Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Sen. Warnock Jumps to Significant Lead, Kemp & Abrams Tied in Georgia; Incumbent Rep. Lee Trailing in NV-3

By Jim Ellis — July 1, 2022

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Jumps to Significant Lead — The new Georgia Quinnipiac poll (June 23-27; 1,497 registered Georgia voters; live interview) finds Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) claiming a 54-44 percent lead over Republican Herschel Walker, the most lopsided pro-Democratic ballot test to date. The previous polling from December to mid-April (six polls) had given Walker a slight edge.

Sen. Warnock carries a positive 49:39 percent job approval rating in contrast to President Biden’s upside-down 33:60 percent approval rating. Walker scores rather poorly on honesty, 39:43 percent honest to dishonest, and is not perceived to have particularly good leadership skills, 37:43 percent. As point of reference, the same polling sample finds Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D) tied at 48 percent.

However, the study could be an anomaly.

Though polls have been moving toward Sen. Warnock, the Q-Poll takes a giant leap, so it is possible that this survey is an outlier. Democrats support Warnock, 97-2 percent; Republicans are for Walker in a 93-7 percent clip.

The Independent sector is where we may be detecting a significant skew. This group, on virtually every question but the Biden job approval query moves significantly toward the Democratic position and/or candidate, and in a greater degree than one would expect from people who self-identify as “independents” (62-33 percent for Warnock).

While this particular poll may well skew toward Sen. Warnock, it is probable that we will soon see other data yielding a much closer ballot test. The Georgia Senate race is one that is far from over.

Missouri: Independent Joins Race — Answering former Sen. John Danforth’s (R) call for a new candidate in the Senate race, former US Attorney John Wood announced his plans to enter the contest as an Independent. He claims this is a move to potentially stop former Gov. Eric Greitens from prevailing in the general election should he win the Republican nomination. In reality, however, by splitting the vote in such a manner — if Wood were to become a top-tier candidate — would likely elect the Democratic nominee.

Wood says that if elected, he would support Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for Majority Leader and would presumably caucus with the Republicans. To qualify for the ballot in Missouri, an Independent candidate must submit 10,000 valid registered voters’ signatures by an Aug. 1 deadline.

House

FL-2: Close Poll in Paired Race — The new northern Florida’s 2nd District is rated R+16 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. A new Sachs Media poll (June 20-23; 400 likely FL-2 general election voters), however, finds Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) leading Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) by only a 43-40 percent margin. Perhaps the most troubling segment for Rep. Dunn is the unaffiliated voters who are breaking for Lawson by a 42-18 percent margin.

NV-3: Rep. Lee Trailing in New Survey — The Tarrance Group, polling for the April Becker (R) campaign (June 20-23; 400 likely NV-3 general election voters), posts their client and Republican challenger to a 46-44 percent edge over incumbent Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas). Likely most troubling for the Lee campaign is her deficit among Hispanic voters who comprise almost 19 percent of the 3rd District of Nevada’s population. Within this segment, Becker leads the congresswoman 48-42 percent. President Biden’s job approval rating here is a poor 37 percent.

OK-2: Runoff Set — With enough votes counted, it is now clear that the Republican runoff to replace Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) will feature state Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee), who finished first with just 14.7 percent among the crowded field, and former state Sen. John Brecheen, who was close behind with 13.8 percent support. The two just eclipsed Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee (13.0 percent) and Oklahoma Republican Party chairman John Bennett (11.3 percent). The runoff winner is a lock to win the general election in a R+55 rated seat according the the 538 data group.

Redistricting

Louisiana: Supreme Court Stays Ruling — The federal judge’s ruling that disqualified the new Louisiana congressional map because it did not draw a second black district has been stayed. The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) took the action to at least temporarily block the ruling from taking effect. The conclusion will mean the legislature’s map will return at least for the 2022 election.

The courts, either through this case or the Alabama Voting Rights case that the SCOTUS has already scheduled for hearing, will likely determine how the Voting Rights Act is to be interpreted moving forward. This could mean that the Louisiana map and many others will be re-drawn for the 2024 election and beyond.

Republicans Trying to Bring Down Greitens in MO; Likely OK Runoff; Tight GOP Contest Forecast in MI

By Jim Ellis — June 30, 2022

Senate

Ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R)

Missouri: Republicans Trying to Bring Down Greitens — The Politico publication is reporting that a group of Republicans are funding a major new “Show Me Values” super PAC in order to run negative ads against resigned Gov. Eric Greitens (R) before the Aug. 2 US Senate primary. The former governor was forced out of office less than two years after he was elected based upon a sex scandal and legal charges that were later dismissed because of prosecutorial misconduct.

Attempting a return in the 2022 Senate race, Greitens ex-wife is accusing him of domestic abuse in their child custody hearings. Despite all of the negativity surrounding Greitens, the other Republican candidates have been unable to break through, and the former governor continues to maintain small leads in most polls. Fearing that Greitens will lose the general election, the Show Me Values organization is attempting to help another candidate, whether it be Attorney General Eric Schmitt or Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) and Billy Long (R-Springfield), to victory in the upcoming GOP primary.

Oklahoma Special: Runoff Likely — According to a new Sooner Poll, a combined effort from the news departments from Oklahoma City and Tulsa Channels 9 and 6, respectively (June 13-21; 350 likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters), finds US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) and former state House Speaker T. W. Shannon headed for a Republican runoff after Tuesday’s primary voting. The poll results are consistent with others that have been periodically released since March.

In this Sooner Poll survey, Rep. Mullin commands 39 percent support and Shannon 13 percent. State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) is well back with eight percent, and former Sen. Jim Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland trails with a five percent preference factor. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two finishers will advance to an Aug. 23 runoff election. The eventual Republican nominee is a lock in the general election and will serve the remaining four years on resigning Sen. Inhofe’s current term.

House

MI-7: Rep. Slotkin in Toss-Up Race — State Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Lansing) released an internal Cygnal campaign poll (June 14-16; 400 MI-7 registered voters; peer-to-peer text) that gives the candidate a 46-44 percent ballot test lead over two-term US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly). Michigan’s primaries are scheduled for Aug. 2. In what appears to be worse news for the Democratic incumbent, the generic question yields 50.3 percent of the respondents saying they will vote for a Republican congressional candidate versus just 39.3 percent who plan to support a Democratic contender in the US House campaign. The Biden job approval index is an upside-down 36:62 percent positive to negative. The FiveThirtyEight organization rates the new 7th CD as R+4. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan factor at 49.3 D – 47.9 R.

In 2020, Rep. Slotkin was re-elected to the 8th CD with a 51-47 percent margin. The new 7th District contains just over 38 percent new constituents for the congresswoman. The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission drew several toss-up congressional districts, similar to the statistics we see from the new 7th CD.

Governor

Michigan: Tight GOP Contest Forecast — Michigan pollster Mitchell Research, conducting a political poll for the Michigan Information & Research Service (June 21-22; 588 likely Michigan Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system & text) finds the Republican primary falling into a dead heat still several weeks away from the Aug. 2 primary election. The field drastically changed when leading candidate James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief, businessman Perry Johnson, and several others failed to qualify for the ballot because they lacked the required number of legal petition signatures.

Such being the case, the new Mitchell poll finds talk show host Tudor Dixon and businessman Kevin Rinke tied with 15 percent support. Closely following is real estate broker and Trump activist Ryan Kelley at 13 percent, while chiropractor Garrett Soldano posts eight percent preference. Michigan uses a plurality system to determine their party nominees, meaning the person with the most votes wins the single nomination election regardless of percentage attained. The eventual nominee will then challenge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the general election.

Casten and Miller Win in Illinois; Colorado Statewide Races Set;
More Primary Results News

By Jim Ellis — June 29, 2022

Primary Results

Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove)

Illinois: Reps. Casten and Miller Win — The big news from last night’s primary election surrounded the two paired districts. In the Chicago suburbs, Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove), who unexpectedly lost his 17-year-old daughter just two weeks ago, scored a landslide win over fellow Rep. Marie Newman (D-La Grange) in the new 6th District that contained more of the latter member’s current turf.

Freshman Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland)

In the downstate Republican 15th CD, freshman Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland), armed with an endorsement and rally appearance from former President Donald Trump, recorded a decisive 57-43 percent over veteran Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville). Davis will now see his congressional career draw to a close after serving what will be ten years in the House.

The Democratic pairing occurred in order to create a new Chicago-anchored Hispanic district. State Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) easily won the Democratic nomination in this seat, and becomes the prohibitive favorite for the general election. State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) won an outright majority with 57 percent of the vote opposite five opponents in the governor’s primary. He advances to the general election to oppose incumbent J. B. Pritzker (D). Conservative activist Kathy Salvi won the Republican Senate nomination, and now faces a likely insurmountable opponent in Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D).

Colorado: Statewide Races Set — As expected, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl captured the Republican gubernatorial nomination with a 53 percent majority over GOP nominating convention winner Greg Lopez. In the Senate contest, as most predicted, construction company owner Joe O’Dea defeated state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose) with just under 55 percent of the vote. Like Lopez, Rep. Hanks also won the Republican nominating convention endorsement.

The two will advance to the general election against Gov. Jared Polis (D) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D). Neither incumbent was opposed for re-nomination and both are now heavy favorites to win re-election in November.

MS-3 and 4: Guest Wins; Palazzo Loses — As predicted, despite a scare in the primary election, Mississippi 3rd District Rep. Michael Guest (R-Brandon) easily won re-nomination last night in the Mississippi congressional runoff election. He topped challenger Michael Cassidy with two-thirds of more than 70,000 votes that were cast in last night’s election. Rep. Guest will now have an easy run in the general election.

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Biloxi) was not so fortunate in his southern Mississippi 4th CD. He failed to overcome Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell and lost his seat in a 54-46 percent count. Palazzo becomes the eighth House incumbent to be denied re-nomination and the fourth who lost to a challenger that was not a fellow incumbent forced into a paired district. Sheriff Ezell is now the heavy favorite to win the seat in November.

NE-1: Flood Wins Special — Another special congressional election was held last night, and this result ended in a closer final tally than originally expected. Nebraska state Sen. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), a media company owner, claimed the seat with a 53-47 percent victory over fellow state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks (D-Lincoln) in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+17.

Flood will be sworn into the House upon official election certification. He will replace convicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln). Rep-Elect Flood and Sen. Pansing Brooks will see each other again. Both are the party nominees for the regular general election in November.

New York: Hochul vs. Zeldin — The New York statewide contests also ended as expected. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who ascended from the lieutenant governor’s position when Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned, easily defeated NYC Public advocate Jumaane Williams and US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), 68-19-13 percent. Williams was unopposed for the Working Families ballot line, so he will advance into the general election despite his loss last night.

The Republican battle was a bit closer. US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley; East Long Island) topped Andrew Giuliani, son of ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in a 44-23 percent split. Former Westchester County executive and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino and businessman Harry Wilson recorded 18 and 15 percent, respectively. Gov. Hochul begins the general election as the decided favorite.
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Final Pre-Primary Poll, Two Pairings Decided Today in Illinois

By Jim Ellis — June 28, 2022

Senate

Kathy Salvi

Illinois: Final Pre-Primary Poll — The Illinois primary is today, and the Ogden & Fry research firm tested the GOP field (June 24; 518 likely Illinois Republican primary voters). The results find Kathy Salvi, whose husband, Al Salvi, was the 1996 US Senate nominee, and who at the time was a conservative radio talk show host. She leads the field of seven candidates but with only 20 percent preference. Tonight’s winner will face Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D) in the Autumn, and begins this race as one of the bigger Senate underdogs in the country.

House

IL-6 and 15: Two Pairings Decided Today — The Illinois primary also features two sets of incumbent House members battling for two seats. In the Chicago suburbs, Democratic Reps. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) and Marie Newman (D-La Grange) square off for the state’s new 6th District. Downstate, Republican members Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) and Mary Miller (R-Oakland) are vying for the new safely Republican 15th CD. The 6th is the more competitive of the two seats for the general election. Both primaries are viewed as tight contests.

NE-1: Special Election Today — Two state senators are competing for the seat, and regardless of what happens tonight both will advance to the regular general election for the succeeding term in November. Both Sens. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) and Patty Pansing Brooks (D-Lincoln) were nominated by the party leaders for the special election and the voters for the fall campaign.

The seat is rated R+17 and is 89 percent intact when overlaid with the current district. Former President Trump carried the seat 56-41 percent in 2020. Therefore, the stats make Sen. Flood the favorite to win tonight and in November. The competition from Sen. Brooks, however, will likely make this race closer than in the recent past.

RI-2: Surprising Poll Results — Though Rhode Island’s open 2nd District is rated as heavily Democratic — D+17 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization — a new Suffolk University poll (June 19-22; 423 likely Rhode Island general election voters; live interview) finds former Cranston mayor and 2014 and 2018 Republican gubernatorial nominee Allen Fung (R) taking a 45-38 percent lead over state Treasurer Seth Magaziner who is the Democratic primary polling leader. If this trend continues, we will see a surprisingly competitive race come forth in the New England region.

Governor

Illinois: Governor’s Race Could Be More Competitive — The Ogden & Fry firm also tested the Republican governor’s field (see Illinois Senate above). The GOP contest looks to be a competitive battle among state Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan and ex-Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin. Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D) is the clear favorite for the November election, but this race appears to be a bit more competitive than the companion US Senate contest.

Rhode Island: Gov. McKee Wins Party Endorsement — Gov. Dan McKee won a solid 56 percent endorsement vote at the Rhode Island Democratic convention, and he will be the official party supported candidate for the Sept. 13 primary. The Ocean State’s Secretary of State, Nellie Gorbea, however, leads in a new Democratic poll (Suffolk University; 353 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters; live interview), 24-20 percent.

Conflicting Polls in NC;
Fetterman Up in PA; Gubernatorial Challenger Drops Out in MA

By Jim Ellis — June 27, 2022

Senate

Cheri Beasley (left) holds a 44-40 percent edge over Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) in a recent poll in the open North Carolina Senate campaign.

North Carolina: Countering Poll — Last week, we reported on a Survey USA poll (June 8-12; 650 likely North Carolina voters; online) that gave Democratic former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley a 44-40 percent edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) in the open North Carolina Senate campaign. This week, the Cygnal polling firm released its latest data (June 17-19; 600 likely North Carolina voters; live interview & text) that projects a different conclusion. These results show Rep. Budd holding a virtual mirror image 45-40 percent lead. Of those definitely voting for one candidate or the other, Rep. Budd leads that response, 38-31 percent.

Pennsylvania: Fetterman Up in Two New Polls — Two surveys, a combined poll from Republican firm Fabrizio Ward & Associates and the Democratic Impact Research entity (June 12-19; 1,382 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview & text), and Suffolk University (June 10-13; 500 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview), both find Democrat John Fetterman leading Republican Mehmet Oz even though the Democratic fundamentals in terms of direction of the country, views on the economy, and wanting their vote to be a message to Washington, are inconsistent with the support level for the party’s nominee. Fabrizio/Impact finds Fetterman’s advantage at 50-44 percent. Suffolk reveals a similar 46-37 percent split in Fetterman’s favor.

Wisconsin: Typical Close Polling — Pollsters haven’t fared too well in Wisconsin in recent election years. The last time Sen. Ron Johnson (R) was on the ballot in 2016, he led in just one of 30 public polls that were conducted that year. Now, we see Marquette Law School releasing new data projecting another close contest. According to their survey (June 14-20; 803 registered Wisconsin voters), Sen. Johnson would trail a pair of Democrats, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) and state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, by two percentage points apiece, 44-46 percent and 43-45 percent, but lead Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry, 45-42 percent.

Within this same time frame during the 2016 election cycle, Marquette found former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) leading Sen. Johnson, 51-42 percent. Johnson won the 2016 election, 50-47 percent.

Governor

Massachusetts: Challenger Drops Out — State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) announced last week that she is ending her gubernatorial bid, saying that she has no “path to victory.” This leaves Attorney General Maura Healey unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Considering a weak Republican field, it appears that AG Healey is now the prohibitive favorite to convert the Massachusetts governor’s office away from the Republicans. Incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker (R) chose not to seek a third term.

New York: Hochul Up Big; GOP Tight — Survey USA went into the field in New York to test both major party primaries in anticipation of the June 28 vote for the statewide candidates. The candidates running for state legislature and US House will have their primary on Aug. 23.

According to S-USA (June 15-20; 2,987 registered New York voters; 1,002 likely Democratic primary voters; 538 likely Republican primary voters; online), Gov. Kathy Hochul has a big lead in the Dem primary, 54-18-11 percent over Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. For the Republicans, US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley; East Long Island) holds only a 25-23 percent edge over Andrew Giuliani, son of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, while businessman Henry Wilson commands 13 percent support.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Close — While the aforementioned two Pennsylvania surveys, (see Pennsylvania in Senate section above; a combined poll from Republican firm Fabrizio Ward & Associates and the Democratic Impact Research entity and Suffolk University), find Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) topping Republican Mehmet Oz slightly beyond the polling margin of error, the governor’s contest is tighter. These same polls project Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) holding a bare 49-46 percent edge in the Fabrizio/Impact poll over state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), and a similarly tight 44-40 percent lead in the Suffolk poll.