Category Archives: Election Analysis

Early Senate Rankings

May 26, 2015 — It’s not too early to begin handicapping the 2016 in-cycle Senate races, and projecting whether the Republicans’ can hold their hard-fought majority. Having to defend 24 of the 34 states hosting a Senate race, the Democrats have ample opportunity to convert the four GOP seats they need to re-claim control; or, five if presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton fails to keep the White House.

Beginning in easy fashion, the following Republicans and Democrats appear, at this time, safe for re-election:
Safe Republicans:
• Richard Shelby – Alabama
• John Boozman – Arkansas
• Johnny Isakson – Georgia
• Mike Crapo – Idaho
• Chuck Grassley – Iowa
• John Hoeven – North Dakota
• James Lankford – Oklahoma
• Tim Scott – South Carolina
• John Thune – South Dakota

Safe Democrats:
• Richard Blumenthal – Connecticut
• Brian Schatz – Hawaii
• Chuck Schumer – New York
• Ron Wyden – Oregon
• Patrick Leahy – Vermont
• Patty Murray – Washington
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No Clear Winner in Kentucky
GOP Gubernatorial Race

May 20, 2015 — Yesterday the highly contentious Blue Grass State Republican gubernatorial was decided … sort of. With no run-off system in Kentucky election law, the three major candidates who were in a virtual three-way tie in polls before the election wound up with about the same result after the election.

State Agriculture Secretary James Comer was viewed to be the early leader in the race, but accusations from former Louisville Metro Councilor Hal Heiner that Comer physically abused a girlfriend while in college effectively turned the race upside down. Charges and counter-charges flew between the two men for weeks, even including the appearance of the former girlfriend, and the after-effects weakened both candidates. And while the campaign turned nasty, businessman Matt Bevin, the wealthy investor who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Mitch McConnell in last year’s Republican primary, crafted a positive strategy designed to propel him above the fray created between the other two. You may remember that in the 2014 race, polling showed Bevin running close to the veteran senator but, in the end, the nomination contest evolved into a McConnell landslide.

But this time, the businessman’s plan clearly worked, and it may well have carried him to the nomination. From more than 214,000 Republican votes cast last night, Bevin clings to an 83-vote lead with 100 percent of the precincts reporting. Each man attracted approximately 33 percent of the vote. Heiner, who placed third with 27 percent, conceded. Former state Supreme Court Justice Will Scott finished a distant fourth at seven percent.
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Stutzman Declares in Indiana;
MS-1 Special Notes

May 13, 2015 — Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN-3), who began talking about running for Senate even before Sen. Dan Coats (R) announced that he wouldn’t seek another term, officially declared his candidacy Monday. He joins former Indiana Republican Party chairman and Coats’ aide Eric Holcomb in the field of candidates.

Though Sen. Coats made public his intention to retire at the end of March, the field of potential successors has been slow to form. Immediately, all but three of the nine-member House delegation indicated interest in the race but, until yesterday, none had moved into the statewide contest.

At this point, most of the delegation members have declined to run. The two who have not yet closed the door on a potential Senate bid are representatives Todd Rokita (R-IN-4), who is unlikely to enter, and Todd Young (R-IN-9), who well could oppose Stutzman and Holcomb.

No Democrat has yet come forward. Party leaders hope to recruit former senator and governor, Evan Bayh, back into elective politics, but this is likely wishful thinking on their part. Upon leaving office five years ago, Sen. Bayh made public statements about being less than enamored with the way Congress was operating, and it is fair to say the situation has deteriorated since.
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New Hampshire Poll Shows 2016 Republican Candidates Even Tighter

May 12, 2015 — A new Bloomberg Politics/St. Anselm’s University survey (May 2-6; Purple Strategies consulting firm; 500 registered New Hampshire voters; oversampled to attain 400 Democratic primary voters and 400 Republican primary voters) projects that the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary is a virtual multi-candidate tie. The general election figures are also tightening, uncovering further weakness in presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The pollsters tested 13 Republican candidates or potential candidates, four of whom broke into double-digits. At 12 percent support are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Just one point behind loom former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sunshine State Sen. Marco Rubio.

Businessman Donald Trump makes an appearance in this poll, and does reasonably well, capturing eight percent preference. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follows with seven percent, just ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz (six percent) and Dr. Ben Carson (five percent). Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), ex-Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) all follow in a range between four and one percent.
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Projecting Another Close Race

May 7, 2015 — The worldwide GfK Public Affairs research organization, in conjunction with the Associated Press, conducted a nationwide poll of American attitudes and perceptions for the coming presidential election year.

The survey of 1,077 US adults was conducted during the April 23-27 period. The methodology appears very sound, correctly capturing the national demographic percentage divisions on race, religion, political party, and education level. Though the survey screened for registered voters and found that 80 percent of the respondents can participate in elections, the results were not divided into specific reporting segments. Overall, the GfK-AP polling conclusions appear methodologically consistent with a high degree of reliability.

Since this is an issues and attitudes poll, no ballot test questions were asked. The aggregate polling sample has a decidedly negative outlook, though, as only two of 17 presidential candidates (12 Republicans and five Democrats) were found with higher positive ratings than negative. Hillary Clinton (D) and Dr. Ben Carson (R) were the two individuals posting favorable ratios – 46:41 percent for Clinton, while Carson registered 15:12 percent – but neither of these totals are particularly impressive.
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Poll Shows Hillary Lacking Trust
Among Likely Voters

May 4, 2015 — Rasmussen Reports (RR) went into the field this week to query one thousand randomly selected likely voters (April 27-28) about Hillary Clinton in order to determine if the current controversy surrounding her is changing perceptions. Specifically tested was the speculation that the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars in (legally) undisclosed foreign donations, and whether such action affected her decision-making and actions as Secretary of State.

The results can’t be considered encouraging for her. A whopping 63 percent of the respondents say they believe that “some actions Secretary Clinton took were influenced by donations made to the Clinton Foundation.” According to RR, 42 percent said it is “very likely” that the donations influenced her official decisions. Conversely, only 12 percent said such is “not at all likely” and 30 percent believe it is “unlikely” that money to the foundation played a role in how she handled her cabinet position.

Additionally, a majority of those polled, 51 percent, say they “do not trust” the former First Lady as compared to 37 percent who do. Not surprisingly, 89 percent of those saying they don’t trust Clinton believe that the donations influenced the execution of her official duties. But, perhaps more troubling, 34 percent of the segment saying they do trust her also believe the money drove at least some of her actions as secretary of state.
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Walker’s Momentum Continues
in Latest Presidential Poll

April 30, 2015 — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been quiet during the past month, but if the new Iowa Public Policy Polling presidential nomination survey (April 23-26; 462 likely Iowa Republican caucus attenders; 469 likely Iowa Democratic caucus attenders) is any indication his momentum continues, nevertheless.

Walker, who reportedly will announce his presidential candidacy next month, tops this poll of likely Iowa Caucus attenders with 23 percent preference from the sample group respondents. Continuing his upward move since making his own presidential announcement on April 13, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio jaunts into second place but remains a full 10 percentage points behind Gov. Walker.

Jeb Bush, in another disappointing showing, places third at 12 percent, with former Arkansas governor and 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) rounding out the group in double-digits. Both of these men tie with 10 percent support. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the other formally announced participant among the tested group of nine candidates and potential contenders, scored eight percent.

Another eight individuals, including 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum, were not included on the ballot test question, but PPP did survey their personal approval ratings.
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