Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Illinois Numbers: Kirk, President

July 31, 2015 –Public Policy Polling surveyed the Illinois electorate (July 20-21; 931 registered Illinois voters; 409 likely Illinois Democratic primary voters; 369 likely Illinois Republican primary voters) and found each party spinning the Senate numbers very differently.

According to the data, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-8) scores a 42-36 percent edge over incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk (R).  Democrats obviously are claiming that Kirk is one of the weakest of GOP senators standing for election next year since their challenger already holds an outright lead.  The data indicates that Duckworth and the Democrats are taking advantage of a series of gaffes that the first-term incumbent recently uttered.  Republicans, on the other hand, point to the fact that Kirk is only six points down.  They argue that his negatives from the controversial statements will only have a short-term effect.

Kirk also finds himself in upside-down job approval territory, notching a poor 25:42 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio.  Rep. Duckworth, on the other hand, records a 34:23 percent positive score.  Though the non-responding/refused to answer factor (43 percent) is high for the Duckworth question, her total name identification is strong for a lone House member in a large population state.

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Can Sanders Win? Ayotte Well Up

July 30, 2015 — In the past few days, media analysts have been talking up the idea that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could actually overtake and defeat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.  There is no doubt Clinton is free falling while Sanders moves upwards — some say he’s surging, but that is an overstatement – yet, the former Secretary of State and First Lady’s lead remains secure.  One only needs to check Democratic Party nomination rules for verification that she is still the prohibitive favorite.

An article from Time magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin for Bloomberg Politics suggests that Sanders could actually win the nomination, providing seven specific reasons to support his argument.  Yesterday, Gallup released their new data (July 8-21; 2,374 adults, 966 adults who identify with the Democratic Party) that finds Clinton’s favorability index moving into upside-down territory (43:46 percent positive to negative) while Sanders is doubling his positive ID based upon a comparison from their previous survey.

Now, let’s return to earth.  Halperin argues that it would be a defeat for Clinton to only top Sanders 2:1 in the early states.  Such a result would allow the self-described socialist to continue his campaign, because the media will write this scenario as a Sanders’ win.  But, the writer overlooks one fundamental point in building for a nomination victory: the delegate count.

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Florida: Even More Surprises

July 29, 2015 — The Mason-Dixon Polling & Research statisticians surveyed the Florida electorate (July 20-23; 500 likely Florida Republican primary voters; 500 likely Florida Democratic voters) and predictably uncovered some surprising results. Since so many extraordinary political moves continue to unfold in the Sunshine State, the unusual is fast becoming the order of the day.

In the presidential race, results provide an unexpectedly large lead for their former governor, Jeb Bush. The M-D data finds Bush leading the Republican field with 28 percent, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 16 percent, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker posting 13 percent, and Donald Trump dropping to fourth position with only 11 percent allegiance.

The numbers tell us several things. Jeb Bush, in his home state, enjoys his largest lead and Florida is apparently the only place where he has an advantage that exceeds one or two points. In second place is the state’s junior senator, Marco Rubio, but he lags a dozen points behind.

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Iowa, New Hampshire:
Below the Surface

July 28, 2015 — Over the weekend, NBC/Marist College released their recent polls (July 14-21) conducted in the first two presidential caucus/primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, hence providing some interesting answers to a few new questions.

The pollsters underscore that the sampling period covers the time both before and after Donald Trump made his highly publicized comments about Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) war record. Unlike many of the recent public polls that featured extremely small polling national polling samples, the individual respondent universes for these two surveys are acceptable (Iowa: 1,042 residents; 919 registered voters; 342 likely Democratic Caucus attenders, 320 likely Republican Caucus attenders; New Hampshire: 1,037 residents; 910 registered voters; 329 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters, 401 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters).

The glimpse provided between the registered voters and the overall resident sample is also significant. In each state, there is only a negligible difference between how registered and non-registered voter responded.
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The Florida Jumble

July 27, 2015 — The Florida Supreme Court’s order of a partial re-draw of eight congressional districts has turned the Sunshine State’s politics upside down. With one House member already jumping to the Senate race because he will get an unfavorable draw in his Pinellas County district, another representative may be looking to soon follow suit.

Last week, it was reported that freshman Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee) is confirming that she, too, is considering entering the open Senate campaign.

In its decision, the state Supreme Court took the highly unusual action of actually stating how the 5th District — that of Jacksonville Rep. Corinne Brown (D) — should be drawn. Currently, the controversial district encompasses a portion of Duval County (Jacksonville), travels southwest to annex part of Gainesville, and then meanders further south to capture African-American precincts in the city of Sanford before moving into Orlando. The configuration has withstood several challenges under the Voting Rights Act over the past two decades, which is why it remains, but the state high court ruled two weeks ago that it did not meet the proper redistricting criteria under the 2010 voter-passed initiative.
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