Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Two New Polls Show Tracking Trends In 2020 Presidential Race

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 6, 2019 — The Emerson College Polling Institute and Monmouth University just released two presidential polls, the former of Iowa voters, the latter, a national study.

The Emerson poll (Jan. 30-Feb. 2; 831 registered Iowa voters, 260 likely Iowa Democratic caucus attenders) finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-D/VT), 29-18-15 percent, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) posts 11% support.

The other candidates land in single digits: ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) at six percent; Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) both with four percent; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has three percent; while former HUD Secretary Julian Castro posts two percent, and ex-Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) each register one percent support.

The results are consistent with previous polls conducted of the Iowa Caucus sampling universe even though the Democratic sample in this survey is very low.

During the period of Jan. 25-27, Monmouth University tested a national sample of 735 registered US voters from a pool of 805 adults to determine perceptions mostly of the Democratic candidates, but also queried the aggregate respondent universe about President Trump.

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Northam on the Edge

The racially charged photo compilation above appeared in the 1984 yearbook of the medical school Gov. Ralph Northam attended with his name on the page.


By Jim Ellis

Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam

Feb. 5, 2019 — Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam continues to reel, and many believe the increasing pressure upon him to resign will force him from office within the next 48 hours.

Northam defeated former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, 54-45 percent, in the 2017 statewide election. His term will expire at the beginning of 2022.

The number of Democrats publicly opposing Northam over the publication of a racially charged medical school year book picture increased substantially over the weekend, capped by a joint pro-resignation statement issued from Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, along with House Education & Labor Committee chairman Bobby Scott (D-Newport News).

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who Northam served as lieutenant governor, and Congressional Black Caucus member Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) also joined the chorus of detractors in addition to Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez, former Vice President Joe Biden, several other presidential candidates, and ex-Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, the state’s first African American governor who was elected in 1989.

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A Pennsylvania Gerrymander or Not?

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 4, 2019 — As more final voting data becomes available about the 2018 electoral patterns, new local analysis articles are being distributed that allow us to better understand why the results unfolded as they did.

Emily Previti published a piece for Pennsylvania’s Keystone Crossroads media site at the end of last week that details just how the congressional outcome might have changed if the state Supreme Court had not altered the Pennsylvania federal map.

The Pennsylvania high court ruled about a year before the last election that the 2011 redistricting legislative package was a political gerrymander in relation to the state’s constitution. The court then instituted new boundaries for the 2018 and 2020 elections, designed to bridge the gap until the next census, reapportionment, and redistricting processes begin again.

The court majority reasoned that the previous congressional map routinely yielding a 13R-5D congressional result was out of sync with a statewide electorate that usually favors Democrats, among other reasons. Yet, according to the Previti article, such may not have been the case.

Click on above map to see full story and interactive map at the Keystone Crossroads media site.

After overlaying the new court-imposed 18-district congressional map (above) that returned a 9R-9D result from the previous 12R-6D delegation split (the division changed when Democrat Conor Lamb won an early 2018 special election in a previously Republican 18th CD), Previti concludes that the same 9-9 split we see today may well have occurred even under the previous map.

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The Policy Divide in 2019

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 31, 2019 — The Pew Research Center for US Politics and Policy released the results of its annual “Public’s Priorities” survey (Jan. 9-14; 1,505 US adults) and found areas of both consistencies and great change from within the aggregate responses.

In terms of stability, the top priorities remain almost unchanged from last year:

  • The Economy
  • Healthcare Costs
  • Education
  • Terrorism
  • Social Security
  • Medicare

However, the stark partisan divide among some of these and other issues is worthy of further examination.

For example, while 70 percent of the respondents believe the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress, there is a 15-point gap between the positions of Republicans and Democrats. On the GOP side, 79 percent said the economy should be a top priority, while only 64 percent of Democrats agreed.

The ratio is reversed when contemplating healthcare costs. While 77 percent of Democrats said this should be a top governmental priority, only 59 percent of Republicans answered the same.

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American Electorate Tracking Poll:
A Look at The Underlying Numbers

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 29, 2019 — In the past couple of days, the new Morning Consult American electorate tracking poll (Jan. 18-22 — 1,996 US registered voters; 35 percent self-identified Democrats, 33 percent Independent, 32 percent Republican) captured media attention because it released a national Democratic presidential primary ballot test.

The results concluded that former Vice President Joe Biden is leading Sen. Bernie Sanders 17-12 percent while 19 other candidates or potential candidates all fell into single digits. (Some reports indicated Biden’s edge over Sanders was 26-16 percent, but this was done by eliminating some minor candidates and extrapolating the remaining preference votes among the major candidates. The actual polling results for the entire field are the ones quoted in the first sentence of this paragraph.) But, the figures are largely irrelevant because the ballot test was asked of the whole respondent pool and not just the Democrats and Independents who lean Democratic.

The inclusion of the Republican and Republican-leaning Independents certainly would skew this data, thereby not accurately depicting where the candidates stand among Democrats, and more particularly, Democratic primary voters and likely caucus attenders. This makes the results highly questionable as they relate to where national Democrats are headed in choosing a presidential nominee.

The ballot test, however, was just one query of 82, an extensive segmented questionnaire that, for the most part, provides us interesting and useful issue data.

While President Trump is clearly in what could be the lowest point of his presidency in terms of popularity and job approval – Morning Consult finds him with a 40:57 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio – those highly negative opinions don’t necessarily carry through to other Republicans.

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Special Election Called in PA

By Jim Ellis

Pennsylvania Congressional Map | Source: Pennsylvania State Supreme Court (click on image to see full size)

Jan. 29, 2019 — While most of the special election banter surrounds the still undecided North Carolina situation (NC-9), the first new election of the year has just been scheduled.

With Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino’s (R-Williamsport) surprise announcement earlier this month that he was resigning from the House, a move he made official on Jan. 23 to accept a position in the private sector, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has already called the replacement special election to fill the new vacancy.

As expected, Gov. Wolf made the 12th District special election concurrent with the Pennsylvania statewide municipal primary, which is scheduled for May 21. There will be only the one election, and the candidate receiving the most votes, regardless of percentage attained, will serve the balance of the current term.

In the meantime, the 15 county chairmen from the qualified political parties will schedule a convention in the district to choose their respective nominee. Generally, the convention is weighted to accurately reflect the population spread throughout the district. Therefore, the most populous counties within the 12th CD, Lycoming and part of Centre that together possess 29 percent of the district’s population, will likely have a commensurate number of votes at the special nominating convention.

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