Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Conflicting Polls in AZ; Rare Polling in OK; A Polling Conflict in WA;
Noem Struggling in SD?

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022

Senate

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

Conflicting Polls — We have two examples of pollsters surveying the same race within the equivalent time realm and reporting wholly conflicting results. In Arizona, the Big Data Poll (polling for the CD Media site; Oct. 2-5; 970 likely Arizona general election voters; text & oversampling) sees a virtual dead heat, 46-45 percent, result between Sen. Mark Kelly (D) and challenger Blake Masters (R). Conversely, OH Predictive Insights (Oct. 4-6; 674 likely Arizona general election voters) finds a 46-33 percent split in the senator’s favor with Libertarian Marc Victor posting 15 percent. The OH data is certainly outside the overall polling pattern, and no other entity has found the Libertarian candidate drawing such a high preference number.

Oklahoma: Rare Senate Polls — The Sooner Poll that was released earlier in the week and gave Democrat Hoy Hofmeister a surprising 47-43 percent lead over Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) on Tuesday publicized numbers in both US Senate races — both the regular election featuring Sen. James Lankford (R) and the special election to replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R). The poll is flawed in that only 301 respondents comprise the entire statewide sample, but the Senate results appear reasonable, nonetheless.

In the regular election, Sen. Lankford holds a 52-40 percent lead over high tech businessman Madison Horn (D) and US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) tops former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D), 51-42 percent. Both Sen. Lankford and Rep. Mullin are heavy favorites to win in November.

We also see conflict in the Washington Senate race. The Senate Opportunity Fund (Oct. 4; 600 likely Washington general election voters; mechanized) released their survey that gives Sen. Patty Murray (D) only a 46-42 percent edge over Republican Tiffany Smiley. Emerson College (Sept. 21-Oct. 1; 782 likely Washington general election voters; multiple sampling techniques), over a slightly earlier time frame, posted the senator to a 51-40 percent lead. The latter Emerson poll is closer to this race’s polling average.

House

RI-2: Republican Fung Leads in Fourth Poll — Though the Ocean State’s western congressional district is heavily Democratic – D+17 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization – the fourth consecutive survey, this one coming from Suffolk University for the Boston Globe (Oct. 1-4; 422 likely RI-2 general election voters; live interview), confirms that Republican Allan Fung holds the lead over Democratic state Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The Suffolk results post Fung, the former mayor of Cranston and a two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee, to an eight point, 45-37 percent, lead, well beyond the polling margin of error.

Just four polls, from May to the present, have been released of the race, but Fung has led in all with margins between six and 15 percentage points. Despite the Democratic voting history here, Fung looks to be positioning himself to score a major political upset.

Governor

South Dakota: Gov. Noem’s Small Lead — South Dakota State University is releasing a series of political polls, but there is scant information accompanying the ballot test numbers. University polls can often be suspect, and this one without survey dates or sample sizes may fall into such a category. The ballot test finds Gov. Kristi Noem (R) leading state House Minority Leader Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls) by only a 46-42 percent count.

The same unidentified sample, however, also posts Sen. John Thune (R) to a 53-28 percent advantage over Democratic attorney Brian Bengs, which sounds like a reasonable result and provides the gubernatorial ballot test more credibility. Therefore, the South Dakota governor’s race may be another worth watching as we enter the campaigns’ closing weeks. In 2018, Noem, then the state’s at-large congresswoman, scored a 51-48 percent win over then-state Sen. Billie Sutton (D).

Double Republican Race Brewing in Louisiana; Zeldin Closing Within Two Points in NY; Major Race Change in OR

By Jim Ellis — Oct. 12, 2022

House

Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette)

LA-3: Double Republican Race Brewing — We haven’t focused much on the Louisiana races this year largely because the state’s primary election runs concurrently with the general election. Using the jungle primary format, candidates can win outright in the one election if they command majority support. If all contenders fall below the 50 percent marker in a particular race, the top two finishers advance to a December runoff, this year scheduled for Dec. 10.

Former Rep. Charles Boustany (R), Rep. Clay Higgins’ (R-Lafayette) GOP predecessor in the 3rd District seat, on Monday endorsed another Republican in the jungle format, prosecutor Holden Hoggatt. The move suggests we could see a late developing double-Republican race in Cajun Country, though Rep. Higgins, a former police captain who came to fame for his tough law enforcement videos, largely has become a folk hero in southern Louisiana and will be difficult to dislodge. Rep. Higgins has averaged 62 percent of the vote in his two re-election campaigns, winning both contests outright.

NY-22: Countering Data — Last week, Siena College, partnering with Spectrum News, released a survey (Sept. 22-28; 453 likely NY-22 general election voters) that pushed Republican Brandon Williams to a five-point, 45-40 percent, edge over former intelligence agency analyst Francis Conole (D).

The Conole campaign released countering data on Monday, but their Global Strategy Group survey was commissioned considerably earlier (Sept. 15-19; 400 likely NY-22 general election voters) than the Siena College poll and only showed a slight 43-42 percent edge for the Democratic nominee. Thus, releasing a dated study with the candidate having such a small advantage suggests that the Siena data is likely a more realistic depiction of the current political situation. The new Syracuse-anchored NY-22 is a politically marginal open seat from which Republican Rep. John Katko is retiring.

Governor

New York: Zeldin Closing Within Two Points — The Trafalgar Group released a new Empire State survey that finds US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) trailing Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) by only a 45-43 percent margin, the closest of any NY gubernatorial poll during this election cycle. The study was conducted over the Sept. 30–Oct. 3 period and surveyed 1,087 likely general election voters through multiple sampling techniques. Earlier, the McLaughlin & Associates firm (Sept. 21-25; 800 likely New York general election voters) found a 51-45 percent spread.

Siena College, polling in the period before the aforementioned (Sept. 16-25; 655 likely New York general election voters) projected a much larger Hochul lead, 54-37 percent. It will be interesting to see if this latest trend proves to be an anomaly or the beginning of a directional change within the general election contest.

Nebraska: Closer Than Expected — The open Nebraska governor’s race has not attracted much attention in the general election cycle, but a new Data Targeting poll projects the race between University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen (R) and state Sen. Carol Blood (D-Bellevue) is closer than most observers might have expected. The DT survey (Sept. 29-28; 1,340 likely Nebraska general election voters; interactive voice response system & text) shows Pillen holding a 48-41 percent advantage over Sen. Blood. It is likely the ultimate spread will favor the Republican nominee to a greater degree, but this first glimpse into the race suggests that both campaigns will pick up the pace as we move closer to election day. Early voting in the Cornhusker State began yesterday.

Oregon: Major Race Change — Independent Betsy Johnson’s largest contributor is Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who has given the former state legislator’s gubernatorial campaign over $3.7 million. Now, however, Knight is changing allegiance. He announced plans to contribute $1 million to Republican Catherine Drazan’s campaign. The change is likely due to recent surveys finding Drazan taking a small lead over Democratic former state House Speaker Tina Kotek, with Johnson beginning to lag well behind.

The most recent survey, from Emerson College (Sept. 29-Oct. 1; 796 likely Oregon general election voters; multiple sampling techniques), sees Drazan topping Kotek and Johnson, 36-34-19 percent, respectively. Additionally, Drazan has developed a small lead in the six most recent surveys from five different polling firms.

Nebraska’s Gov. Ricketts to Become Sen. Ricketts? Dead Heats in CA-21 & FL-27; Oklahoma Shock Poll

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022

Senate

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R)

Nebraska: Gov. Ricketts Makes Succession Statement — Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R) resignation, to occur once he is confirmed as the University of Florida’s new president, has spurred discussion as to who will be appointed as Nebraska’s replacement junior senator. Term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), who refused to comment about his interest in assuming the position when Sen. Sasse announced his future plans, uttered a clarifying comment over the weekend.

Under Nebraska state law, a governor has 45 days to replace a resigning senator after the seat becomes officially vacant. Sen. Sasse indicated he will resign before the end of the year. Therefore, it is possible that Gov. Ricketts could make the appointment as one of his last official acts, or the likely incoming chief executive, University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen (R), would do so as one of his first duties.

Ricketts now indicates if he develops an interest in receiving the appointment, he will let the new governor choose the new senator and not appoint himself. In a crowded 2022 Republican gubernatorial primary, Gov. Ricketts endorsement of Pillen helped him win the nomination, so the early tea leaves are suggesting that the outgoing governor could be headed to the Senate.

New Hampshire: Dollars Changing Direction — Earlier, we speculated upon the National Republican Senatorial Committee eventually making the move to pull their media reservation dollars from New Hampshire and begin moving the money to places where the GOP candidate looks to be in better victory position — namely Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. With the NRSC’s canceling its $2.6 million budget for the Boston market, as reported by the Adminpact and Daily Kos Elections organizations, the move has been made.

This, however, does not mean the Republican sector is abandoning New Hampshire, especially since polling still shows nominee Don Bolduc within high single-digits of Sen. Maggie Hassan (D). The Senate Leadership Fund and other outside right-of-center allies have reserved another $23 million in media time, so they are clearly not giving up on the NH Senate race even though the state and national party leadership overtly attempted to deny Bolduc his nomination.

House

CA-21: Rep. Costa in Dead Heat — The Trafalgar Group released the first post-primary survey of California’s new 21st Congressional District and the results reveal a surprising dead heat between Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and businessman and former FBI agent Michael Maher (R). The poll (Sept. 30/Oct. 3; 515 likely CA-21 general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds the two candidates tied at 44 percent.

While the Central Valley region is showing signs of voting more conservatively than the rest of the Golden State electorate, the Republicans taking this district would be quite a stretch. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the new 21st, which includes downtown Fresno, as D+16 while the Dave’s Redistricting App crew calculates a 58.2D – 39.7R partisan lean. In the jungle primary, Rep. Costa unexpectedly received just 47.0 percent of the vote, but the Democratic aggregate total was 57.0 percent.

FL-27: Tight Race Prediction Coming True — In 2020, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami) upset then-Rep. Donna Shalala (D) from a South Florida district that votes Republican to a greater degree than the voter registration figures might suggest. The GOP redistricting map drawers made the seat more favorable for Rep. Salazar, but it still rates as a D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization and 52.4D – 46.5R on the Dave’s Redistricting App partisan scale.

Therefore, it is not surprising to see a SEA Polling & Strategic Design survey (Oct. 3-5; 400 likely FL-27 general election voters; live interview) finding state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) and Rep. Salazar in a virtual dead heat (Taddeo, 47-46 percent). The poll also found Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) leading former governor and congressman, Charlie Crist (D), 50-44 percent within the 27th District, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R) held a 48-47 percent edge over Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando).

Governor

Oklahoma: Shock Poll — Largely due to fallout from his Administration’s handling of some of the Covid 19 relief expenditures and attacks over his former business dealings, polling has suggested weakness for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) re-election bid. Now we see a new survey that, for the first time, projects the governor falling behind his Democratic opponent, Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D).
The Sooner Poll, which surveys the Oklahoma electorate for various media outlets, released their new data (Oct. 3-6; 301 likely Oklahoma general election voters) and sees Hofmeister holding a surprising 47-44 percent lead. Though the Sooner Poll contains a very small sample and therefore a high error factor, it is becoming clear that this race will now draw further national attention.

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.