Aug. 20, 2015 — There won’t be a new congressional map coming from the Virginia legislature and governor, after all. In early June, based upon their previous ruling and subsequent US Supreme Court decisions, a federal three-judge panel ordered the state legislature to re-draw, by Sept. 1, the southeastern part of Virginia after affirming that Congressional District 3 — Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Newport News) is illegal.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) called the special legislative session for purposes of complying with the judicial ruling, but the members have already left Richmond. The map will revert to the court, where the judges will presumably draw the new map themselves.
Judicial maneuvering, and not congressional politics, caused the session to close less than a day after it began. Virginia is one of two states, South Carolina being the other, that gives judicial appointment responsibility to the legislature. The governor, during times of recess, has the right to fill judicial vacancies.
Aug. 19, 2015 — Fox News just released their latest poll (Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company; Aug. 11-13; 1,008 registered voters; 401 likely Democratic primary voters; 381 likely Republican primary voters), and the traditional media coverage seems to be emphasizing a lesser analytical point.
Their stories highlight that Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are expanding their respective leads (25-12-10 percent) over whom the media identifies as the Republican establishment candidates, namely ex-Gov. Jeb Bush (who posts 9 percent), and the many elected governors and senators who are in the race. The Hillary Clinton results, however, are actually more compelling.
Once again we see a familiar pattern defining the Clinton performance. Democrats favorably view her, but Republicans and Independents generally hold a highly negative impression. She leads in all ballot test pairings but breaks 50 percent at no time, and the vast majority of voters don’t trust her.
Aug. 18, 2015 — Candidate jockeying, polling, fundraising, and campaign strategy are not the only practical elements that will influence the outcome of the upcoming presidential race. The voting schedule is also of prime importance and plays a key role in determining the final results.
The political calendar is coming into better focus, and the 56 (Republican) and 57 (Democratic) entities will all conduct their individual voting procedures between Feb. 1 and June 14 of next year. Most of the states can still maneuver and make changes, so the final calendar won’t be set for some time.
The additional voting entities beyond the 50 states are the District of Columbia and territories. DC, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands are the ancillary jurisdictions eligible to participate in the nominating process. The Democrats authorize one more voting segment, entitled “Democrats Abroad”.
Aug. 17, 2015 — With the presidential contest dominating the political news coverage on a daily basis, very little attention has been paid to the US House races. Having what appears to be a secure Republican majority and a low number of open seats, the congressional campaigns will not likely bring much drama in 2016. The states under court-mandated mid-decade redistricting: Florida, Virginia, and possibly Texas, are unlikely to threaten the Republicans’ majority status either, though we could see several seats shift between the parties.
Coming off a 2014 election that sent 59 freshmen into the House and features 239 members who had served three full terms or less when they were sworn into the 114th Congress, the coming election promises much less turnover. In the 2012 election cycle, 62 seats were open followed by another 47 in last November’s vote. (The figures count districts in which an incumbent was defeated in a primary.) So far this year, we see 20 open seats (10R; 10D), not including two vacant districts that were filled in 2015 special elections.
According to our own Ellis Insight political forecast, 234 seats are safe (182), likely (36), or lean (16) Republican, while Democrats see 179 districts coming their way: 155 in the safe category, 16 likely landing in their column, and seven more leaning in their direction.
Aug. 14, 2015 — For a number of weeks, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been building presidential political momentum. His crowds have been large and growing. The media covers him extensively. Yet, these positive attributes hadn’t translated into serious polling gains against Hillary Clinton … until now.
The Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald survey, released Thursday, finds Sen. Sanders, for the first time, overtaking Clinton, 44-37 percent, in the important New Hampshire primary. The poll appears methodologically sound. During the period of Aug. 7-10, the pollsters interviewed 442 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters. The results mean a net swing of 46 points in Sanders’ direction when comparing the organization’s March 2015 poll. During the interval between surveys, Sanders gained 36 points and Clinton lost 10.
The pollsters asked some interesting under-questions that provide some telling responses. The most troubling tally, from a Clinton perspective, is the group members’ enthusiasm about her campaign. Despite 65 percent of the total response unit saying they believe she will win the Democratic nomination, only 35 percent of those saying they are voting for her “are excited about her candidacy to become president.” A majority of her voters (51 percent) say they “could support but are not enthusiastic about her candidacy.”