Author Archives: Jim Ellis

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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Hillary Hurting

June 24, 2015 — The Quinnipiac University swing state polls attracted a great deal of media attention after their release Wednesday. With Hillary Clinton trailing three different Republicans in a trio of critical swing states, many believe this justifies the sinking feeling many Democrats are experiencing about her electoral chances.

Unlike many of the recent public polls that have captured major media attention, the Q-Poll sample sizes in the three states: 1,231 registered voters in Colorado; 1,236 in Iowa; and 1,209 in Virginia, are strong. The racial demographic segments largely appear sound though the sample is low for Hispanics in both Virginia and Colorado. While Donald Trump has been projected leading national ballot tests in other surveys, Quinnipiac does not include him in their isolated one-on-ones.

Though these polls do appear to have a slight – probably, two to three point – Republican skew, the results continue to reveal some fundamental weakness in Ms. Clinton’s candidacy. These surveys, and others like them, point to two critical areas that consistently cut against her viability as a national candidate.
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Another Awful Poll;
Kasich Announces

July 23, 2015 — The ABC News/Washington Post poll that posts Donald Trump to a 24-13-12 percent lead over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and ex-Florida governor Jeb Bush, et al, joins a long line of bogus polls.

Once again, as we saw with national polls released last week, this latest respondent sample is inherently flawed. The Suffolk University and Monmouth University surveys that we covered five to seven days ago employed miniscule primary voter samples that were far below statistically relevant levels. Therefore, the aggregate polling results became unreliable.

The new ABC/Post poll is equivalently flawed, in similar and different ways. Taken during the July 16-19 period, the pollsters interviewed 1,002 respondents, which is an acceptable number for a general election sample. But, checking their segmentation of political party identification percentages, we again see primary voting samples of between 200-300 for both national parties.
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Florida Musical Chairs Begin

July 22, 2015 — As predicted, Rep. David Jolly (R-FL-13) announced his intention to run for Florida’s open Senate seat next year, joining what is becoming a crowded Republican field that may expand even further.

Rep. Jolly was originally elected to his marginal Pinellas County seat in an early 2014 special election after the venerable 21-term Rep. Bill Young (R) passed away. Jolly was an upset winner in the special, defeating former state CFO Alex Sink, who had lost a one-point race for governor in the previous statewide cycle.

Jolly is jumping into the Senate campaign largely because the state Supreme Court just recently declared his district and seven others illegal in accordance with the state’s voter-adopted redistricting initiative. Since the court objects to the Tampa-anchored 14th District jumping across the bridge to annex Democratic St. Petersburg, it is a virtual certainty that the politically marginal 13th will become less Republican. Therefore, Rep. Jolly’s chances of winning re-election in such a newly configured seat all of a sudden become poor.
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Rather Surprising New Nevada Data

July 21, 2015 — A new Senate survey gives credence to another data set that only last week looked like an anomaly. The pollsters also provide new presidential data.

Gravis Marketing (GM) polled both parties’ presidential prospects and the important open Nevada US Senate race. Their latter numbers confirmed last week’s Fabrizio Lee analysis that gave Republican Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV-3) a huge lead over Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, the state’s former two-term attorney general.

Gravis (July 12-13; 1,276 registered Nevada voters, 623 likely Nevada Republican primary participants, 416 Democratic primary voters, 237 likely general election voters only) projects that Donald Trump is opening up a large lead in the Republican presidential race, while finding Hillary Clinton scoring within her average performance zone of the last three weeks. But, their use of identified party members who won’t participate in the primary and the way some of the questions are asked create methodological concerns.
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