Category Archives: Election Analysis

The Senate Reset

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 20, 2016 — It’s now inside of three weeks before the election, and hearing leaders of both parties claim they could control the Senate in the next Congress, it’s time to take a step back and see where the candidates actually stand.

To re-cap, Republicans are risking 24 seats as compared to the Democrats’ 10. In order to re-capture the majority they lost in 2014, the Dems must retain all 10 of their defensive seats, and then convert at least four Republican states if Hillary Clinton is elected president and five if she is not.

The Democrats appear safe in nine of their 10 seats: California (open-Barbara Boxer), Colorado (Michael Bennet), Connecticut (Richard Blumenthal), Hawaii (Brian Schatz), Maryland (open-Barbara Mikulski), New York (Chuck Schumer), Oregon (Ron Wyden), Vermont (Patrick Leahy), and Washington (Patty Murray).

The Republicans appear headed for victory in 14 of their defensive states: Alabama (Richard Shelby), Alaska (Lisa Murkowski), Arkansas (John Boozman), Georgia (Johnny Isakson), Idaho (Mike Crapo), Iowa (Chuck Grassley), Kansas (Jerry Moran), Kentucky (Rand Paul), North Dakota (John Hoeven), Ohio (Rob Portman), Oklahoma (James Lankford), South Carolina (Tim Scott), South Dakota (John Thune), and Utah (Mike Lee).

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Senate Overtime

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 19, 2016 — Most projections suggest that the 2016 US Senate election cycle will end in a partisan division close to a 50-50 tie between Democrats and Republicans. If true, a new political poll suggests that the final determining factor won’t occur until well beyond Nov. 8.

A new JMC Analytics and Polling survey of the Louisiana Senate race portends that this open seat contest will be headed to a Dec. 10 run-off election. Therefore, if one Republican and one Democrat advance from the field of 24 candidates, it will mean the country must wait a full month after the general election to determine whether the Senate is tied or one party reaches 51.

But, such a majority may only last for a year. Assuming Hillary Clinton is elected president, her vice presidential nominee, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, will have to resign his seat. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) will then make an appointment – sure to be another Democrat – but this person will only serve until the next statewide general election.

Because Virginia elects its governors in odd-numbered years, the special Senate election will subsequently take place in 2017. Therefore, if the Senate breaks 50-50, with that last seat being from Virginia, the majority will be at risk just one year later. This will make an Old Dominion statewide special election the nation’s political focal point, at least in terms of determining Senate control.

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It’s Already Beginning

https://youtu.be/GxP7_O8fBDc
By Jim Ellis

Oct. 18, 2016 — Last week we predicted that Senate and House Republicans would soon begin distancing themselves from Donald Trump and start making the argument that voters should not invest all political power with unpopular Hillary Clinton. Already, we see such a move.

In New York’s open politically marginal 22nd District, the National Republican Congressional Committee just launched a new ad (above) for GOP Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who is currently locked in a difficult three-way battle with Democratic local official Kim Myers, and wealthy, self-funding Independent Martin Babinec. The spot explains how Tenney will “stand up to Hillary Clinton just like she’s always stood up to Gov. Cuomo,” thereby at least indirectly conceding that the former Secretary of State and First Lady will become president.

The NRCC spokespeople deny that the committee’s leadership is “changing strategy or assuming that Trump will lose.” Irrespective of the political organization’s public position, however, initiating such a message does portend a Trump defeat, but is an understandable retreat in a state that will vote overwhelmingly for Clinton. The thought process behind the ad attempts to take advantage of the fact that even though Clinton is well positioned for victory, her favorability index is poor, and trepidation about her becoming the nation’s chief executive certainly exists even among those supporting her.

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Differing Data

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 17, 2016 — The presidential map has swung significantly toward Hillary Clinton in the past week, which is of little surprise considering the revelations surrounding Donald Trump. If the election were today, our count projects Clinton to receive 338 electoral votes as compared to only 200 for Trump.

As has been the case since the beginning of this campaign, in order to win the national election Trump must carry the states of Florida, Ohio and North Carolina in order to develop a base that melds into a winning coalition. Before the videotape flap, Trump held the advantage in his three staple states. This week, however, he has fallen behind in each place, albeit by small, single-digit margins.

While it is mandatory for Trump to carry Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, Clinton can win the national election without any of the three. But, should Trump rebound fully in the aforementioned, he is still not done. In addition to carrying the 23 states that have voted Republican in every presidential election in this century – all are unanimous with the one exception of Indiana, which voted for President Obama in 2008 by one percentage point — Trump needs an additional 17 electoral votes in order to actually win the election.

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Wisconsin Takes Another Look;
Telling Info in Missouri

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 14, 2016 — Candidates in both Wisconsin and Missouri may be rethinking their ad buy decisions.

Wisconsin

It’s likely that strategists in both the Democratic and Republican Senate campaign committees who took the unusual step of canceling their media buys in the Wisconsin race are reconsidering their decision. The original move was interpreted as each side coming to the clear conclusion that former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) is on an irreversible path to unseat first-term incumbent Ron Johnson (R). It’s now probable that the advertising time will quickly be re-claimed.

A new Marquette University Law School poll (Oct. 6-9; 878 likely Wisconsin voters) became the third poll in a week to conclude that Sen. Johnson is making a viable comeback. The Marquette numbers found Feingold’s lead dropping to only 48-46 percent, a decided difference from the organization’s September survey that posted the ex-senator to a six-point, 47-41 percent, advantage.

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Predicting a Wave

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 13, 2016 — Democrats are attempting to get atop of what they perceive as a growing wave in response to Donald Trump’s potential collapse, but they are missing several components necessary to creating such an outcome.

During the past two days Democratic leaders and strategists have begun to predict a landslide Hillary Clinton win, a majority in the US Senate, and now an impending wave large enough to carry their House candidates to success.

In the Senate, as we know, Democrats need to hold all 10 of their in-cycle seats, and then convert at least four Republican states to re-capture the majority. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana all look like impending Democratic victories. Nevada Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV-3), in the one state Democrats are risking, continues to hold a small lead but his advantage over former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) is tenuous.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey (R) are both highly vulnerable and could easily lose, as could North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr (R). Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt (R) sees better trends developing in his state at the presidential level, but Democrats are using a strong performance in the open governor’s race as a potential springboard to unseating the one-term senator and former US House Majority Whip. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R), Arizona Sen. John McCain (R), and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) look to be stemming the adverse tide. But, all of the aforementioned races could easily change one way or the other in the final four weeks.

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Wisconsin Shock Poll

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 12, 2016 — Last week, we reported on both parties canceling their Wisconsin Senate race media buys leading all to deduce that challenger Russ Feingold (D) has an insurmountable lead for incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R) to overcome. Since Johnson has not been ahead in any survey for almost two years and has come within five points of ex-Sen. Feingold only a handful of times during that period, Wisconsin has climbed to the top of the Democratic conversion list.

Now, however, a new Loras College (Dubuque, IA) poll (Oct. 4-5; 500 likely Wisconsin voters) finds Sen. Johnson surprisingly rebounding to a 45-40 percent lead.

Though the result is not compatible with any other available data, the sampling group members’ attitudes and answers on other questions do blend in with previously reported results. The study appears weighted properly for voting patterns, (37 percent Democrat; 32 percent Republican) and demographics, while the presidential numbers track with all other surveys.

When asked whether the sampling group would support Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Libertarian Gary Johnson, or Green Party candidate Jill Stein for President, 43 percent of the Loras College respondents said Clinton, 35 percent Trump, and 8 percent Johnson, while Stein recorded 2 percent.

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