is “about right”, and 7 percent say the government has too little power. Interestingly, the 7 percent “too little power” response has varied only one point during the past 10 years.

    Predictably, Democrats have the highest levels of trust in government almost across the board; Independents next; and Republicans the least. The only entity rated higher among Republicans than any other partisan segment is, unsurprisingly, the Legislative branch.

    Interestingly, the parties switch their views when questioned about state and local government. It is the Republicans who have  Continue reading >

    A Tight Contest in MA-5; New Data in NJ Gov. Race

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3S1zcbWkoM&feature=youtu.be

    MA-5

    A new Garin Hart Yang Research Group poll conducted for the Karen Spilka (D) campaign in anticipation of the Oct. 15 Massachusetts special primary election, reveals that the five strongest Democrat candidates are all within eight points of each other.

    The top five are all elected officials, a field that features three state senators, one state representative, and a county sheriff. A total of seven candidates will appear on the Democrat ballot. The winner of this primary becomes the prohibitive favorite to claim the Dec. 10 special general election.

    The results show that virtually any of the five can win the nomination, a single-election primary system that requires only garnering a plurality of votes to achieve victory.

    According to the data, state Sen. Katherine Clark leads with just 18 percent support, followed by Spilka, also a state senator, with 17 percent, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian is next at 15 percent, and state Sen. Will Brownsberger and state Rep. Carl Sciortino are tied at 11 percent.

    Though Sciortino lags toward the end of the poll, it is he who is the biggest gainer, up from 4 percent based upon the last GHY Research survey released in July. His rise is generally credited to a rather clever and amusing ad his campaign is running (above) featuring his father, who is a Tea Party member.

    The Spilka poll suggests any of the five  Continue reading >

    Alabama Results Show no Surprises; New WV Poll

    Alabama voters went to the polls in the first of three elections to choose a successor to resigned Rep. Jo Bonner (R) last night, who departed the House in August to accept a position at the University of Alabama. The end result met predicted expectations, as former state Representative candidate, Democrat Burton LeFlore, easily won his low-turnout primary with 70 percent of the vote. He now awaits the winner of the Nov. 5 Republican run-off.

    Of the nine GOP candidates, two will advance, former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne (35 percent) and businessman and former congressional candidate Dean Young (23 percent).

    The remaining seven candidates, three of whom ran significant campaigns, are eliminated from further competition. State Rep. Chad Fincher placed third with 16 percent, conservative columnist Quin Hillyer was next at 14 percent, and former Republican National Committee deputy chief of staff Webb Griffith finished fifth, garnering 11 percent. The remaining four candidates all pulled less than 400 votes.

    The special election turnout rate was relatively low, but Republicans dominated among the voters who did participate. Almost 52,000 people cast ballots in the GOP election versus just 4,300 for the Democrats. The eventual Republican nominee will be a heavy favorite in the Dec. 17 special general election.

    Though Byrne finished first last night, he is by no means guaranteed to win the run-off. In fact, he was in an identical position in the 2010 governor’s campaign but failed to secure the nomination in the subsequent head-to-head battle.

    Three years ago, Byrne placed first in that primary, too, but fell in the run-off to Gov. Robert Bentley by a relatively stiff 56-44 percent margin. Interestingly, Bentley only secured second place by a 166-vote spread in the statewide contest. We’ll see on Nov. 5 whether the first-place qualifier breaks the majority barrier or if history will repeat itself.

    West Virginia

    Now that Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) is a formal US Senate candidate and will challenge Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2) for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D), Public  Continue reading >