Category Archives: Election Analysis

Iowa, New Hampshire:
Below the Surface

July 28, 2015 — Over the weekend, NBC/Marist College released their recent polls (July 14-21) conducted in the first two presidential caucus/primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, hence providing some interesting answers to a few new questions.

The pollsters underscore that the sampling period covers the time both before and after Donald Trump made his highly publicized comments about Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) war record. Unlike many of the recent public polls that featured extremely small polling national polling samples, the individual respondent universes for these two surveys are acceptable (Iowa: 1,042 residents; 919 registered voters; 342 likely Democratic Caucus attenders, 320 likely Republican Caucus attenders; New Hampshire: 1,037 residents; 910 registered voters; 329 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters, 401 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters).

The glimpse provided between the registered voters and the overall resident sample is also significant. In each state, there is only a negligible difference between how registered and non-registered voter responded.
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Hillary Hurting

June 24, 2015 — The Quinnipiac University swing state polls attracted a great deal of media attention after their release Wednesday. With Hillary Clinton trailing three different Republicans in a trio of critical swing states, many believe this justifies the sinking feeling many Democrats are experiencing about her electoral chances.

Unlike many of the recent public polls that have captured major media attention, the Q-Poll sample sizes in the three states: 1,231 registered voters in Colorado; 1,236 in Iowa; and 1,209 in Virginia, are strong. The racial demographic segments largely appear sound though the sample is low for Hispanics in both Virginia and Colorado. While Donald Trump has been projected leading national ballot tests in other surveys, Quinnipiac does not include him in their isolated one-on-ones.

Though these polls do appear to have a slight – probably, two to three point – Republican skew, the results continue to reveal some fundamental weakness in Ms. Clinton’s candidacy. These surveys, and others like them, point to two critical areas that consistently cut against her viability as a national candidate.
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Can We Trust the Trump Leads?

July 16, 2015 — Another new faulty poll, this one from Suffolk University, again posts businessman Donald Trump to a slight lead over the rest of the Republican presidential field. But, like many other surveys that seem to attract sizable media attention, their primary results are not methodologically sound.

The latest Suffolk effort, conducted over the July 9-12 period, interviewed 1,000 adults, again not all registered voters, and produced a Republican primary sample of only 349 respondents. This might be a reasonable sample size for a congressional district, or even a small state like New Hampshire, but certainly not the whole nation.

And, based upon this unreliable data, Suffolk and the media are projecting Trump with what they allude to be a significant lead over Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker, and the other 16 tested GOP candidates.
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Walker Announces for President; Young for Senate

July 15, 2015 — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took to Twitter and the Internet Monday to announce his presidential candidacy, becoming the 16th Republican to officially enter the national campaign. Two more expected entrants, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and ex-Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, will likely round out the field in early August.

The current list includes 15 Republicans who will likely qualify for the ballot in all states, and one, former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, who likely won’t. This means 17 Republicans will be vying for the presidential nomination in a fight that could go all the way to the convention in Cleveland a year from now.

Perhaps signaling the type of campaign he intends to run, Gov. Walker sought to create a clear contrast between himself and the rest of the GOP field. Walker’s theme of being “conservative, bold, and decisive” was highlighted in his announcement video that stressed his gubernatorial record, the fights with Big Labor, and winning three statewide Wisconsin elections in four years. The context reminds viewers that the new presidential candidate successfully defended himself from a strong recall movement, saying that, “ … in the Republican field, there are some good fighters but they haven’t won those battles. There are others who have won elections but haven’t consistently taken on the big fights. We showed you can do both.”
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The American Political State

July 7, 2015 — As we pass the 4th of July break and the celebration period of our country’s history, it’s always an appropriate time to review the current status of American politics. As we look forward to another important election in 2016, including the voters selecting a new president, we find both uncertainty and definition.

It’s anyone’s guess right now as to who wins the presidency. Additionally, US Senate control is up for grabs with majority Republicans defending 24 of the 34 in-cycle states.

Conversely, the House Republican majority is stable, particularly with the recent US Supreme Court decision approving congressional redistricting commissions. The rejection of the Arizona Republicans’ legal argument means that congressional boundaries in the Grand Canyon State, California, New Jersey and Washington – all multi-congressional district states that employ redistricting commissions – will remain intact throughout the remainder of the decade. Lines could change because of court decisions in Virginia, and other southern states could conceivably follow suit, but majority status is unlikely to be affected in the short-term.
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Hillary: Not So Fast

July 6, 2015 — All of a sudden at the 4th of July holiday break, we’re seeing some major action on the Democratic presidential front. One candidate is filling arenas and making gains in the polls, a new contender made official his campaign and a major luminary is now sending signals that he will enter the presidential fracas at the end of the month.

The activity may be a signal that Democratic insiders and polling respondents are becoming less confident that Hillary Clinton can win the 2016 general election, more than witnessing any one opponent with a chance of becoming strong enough to make the nomination race a true contest.

First, in Iowa, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is drawing crowds in the thousands as he rails in speeches against Wall Street and stakes out the far left’s faction within the Democratic base. The response to his personal appearances is reflected in polls, but the Sanders’ message may not be the main underlying reason for his commensurate support level increase.
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Christie In; Trump Ties for Second in Michigan

July 2, 2015 — Returning to his high school roots in Livingston, NJ Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie officially became the 16th Republican presidential candidate when he declared his political intention at a rally-style announcement event. It is apparent that three more current or former governors will soon follow suit, bringing the record-size field of candidates to 19. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, John Kasich of Ohio, and former Virginia chief executive Jim Gilmore will each enter the race in July.

Saying that he’s “ … not looking to be prom king of America,” Gov. Christie elaborated, telling the assembled group and media that, “I mean what I say and I say what I mean and that’s what America needs right now.”

Christie has a long way to go in order to propel himself into the top tier of Republican candidates. Languishing in mid-single digits in most polls, usually with an upside-down personal favorability ratio, Christie will have a difficult time developing a path to the GOP nomination. Positioning himself to the left of the typical Republican primary voter with a brash personal style that many people find offensive, the Jersey governor will have to rebuild his personal image before he can hope to effectively compete for the nomination.
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