Category Archives: 2022

Final Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022

We have finally reached the end of primary season, as voters in three northeastern states will cast their nomination ballots today. Once these votes are counted, all of the stand-alone primary states will have nominated their general election candidates. At that point only Louisiana, which holds its qualification election concurrently with the general, will remain in primary mode.

Each of the states holding their primaries are in the east, with New England’s New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the schedule along with Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic region.

New Hampshire — The most noteworthy primary is the New Hampshire Republican Senate race, complete with its share of controversy. Polling leader Don Bolduc, a retired Army General who ran unsuccessfully in 2020 (failing to prevail in the Republican primary in order to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen), and Gov. Chris Sununu (R) have been in a public war of words. Gen. Bolduc accused the governor of being a “communist sympathizer” and that his family’s business supports terrorism. The governor retorted that Bolduc is a “conspiracy theory type” who is not “a serious candidate.”

Many in the Republican Party, including Gov. Sununu, believe that Gen. Bolduc will not be a strong enough nominee against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) even though polling shows that she is vulnerable. The governor has endorsed state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), who seems to be the only viable competitor who could deny Bolduc the nomination among the 10 others on the ballot.

The latest available Senate poll, this from the University of New Hampshire (Aug. 25-29; 892 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online), found Gen. Bolduc leading Sen. Morse, 43-22 percent. Since this poll was conducted, however, some $4 million has been spent attempting to deny Bolduc the nomination, and Democratic organizations have come from the outside to help him win the primary since they, too, believe that he would be easiest for Sen. Hassan to beat.

The retired General is at an extreme financial disadvantage, so he has little ability to promote himself. This race will draw the most attention tonight.

New Hampshire’s two congressional districts also feature competitive Republican primaries. Both seats will be hotly contested in the general election because Reps. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) and Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) are clear Republican targets.

Another crowded ten-person Republican 1st District primary appears to be coming down to a battle among 2020 nominee Matt Mowers, who held Rep. Pappas to a 51-46 percent re-election victory before an electorate that has defeated more incumbents than any other in the nation, former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt, and ex-television news reporter Gail Huff Brown, wife of former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R). Polling suggests that Mowers has the slight edge heading into election day.

In the western 2nd District, the Republican race is a two-way battle between former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns and Keene Mayor George Hansel. Should Burns win the GOP nomination, and polling suggests he will, his challenge opposite Rep. Kuster will be formidable.

Rhode Island — The most notable race on the Rhode Island card is the Democratic primary for governor. Dan McKee assumed the governorship when incumbent Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to accept her appointment as US Commerce Secretary.

The new governor, running for a first full term in his own right, has four Democratic challengers, and a close outcome in tomorrow’s primary is expected. McKee’s four opponents are Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, businesswoman Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and physician Luis Daniel Munoz. It appears the race is winnowing to a battle between Gov. McKee and Gorbea. Today’s winner becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election.

Delaware — With no governor or senator on the ballot this year, the Delaware primary is basically a non-event. At-large Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington) is unopposed in the Democratic primary, and educator/actor Lee Murphy is the only candidate on the Republican side. The general election will not be competitive, since Rep. Blunt Rochester is a lock for re-election.

Republican Erickson up in OR-6 Poll; Closer Poll in SC Governor’s Race; Other State & Local News

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Sept. 12, 2022

House

Republican Mike Erickson, OR-6

OR-6: Counter Poll Released — Friday, we reported on an Oregon Clout Research poll (Aug. 14-19; 409 likely OR-6 general election voters; live interview) that finds Republican Mike Erickson posting a large 43-34 percent lead over state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) in the open new 6th District, which is the new seat Oregon earned in national reapportionment.

Predictably, the Democrats quickly countered with their own survey, but this data is even older than the Clout poll. During the Aug. 10-14 period, GBAO Research conducted a live interview survey of 500 likely OR-6 voters. They, however, only posted Salinas to a rather unimpressive 48-45 percent count. The region’s Democratic vote history – the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+7 – would suggest a bigger margin. This is likely why the Democrats did not release this poll until they needed to respond.

Governor

South Carolina: Closer Poll Released — Democratic polling firm Impact Research (Aug. 24-30; 700 likely South Carolina general election voters) released a survey that finds that former US Congressman Joe Cunningham (D) has closed Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) lead to 49-42 percent. The McMaster margin is still beyond the polling margin of error, however.

Actually, the Impact Research survey is close to the Republican firm’s results, The Trafalgar Group, that conducted their survey within the same time realm (Aug. 25-28; 1,071 likely South Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques). Trafalgar produced a McMaster lead of 51-43 percent. South Carolina voter history suggests that Gov. McMaster will win re-election by 10 points or slightly more.

State & Local

Michigan: High Court Reverses Board of Elections — At literally the last minute to make a ballot-related decision, the Michigan state Supreme Court overruled the State Board of Elections that previously disqualified an abortion rights ballot proposition and one dealing with the elections code. The BoE struck both because they did not meet technical requirements. Both initiatives are believed to be key Democratic assets to spur the party’s base turnout.

Chicago: US Rep. Garcia Edging toward Mayor’s Race — The Chicago mayor’s race, featuring a likely competitive race with controversial incumbent Lori Lightfoot (D), is scheduled for a first vote on Feb. 28 of next year. Therefore, not much time exists between the regular general election and the new Windy City contest. Last week, Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago), after originally saying he would not enter the mayor’s race, now says the chances of him doing so are “50-50.”

Garcia was elected to the House in 2018, after serving on the Chicago City Council, the Illinois Senate, and the Cook County Commission. He ran for mayor in 2015 but lost to then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D). The mayoral candidate filing deadline is Nov. 28.

No Third Party Challenge in NY-10; Back and Forth in NC-13;
Upsets Brewing in Oregon

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 9, 2022

House

State Assemblywoman Yuh Line-Nioh (D-Manhattan)

NY-10: No Third Party Challenge — State Assemblywoman Yuh Line-Nioh (D-Manhattan) placed second to winner Dan Goldman in the hotly contested open Democratic primary for the new 10th District in the June 28 election, but she did claim the ballot line for the Working Families Party. This means she could have advanced into the general election under that party banner. However, the assemblywoman announced Wednesday that she would not pursue a third party bid, thus virtually guaranteeing Goldman the November election.

In this crowded Democratic primary, both Goldman and Line-Nioh finished ahead of US Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County), who decided to seek re-election in this district instead of the upstate 17th or 18th.

NC-13: Swing District, Swing Forecast — The new North Carolina 13th Congressional District has something for everyone. The cities of Fayetteville’s and south Raleigh’s suburbs tend to vote more liberal, while Johnston County’s conservatives neutralize those votes, thus making the district a basically even from a partisan perspective. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see polling go back and forth.

Previously, we reported on two August polls, one from RMG Research and the other from Public Policy Polling, and now we see another new survey from the Democratic firm Global Strategy Group (Aug. 29-Sept. 1; 500 likely NC-13 general election voters; live interview). RMG found Republican Bo Hines leading 44-39 percent; PPP saw Hines and state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) tied at 40-40 percent; and, now GSG posts Nickel to a 44-40 percent edge. Obviously, this is a toss-up campaign.

OR-5: A Brewing Upset? — When centrist Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) lost his Democratic primary election to attorney and former California local elected official Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the race in the competitive new 5th District took a major turn. A recently released survey from Republican pollster Clout Research (Aug. 15-18; 410 likely OR-5 general election voters; live interview) finds Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R) opening up a significant lead over McLeod-Skinner, with a 44-34 percent spread.

The only other poll released here, one from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling in early June, also found DeRemer with an edge, but only one-point, 42-41 percent. With the available information, it appears that Republicans could well be positioned to see a future upset victory here in November.

OR-6: New District, New Leader — Another surprising Oregon Clout Research poll (Aug. 14-19; 409 likely OR-6 general election voters; live interview) finds Republican Mike Erickson posting a lead over state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego). Though this district is considerably more Democratic than the neighboring 5th CD (D+7 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization), Erickson holds a 43-34 percent advantage over Salinas according to the Clout results.

Governor

Minnesota: Gov. Walz Pulling Away — While early polling suggested a close race between first-term Gov. Tim Walz (D) and former state Sen. Scott Jensen (R), a new survey finds the incumbent pulling away and now possesses a large lead. The Survey USA poll (Aug. 30-Sept. 4; 562 likely Minnesota general election voters) projects Gov. Walz to be currently holding a 51-33 percent advantage.

Wisconsin: New Poll Yields Dead Even Projection — While the Minnesota governor’s race is becoming definitive, the neighboring Wisconsin battle appears to be getting even closer. For the second time, a polling firm found Gov. Tony Evers (D) and businessman Tim Michels (R) to be deadlocked in a flat tie. The Trafalgar Group (Sept. 22-25; 1,091 Wisconsin general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects the two candidates each pulling a 48 percent support factor in the contest’s most recently released survey. This result is identical to the previously reported OnMessage firm’s data derived during the same polling period (Aug. 22-24; 600 likely Wisconsin general election voters; live interview).

Close Polling in Washington; NH-1 Still Undecided; Survey in NY Shows Gov. Race Tightening

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022

Senate

Washington Sen. Patty Murray (D)

Washington: Despite Jungle Vote, Close Polling — After a strong showing in the Washington jungle primary on Aug. 2 when Sen. Patty Murray (D) placed first with a 52-34 percent spread over veterans’ advocate and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R), a new Trafalgar Group survey finds a surprisingly close general election count. The Trafalgar survey (Aug. 30-Sept. 1; 1,087 likely Washington general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) yields a ballot test with a Murray advantage of only 49-46 percent, the closest result we have seen since the primary.

The only other post-primary survey came from McLaughlin & Associates, like Trafalgar, a Republican pollster (Aug. 15-17; 500 Washington likely general election voters; live interview & text). This ballot test featured a similar, but slightly stronger margin for Sen. Murray. The result broke 49-43 percent, just beyond the polling margin of error.

The McLaughlin poll found the respondents believing the country is on the wrong track by a major 24:68 percent margin, but President Biden’s favorability index was 48:51 percent favorable to unfavorable, one of his better marks in the country. Sen. Murray remains the favorite in this election, but the polling margins are tighter than what one would have predicted based upon Washington voting history and the actual jungle primary results.

House

NH-1: Primary Still Undecided — The University of New Hampshire released their latest Granite State Poll (Aug. 25-29; 1,993 New Hampshire online panel members; 419 NH-1 likely Republican primary voters; online) and, like the Remington Research Group survey concluded eight days earlier, sees a dead heat in the 1st Congressional District’s Republican primary. The UNH survey finds 2020 congressional nominee Matt Mowers holding a slight 26-24 percent edge over former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt with former news reporter Gail Huff Brown, the wife of ex-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), trailing at 16 percent.

The Remington ballot test (Aug. 14-17; 462 NH-1 likely voters; live interview & text) saw a 21-21 percent tie between Mowers and Leavitt with Brown attracting just nine percent support. Clearly, the Sept. 13 primary will feature a very close finish. The winner will then immediately move into a competitive race with second-term Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in a district that has defeated more incumbents than any other seat in the nation since 2004.

NH-2: Clear GOP Primary Leader — The University of New Hampshire’s Granite State Poll also tested the competitive western NH-2 District (Aug. 25-29; 1,993 New Hampshire online panel members; 469 NH-2 likely Republican primary voters; online) and projects that former Hillsborough County treasurer Robert Burns holds a 32-18 percent advantage over Keene Mayor George Hansel. The winner will then advance into a competitive race against five-term Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) in November.

Governor

New York: New Closer Survey — The Trafalgar Group and Insider Advantage teamed to produce a New York gubernatorial survey (Aug. 31-Sept. 1; 1,019 likely New York general election voters; multiple sampling techniques). Their ballot test yielded Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and US Rep. Lee Zeldin’s (R) closest result. The Trafalgar/IA responses posted the governor to a 48-43 percent edge. The most recent previous poll, from Survey USA (Aug. 17-21; 1,200 New York adults; 1,046 registered voters; 715 likely New York governor election voters; online) found a 51-33 percent spread in Gov. Hochul’s favor.

Competitive Colorado Senate Race; Cortez Masto and Laxalt in Nevada Donnybrook; NC-13: Deadlocked Poll

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022

Senate

Colorado incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D)

Colorado: Three Competitive Polls — While the Colorado Senate race has been on the edge of competitiveness for quite awhile, three new polls suggest this is a contest that deserves some national attention. The most surprising survey comes from the Tarrance Group, which tested the Centennial State electorate for the Republican Attorneys General Association (Aug. 22-25; 600 likely Colorado general election voters; live interview). Tarrance finds the Senate race between incumbent Michael Bennet (D) and challenger Joe O’Dea (R), a construction business owner, separated only by one point, 48-47 percent.

Two others see the race somewhat differently. The Trafalgar Group (Aug. 22-25; 1,087 likely Colorado voters; multiple sampling techniques) posts the race at 47-42 percent in Sen. Bennet’s favor. Finally, the most recent survey, from Public Policy Polling (Aug. 30-31; 782 likely Colorado voters; interactive voice response system) sees Bennet holding a 46-35 percent lead.

Republican Colorado Senate challenger Joe O’Dea (R)

Even this last survey, however, contains political warnings for the senator. President Biden’s job approval is decidedly upside-down at 43:51 percent, and Bennet is well below the 50 percent support level. The latter number is always a red flag for an incumbent.

Nevada: Sen. Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt in Donnybrook — The Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) firms again collaborated on a statewide survey for AARP, as they have done in several places this year. Their latest joint effort ventured to the key swing state of Nevada. The poll was conducted over the Aug. 16-24 period of 500 registered Nevada voters, with over-samples of 550 senior voters aged 50 and older, and another over-sample of 290 Hispanic voters.

The ballot test finds Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) again barely leading former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 44-40 percent. When the two candidates were isolated on an individual ballot test, Cortez Masto’s edge dropped to a virtually even 48-47 percent.

House

NC-13: Deadlocked Poll — Public Policy Polling released a new survey of the Raleigh-Fayetteville new 13th Congressional District open seat campaign in North Carolina. The survey (Aug. 23-24; 506 likely NC-13 general election voters; live interview & text), finds Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) and former North Carolina State University football player Bo Hines (R) tied at 40 percent apiece. Both have “top of the ticket” problems.

President Biden’s job approval score is a poor 37:51 percent favorable to unfavorable, where former President Trump’s favorability index is a similar 35:56 percent.

WI-3: Van Orden Leads on Dem Poll — Wisconsin state Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-La Crosse) released the results of his internal Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 18-19; 626 registered WI-3 voters; live interview & text) and found Republican retired Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden leading the race by a 45-40 percent count. It is a bit unusual to see a campaign release a survey that projects their candidate trailing, but Van Orden is viewed as the race favorite.

WI-3 is one of the few districts that voted for former President Trump in 2020 (51.5 – 47.8 percent) and elected a Democratic congressman, retiring Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse). This race is a must-win for the Republican majority matrix.

Governor

Nevada: AARP Also Shows Tight Gov Race — The aforementioned Fabrizio Ward/Impact Research statewide Nevada survey for AARP (see Nevada Senate above) also finds a very close governor’s race with the incumbent far below the 50 percent threshold. The ballot test for this race finds Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) holding only a 41-38 percent advantage over Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R). Perhaps more troubling for Gov. Sisolak, the respondents believe Nevada is on the wrong track by a hefty 38:62 percent margin.