Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Analysis of the Rand Announcement; Rahm Rolls in Chicago

April 9, 2015 — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), as expected, officially announced his 2016 presidential campaign in front of a raucous crowd of supporters in Louisville earlier this week. He also confirmed that he intends to seek re-election to the Senate.

The latter may be a difficult feat, since Kentucky law prohibits individuals from appearing for more than one office on the same ballot. If the state Republicans changed their nominating system from a primary to a caucus, Paul could get around that requirement, but the result would become problematic for the Kentucky GOP, ironically, if Sen. Paul were to win the party presidential nomination. Kentucky election law contains no provision for replacing a party nominee who prematurely withdraws from a race.

But Sen. Paul’s presidential prospects are what’s at top of mind during this period, and opinions vary as to whether he has a legitimate chance of winning the nomination and the presidency itself.
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Ups and Downs in Ohio,
Pennsylvania Senate Races

Ohio Senate

April 8, 2015 — Quinnipiac University conducted a new Ohio poll (March 17-28; 1,077 Ohio registered voters) and finds that the state’s electorate apparently has a short memory.

In 2010, the Ohio voters defeated former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) after a single term, yet this poll gives him a strong 49:29 percent favorable to unfavorable approval rating and posts him to a significant 48-39 percent lead over Sen. Rob Portman (R). This is a surprising result because all other early polls give the senator a slight advantage, at the very least.

In looking closely at the survey, there appears to be little reason why the presumed Democratic nominee would maintain such a discernible edge. The large polling sample is split virtually evenly between the two parties – 28 percent Democratic, 27 percent Republican, 35 percent Independent — which is reflective of Ohio’s swing nature. The sample has no detectable anti-Republican bias, as shown in Gov. John Kasich’s (R) positive personal ratings and those of others. Kasich’s job approval ratio is an outstanding 61:28 percent.
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The Sestak Factor in the
Pennsylvania Senate Race

April 7, 2015 — The Pennsylvania US Senate campaign, a race that could well decide which party controls the majority in the next Congress, is beginning in bizarre fashion. While many people think that first-term Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is highly vulnerable under a presidential year turnout model, the Democratic situation is suspect, at best.

Former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA-7), who served two terms from Delaware County in the Philadelphia suburbs after unseating veteran Rep. Curt Weldon (R) in 2006, has been running his 2016 Senate campaign virtually since the time he suffered a 51-49 percent statewide loss to Toomey in 2010. Sestak officially announced his new effort well before the 2014 election.

Normally, having a nominee who lost by just two points return to challenge the opposite party’s incumbent in the next campaign is a positive occurrence, but relations between Sestak and the national and state Democratic Party leadership are so poor that such is not the case.
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Déjà vu All Over Again
In Three House Races

April 6, 2015 — Familiarity is already returning to at least three congressional races. Two will be in the form of 2016 re-matches from last November, while a new special election appears to be a walk in the park for a recognizable family member.

TX-23

Last week, former Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) announced that he will seek a re-match with freshman Rep. Will Hurd (R-Helotes) next year in the Texas swing congressional district that stretches from San Antonio all the way to El Paso.

After this seat was created in a special redistricting during the 1960s, the six TX-23 incumbents prior to Hurd winning in November were all eventually defeated for re-election. This is quite noteworthy when compared to a nationwide electorate that routinely re-elects almost all of its congressmen. Typically, well over 90 percent of House members who seek re-election win.
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Republican Presidential
Candidates Tightly Bunched

April 3, 2015 — Public Policy Polling conducted an intriguing new national survey of GOP voters (March 26-31; 443 national Republican primary voters), but the tiny respondent sample size casts a reliability question concerning the results.

Though the pollster cites a large polling error factor of 4.7 percent, such a small sample –- a national poll should be in the 1,000 respondent range -– usually yields an even greater unreliability factor.

Understanding such, the PPP results are still interesting; it shows the Republican presidential candidates closely bunched with five reaching double-digits, which suggests a free-for-all campaign. Should similar results be confirmed and continue through the early stages of primary and caucus voting next year, the preliminary states will produce no discernible pattern or consensus front runner. If so, the chance of moving to an open, or “brokered”, convention multiplies exponentially.
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