Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Trump’s Impending Obstacles

Sept. 3, 2015 — Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has so far exceeded all expectations, but the rubber will soon meet the road for the wealthy upstart candidate. Continuing to publicly entertain the possibility of entering the general election as an Independent candidate if “the Republicans aren’t nice to me”, the decision whether to do so will likely come sooner rather than later.

The South Carolina primary is one of the most important. It is third on the nomination schedule and will likely hold its vote on Saturday, Feb. 20 of next year. The Palmetto State, like many others in the South and other places, has what is commonly referred to as a “sore loser law”. This means any person entering a partisan primary is ineligible to run as an Independent candidate in the related general election.

Most of these laws do not pertain to the presidential contest, but the South Carolina law does. Therefore, if Trump participates in the state’s primary – and he is leading there according to the latest polling – he would not be allowed access to the SC general election ballot if he fails to become the Republican nominee.

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Iowa – Below the Surface

Sept. 2, 2015 — The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics released a new installment to their regular polling series, and it’s their underlying questions that provide us with the most interesting information. The survey, again conducted by the Des Moines-based Selzer & Company, interviewed 404 likely Democratic caucus attenders and 400 likely Republican participants over the Aug. 23-26 period.

Like most polls currently in the public domain, the respective ballot tests show Donald Trump breaking out for the Republicans. Here, he posts a 23-18-8-8 percent lead over Dr. Ben Carson with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) each claiming a share of third place. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton’s lead is dissipating as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making significant gains. The results project him pulling to within single digits of former First Lady, 37-30 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, not yet a presidential contender, records 14 percent support.

The underlying points reveal a weakening Clinton, no doubt, but not to catastrophic proportions. Though her Iowa support is tepid when compared to the numbers she posted at the end of 2014, the base Democrats do not see her in a negative light.

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Joe Biden’s Best Move

Sept. 1, 2015 — An idea for Vice President Joe Biden has begun to float around while he considers whether to run for the nation’s top office. A suggested Biden strategic move would not only rob Hillary Clinton of significant support, but also simultaneously neutralize Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT).

The strategy comes in three parts. First, Biden would announce for president and immediately name Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as his running mate. This would be an overt attempt to cover the female base, thereby giving voters who want a woman on the ticket some reason to consider ditching Clinton in favor of Biden.

Additionally, identifying Warren as his vice presidential running mate would assuage the Democrats’ liberal base, including the growing far left sector. This voter segment is where Sen. Sanders draws the bulk of his support. Thus, adding Warren to Biden’s presidential ticket would act as a wedge designed to weaken both the former First Lady and the self-proclaimed socialist lawmaker.

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Hassan Waiting Too Long?

Aug. 31, 2015 — New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) continues to remain non-committal about whether she will seek re-election or challenge Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), and her ambivalence could be hurting her. Long saying she would decide when the state budget situation was resolved (she signed the budget bill on July 9), Hassan has yet to give any indication of what she might do. Refusing to wait any longer, others are stepping up.

Earlier this week, state Rep. Frank Edelblut (R) announced his gubernatorial candidacy regardless of what Hassan decides. Previously, US Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH-2), long thought of as a challenger to Sen. Ayotte should Hassan stay put, announced that she will seek re-election next year irrespective of what statewide position may or may not be open.

Now a new Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 21-24; 841 registered New Hampshire voters) that skews decidedly to the Democratic side finds Hassan making no gains against Sen. Ayotte, still trailing her by just one point, 44-43 percent. Normally, this would be considered good news for a potential challenger but, in this case, the opposite might well be true.

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Portman and Toomey Numbers

Aug. 28, 2015 — New Ohio and Pennsylvania Senate data just entered the public domain. Last week, Quinnipiac University released their presidential polling results for the three key swing states: the aforementioned two, and Florida. Now they publicize the secondary data from the Aug. 7-18 sampling period (Ohio – 1,096 registered voters; Pennsylvania – 1,085 registered voters).

Ohio Senate

The Ohio results are a bit confusing. While Sen. Rob Portman (R) enjoys a hefty 42:19 percent personal favorability ratio and a 45:26 percent job approval score, he rather surprisingly trails ex-Gov. Ted Strickland (D) 41-44 percent. The former Ohio chief executive, who fell to current incumbent John Kasich (R) in 2010, has a 44:32 percent personal mark, respectable, but not as good as Portman’s total.

This is the second released survey that places Portman behind Strickland. Quinnipiac also conducted that poll (June), finding a 46-40 percent Democratic advantage.

The ballot test(s) could be the result of a partisan skew, or simply an anomaly. What does ring true, however, is that the Ohio Senate race will be close. As was the case in 2010, Portman had a slight lead for most of the campaign but pulled away for good in the final two weeks to defeat then-Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D), by a substantial 57-39 percent margin.

The race financials are not so close. Sen. Portman, one of the better Republican political fundraisers in the country, banked more than $5.7 million since the beginning of the year with over $10 million cash-on-hand. Strickland is far behind, raising $1.7 million since entering the race but having only $1.2 million in his campaign account.

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