Author Archives: Jim Ellis

The Big Swings

By Jim Ellis

July 21, 2016 — If we use the 2012 presidential map as the starting point for projecting the current campaign’s outcome, we can see that the race could literally be determined in three large swing states. If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump maintain the states that President Obama and Mitt Romney each won four years ago with the exception of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, such a configuration would result in a Trump national victory.

To review, President Obama received 332 Electoral Votes, winning 26 states and the District of Columbia. Romney took 24 states for a total of 206 Electoral Votes. The grand total for Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania is 67 Electoral Votes, meaning Trump winning all three would give him 273 national votes and ultimate victory. It takes 270 Electoral Votes to win the Presidency.

A Trump victory is also dependent upon him carrying the 22 states that have gone Republican in every presidential election of this century, and Indiana, which strayed only in 2008 when then-Sen. Barack Obama carried the Hoosier State by one percentage point. The addition of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to the ticket should help in that regard, if any is needed.

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Obstacles Overcome;
New Polls Again Close

By Jim Ellis

July 20, 2016 — A final last-gasp effort at denying Donald Trump the Republican nomination was easily slapped down the other day. The Never Trump forces were dealt a crushing loss last week in the Convention Rules Committee (only hitting the 20 percent mark in one vote), but returned to make a move against adopting the rules on the convention floor. This motion, too, was easily defeated on a voice vote.

The Never Trump group was never large enough to become a major threat, and went the way of all such challenges when supported by only a small minority. Therefore, the delegates will nominate Donald Trump and Mike Pence on Wednesday night, with the presidential acceptance speech on Thursday night in accordance with normal national convention procedure.

Midwest Polls

CBS/YouGov has conducted panel back Internet-based surveys of more than 24,017 registered voters in 19 states since September 2015. The July 15-16 edition covered voters in the swing Midwestern domains of Iowa (998 previously questioned registered voters), Michigan (1,201 PQRVs), and Ohio (1,104 PQRVs).

Once again, we continue to see data producing very tight margins in the swing states and the CBS/YouGov data is no exception. Michigan is normally not a politically marginal state in presidential elections, going for the Democratic nominee in the last six national campaigns, but voters have elected Republican governors, a majority of the congressional delegation, and given the GOP substantial advantages in both houses of the state legislature in several elections during this same time period.

The new CBS/YouGov data finds Trump leading Hillary Clinton 40-39 percent in Iowa, but trailing 39-42 percent, and 40-44 percent in Michigan and Ohio, respectively. All of these numbers suggest virtual ties between the two candidates because the results fall within the polling margin of error.

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Hoosier Musical Chairs

By Jim Ellis

July 19, 2016 — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s selection as Donald Trump’s Republican vice presidential nominee begins an unusual succession process. Immediately, the members of the Indiana Republican Party’s State Committee must take action to choose replacement nominees for what is becoming a series of vacancies.

Friday was the state deadline to finalize the November ballot. Up until noon on July 15, candidates throughout Indiana could withdraw after winning the May 3 primary, leaving the affected political party structure in charge of selecting replacements. Never has the ballot deadline created such an active period.

Somewhat lost in the deadline flurry of activity surrounding Pence’s ascension to the national ticket, was the Democratic move earlier in the week when party leaders were able to convince ex-Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN-9) to withdraw from the Senate race and allow former senator and governor, Evan Bayh (D), to step in as the replacement.

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Trump’s VP Selection

By Jim Ellis

July 18, 2016 — Donald Trump had scheduled an announcement Friday in New York to introduce who would be his vice presidential running mate. A plethora of media reports suggested that he would select Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The reports were right. Gov. Pence withdrew from the governor’s race before the noon CDT, for that was the established deadline when the ballots became final under Hoosier State election law. Once a vacancy is registered, the Indiana Republican Party has 30 days to name a replacement for the gubernatorial ballot, and already at least three individuals have informed the party leadership that they are candidates. Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb and representatives Susan Brooks (R-Carmel) and Todd Rokita (R-Clermont) are withdrawing from their respective campaigns, but the ones not chosen could conceivably be reinstated in order to keep their present ballot position.

Choosing Pence makes sense for Trump, at least from the standpoint that the conservative Indiana governor will help unite the Republican base. Though Trump’s GOP support numbers in national polling appears on par with Hillary Clinton’s backing within the Democratic Party universe in most polls, the bedrock Republican states, particularly in the central and Rocky Mountain regions of the country, are a slightly different story.

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Confirmation & Conflict

By Jim Ellis

July 15, 2016 — New just-released Senate polls either confirm or contradict other data that we covered earlier in the week.

An unusual identical confirmation occurred in Iowa, where two pollsters arrived at the exact same result when testing the contest between Sen. Charles Grassley (R) and former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D). Wednesday, NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist College released their Hawkeye State poll of 822 registered voters, and the Senate results determined Grassley to be leading Judge, 52-42 percent.

As noted earlier this week, Monmouth University (July 8-11; 401 registered Iowa voters) projected the exact same 52-42 percent spread. This gives us a solid indication that Sen. Grassley has increased his lead to low double-digits after taking a dip over the Supreme Court hearing controversy.

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