Category Archives: Election Analysis

The Final Polls

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 2, 2020 — Tomorrow is the official Election Day, but with early voting delivering nearly 87 million votes and 21 states allowing ballots to come in after Nov. 3, it is likely that many Senate and House races will languish in political overtime. With that background, we look at the polling range of the most recent surveys in battleground Senate races along with the number of people who have already cast their ballots in each state (early voting statistics from TargetSmart.com):


ALABAMA:
• Sen. Doug Jones (D) vs. Tommy Tuberville (R)
Polling Range
High: Cygnal (Oct. 26-28) – Tuberville +14
Low: Auburn U Montgomery (Oct. 23-28) – Tuberville +11
No Early Voting


ALASKA:
• Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) vs. Dr. Al Gross (I/D)
Polling Range
High: Gravis Marketing (Oct. 21-23) – Sullivan +3
Low: Change Research (Oct. 16-19) – Sullivan +3

Early Voting Stats:
Republican: 49.1% Total Early Voting 2020: 131,261
Democrat: 33.0% Total Early Voting 2016: 64,583
Unaffiliated: 17.9% Percent Increase: 103%

ARIZONA:
• Sen. Martha McSally (R) vs. Mark Kelly (D)
Polling Range
High: Siena College/NYT (Oct. 26-30) – Kelly +7
Low: Emerson College (Oct. 29-31) – Kelly +3

Early Voting Stats:
Republican: 47.0% Total Early Voting 2020: 2,376,706
Democrat: 46.4% Total Early Voting 2016: 1,658,410
Unaffiliated: 6.6% Percent Increase: 43%

COLORADO:
Sen. Cory Gardner (R) vs. Ex-Gov. John Hickenlooper (D)
Polling Range
High: RMG Research (Oct. 9-15) – Hickenlooper +9
Low: Morning Consult (Oct. 11-20) – Hickenlooper +8

Early Voting Stats:
Democrat: 47.0% Total Early Voting 2020: 2,376,706
Republican: 42.7% Total Early Voting 2016: 1,658,410
Unaffiliated: 9.6% Percent Increase: 39%

GEORGIA-A:
• Sen. David Perdue (R) vs. Jon Ossoff (D)
Polling Range
High: Public Policy Polling (Oct. 27-28) – Ossoff +3
Low: Landmark Communications (Oct. 28) – Even


GEORGIA-B: Jungle Primary
• (Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) vs. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) and Rep. Doug Collins (R)
High: Public Policy Polling (Oct. 27-28) – Warnock +19
                                                             – Loeffler + 8
                                                               (over Collins)
Low: Emerson College (Oct. 29-31) – Warnock +11
                                                        – Collins +3
                                                          (over Loeffler)

Early Voting Stats:
Republican: 49.8% Total Early Voting 2020: 3,812,140
Democrat: 42.9% Total Early Voting 2016: 2,385,990
Unaffiliated: 7.3% Percent Increase: 60%

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Voter Registration & Turnout
Numbers In Key Battleground States

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 2, 2020 — Examining the burgeoning early voting numbers and looking at which party has gained an advantage in voter registration in key battleground states, we see that patterns are beginning to form.

Determining partisan preference in a pre-election context tends to be state specific. In 19 of the 50 states voters do not even register by party. Today, we winnow the number of states to a specific group in order to study battleground party registration and early voting performance as compared to the previous presidential election (2016).

The states that meet the aforementioned parameters are Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

First, voter registration. Each of the two major parties has the voter registration momentum in three of the chosen six states. This could mean an increase in the partisan vote at the polls. Democrats outpaced Republican registration in both Arizona and Iowa, posting a net edge of just under 18,000 more new party members in the Grand Canyon State, which is yet another clue that Arizona is changing politically, and Iowa, where Democrats notched a 20,000 person advantage on new voter registration.

Additionally, the Democrats further increased their advantage in Maine, to post a 37,000-plus registrant advantage in the Pine Tree State. This clearly could make a difference in the tight Senate race between veteran incumbent Sen. Susan Collins (R) and state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D-Freeport).

Republicans, on the other hand, didn’t overtake the Democrats in North Carolina or Pennsylvania, but they have lessened their registration deficit, which could be equally important in terms of winning major elections such as the North Carolina Senate race, and helping President Trump prevail in all-important Pennsylvania.

With North Carolina Republicans gaining over 128,000-plus new registrants in the state and Democrats surprisingly losing more than 117,000 party members, many of the latter are presumed to be joining one of the left-of-center minor parties or, more likely, becoming an unaffiliated voter. The partisan registration ups and downs mean the Republicans gained a 246,000-person net advantage in the Tar Heel State.

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The Decisions Within the Election

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 30, 2020 — The 2020 election cycle has been unique in many ways, but a series of significant decisions, typically through judicial rulings, will likely have a long-lasting effect upon the way the various states administer their elections.

Expanded early voting is likely here to stay. With more than 66 million people already voting through Wednesday, we can expect the states to continue with this relatively new process. Currently, only four states do not have some form of early voting.

Whether we see a continuance of the post-election ballot reception period may be another matter. There is likely to be controversy over this practice that 21 states will feature beginning next week. If the presidential race is close and gets bogged down in the political overtime, the negative aspects of counting votes that come in after the election could come to the forefront.

We have also seen changes in some states, most of which came in previous years, over their primary voting procedures. With reapportionment and redistricting on the political horizon, we are seeing states place measures on Tuesday’s ballot that could bring even more change to electoral systems around the country.

According to research presented from the University of Virginia’s Dr. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball publication and the Ballotpedia organization, voters in nine states will be deciding measures that could alter even further the way future elections are conducted. As we have seen develop, states adopting changes lead to further states following suit. Therefore, if many of the measures receive voter approval Tuesday, other states may also begin adopting some of these practices.

We start with states potentially changing their primary systems to a variation of the jungle primary system. Currently, Louisiana, where the procedure began, California, and Washington use the top-two qualifying system. In those states, all candidates are placed on the same primary ballot and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election irrespective of political party affiliation. Louisiana can elect a candidate outright if he or she receives majority support in the primary election because the state schedules the primary concurrently with the national general election.

Voters in Florida have a ballot proposition to decide if they want their state to adopt the jungle primary system. The Sunshine State voters are also considering a proposition that would allow changes voted through initiative only to take effect if the measure passes in two general elections. Therefore, should this latter idea attain approval, it, and all of the other passed measures, would be delayed until they again pass in a subsequent election.

Alaska voters are looking at another variation of the jungle primary. They are considering a measure where the primary would produce four finishers, thus setting up multi-candidate general elections.

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On Election Night, Keep Your Eyes on Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 29, 2020 — There has been prevalent speculation that we may not see a winner in the presidential election and certainly in some Senate and House races come the evening of Nov. 3, but research into the processing and counting systems of each state suggests such a conclusion may actually prove unlikely.

The election procedures in Arizona, Florida, and Wisconsin all point to having a victory projection coming from these states on election night, thus making them the “tells” for the national vote. If President Trump loses either Arizona or Florida, it will almost assuredly secure a Joe Biden victory. On the other hand, should the president sweep the three aforementioned states, he will be headed toward clinching re-election.

The huge number of precast, or early votes, around the country is another mitigating fact that may halt the need to advance into political overtime, at least for the presidential race. Through Monday, almost 60 million people have voted (59,095,114 according to the Target Smart statistical organization), meaning these ballots and many more will be stacked in vote centers awaiting processing and counting.

The overwhelming early voting response, up 100 percent from this time in 2016, will assuredly lessen the number of in-person voters on Election Day, especially since the early vote number will continue to grow throughout the balance of this week.

Generally, the state processing and tabulation procedures fall into one of three categories: counting the ballots as they arrive, but not releasing totals until after the polls close; keeping the received ballots until the morning of Election Day when counting can begin; or, having to wait until the polls close before beginning to count.

First, the pre-election counting states: 23 may begin tallying as ballots are received but are prohibited from releasing any vote totals. They are:

• Arizona
• Colorado
• Connecticut
• Delaware
• Florida
• Hawaii
• Indiana
• Iowa
• Kentucky
• Louisiana
• Maryland
• Montana
• Nebraska
• Nevada
• New Hampshire
• New Jersey
• New Mexico
• North Carolina
• Ohio
• Oklahoma
• Oregon
• Utah
• Wisconsin

Eleven states are authorized to begin counting the morning of Election Day:
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Senate: Early Voting Numbers

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 28, 2020 — The Target Smart statistical website has tracked the national early voting process throughout the country and reports segmentation by state.

Nationally, through yesterday’s report, they logged over 55.58 million people already voting, an increase of 108 percent from the same period when compared to the last presidential election in 2016. If national voter turnout projections of more than 150 million people prove correct, then approximately 37 percent of 2020 voters have already cast their ballots.

Though the first couple of days in early voting greatly favored Democrats, the last few have yielded a Republican increase.

In the 15 most competitive Senate states (Georgia has two races) — 12 of which have an early voting process in both 2020 and 2016, while one is added for this year (Kentucky) — we see a greater turnout from Democrats in seven states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina. More Republicans are voting in six states: Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Texas.

Interestingly, in gauging which political entities are gaining the most in early voting percentage today when compared with 2016, the Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliateds all break even with an advantage in four states apiece: Democrats (Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan); Republicans (Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Texas); Unaffiliateds (Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota).

It is difficult to say how these numbers will affect the final results. The states possibly producing the most significant early turnout results could be Arizona and Texas. In Arizona, Democrats lead for the first time in early voting aggregate ballots returned, while despite supposition to the contrary, Texas Republicans not only lead in 2020 as they have in the past, but also have gained more in percentage returned when compared to 2016.

Other stats of note: Though behind in 2020 aggregate voting, Democrats have seen an increase in their standing from 2016 in Alaska and Kansas. Republicans, on the other hand, also while trailing on the aggregate count have improved their position more than Democrats when compared to 2016 in Colorado and North Carolina.

For more details, click on the chart below, or go here: Target Early / Target Smart

 


ALASKA

2020 Total Early Votes: 77,128
2016 Total Early Votes: 19,296

2020 – Democratic: 36.0%
2020 – Republican: 46.1%
2020 – Unaffiliated: 17.9%

2016 – Democratic: 26.3%
2016 – Republican: 57.4%
2016 – Unaffiliated: 16.3%

Current Advantage: Republican
Gaining Most from 2016: Democratic


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