Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Louisiana Special Election Poll Suggests at Least One District Runoff

Louisiana congressional districts


By Jim Ellis

March 15, 2021 — Two of the upcoming special elections to fill vacancies in the US House will occur next weekend, and a new Louisiana poll suggests one of them will likely advance two candidates into a secondary April 24 runoff election.

The Edgewater Research/My People Vote survey tested 651 likely voters in Louisiana’s vacant 2nd Congressional District over the March 2-7 period in preparation for the March 20 jungle primary election. A likely voter for purposes of this study were people who have voted at least seven times in the last 10 statewide elections.

The pollsters, however, only named three of the 15 candidates on the ballot in testing the electorate. The query asked if the respondent is supporting “Troy Carter, Karen Carter Peterson, Gary Chambers, or someone else.”

The names refer to state Sens. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) and Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans), and Baton Rouge community activist Gary Chambers. No Republican was named in the survey even though author Claston Bernard and Greg Lirette have raised more money than Chambers, for example. The latter man, however, is well known as an activist who attracts a great deal of attention in the Baton Rouge media market.

The ballot test found the electorate breaking 35-24-11 percent in favor of Sen. Carter, with Peterson and Chambers following, respectively. The response for “someone else” was 16 percent. Sen. Carter, however, leads Sen. Peterson only 39-35 percent among Democratic voters, the dominant party in this district that captures most of the city of New Orleans and meanders northwest to include heavily African American Baton Rouge precincts.

The 2nd District basically divides into just two races: black and white. Of the citizen voting age population, blacks account for 61.5 percent and whites 31.7 percent. All other race categories comprise the remaining 6.8 percent of the demographic composition.

Within the black vote, Sen. Carter leads Sen. Peterson, 40-26 percent with Chambers getting 11 percent and someone else 8 percent. Within the white vote, the contest is much closer. In this case, the someone else category places first at 28 percent with Sen. Carter then topping Sen. Peterson in a much tighter 23-20 percent spread. Chambers had 10 percent support in the white category.

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Will Miller-Meeks’ 6-Vote Win Stand?

By Jim Ellis

IA-2 Republican congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks

March 12, 2021 — Yesterday, the House Administration Committee met virtually to consider Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ (R-Ottumwa) motion to dismiss the Federal Contested Elections Act challenge from Democrat Rita Hart in relation to the state certified results of the 2020 congressional election in Iowa’s 2nd District. The committee voted 6-3 on partisan lines to postpone the dismissal action.

To review, Rep. Miller-Meeks’ victory margin is only six votes of 394,800 ballots cast. Hart is challenging the results before the House Administration Committee claiming that 22 ballots, enough to overturn the final result, were legal but not counted.

Yesterday’s hearing was procedural in that committee chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) moved to postpone hearing the dismissal motion in order for the members to fully consider Hart’s argument of contestant. Rep. Lofgren indicated that both the Iowa Republican and Democratic Parties, along with Iowa election officials, will be sent identical questionnaires to fully investigate the matter. This means we can expect a much longer process to fully examine the contested ballots, allow testimony, and review the Iowa recount process.

Committee Minority Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL) countered, indicating that the Iowa officials have twice counted the votes and, as committee member Bryan Steil (R-WI) reported, recount boards in all 24 counties that form the 2nd District – three member panels comprised of a Miller-Meeks’ appointed member, a Hart appointed member, and a county appointed member – all agreed on the final totals in each local entity.

Davis further explained to the committee members and listening audience that Hart, a former Iowa state senator and 2018 nominee for lieutenant governor, had eschewed the available legal process, which is to petition the Iowa court system. Davis said he concludes Hart made the decision to come directly to the House because she knew the courts would reject her legal arguments.

The Iowa recount process changed the original totals. The first reported outcome revealed a 44-vote Miller-Meeks margin. It then dropped to 30 votes during the recount and Scott County (Davenport), the district’s largest entity, reduced the number even further culminating in the current six-vote final result that the Iowa secretary of state certified as official, with which the bipartisan Iowa Election Canvass Board unanimously concurred. On Jan. 3rd, the House voted to provisionally seat Miller-Meeks until the Hart challenge is resolved.

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New Mason-Dixon Poll Shows
Rubio’s Re-Election Potential

By Jim Ellis

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R)

March 11, 2021 — Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy completed a new Florida political poll testing Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R) standing as he begins to construct a re-election campaign for a third term.

Though M-D did not test Sen. Rubio against another potential opponent, either Democratic or Republican, they did ask whether the respondents would vote to re-elect him.

The poll, conducted during the Feb. 24-28 period, asked a sampling universe of 625 Florida registered voters a series of questions about Sen. Rubio and President Joe Biden. The results identified areas of political strength and potential weakness for the Republican senator and contrasted them with those for the new president.

According to the data, Sen. Rubio posts a 47:42 percent positive job approval rating statewide. This compares to President Biden already landing in slight upside-down territory, 47:49 percent.

Asking whether the respondents would vote to re-elect Sen. Rubio, by a margin of 46-40 percent, the sampling group participants said they would. Region, gender, age, ethnicity, and party registration segmented the respondent universe.

Comparing Sen. Rubio and President Biden’s numbers, the results were almost exactly opposite. From geographic regions, Sen. Rubio recorded positive numbers in north and central Florida, the Tampa Bay area, and southwest Florida. He was upside-down in the southeastern part of the state. For President Biden, his disapproval scores outpaced his approval ratings in all but southeast Florida.

In terms of gender, President Biden does better with women than men (49:46 percent, female; 45:53 percent, male), while Sen. Rubio is much more positive with men (51:39 percent, male; 44:45 percent, female). President Biden does well with those 50 years of age and younger (51:44 percent positive), while he falls into negative territory with those aged 50 and older (44:53 percent). Again, Sen. Rubio scores the exact opposite (39:48 percent, <50; 54:37 percent, >50).

In the race segment, it is not surprising that President Biden’s strongest group was blacks, where he scored an 86:9 percent favorability rating. Among whites, the president was upside-down, recording a 38:59 percent negative ratio. Again, unsurprisingly, Senator Rubio performed in the opposite manner. He posted a 51:39 percent approval ratio with whites and a negative 15:69 percent ratio with blacks.

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Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt to Retire

By Jim Ellis

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt (R)

March 10, 2021 — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt (R) announced via video yesterday that he is not seeking a third term next year. He will conclude an era of elected public service that spanned 14 years in the House in addition to completing a dozen years in the Senate. Prior to his federal career, he served as Missouri’s secretary of state, was the Greene County clerk, ran for governor, and saw his son elected governor.

The Blunt exit brings the number of Republican open Senate seats to five and could soon go to seven if Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) follow suit. Sen. Grassley will turn 89 years of age before the next election, and Sen. Johnson originally made a two-term promise when he first ran in 2010. The other announced GOP retirees are Sens. Richard Burr (NC), Pat Toomey (PA), Rob Portman (OH), and Richard Shelby (AL).

Without Sen. Blunt in the 2022 race, we can expect a contested Republican primary. Potential candidates include Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, the son of former senator and US Attorney General John Ashcroft, and US Reps. Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin/St. Louis County), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-St. Elizabeth/Jefferson City), Sam Graves (R-Tarkio/St. Joseph), Billy Long (R-Springfield), and Jason Smith (R-Salem/Southeast MO) among others.

Resigned Gov. Eric Greitens, who was forced from office due to a sex scandal, was beginning to talk about launching a primary against Sen. Blunt, so in an open-seat situation he will be another person whose name will regularly surface.

We’re seeing almost the opposite response among Democrats. The initial public comments from two of the most well-known Missouri Dems, former Sen. Claire McCaskill and 2016 nominee Jason Kander, who held Sen. Blunt to a tight 49-46 percent win in 2016, both immediately indicated that they will not run in 2022. Thus, a previously announced Senate candidate, former state Sen. Scott Sifton, apparently becomes the early leader for the party nomination.

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Biden-Trump Swings in 2020

By Jim Ellis

March 9, 2021 — The Daily Kos Elections website completed their analysis of the congressional districts that changed the most when comparing the 2020 presidential vote performance to that of 2016. The list is divided into the top 25 districts from two categories, those that swung the most to Joe Biden from Hillary Clinton and the seats where Donald Trump improved to the greatest degree when compared to his 2016 showing.

Perhaps the more interesting chart is the Trump improvement calculations, because every one of the top 25 D to R swing districts has a substantial minority population, particularly Hispanic. In fact, in these 25 CDs, the average Hispanic population figure is 59.8 percent, and we see a mean average improvement swing of 12.3 percent for Trump in 2020 with a median of 11.5 percent when compared with his 2016 standing in these districts.

DISTRICT | WINNER  |   HOUSE 2020 % | PRES. 2020 % | HOUSE WINNER | HISPANIC %
FL-26 Trump   52-47 52-47 Gimenez 68.6
FL-25 Trump   61-38 Unopposed Diaz-Balart 75.8
TX-34 Biden   52-47 55-42 Vela 83.7
FL-27 Biden   51-48 51-49 Salazar 70.4
FL-24 Biden   75-24 76-20 Wilson 37.0
TX-28 Biden   52-47 58-39 Cuellar 77.4
NY-15 Biden   86-13 89-11 Torres, R. 66.1
TX-15 Biden   50-49 50-48 Gonzalez 81.2
CA-51 Biden   67-31 69-32 Vargas 70.1
CA-40 Biden   77-21 73-27 Roybal-Allard 87.6
TX-29 Biden   66-33 71-27 Garcia 77.1
NY-7 Biden   82-17 85-14 Velazquez 41.8
CA-44 Biden   78-19 68-32* Barragan 70.0
CA-29 Biden   74-24 57-43* Cardenas 68.7
NY-14 Biden   73-26 72-27 Ocasio-Cortez 49.1
NY-13 Biden   88-11 91-8 Espaillat 54.5
CA-19 Biden   70-28 72-28 Lofgren 40.8
FL-23 Biden   58-41 58-42 Wasserman-Schultz 35.5
CA-34 Biden   81-17 53-47* Gomez, J. 64.3
TX-9 Biden   76-23 75-22 Green, A. 38.5
NY-6 Biden   62-37 68-32 Meng 19.2
CA-35 Biden   65-33 69-31 Torres, N. 70.0
CA-46 Biden   64-33 69-31 Correa 66.4
NJ-8 Biden   73-26 74-25 Sires 54.4
PA-2 Biden   70-29 72-28 Boyle 27.9

* Faced another Democrat in general election
• Avg. Swing 12.3 | Median 11.5 | Average Hispanic percent: 59.8%


Biden Swing

Obviously, President Biden still won all but two of these districts, and the vast majority with overwhelming percentages. Even so, the fact that so many of the Hispanic districts were giving former President Trump a double-digit vote total increase is significant, nonetheless. This could be a positive 2020 presidential campaign after-effect upon which the Republican Party can build.

As you will see similarly in the districts below that swung significantly to Biden, only one of the Trump improvement seats performed differently at the House level when compared to that same electorate’s presidential vote. The one CD of the 25 swings that voted Biden for president and a Republican for House was Florida’s 27th District as Maria Elvira Salazar (R) upset incumbent Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Miami).

Of the districts that showed the most significant gain for Trump we look to South Texas. This contrasts greatly with the vote changes in North Texas. As we can see, ex-President Trump showed significant improvement in all of the Texas-Mexican border districts.

The district with the sharpest Trump swing was Florida’s 26th District, with a 21.9 percent factor. The lowest of the 25 were New Jersey’s 8th and Pennsylvania’s 2nd CDs, both with a 7.0 percentage improvement for the Republican former president.

The chart immediately below shows the top 25 districts that produced the sharpest swing for the race winner, President Biden. Remember, the 2016 Democratic number was that of Hillary Clinton.
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Cuomo Poll: Retirement Seen As
Preferential Over Resignation

By Jim Ellis

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D)

March 8, 2021 — A new Quinnipiac University poll of the New York electorate (March 2-3; 935 self-identified NY registered voters, live interview) was released late last week after his press conference with mixed results for embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

While his numbers are consistently bad with Republicans and Independents, the governor remains strong with his dominant Democratic base. Thus, while a majority of the Q-Poll respondents don’t favor the governor resigning, a large number believes he should not seek re-election in 2022.

To begin, the governor’s favorability ratio is 45:46 percent favorable to unfavorable, which is not particularly bad considering the negative effects of his dual-scandal situation, one involving COVID-related nursing home deaths and the other sexual harassment claims from former staff members.

The positive rating, however, is almost exclusively from Democrats. By a margin of 65:27 percent, self-identified Democrats still view the governor’s job performance positively. Republicans are wholly opposed, 13:82 percent positive to negative, and Cuomo is also decidedly upside-down with Independents, 33:57 percent.

Surprisingly, the polling sample still gives him positive reviews for his handling of the Coronavirus situation (56:41 percent), but, again, most of the favorable ratings come from Democrats, 80:18 percent, while Republicans and Independents both hold strongly negative opinions about how the governor has managed COVID-19: 17:80 percent among tested Republicans; 42:54 percent among Independents.

Once a small number of Democratic officials opened the spigot of dissent toward the governor, many more joined to form a high-flowing chorus. The calls for Cuomo’s resignation aren’t having much effect, however, as a majority, 55:40 percent, do not favor the governor giving up his office before his term ends. As mentioned above, however, the same polling sample does believe he should not seek a fourth term next year, and on this question, even the Democratic response is close.

Overall, 59 percent of the respondents say he should retire at the end of this term, while 36 percent believe he should run again. The Republican pro-retirement ratio registers 90:9 percent. Virtually two-thirds of the Independents (66:28%) say he should retire at the end of next year, while Democrats still barely back him remaining in office after the next election, 50:44 percent.

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Louisiana Poll Shows Clyburn in Lead;
Nevada Candidate Shows Up in Texas

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 5, 2021 — In the Baton Rouge area, a pre-election favorite shows a solid lead, and in Texas, a surprise candidate who previously was the NV-3 GOP front-runner in the Las Vegas area enters a Texas race.


LA-2

Louisiana state Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans)

A new survey for the upcoming March 20 special election in the New Orleans-Baton Rouge vacant 2nd Congressional District places the pre-election favorite into a discernible lead.

While state Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), who House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the Louisiana Democratic Party, and resigned Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) have all endorsed, posts a 28-19 percent lead over state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans), he is nowhere near the 50 percent mark required to elect outright. Therefore, it appears the odds are strong that we will see a secondary runoff election on April 24.

A Silas Lee study of 450 “chronic” LA-2 voters conducted during the February 12-14 period but released only this week, gives Sen. Carter the nine-point advantage within a field of 15 candidates – eight Democrats, four Republicans, two Independents, and one Libertarian – thus, the pair of competing local state senators appear headed toward an April 24 runoff election. Finishing a distant third in the Lee poll with just six percent support is Baton Rouge community activist Gary Chambers, Jr. (D).

While Sen. Carter was dominant in New Orleans, he falls into third position when moving to the district’s Baton Rouge sector. There, Chambers led Sens. Peterson and Carter with a 14-12-7 percent respective spread.

The state’s vacant 5th District also will be settled within the same schedule, but no relevant polling data is readily available for that race. In both contests, early voting begins this Saturday, March 6, and will continue only through March 13, a week before actual Election Day voting takes place.

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