Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Illinois Sen. Kirk Attacks Duckworth;
Comstock’s Interesting Challenger

Dec. 3, 2015 — Sen. Mark Kirk (R) just launched a major media attack against Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-8), this one regarding the Syrian refugee issue. The ad (above) is telling because it provides us a glimpse into the Kirk campaign research and strategy.

Targeting the congresswoman now conveys the assumption that Rep. Duckworth will win the Democratic nomination on March 15. This is a rather obvious conclusion due to her perceived political strength and because her two primary opponents, though potentially formidable under different circumstances, both occupy the same demographic and geographic segments. State Sen. Napoleon Harris and Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp are each African American and hail from the state’s largest city.

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Early Primary Races

Dec. 2, 2015 — The early presidential calendar brings March congressional primaries to seven states. Instead of doubling the election cost with a stand-alone presidential primary followed by a commensurate state nomination event later in the year, several legislatures decided to move their entire cycle to an unusually early calendar slot.

The March primary states, aside from Texas and Illinois, which normally hold their nomination voting then, are: Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Ohio.

March 1

Alabama: Sen. Richard Shelby faces Republican primary opposition from four opponents, one of whom, businessman Jonathan McConnell, could self-fund a campaign should he choose to do so. This is a good example of where the short time frame hurts potential challengers. Sen. Shelby should have little problem disposing of his competition to win re-nomination for a sixth term. Should Shelby fall below 50 percent, a run-off election would be held on April 12.

All seven House members are seeking re-election. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL-1), Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL-2), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL-3) and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL-4) all face Republican opposition. All are favored to win without a run-off.

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Issues and Attitudes

Dec. 1, 2915 — The results of a new exhaustive national survey were released over the Thanksgiving Day holiday break providing some thought-provoking conclusions.

The YouGov international polling organization in conjunction with London’s The Economist newspaper conducted the major American electorate Internet-based poll (Nov. 19-23; 2,000 adult respondents) containing 100 questions, the answers to which were quickly released and reported upon. (An additional 21 questions were asked according to the analysis, but not included in the report.)

Many of the questions provided an interesting snapshot into how a large segment of the American public is presently thinking. The responses pertaining to candidate ballot tests and individual approval ratings, however, are not of particular significance because the sample contains only 71 percent registered voters. Therefore, they will not be discussed here.

When asked about the one most important issue to each individual respondent, 16 percent said the economy, another 16 percent said terrorism, and 15 percent said Social Security. While a majority (54 percent) do not believe a government shutdown will occur, 31 percent said that Republicans in Congress would be to blame if one were to happen. But, an almost equal 30 percent would attest such responsibility to President Obama. An additional 26 percent said both would be accountable. This is a much different outlook than would be cast from the national media, which would heavily focus upon Republicans as the motivating force to cease operating some government services in order to achieve certain policy objectives.

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Cruz Gaining Support, Trump Lags;
Louisiana Senate Contenders Jump In

Nov. 30, 2015 — The new Iowa Quinnipiac University poll shows a significant gain for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in anticipation of the Feb. 1 Republican precinct meetings. Dr. Ben Carson recorded a substantial loss in support, while race leader Donald Trump posted an incremental gain.

According to the latest Q-Poll (Nov. 16-22; 600 likely Iowa Republican Caucus attenders), Sen. Cruz attracted an additional 13 percentage points when compared with the university’s Oct. 22 released survey. Their new ballot test finds Trump leading Cruz 25-23 percent, with Dr. Carson slipping to 18 percent (down from 28 percent in October) and Sen. Marco Rubio remaining constant with 13 percent support. Trump gained five percentage points in the last month.

Again we see the familiar separation pattern occurring, as the top four finishers in this poll: Trump, Cruz, Carson, and Rubio, again are firmly distinguishing themselves as the “Front Four”. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is a distant fifth at just five percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush drops even lower to four percent.

While Trump continues to lead, though his advantage here is consistently shrinking, he also is tops in another category, which is not good news. A full 30 percent of the sample identified Trump as “the candidate they would definitely not support” in the Iowa Caucus. For a change, and unfortunately for him, Jeb Bush scores high. He is second in this negative category with 21 percent saying he is the one candidate for whom they won’t vote. By contrast, Cruz, Rubio, and Carson score seven, five and four percent figures, respectively, in response to this question.

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New Maryland Polling

Nov. 25, 2015 — In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, this will be the final Update for the week. Enjoy the holiday break.

A recent media blitz appears to have achieved its intended effect in the Maryland Senate race. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8) invested funds for a sizable media buy to introduce himself to Maryland primary voters, particularly in the Baltimore metropolitan area. After trailing Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD-4) in earlier polling, a new OpinionWorks survey for the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore finds the race has turned toward Van Hollen.

According to the poll results (Nov. 13-17; 419 likely Democratic primary voters) Van Hollen leads Edwards 45-31 percent when the two are tested, including a 16-point advantage in the Baltimore area. This essentially is the reverse of what we have previously seen. Additionally, as has been the case with much of the 2016 election cycle polling particularly at the presidential level, the sample size is small for a statewide race meaning a large error factor.

But, the most interesting finding is not the projected switch in fortunes between representatives Van Hollen and Edwards. While apparent that Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) will not enter the Senate campaign, though he still has yet to officially declare for re-election and doesn’t actively dissuade any further Senate talk, he continues to fare very well when added to the candidates’ list.

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