Category Archives: Election Analysis

Florida Polling: Inconsistent Results

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 23, 2018 — Four statewide Florida polls were just released, and we continue to see conflicting results across the board two weeks prior to Election Day. As usual, the Sunshine State political situation appears too close to call from a place that seems to specialize in razor-thin elections.

Left: Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) | Right: Gov. Rick Scott (R)

Left: Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) | Right: Gov. Rick Scott (R)

During the period of Oct. 17-21, St. Pete Polls, Survey USA, Quinnipiac University, and the Democratic polling firm of Schroth, Eldon & Associates all conducted Florida surveys.

In the Senate race, two of the surveys find incumbent Bill Nelson (D) putting some distance between he and his opponent, Gov. Rick Scott (R), while the other two project to give Scott a slight edge. In the governor’s race, three of these firms released numbers (Quinnipiac did not, but will likely do so today), and Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor, holds a varying lead over former US Rep. Ron DeSantis (R).

There is quite a difference in the Senate margins, and this is largely due to how the female vote is being recorded. Both Survey USA (Oct. 18-21; 1,050 Florida adults, 859 registered Florida voters, 665 likely Florida voters) and Quinnipiac (Oct. 17-21; 1,161 registered Florida voters) find Sen. Nelson holding full-sample leads beyond the polling margin of error, 49-41 percent (S-USA) and 52-46 percent (Quinnipiac). They see females breaking for Nelson, 49-37 percent (S-USA) and 59-39 percent (Quinnipiac). Men are going the opposite way, favoring Scott, 49-46 percent (S-USA) and 54-44 percent (Quinnipiac).

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The Democrat’s House Target Lineup

By Jim Ellis

2018-us-house-racesOct. 22, 2018 — Democrats appear to be on the cusp of regaining the House majority, but actually achieving their goal is not yet guaranteed.

The Dems have accomplished three major objectives that have put them in position to claim the majority. They have recruited strong candidates, many with military service credentials, supported them with record-setting fundraising, and initiated viable competition in an incredible 95 Republican seats.

With the Democrats fielding so many candidates, it makes their odds of obtaining approximately 25 conversion victories reasonable. It is obviously much more realistic to clinch such a number when the competitive pool covers 95 congressional districts rather than 40 or even 50.

From the following group, the Dems will convert three seats, meaning they need a net 21 more to claim a bare majority at 218:

NJ-2 – Open – (Rep. LoBiondo) Jeff Van Drew (D) vs. Seth Grossman (R)
PA-5 – Vacant – (Rep. Meehan) Mary Gay Scanlon (D) vs. Pearl Kim (R)
PA-6 – Open – (Rep. Costello) Chrissy Houlahan (D) vs. Greg McCauley (R)

From the succeeding most competitive tier, the Dems need to win 21 of these 41 campaigns to claim a bare majority at 218:

AZ-2 – Open (Rep. McSally) – Ann Kirkpatrick (D) vs. Lea Marquez-Peterson (R)
CA-10 – Rep. Jeff Denham (R) vs. Josh Harder (D)
CA-25 – Rep. Steve Knight (R) vs. Katie Hill (D)
CA-39 – Open (Rep. Royce) – Young Kim (R) vs. Gil Cisneros (D)
CA-45 – Rep. Mimi Walters (R) vs. Katie Porter (D)
CA-48 – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) vs. Harley Rouda (D)
CA-49 – Open (Rep. Issa) – Mike Levin (D) vs. Diane Harkey (R)
CA-50 – Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) vs. Ammar Campa-Najjar (D)
CO-6 – Rep. Mike Coffman (R) vs. Jason Crow (D)
FL-26 – Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) vs. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D)
FL-27 – Open (Rep. Ros-Lehtinen) – Maria Elvira Salazar (R) vs. Donna Shalala (D)
IL-6 – Rep. Peter Roskam (R) vs. Sean Casten (D)
IL-12 – Rep. Mike Bost (R) vs. Brendan Kelly (D)
IA-1 – Rep. Rod Blum (R) vs. Abby Finkenauer (D)
IA-3 – Rep. David Young (R) vs. Cindy Axne (D)
KS-2 – Open (Rep. Jenkins) – Paul Davis (D) vs. Steve Watkins (R)
KS-3 – Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) vs. Sharice Davids (D)
KY-6 – Rep. Andy Barr (R) vs. Amy McGrath (D)
ME-2 – Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) vs. Jared Golden (D)
MI-8 – Rep. Mike Bishop (R) vs. Elissa Slotkin (D)
MI-11 – Open (Rep. Trott) – Haley Stevens (D) vs. Lena Epstein (R)
MN-2 – Rep. Jason Lewis (R) vs. Angie Craig (D)
MN-3 – Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) vs. Dean Phillips (D)
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The Six Swing Senate Seats

By Jim Ellis

1200px-Seal_of_the_United_States_Senate.svgOct. 22, 2018 — As we move close to Election Day, it is becoming clearer that the Republicans will maintain control of the US Senate and likely expand their small majority from one to three, and maybe even four, seats.

At this writing, it appears that Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) will lose to at-large Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-Bismarck). If so, the GOP would gain one, assuming they hold their three vulnerable states.

Democrats appear as locks to hold Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Though polling suggests tightening races, Democrats will more than likely hold the Minnesota special election, and the races in Montana, New Jersey, and West Virginia, while Republicans probably win the tight Texas campaign. In the Mississippi special election, it is expected that a Republican and Democratic candidate will advance to a run-off election on Nov. 27.

Assuming the previous analysis is correct, then the six most competitive Senate states will determine the Senate’s balance of power. Furthermore, if the aforementioned is accurate it would mean the Democrats’ only chance to win the majority would be to sweep the following half-dozen campaigns.

The list below provides the October published polling data for each of the toss-up campaigns:


ARIZONA

Change Research (for the David Garcia for Governor campaign), Oct. 9-10; 783 likely voters:
Rep. Martha McSally (R) 48%
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) 48%

CBS News/YouGov (Oct. 2-5; 898 likely voters)
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47%
Rep. Martha McSally (R) 44%

OH Predictive Insights (Oct. 1-2; 600 likely voters)
Rep. Martha McSally (R) 47%
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) 41%

Fox News (Sept. 29-Oct. 2; 716 likely voters)
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47%
Rep. Martha McSally (R) 45%

Vox Populi (Sept. 29-Oct. 1; 702 likely voters)
Rep. Martha McSally (R) 45%
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) 42%


FLORIDA

St. Pete Polls (Oct. 15-16; 1,974 likely voters via interactive voice response system):
Gov. Rick Scott (R) 49%
Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 47%

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Surprising Q3 Financial Disclosures

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 19, 2018 — The third quarter financial disclosure reports are now public, and more details are readily available. Thus, we are able to learn about various record-setting fundraising efforts.

FEC-moneyIn addition to Texas US Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) attracting $38 million in the third quarter, an all-time record for any such campaign, several House candidates also reported financial numbers that have never been seen for district-level politics.

In the third quarter of 2018, nine House contenders exceeded raising $3 million, eight Democrats and one Republican.

In California’s 22nd District, incumbent Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was the top Republican fundraiser and appears to have accumulated more financial resources for the entire campaign than any other congressional candidate of either party. In the quarter, Rep. Nunes raised $3.14 million. For the campaign, he has exceeded the $10.5 million mark.

But his Democratic opponent, attorney Andrew Janz, brought in over $4 million for the quarter, the only congressional candidate in the US to do so, and an all-time record for a quarter. He still trails Rep. Nunes in overall receipts (Janz posted $7.13 million for the campaign), however. Together, this campaign leads the nation in combined fundraising with over $17 million. For a regular cycle congressional campaign – not including the special elections we saw earlier that became national contests – this, too, is likely an all-time record for a House contest.

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Feinstein Still Weak; Gas Tax Polling

By Jim Ellis

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)

Oct. 18, 2018 — Survey USA released a poll of the California electorate, one more political study that finds Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) failing to establish command in her race against fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles state senator.

The S-USA data (Oct. 12-14; 1,200 California adults; 964 registered California voters; 762 likely California voters) sees Feinstein again locked at 40 percent support versus 26 percent for de Leon. This is the sixth survey from four different pollsters that finds the Senator in the mid to low 40s since the June 5th jungle primary. But de Leon fares much worse, failing to break 30 percent in any of the half-dozen ballot test questions.

While all of the research suggests that Sen. Feinstein is politically weak, she will not lose this race. Though she brought in only $982,000 for the third quarter — a low number when campaigning in a state the size of California and understanding that many Democratic House candidates have brought in millions during the same period — de Leon raised just $254,000 and has a mere $309,000 cash-on-hand for the period ending Sept. 30. This is a low figure for a congressional race, let alone for a place that’s 53 times as large as a single CD.

California Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles)

California Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles)

The other feature potentially making the California Senate race a wild-card contest is the vote drop-off that we will see when comparing turnout for this office to the rest of the statewide ballot.

In 2016, when two Democrats were competing for an open Senate seat — the now-Sen. Kamala Harris vs. then-Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) — fewer votes were cast for that contest than in any other statewide election, including all of the ballot propositions. In fact, over 1.9 million more people voted in the presidential race than in the Senate race, and 1.3 million more chose to decide the last ballot initiative that banned single-use plastic bottles.

What occurred was a plethora of Republican voters simply skipping the Senate race rather than supporting one of the two Democrats. With de Leon running to the ideological left of Feinstein the Republican vote will likely drop even further, which becomes an interesting factor.

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