Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Crazy & Conflicting:
Florida/Nevada Polling

July 20, 2015 — A pair of survey numbers were recorded and released for two of the most important 2016 Senate races. In one state, the results appear a bit crazy, while there is outright conflict in the other.

Florida

St. Pete Polls, a Tampa Bay area research firm that has published its share of flawed results, surveyed the Sunshine State electorate for both party primaries. On each side, the commonly favored candidate did not finish first.

The polling methodology, in terms of time and sample size, is solid. During the July 15-18 period, SPP interviewed 1,018 likely Democratic primary voters and 1,074 probable Republican primary voters. The demographic (Democrats) and geographic (Republican) elements are deviant, however.
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New Hillary Polls: Bogus, and Not So Good

July 17, 2015 — This week, two polling organizations released new data about presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. One provides results that should be discarded; another brings forth more methodologically sound data, which rings warning bells for her in six key swing states.

Earlier in the week Suffolk University released a small-sample poll showing Donald Trump leading the Republican field. As we noted in a previous column, those results were highly unreliable because only 349 likely Republican primary voters were questioned from across the country, and Trump’s “lead” consisted of exactly 60 people saying they would vote for him.

On Tuesday, Monmouth University publicized similarly flawed results, but this time regarding the Democratic nomination contest. Here, the pollsters and media are trying to indicate that Clinton’s support is dropping among Democrats based upon a survey that interviewed, during the July 9-12 period, only 357 people nationally who say they plan to vote in a Democratic primary or caucus. Even within this small group she topped 51 percent, while her closest opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, attracted only 17 percent support. Vice President Joe Biden, who is not a presidential candidate but may soon become one, notched 13 percent.
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Can We Trust the Trump Leads?

July 16, 2015 — Another new faulty poll, this one from Suffolk University, again posts businessman Donald Trump to a slight lead over the rest of the Republican presidential field. But, like many other surveys that seem to attract sizable media attention, their primary results are not methodologically sound.

The latest Suffolk effort, conducted over the July 9-12 period, interviewed 1,000 adults, again not all registered voters, and produced a Republican primary sample of only 349 respondents. This might be a reasonable sample size for a congressional district, or even a small state like New Hampshire, but certainly not the whole nation.

And, based upon this unreliable data, Suffolk and the media are projecting Trump with what they allude to be a significant lead over Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker, and the other 16 tested GOP candidates.
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Walker Announces for President; Young for Senate

July 15, 2015 — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took to Twitter and the Internet Monday to announce his presidential candidacy, becoming the 16th Republican to officially enter the national campaign. Two more expected entrants, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and ex-Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, will likely round out the field in early August.

The current list includes 15 Republicans who will likely qualify for the ballot in all states, and one, former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, who likely won’t. This means 17 Republicans will be vying for the presidential nomination in a fight that could go all the way to the convention in Cleveland a year from now.

Perhaps signaling the type of campaign he intends to run, Gov. Walker sought to create a clear contrast between himself and the rest of the GOP field. Walker’s theme of being “conservative, bold, and decisive” was highlighted in his announcement video that stressed his gubernatorial record, the fights with Big Labor, and winning three statewide Wisconsin elections in four years. The context reminds viewers that the new presidential candidate successfully defended himself from a strong recall movement, saying that, “ … in the Republican field, there are some good fighters but they haven’t won those battles. There are others who have won elections but haven’t consistently taken on the big fights. We showed you can do both.”
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Crist for Congress?

July 14, 2015 — The Florida Supreme Court barely had time to announce their decision declaring eight of the state’s congressional districts illegal before the political musical chairs began vibrating.

On Thursday, the high court declared that Rep. David Jolly’s (R) Pinellas County seat, among others, is in violation of the state’s 2010 voter-passed redistricting initiative, which put limits on partisan map drawing. Former governor, Charlie Crist, a Pinellas County resident who has either lost races or was headed for defeat in both the Republican and Democratic parties, and even as an Independent, is reportedly considering running for Congress should the Tampa Bay re-draw favor the Dems. Rep. Kathy Castor’s (D-Tampa) 14th District, that encompasses the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg, was also invalidated.

The court returned the map to the legislature with orders to re-construct eight districts from around the state, four Republican-held seats and four Democratic. The number of additional tangentially affected districts could mean that virtually the entire state will be redrawn within the next 100 days. Since the map is headed back to the legislature, majority Republicans will again have the redistricting pen, but the new final product must be submitted to the judiciary for approval. The new plan will take effect for the 2016 elections.
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