Category Archives: Election Analysis

Sen. Enzi Well Ahead in First Wyoming Poll

Last week, Liz Cheney, the daughter of Dick Cheney — former vice president, US defense secretary, and Wyoming congressman — boldly announced a Republican primary challenge to three-term Sen. Mike Enzi. This weekend, the first public poll of the match-up was released.

Harper Polling (July 17-18; 422 likely Wyoming Republican primary voters), for the Conservative Intelligence Briefing website, finds Sen. Enzi to be in strong shape on the initial ballot test. According to HP, the senator jumps out to a commanding 55-21 percent lead over Cheney.

The survey’s key finding is Enzi’s incredibly strong personal favorability rating among the Equality State Republican respondents. The results yield a 76:6 percent positive to negative ratio for the senator. Cheney’s numbers are relatively strong too, 45:15 percent favorable to unfavorable, but they pale in comparison to the incumbent’s. Interestingly, her father’s rating among his home constituency is almost as high as Sen. Enzi’s; the former vice president scores 74:16 percent.

Additionally, the senator’s job approval is just about as high as his personal rating. According to this survey, 73 percent of those polled have a positive view of his job performance in Washington, versus only 9 percent who hold a negative opinion. In terms of the standard “re-elect” question, 48 percent say that Sen. Enzi deserves re-election as opposed to 28 percent who believe that “we should give someone else a chance.”

The respondent pool is highly conservative. Forty-four percent of the participants describes themselves as “very conservative” and another 40 percent self-identifies as “somewhat conservative.” In contrast, only 1 percent of the group say they are liberal. By a margin of 44-35 percent, those questioned support the “goals and ideals” of the Tea Party.

Harper also asked the 2016 Republican presidential nomination question. They found that the Wyoming respondents answered similarly to early national samples, in that the many potential candidates are bunched closely together. In a bit of an aside, former vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) leads with 15 percent. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is second posting 12 percent, and three are tied at 10 percent: Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), former Gov. Jeb Bush (FL), and Sen. Marco Rubio (FL).

In conclusion, the poll illuminates Cheney’s high difficulty factor in her quest for the Senate. She has the ability to raise substantial resources, and it appears every penny will be needed if she is to make any headway against Enzi.

Two Skewed Polls: NH / Minn.

NH-MN-cds

Harper Polling conducted two surveys for the National Republican Congressional Committee and found a pair of potential 2014 GOP challengers in excellent shape, but the polls appear to contain methodological flaws.

NH-1

According to Harper, former New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta (R), who is considering a comeback attempt in the state’s 1st CD, leads Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) 48-41 percent in their poll of 408 registered voters released July 17. In 2010, Guinta defeated Shea-Porter 54-42 percent after she had served two consecutive terms in Washington. Two years later, the former congresswoman returned the favor, reclaiming the seat 50-46 percent before an expanded turnout of some 120,000 more voters than during the mid-term election. In the presidential years, the 1st District voted twice for President Obama: 53-46 percent in 2008, and 50-49 percent in 2012.

Though New Hampshire voters do not register by political party, it is clear from the voting history that the 1st District leans more towards Democrats than Republicans. Yet, there is no disputing that it qualifies as a true swing district. Hence, Harper’s sample consisting of 40 percent Republicans, only 31 percent Democrats, and 29 percent Independents is slanted in the GOP’s favor. This is not to say that Guinta may be performing well in comparison to the congresswoman, particularly considering the two candidates’ see-saw history when facing each other, but a seven-point lead at this juncture of the campaign seems out of whack.

Still, it is data like this that could encourage Guinta to get back into the race. He is also reportedly considering a US Senate challenge to incumbent Jeanne Shaheen (D), but such a move appears less likely as time progresses.
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Senate Candidate Update

Continuing our periodic reporting about who is currently running for the Senate next year, below is the latest look.

The following 13 senators do not yet have an announced significant opponent:

  1. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)
  2. Chris Coons (D-Delaware)
  3. Jim Risch (R-Idaho)
  4. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas)
  5. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
  6. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi)
  7. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)
  8. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island)
  9. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina – special election)
  10. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee)
  11. John Cornyn (R-Texas)
  12. Mark Warner (D-Virginia)
  13. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming)

And the remaining state match-ups:

Alaska
Incumbent: Sen. Mark Begich (D) – originally elected 2008
Republicans: Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell
Joe Miller – 2010 nominee who defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary
Arkansas
Incumbent: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) – originally elected 2002
Republicans: Lt. Gov. Mark Darr
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4)
Notes: Rep. Cotton is a possible candidate. Lt. Gov. Darr is highly likely to run for a different office than the one he currently holds. He announced his intention to run for the Senate but there is a good chance, should Mr. Cotton enter the statewide campaign, that he would instead run for the Congressman’s vacated 4th Congressional District.

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Governors on the Edge

Some newly released polling shows three individual governors in serious re-election danger. Recording poor approval ratings for an extended period of months, governors Rick Scott (R-FL) and Pat Quinn (D-IL) were known to be in obvious trouble, but a Quinnipiac University poll from last week (June 5-10; 1,065 registered Colorado voters) also indicates that Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is beginning to teeter. The Q-Poll projects that former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO-6) is pulling to within just one-point (42-41 percent) of the Rocky Mountain chief executive. Such a result puts this governor, who was previously thought to be almost politically invincible, into a potentially competitive race.

In Florida, Republican Scott continues to trail two key Democratic potential opponents, but his standing is improving. To the northwest in Illinois, Democrat Quinn is also behind his top rivals — in this case fellow party members attempting to deny him re-nomination — and, he too, is on the upswing.

Florida

Quinnipiac just published the results of their new Florida poll (June 11-16; 1,176 registered Florida voters). They find that Gov. Scott has fought back to an almost even standing on his job approval rating (43:44 percent favorable to unfavorable), but still trails former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) and Sen. Bill Nelson, both by a substantial 10-point margin. Crist, the former Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat, holds a 47-37 percent lead over the incumbent. Sen. Nelson, fresh from winning election to a third term this past November, scores an almost identical 48-38 percent margin against Scott. The senator claims he’s staying in his current job, but never fully closes the door on the issue of challenging the governor. It is unlikely he will do so, but such rhetoric certainly keeps his name and profile at the political forefront.

Crist is a different story, however. He will almost assuredly run, and his favorables are surprisingly high considering his ignominious temporary exit from Florida politics in 2010. You will remember that Marco Rubio, at the time a former state House Speaker, was building such strong momentum that Crist, even as a sitting Republican governor, was forced out of the Republican Party, and then chose to run for the Senate as an Independent. In the  Continue reading >

Markey Wins; Now Faces Investor Gomez

As projected, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) defeated his House Democratic colleague, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8), in last night’s special US Senate party primary election. Markey racked up an expected 57-43 percent margin over Lynch, with a turnout of more than 530,000 Democratic voters. All of the candidates are vying for Secretary of State John Kerry’s Senate seat, now held by interim Sen. Mo Cowan (D).

Both men racked up strong percentages in the congressional districts they represent; Markey in the 5th District north and west of Boston, and Lynch in the 8th CD anchored in the area south of Massachusetts’ capital city including the towns of Quincy, Brockton, and Fall River. Lynch also carried the central region of the state nestled in between the cities of Worcester and Springfield, as well as the area around the city of Lowell and the New Hampshire border territory. Markey was strong in virtually other part of the state, thus accounting for his lopsided victory.

When all of the expenditures are totaled, Markey will have exceeded the $5 million mark in spending; Lynch a little over $2 million.

On the Republican side, private equity investor and former US Navy veteran Gabriel Gomez convincingly won his primary, defeating former US Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Dan Winslow. Gomez scored 51 percent to Sullivan’s 36 percent and Winslow’s 13 percent. Just over 182,000 Republicans participated in their primary election. Late polling also forecast Gomez to be leading the GOP field, but sample sizes from the public polls were so small as not to be considered reliable.

The Gomez expenditure level is not clear at this point in time, but the other two Republican candidates spent less than $300,000 on their campaigns.

The special general, which is scheduled for June 25, appears to be Markey’s to lose. As we all know, Massachusetts is one of the  Continue reading >

Upward Mobility

Even at this early point in the 2014 election cycle, a grand total of 32 House members have either indicated they will run for another office or are mentioned as considering doing so. Below is a listing:

  • Arkansas – Rep. Tom Cotton (R) – reportedly moving toward a challenge to Sen. Mark Pryor (D), but has yet to finally decide.
  • Georgia – The free-for-all to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) is touching a large number of Georgia House delegation members.
    • Rep. John Barrow (D) – has twice publicly said he has no plans to run for Senate, but may now be changing his mind. He is reportedly pressuring Democratic Party leaders to help clear the primary field so he has the maximum amount of time to raise general election funds without the pressure of a primary.
    • Rep. Sanford Bishop (D) – though he has received little coverage about a possible Senate bid, Mr. Bishop has reportedly been telling people in his 2nd District that he is seriously considering running for the seat.
    • Rep. Paul Broun (R) – announced Senatorial candidate
    • Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) – Georgia political insiders rate him as “very likely” to run for Senate.
    • Rep. Tom Graves (R) – announced that he will not run for Senate.
    • Rep. Jack Kingston (R) – clearly making moves to run for the Senate but has been known in the past to shy away from taking political chances. Today, he is a likely candidate, but that may change when next year’s filing deadline approaches.
    • Rep. Tom Price (R) – originally thought to be a sure Senatorial candidate, Mr. Price is now putting  Continue reading >

Yes, No, Maybe So

Some of the 2014 US Senate races are already beginning to take shape, while others have yet to develop.

In just the past few days, political insiders in central Georgia are reporting that Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA-2) is telling supporters that he is seriously considering entering the open Senate race. In Iowa, others are saying that while Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4) is moving toward running for his state’s open Senate seat, Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) is more likely to seek re-election than run statewide.

Below is a quick snap-shot of the candidate situation in what are expected to be the more hotly contested Senate campaigns of the election cycle:

  • ALASKA: Sen. Mark Begich (D) – Seeking his second term
    • In: Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R)
    • Possible: Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan (R)
    • Unlikely: Gov. Sean Parnell (R)
    • Out: Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R)
  • ARKANSAS: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) – Seeking his third term
    • In: Lt. Gov. Mike Darr (R)
    • Possible: Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4)
    • Out: Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-2)
  • GEORGIA: Open Seat – Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) – Retiring
    • In: Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10)
    • Likely: Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11)
    • Possible: Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA-2), Rep. Tom Price (R-GA-6), Rep. John Barrow (D-GA-12), Sec of State Brian Kemp (R)
    • Unlikely: Former Sen. Max Cleland (D), former Sec of State Karen Handel (R), Mayor Kasim Reed (D)
    • Out: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA-3)

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