Author Archives: Jim Ellis

House Becoming Clearer

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 4, 2016 — The late turnout trends, as influenced greatly by how the presidential race is closing, may well be increasing Republican/right-of-center voter participation. If so, this will have great effect upon the House races, potentially holding down Democratic gains because more heavily contested GOP incumbents will survive.

Looking at all House as we head into the final weekend of campaigning, it appears that 226 seats are rated as Safe Republican, Republican Favored, or Lean Republican. Democrats look to have 189 seats where their candidates are rated as safe, favored or leaning to their party.

The remaining 20 are toss-up campaigns. Sixteen of these are in current Republican CDs, while the remaining four are Democratic.

Included in what we can refer to as the “decided count”, are five Republican seats headed to the Democratic column and one Dem seat returning to the GOP. Four of these six turning districts are directly related to the mid-decade redistricting process in Florida and Virginia.

The one Democratic seat going Republican is the open northern Florida seat of retiring Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee). Because the adjacent 5th District was drawn to elect a minority candidate in a drastically different manner than the previous 5th District, a major chunk of Rep. Graham’s Democratic base was removed from her 2nd District. Without a reasonable place to run for re-election, Graham retired after one term, but we will likely see her in the 2018 open governor’s race. The new 2nd District will go to Dr. Neal Dunn, who won a two-point Republican primary victory in late August. Under the new draw, the GOP nomination is tantamount to election in the fall.

Continue reading

Senate Still in Limbo

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 3, 2016 — Entering the last week of campaigning, the Democrats are on the cusp of re-claiming the Senate majority they lost in 2014, but virtually no competitive outcome is yet secure.

The latest Hillary Clinton email revelations may cause irregular Republican turnout to increase, which should help the GOP Senate candidates. A demoralized Republican voter base, thinking that Donald Trump would have no chance to prevail against Clinton, is about the only way Democrats could have gained a wave effect, but that is no longer expected.

It appears that nine of 10 Democratic in-cycle states will remain in party control. Only Nevada is competitive on their side of the ledger. Republicans look to have 15 safe seats of their own, with another five: Arizona (Sen. John McCain), Iowa (Sen. Chuck Grassley), Georgia (Sen. Johnny Isakson), Florida (Sen. Marco Rubio) and Ohio (Sen. Rob Portman) all trending either strongly or nominally their way.

Democrats are in favorable position to convert incumbent Republican states in Illinois (Rep. Tammy Duckworth-D, unseating Sen. Mark Kirk-R) and Wisconsin (former Sen. Russ Feingold-D, re-claiming the seat he lost to Sen. Ron Johnson-R in 2010), in addition to being favored in the open Indiana seat (former Sen. Evan Bayh-D ahead of Rep. Todd Young-R).

Continue reading

Is It Possible?

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 2, 2016 — The latest reverberations from a potentially renewed Hillary Clinton FBI investigation are apparently helping to cause a severe tightening in the presidential race.

The latest polls, and there have been six conducted during the period from Oct. 24-30, now show the national popular vote again closing to perhaps within the margin of error. Clinton still leads in all national polls, but the trend is definitely favoring Donald Trump.

The six polls are from Morning Consult (Oct. 29-30; 1,772 likely US voters), Lucid/The Times Picayune (New Orleans) (Oct. 28-30; 857 likely US voters), Rasmussen Reports (Oct. 26-30; 1,500 likely US voters), Investors Business Daily/TIPP (Oct. 25-30; 993 likely US voters), NBC News/Survey Monkey (Oct. 24-30; 40,816 likely US voters via Internet), and ABC News/Washington Post (Oct. 26-29; 1,695 likely US voters). All but one find the Clinton lead dropping from what appeared to be a consistent six to nine point spread down to one or two.

Continue reading

Too Little, Too Late?

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 1, 2016 — Hillary Clinton appeared to be a lock to win the presidency less than a week ago, but yet another email scandal has potentially altered the outcome. This time, the situation involves disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY-9) computer from which his wife, Clinton Campaign co-chair Huma Abedin, sent and received messages that are prompting further FBI scrutiny.

Does the discovery of more damaging material against the Clinton operation give Donald Trump a serious chance to win on Nov. 8?

Probably not, but a new ABC News/Washington Post three-day tracking survey (Oct. 25-28; 1,160 likely US voters) finds a severe tightening of the presidential contest, and even before the latest email flap became public knowledge. The poll result finds Clinton leading Trump now by only one percentage point, 46-45 percent, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson receiving four percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein attracting two percent support.

While the ABC/Post analysis memorandum cautions the reader that this track represents only a snippet in time and even raises questions about the viability of its own sampling universe, the consistent movement toward Trump is still significant. It was only eight days ago that the ABC/Post track found the former Secretary of State opening up a commanding 50-38 percent advantage over the Republican businessman. Since that time, her daily tracking lead has dwindled to 49-40 percent (Oct. 24 release), 48-42 percent (October 25), 48-44 percent (October 26), 47-45 percent (October 27), and finally 46-45 percent in the data made public during the weekend.

Continue reading

Early Voting: Definitive?

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 31, 2016 — Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have some form of what is commonly called “no excuse” early voting, and some of those release the number and type of ballots being returned well before Election Day. Can this provide us an insight into how the election is already unfolding?

There are many analytical pieces now in the public domain featuring many different conclusions. It doesn’t appear likely, however, that the early voting numbers are really telling us much. It appears that no matter what your electoral preference, you can find an early voting analysis that supports your individual political outlook.

Therefore, with so many more voters projected to take advantage of the early voting process, it’s difficult to make comparisons between this election and those from the past. It is likely that either a majority of 2016 voters, or close to one, will cast their ballots prior to the actual Nov. 8 Election Day, up from approximately 40 percent in the last presidential election.

Forty states have some type of no-excuse early voting procedure, including every individual entity west of the Mississippi River. Six states: Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia, technically allow early voting, but one must indicate a coming absence from the home area during the Election Day period in order to cast an early ballot.

Continue reading