Category Archives: Election Analysis

Iowa – Below the Surface

Sept. 2, 2015 — The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics released a new installment to their regular polling series, and it’s their underlying questions that provide us with the most interesting information. The survey, again conducted by the Des Moines-based Selzer & Company, interviewed 404 likely Democratic caucus attenders and 400 likely Republican participants over the Aug. 23-26 period.

Like most polls currently in the public domain, the respective ballot tests show Donald Trump breaking out for the Republicans. Here, he posts a 23-18-8-8 percent lead over Dr. Ben Carson with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) each claiming a share of third place. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton’s lead is dissipating as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making significant gains. The results project him pulling to within single digits of former First Lady, 37-30 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, not yet a presidential contender, records 14 percent support.

The underlying points reveal a weakening Clinton, no doubt, but not to catastrophic proportions. Though her Iowa support is tepid when compared to the numbers she posted at the end of 2014, the base Democrats do not see her in a negative light.

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Joe Biden’s Best Move

Sept. 1, 2015 — An idea for Vice President Joe Biden has begun to float around while he considers whether to run for the nation’s top office. A suggested Biden strategic move would not only rob Hillary Clinton of significant support, but also simultaneously neutralize Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT).

The strategy comes in three parts. First, Biden would announce for president and immediately name Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as his running mate. This would be an overt attempt to cover the female base, thereby giving voters who want a woman on the ticket some reason to consider ditching Clinton in favor of Biden.

Additionally, identifying Warren as his vice presidential running mate would assuage the Democrats’ liberal base, including the growing far left sector. This voter segment is where Sen. Sanders draws the bulk of his support. Thus, adding Warren to Biden’s presidential ticket would act as a wedge designed to weaken both the former First Lady and the self-proclaimed socialist lawmaker.

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VA Democrats’ Redistricting Move

Aug. 20, 2015 — There won’t be a new congressional map coming from the Virginia legislature and governor, after all. In early June, based upon their previous ruling and subsequent US Supreme Court decisions, a federal three-judge panel ordered the state legislature to re-draw, by Sept. 1, the southeastern part of Virginia after affirming that Congressional District 3 — Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Newport News) is illegal.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) called the special legislative session for purposes of complying with the judicial ruling, but the members have already left Richmond. The map will revert to the court, where the judges will presumably draw the new map themselves.

Judicial maneuvering, and not congressional politics, caused the session to close less than a day after it began. Virginia is one of two states, South Carolina being the other, that gives judicial appointment responsibility to the legislature. The governor, during times of recess, has the right to fill judicial vacancies.

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Hillary’s Deepening Problem

Aug. 19, 2015 — Fox News just released their latest poll (Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company; Aug. 11-13; 1,008 registered voters; 401 likely Democratic primary voters; 381 likely Republican primary voters), and the traditional media coverage seems to be emphasizing a lesser analytical point.

Their stories highlight that Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are expanding their respective leads (25-12-10 percent) over whom the media identifies as the Republican establishment candidates, namely ex-Gov. Jeb Bush (who posts 9 percent), and the many elected governors and senators who are in the race. The Hillary Clinton results, however, are actually more compelling.

Once again we see a familiar pattern defining the Clinton performance. Democrats favorably view her, but Republicans and Independents generally hold a highly negative impression. She leads in all ballot test pairings but breaks 50 percent at no time, and the vast majority of voters don’t trust her.

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House: Looking Ahead

Aug. 17, 2015 — With the presidential contest dominating the political news coverage on a daily basis, very little attention has been paid to the US House races. Having what appears to be a secure Republican majority and a low number of open seats, the congressional campaigns will not likely bring much drama in 2016. The states under court-mandated mid-decade redistricting: Florida, Virginia, and possibly Texas, are unlikely to threaten the Republicans’ majority status either, though we could see several seats shift between the parties.

Coming off a 2014 election that sent 59 freshmen into the House and features 239 members who had served three full terms or less when they were sworn into the 114th Congress, the coming election promises much less turnover. In the 2012 election cycle, 62 seats were open followed by another 47 in last November’s vote. (The figures count districts in which an incumbent was defeated in a primary.) So far this year, we see 20 open seats (10R; 10D), not including two vacant districts that were filled in 2015 special elections.

According to our own Ellis Insight political forecast, 234 seats are safe (182), likely (36), or lean (16) Republican, while Democrats see 179 districts coming their way: 155 in the safe category, 16 likely landing in their column, and seven more leaning in their direction.

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