Category Archives: Election Analysis

New Polls Lean to GOP Leaders in Missouri; Fetterman Expands Lead in Pennsylvania; Getting Close in NJ-1

By Jim Ellis — July 28, 2022

Senate

Scandal-tainted Gov. Eric Greitens (R) trending downward in Missouri.

Missouri: New Polls Pleasing GOP Leaders — The hard-fought Missouri Republican primary is a week away, and three new late July polls are bringing sighs of relief to GOP leaders. It has long been believed that the Missouri race comes off the table if either Attorney General Eric Schmitt or US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) wins the party nomination, but danger looms for the GOP if resigned, scandal-tainted Gov. Eric Greitens were to forge through a crowded field with plurality support.

Three polls were conducted from July 21 through 24, and the results are consistent. The Remington Research Group (July 23-24; 802 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system), the Trafalgar Group (July 22-24; 1,059 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; multiple sample-gathering tactics) and Emerson College, polling for The Hill newspaper (July 21-23; 1,000 likely Missouri Republican and Democratic primary voters, but the number of each is unspecified; multiple sample-gathering tactics), all arrived at similar conclusions. That is, Attorney General Schmitt seems to be developing a secure lead.

RRG sees Schmitt leading Rep. Hartzler and Greitens, 32-25-18 percent. Trafalgar finds the candidates placing in the same order, but a bit closer, 27-24-20 percent. Emerson’s numbers are better for Schmitt, at 33-21-16 percent. For the Democrats, Emerson projects philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, despite being under heavy political attack, as leading Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce 39-35 percent with a 22 percent undecided factor.

Pennsylvania: Fetterman Expands Lead — The Democratic firm Blueprint Polling released a new PA statewide poll (July 19-21; 712 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview) and found Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), still recovering from a serious stroke he suffered just before the primary election, expanding his lead to 49-40 percent over Dr. Mehmet Oz (R). The most recent Senate survey prior to Blueprint’s, from Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) for AARP (June 12-19; 1,382 likely Pennsylvania voters), projected a 50-44 percent Fetterman edge. In the governor’s race, Blueprint found Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) topping state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), 51-39 percent, which is also a significant improvement for him over the previous statewide poll.

House

MN-1: Republicans Have Special Trouble — State Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake), who lost the special primary election to succeed the late US Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) by just 427 votes, confirms he is running to win the regular primary election. This means that former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R), who won the special primary, must continue conducting two separate campaigns through the Aug. 9 election.

In slightly different district configurations, Finstad must separately win the special general election against former Hormel Corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D), and the nomination for the regular term since the special general is being run concurrently with the regular statewide primary. With Munson competing in the regular election, the confusing scenario of having two different District 1 Republican winners could occur. With the only public post-special primary poll suggesting a dead heat between Finstad and Ettinger, so many mixed messages could yield a Democratic special election upset.

NJ-1: Surprisingly Close — According to a new Grassroots Targeting survey (July 13-19; 625 likely NJ-1 general election voters), New Jersey Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden City) lies barely beyond the polling margin of error in yet another potential warning sign for Democrats.

The GT results find Rep. Norcross topping Republican nominee Claire Gustafson, 49-44 percent, despite the fact that 83 percent of the respondents said they have not heard of the GOP nominee. To underscore matters, Rep. Norcross’ favorability index has dropped to 42:41 percent favorable to unfavorable. This contrasts with his 2020 re-election margin of 62-38 percent, similar to what President Biden recorded in the district. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NJ-1 as D+20, so seeing a close poll featuring an unknown Republican with little money from this district is surprising to say the least.

Another Lead Change in Arizona; Competitive Race Brewing in Illinois Senate? Trending House News

By Jim Ellis — July 27, 2022

Senate

Arizona businessman Jim Lamon (R)

Arizona: Another Lead Change — The Battleground Connect organization tested the Arizona GOP Senate field (July 17-18; 800 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; live interview) and found businessman Jim Lamon bouncing back into the lead over venture capitalist Blake Masters and Attorney General Mark Brnovich. The spread is 33-28-16 percent, which is the second time Lamon has placed first in five publicly released July polls.

The lead is seesawing between Lamon and Masters with AG Brnovich generally registering a distant third. Since April, both Lamon and Masters have each topped the field in seven published surveys. The Arizona primary is Tuesday, and the volatility in the surveys suggest we will see a close finish. The GOP winner then challenges Sen. Mark Kelly (D) in November.

Illinois: A Competitive Race Brewing? — The Victory Research organization polled the Illinois Senate contest between incumbent Tammy Duckworth (D) and attorney and conservative activist Kathy Salvi, wife of former state representative and two-time statewide Republican nominee Al Salvi. The survey (July 17-19; 1,208 likely Illinois general election voters) arrived at a much closer result than one would have expected.

According to the VR data, Sen. Duckworth’s lead over Salvi is 43-34 percent. The result is surprising not so much in the margin between the two candidates, but that the senator is so far below the 50 percent mark. It is still likely that Sen. Duckworth wins re-election in the fall, but seeing such a poll after a June 28 primary that yielded a higher turnout for the Republican Senate primary than the Democratic side suggests the Salvi campaign might receive at least a slight boost.

The same polling sample showed Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) with only a 49-39 percent spread against new GOP gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey, a Louisville area state senator.

Wisconsin: County Exec Out, Endorses Lt. Gov. Barnes — Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson (D), whose campaign for US Senate never caught fire, has formally withdrawn his candidacy. In his exit statement, Nelson endorsed Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is in a tight race with state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry for the Democratic nomination. The winner of the Aug. 9 Democratic primary will face Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in the general election.

House

MI-13: Big Self-Funder Has Lead –– State Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) has spent more than $8 million of his own money to attempt to win the open Detroit-anchored 13th Congressional District race. It appears his expenditures are working. A Target Insyght survey (July 19-22; 500 likely MI-13 Democratic primary voters) finds Rep. Thanedar leading Michigan Civil Right Commission member Portia Roberson and state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), among six other contenders, including John Conyers, III, son of the late veteran congressman. Thanedar’s polling margin is 22-17-16-7 percent respectively over Roberson, Sen. Hollier, and Conyers.

Thanedar’s personal spending edge is 8:1 over his next closest financial rival, Sen. Hollier, but that does not count a seven-figure expenditure from the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee intended to promote the latter man.

The Michigan primary is Tuesday. The 13th District is open because Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) is retiring and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) chose to seek re-election in the new 12th District, thus departing from the new CD-13.

NY-10: A Free-For-All — A new Change Research poll for candidate Elizabeth Holtzman finds the Democratic primary for this open seat turning into a race that any one of six candidates could win. This is the first poll conducted and released since former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) exited the contest because of poor performance.

The CR poll (July 19-23; 437 likely NY-10 Democratic primary voters; online) finds former Trump impeachment counsel Daniel Goldman taking first position with 14 percent preference. Holtzman, who was last on a ballot in 1993, a losing re-election effort for NYC comptroller, places second at 12 percent support.

Tied with 10 percent are NYC Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, who led the last two published surveys, state Assemblywomen Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) and Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn), and US Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County). The new 10th, an open seat created when Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler were paired in a new 12th CD, encompasses Lower Manhattan and part of Brooklyn. The Democratic primary winner on Aug. 23 will claim the seat in the general election.

Ohio Poll Posts Rep. Ryan to Larger Lead; CT-5 Race on the Radar; Three Ties in Iowa; Lombardo Closing in NV

By Jim Ellis — June 26, 2022

Senate

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Progressive Left Poll Posts Rep. Ryan to Larger Lead — The progressive left Innovation Ohio organization is quoting a GrowProgress platform survey (July 5-10; 2,000 registered Ohio voters; online) that projects US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) leading GOP author J. D. Vance, 46-41 percent in Ohio’s open Senate race. The latest Impact Research firm survey (June 27-30; 816 likely Ohio voters) also found Rep. Ryan with the edge, but in only a 48-46 percent split. Impact Research, a Democratic pollster, formerly operated under the name ALG Research.

The results are not particularly surprising since Rep. Ryan is heavily outspending Vance at the present time, this GrowProgress online survey has a large error factor, and Ohio political polling typically shows tight races until the closing days prior to the election. Still, the preponderance of data suggests this is a close contest in a state that can often fall into the swing category.

House

CT-5: Race on the Radar — A just-released Public Opinion Strategies survey for the George Logan (R) congressional campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee (June 29-30; 400 likely CT-5 general election voters; live interview) suggests that Connecticut’s 5th District congressional race might become competitive. The survey finds US Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Wolcott) holding only a 46-41 percent edge over former state Sen. Logan.

This may become a race to watch. According to the Federal Election Commission second quarter financial disclosure report, Rep. Hayes has a huge $1.69 million to $205,000 cash-on-hand advantage. To even the financial score, however, the Daily Kos Elections Blog reports that the Republicans’ Congressional Leadership Fund has already reserved $1.75 million of media time for the western Connecticut market.

Iowa: Three Ties — Iowa Districts 1, 2 & 3 were cast as toss-up seats in the 2021 redistricting plan, and the most recent polling suggests that each electorate is performing as projected. In southeastern Iowa’s 1st District, freshman Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa), no stranger to close elections after winning her 2020 race by just six votes, is in another predictably tight contest. According to the early July Change Research survey, (June 30-July 4; 375 likely IA-1 general election voters part of a 1,488 person statewide sample; online) Rep. Miller-Meeks edges state Rep. Christina Bohannan (D-Iowa City) by just a 39-38 percent factor.

A more recent Public Policy Polling survey (July 19-20; 594 IA-2 voters) finds freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion) and state Rep. Liz Mathis (D-Hiawatha) tied at 44 percent apiece in the Cedar Rapids anchored 2nd CD. In Rep. Cindy Axne’s (D-Des Moines) 3rd CD, she and state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) are deadlocked at 43 percent in a Moore Information Group study (July 9-11; 400 likely IA-3 voters; live interview) released earlier this month.

Governor

Michigan: Badly Outspent, Tudor Dixon Maintains GOP Lead — Despite being outspent by millions of dollars, a new Mitchell Research survey (July 17-18; 501 likely Michigan Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system & text) continues to show that online talk show host Tudor Dixon is maintaining her lead in the GOP gubernatorial primary. The latest ballot test finds her claiming a 28-20-15-10 percent advantage over businessman and self-funder Kevin Rinke, real estate broker and Trump activist Ryan Kelley, and chiropractor Garrett Soldano as the candidates close in on the Aug. 2 Michigan primary.

Republicans are scrambling in this race since early leader James Craig, the retired Detroit Police Chief, was forced out of the race for failing to file the legally required number of petition signatures. The eventual Republican nominee will then challenge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the general election.

Nevada: Lombardo Closing — The Nevada governor’s race is expected to be another close contest on election night, and two recently released surveys conducted during the same time period confirm the early prognostications.

The Tarrance Group, polling for the Joe Lombardo for Governor campaign (July 5-10; 600 likely Nevada general election voters; live interview) and Emerson College (July 7-10; 2,000 registered Nevada voters, 500 from each of the four congressional districts; interactive voice response system, online & text) both see the governor’s race already falling within the polling margin of error. Tarrance finds Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) topping Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R), 46-44 percent, while the Emerson College result is 44-40 percent, also with Gov. Sisolak leading.

Toss-Up Polling Results in NH;
A Dead Heat in Iowa; A Nevada Voting Initiative to be Considered

By Jim Ellis — July 25, 2022

Senate

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan (D)

New Hampshire: Toss-Up Polling — The progressive left research firm Data for Progress (June 22-July 8; 903 likely New Hampshire voters; online) released their latest Granite State poll and find Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) headed toward her predicted re-election dogfight. The ballot test series appears interchangeable, suggesting that the incumbent is endangered regardless of who she faces after the Sept. 13 primary. Though the sampling period for this poll is long, the sample size is high thus negating some of the accuracy flaws. The results are also consistent with other polling, so the numbers appear legitimate.

Polled against state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), Sen. Hassan leads 49-46 percent. Both retired Army General Don Bolduc (R) and former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith (R) record 49-45 percent deficits against Sen. Hassan. The New Hampshire Senate race will prove to be one of the key races in the nation to determine the next majority.

House

IA-3: No Surprise, a Dead Heat — The Moore Information Group tested the toss-up rated IA-3 congressional race between two-term Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) and state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant). Not surprisingly, the poll results (July 9-11; 400 likely IA-3 voters; live interview) found the two candidates tied at 43 percent apiece. Axne never reached 50 percent in either of her congressional wins. Therefore, we can expect another very close result come election night.

MI-11: Shock Poll — We haven’t seen a poll of the intra-party Democratic congressional primary pairing between Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) since February, but a new Target Insyght survey conducted for the Jewish Insider publication suggests the race has drastically changed. Early in the year, the two were virtually tied in a series of surveys. The TI poll (July 18-20; 500 likely MI-11 Democratic primary voters; live interview) now finds Rep. Stevens holding a commanding 58-31 percent advantage, however.

The result doesn’t make much sense when looking at the favorability indexes of both candidates. Stevens records a 71:20 percent favorable to unfavorable score, while Rep. Levin’s is a similar 65:21 percent. Comparing these numbers with a landslide ballot test conclusion appears inconsistent. Expect the Levin camp to shortly release countering data.

States

Nevada: Top Five Qualifies — The ballot change initiatives keep popping up around the country, and the Nevada Secretary of State announced a measure late last week to create a jungle primary that sends five finalists to the general election; this initiative has qualified for the November initiative ballot. Ranked Choice Voting would then be used to determine the general election winner.

The plan is a long way from being enacted, however. Under Nevada initiative law, measures must be adopted in two consecutive elections. This means even a victorious “Yes” vote in November would again go before the voters in 2024. Furthermore, the state’s Democratic leadership has stated their united opposition. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Jackie Rosen (D), along with the state AFL-CIO, are all urging a “No” vote.

Senate & House Dollar Report Charts;
Sen. Lee’s Lead in Utah Eroding

By Jim Ellis — July 22, 2022

Senate

Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R)

Utah: McMullin Drawing Closer — Dan Jones & Associates, polling for the Deseret News and the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah (July 11-13; 801 registered Utah voters), projects Sen. Mike Lee (R) to have only a 41-36 percent lead over Independent Evan McMullin. This is the closest general election poll reported in the current election cycle.

The Democrats coalesced behind McMullin instead of fielding a candidate of their own. The move looks to be working since Sen. Lee would be faring better in a three-way race with a Democratic candidate peeling away from McMullin. Sen. Lee is likely in better position that this one poll indicates, but the Utah race is certainly beginning to attract some national attention.

Dollar Report: Hot Senate Races — Now that the June 30 Federal Election Commission disclosure reports have been released, we can measure the financial wherewithal of the candidates in the most competitive Senate races. In each instance, the top fundraising challenger is the point race listed against an incumbent or open seat contender. The listed category is cash-on-hand at the June 30 reporting deadline:

Alaska: Sen. Murkowski (R): $6.1 million Kelly Tshibaka (R): $1.08 million
Arizona: Sen. Kelly (D): $24.9 million Jim Lamon (R): $2.1 million
Florida: Sen. Rubio (R): $14.6 million Val Demings (D): $12.6 million
Georgia: Sen. Warnock (D): $22.2 million Herschel Walker (R): $6.8 million
Iowa: Sen. Grassley (R): $4.0 million Michael Franken (D): $1.1 million
Missouri: Vicky Hartzler (R): $1.5 million Lucas Kunce (D): $871,000
North Carolina: Cheri Beasley (D): $4.8 million Ted Budd (R): $1.8 million
New Hampshire: Sen. Hassan (D): $7.4 million Chuck Morse (R): $975,000
Nevada: Sen. Masto (D): $9.8 million Adam Laxalt (R): $2.1 million
Ohio: Tim Ryan (D): $3.6 million J.D. Vance (R): $629,000
Pennsylvania: John Fetterman (D): $5.5 million Mehmet Oz (R): $1.1 million
Utah: Sen. Lee (R): $2.5 million Evan McMullin (I): $1.3 million
Washington: Sen. Murray (D): $7.5 million Tiffany Smiley (R): $3.5 million
Wisconsin: Sen. Johnson (R): $3.6 million Mandela Barnes (D): $1.5 million

Source for $ figures: Daily Kos Elections Blog

House

PA-13: Ex-Rep. Critz Returns — Former Congressman Mark Critz (D), who represented the Johnstown anchored 12th District from May of 2010 when he won a special election to replace the late Rep. John Murtha (D), until his defeat in the 2012 regular election, will be back on the ballot in November. The Pennsylvania Board of Elections has ruled that Critz received enough write-in votes during the May primary election to qualify as the Democratic nominee in the 13th CD that incumbent John Joyce (R-Hollidaysburg) represents. Though Rep. Joyce is a prohibitive favorite in the R+49 district, the Democrats now have a credible standard bearer for the general election.

Dollar Report: Paired & Special House Races — Similar to the above report on the most competitive Senate races, we also look at the resource counts from the June 30 reports for the four races featuring paired incumbents and four in special elections. Two pairings are in nomination mode, with the remaining two as inter-party general election pairings. All four special elections are in the general election mode. Again, the financial number listed is the cash-on-hand amount each candidate held at the June 30 reporting deadline.

PAIRINGS

Aug. 2 Primary:
MI-11: Rep. Haley Stevens (D): $1.8 million Rep. Andy Levin (D): $1.1 million
Aug. 23 Primary:
NY-12: Rep. Caroyln Maloney (D): $2.1 million Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D): $1.2 million
Nov. 8 General Election:
FL-2: Rep. Neil Dunn (R): $763,000 Rep. Al Lawson (D): $412,000
TX-34: Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D): $1.4 million Rep. Mayra Flores (R): $114,000

Specials

Aug. 9 Special General:
MN-1: Jeff Ettinger (D): $548,000 Brad Finstad (R): $334,000
Aug. 16 Special General:
AK-AL: Nick Begich, III (R): $708,000 Mary Peltola (D): $115,000
Aug. 23 Special General:
NY-19: Marc Molinaro (R): $996,000 Pat Ryan (D)*: $576,000
NY-23: Joe Sempolinski (R): $173,000 Max Della Pia (D): $89,000

*Note: Pat Ryan is also running in the contested Democratic primary for the 18th Congressional District nomination on the same day as the 19th CD’s special election

Source for $ figures: Daily Kos Elections Blog