Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Rubio Surges in Presidential Poll

April 27, 2015 — Quinnipiac University conducted a new nationwide poll (April 16-21; 1,323 registered voters; 567 Republican primary voters, 569 Democratic primary voters) and found a new leader among the prospective Republican candidates: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

According to the data, Rubio, clearly receiving a major bump from his major announcement event that earned him positive national media coverage, leads the growing pack of GOP hopefuls but with a small 15 percent preference factor. Fellow Floridian Jeb Bush is next with 13 percent, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who posts 11 percent. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is fourth with nine percent, followed by all the others in lower single-digits.

For the Democrats, it is again Hillary Clinton easily leading Vice President Joe Biden, 60-10 percent. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) follows with eight percent, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley registers only three percent preference.
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Hillary’s Big, Unreliable Leads

April 24, 2015 — CNN, along with their polling partner, ORC International, conducted a nationwide poll of the presidential contest and, as happens from time to time in modern-day national political polling, the result does not likely reflect the state of the actual electorate.

The poll (April 16-19; 1,018 American adults; 435 self-identified Republicans and Independents who lean Republican; 458 self-identified Democrats and Independents who lean Democratic) projects Hillary Clinton to be holding huge leads over the major Republican candidates in hypothetical general election pairings.

In the GOP primary, a very tight race is forecast with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leading Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by five points, and senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) together by six. Another 13 candidates were tested, but all of these attracted only single-digit preference. But, what is consistent in all national polls, as was found here, even when Bush leads the pack, he is still generally below 20 percent (in this case, 17 percent). This, for a candidate having virtually universal name identification with the vast majority of respondents expressing an opinion of him.
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Is McCollum Poised to Make a
Comeback in the Florida Senate?

April 23, 2015 — A new but familiar name has surfaced in the open Florida Senate candidate conversation. Beginning the process of deciding whether to enter another campaign is former congressman and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R).

Out of office since losing the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary to current Gov. Rick Scott, McCollum was assumed to be retired from elective politics after spending 20 years in the House, four more as attorney general, and losing two US Senate campaigns and a governor’s race.

A new poll, however, is clearly one of the elements making him think about embarking upon yet another political campaign. The new Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey (April 14-16; 400 Florida Republican primary voters; 400 Florida Democratic primary voters) finds McCollum holding a significant lead over the rest of the prospective Republican primary field.
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The Manchin Reverberations

April 22, 2015 — Now that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has ended speculation about re-running for governor in his home state next year, a game of political musical chairs will soon begin in West Virginia. But, more importantly, the Manchin decision to stay where he is and seek re-election in 2018 vastly improves Democratic prospects of re-taking the Senate.

With the Republican legislature beginning to move legislation that would take Senate appointment power away from the governor, it was becoming apparent that Manchin vacating the seat would very likely allow Republicans a prime conversion opportunity in a 2017 special election. Effectively, such a move would have increased the number of seats Democrats need for a return to Senate majority status from 4 or 5, to 5 or 6. The lower number represents the required conversion total if a Democrat holds the White House in 2016, while the larger number comes into play if the eventual GOP presidential nominee wins. Obviously, it is in the party leaders’ interest to keep Manchin where he is, and they no doubt weighed in heavily upon him.

Since Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) is ineligible to seek re-election next year, we now have a competitive open seat gubernatorial race. Though Democrats have lost virtually everything they once held – all but Manchin’s Senate seat and this governor’s office – a West Virginia open statewide race can certainly be competitive.
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New Marquette Poll Shows
Johnson Down Big in Wisconsin

April 21, 2015 — Polling has been unkind to several senators during the past few days. Last week we reported on research studies showing both Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) trailing hypothetical opponents by very small margins. While a new Marquette University Law School survey finds yet another incumbent falling behind a challenger, this time the margin is anything but slight.

The Marquette data (April 7-10; 803 registered Wisconsin voters) finds former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold (D) leading incumbent Ron Johnson (R-WI) by a whopping 54-38 percent margin. Johnson unseated Feingold six years ago by a five percentage point spread and the former senator appears well positioned to re-enter elective politics.

Though Feingold has said little about the impending 2016 Senate race and has certainly not announced any intention to run, leaders from both parties expect him to again become a candidate. In February, Feingold resigned his appointed position as a State Department US Envoy to the African Great Lakes region, and many observers are surprised he has not yet announced or at least signaled his intention to run for the Senate. Polls such as the Marquette survey may hasten his decision.
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