Category Archives: Election Analysis

One Poll Has Cruz Up

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2016 — Seven polls, all taken between April 13-28 testing today’s important Indiana Republican presidential primary, report similar information; yet one stands alone. Six studies find Donald Trump leading from between two and 15 points over Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), but one actually finds the opposite result and the margin isn’t even close.

The stand-alone survey comes from the Mike Downs Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) and projects the Texas senator to be holding a 45-29-13 percent lead over Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The methodology, however, appears flawed. The sampling period stretches over too long a period for a small respondent group of 400 likely Republican primary voters.

So, should this data be ignored? Not entirely. The six pro-Trump polls from April 18-27 (sample sizes range from 400 to 645) produced a wide range of responses suggesting that the electorate is fluid. The latest two surveys come from NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist College (April 26-28; 645 likely Indiana Republican primary voters) and the American Research Group (April 27-28; 400 likely Indiana Republican primary voters). Each shows Trump holding a substantial lead, but the surveys differ greatly relating to Gov. Kasich’s standing.

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Crowning Too Early?

By Jim Ellis

May 2, 2016 — Are the pundits who are already making Donald Trump the Republican nominee, and those House members rushing to endorse him, and the others like former House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Peter King (R-NY-2) calling out Sen. Ted Cruz acting too quickly?

It was only two weeks ago when Trump was reeling and people were speculating that he would lose a contested convention to Cruz as early as the second ballot because he had allowed the Texan to out-maneuver him in the delegate selection process. In Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Dakota, Colorado, and other places, pro-Cruz individuals were being elected as convention delegates. Though most would be legally bound to cast a first ballot for Trump, if a deadlocked convention went more than one ballot these delegates could break away and cause the New York real estate mogul to fall.

Then came New York and the eastern regional primary. Though Trump exceeded expectations and delegate quotas, was it really a surprise that he carried the states in his home region? The after-effect has reinvigorated the Trump campaign and helped send Cruz to the ropes.

The results shouldn’t surprise anyone. Trump was always projected to carry the eastern states, and certainly so when Cruz insulted the whole state of New York with his “New York values” comment in an early debate.

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Indiana Now Becomes Critical

By Jim Ellis

April 28, 2016 — Indiana now becomes critical for Donald Trump. Originally projected as a victory state for Sen. Ted Cruz, this winner-take-all by congressional district Hoosier State is now leaning toward Trump. Three polls, all conducted between April 18-22 from three different pollsters (Public Opinion Strategies, Fox News, and CBS/YouGov) find Trump topping Cruz in each instance, but the spreads are tight.

The Trump range is between 41 and 37 percent in the three polls, while Cruz attracts between 31-35 percent. Gov. John Kasich is significant in each survey, placing third with support figures in the 16-22 percent realm. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, now working with Cruz to deny Trump a victory, says he will step away from Indiana in order to give the Texas senator a better shot, could give Cruz the needed boost he needs to slip past Trump.

Indiana is unique in that its at-large delegate contingent is equal to those coming from the congressional districts (27). Indiana has 57 Republican delegates, 27 at-large and 27 from the nine congressional districts (three apiece) in addition to the state’s three Republican National Committee convention votes. The three Republican National Committee delegates are unbound. It appears certain that next Tuesday, Indiana will set the tone for the final stretch in this marathon nomination campaign.

The statewide winner takes the at-large base, and the respective congressional district delegates are awarded to the first-place finisher in each individual CD. For Trump to remain on his first ballot victory track, he must take at least 39 votes from the Indiana contingent.

Maryland, Pennsylvania
House Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis

Maryland

April 26, 2016 — With representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-Montgomery County) and Donna Edwards (D-Prince Georges County) locked in a Senate Democratic nomination battle that is now favoring the former, we take a look at the state’s House primaries that will be decided in today’s election.

Though all but one Maryland House incumbent faces primary opposition, the real action is in the state’s two open seats. No incumbent primary challenge is viewed to be serious including that of former state Delegate Mike Smigiel who, along with two others, is opposing the lone Republican incumbent in the congressional delegation, three-term Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD-1).

MD-4: The 4th District, Edwards open seat, features former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who badly lost the 2014 gubernatorial campaign to now-Gov. Larry Hogan (R). He squares off in a multi-candidate contest with former Prince Georges County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, College Park state Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, retired Army officer Warren Christopher and psychologist Terence Strait. The winner takes the heavily Democratic seat in the general election. Brown is attempting to resurrect his political career after losing embarrassingly to Hogan even when cast as the early favorite.

MD-8: Van Hollen’s open 8th District is an overwhelmingly Democratic seat anchored in Montgomery County before going all the way to the Pennsylvania border. Today, the multi-million dollar mega-Democratic primary to replace him concludes. Since Maryland has no run-off law, the Democratic nomination, and therefore the seat, will be decided today. Continue reading

Graham Out; Senate Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis

April 25, 2016 — Ever since the Florida State Supreme Court decided to re-draw the congressional boundaries halfway through the decade, freshman Rep. Gwen Graham (D, FL-2, Tallahassee) has been in the political wilderness. The court declared eight of the state’s districts unconstitutional last July and finished the new map earlier this year, radically changing the original plan as enacted by the legislative and executive branches.

After the preliminary map became public it was evident that Rep. Graham was becoming a political casualty. Wanting to draw a minority 5th District that stretched from Jacksonville to Tallahassee instead of the traditional draw that began in J’ville and then meandered through Gainesville and Sanford on its way to Orlando, the court sacrificed Graham by removing the Democratic base from the 2nd District seat and transferring it to the new District 5.

Rumors were rampant that Graham, the daughter of former governor and US Sen. Bob Graham (D), would enter the open Senate race. As time passed with no movement in that direction, it was apparent she saw her career heading in a different direction. Yesterday, Rep. Graham announced that she will not seek re-election, and broadly hinted that running in the open 2018 governor’s race is within her political future.

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