Category Archives: Election Analysis

NJ Senate Race: Already Over

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

The New Jersey special primary election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) is scheduled for next Tuesday (Aug. 13), but according to Quinnipiac University’s final poll before the vote, the race is virtually over.

When Lautenberg died in early June and Gov. Chris Christie (R) scheduled the special election to choose a replacement, the early polling showed Newark Mayor Cory Booker with numbers approaching or breaking 50 percent of the Democratic vote with the other candidates, representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6), Rush Holt (D-NJ-12), and state House Speaker Sheila Oliver, barely breaking past 10 percent or registering only in single digits.

In the just-released Q-Poll (Aug. 1-5; 2,042 registered New Jersey voters; 388 likely Democratic primary voters) the results have barely changed. According to the data, Booker commands support from 54 percent of the polling sample versus just 17 percent for Rep. Pallone, 15 percent for Rep. Holt, and only 5 percent for Speaker Oliver. With less than a week to go, it’s hard to conceive of any scenario that does not result in a Booker victory.

Forecasting toward the special general to be held Oct. 16, the Democrat vs. Republican results are similar. With former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan enjoying a commanding lead in the special Republican primary, a projected Booker-Lonegan pairing appears to be no contest. According to the Q-Poll, Booker would lead such a campaign 54-29 percent.

Though this primary battle has lacked serious competition, there are still some interesting points to be made. First, as it relates to the Q-Poll, there does appear to be some potential irregularities in the polling sample. With 2,042 people being interviewed, it’s hard to see how only 388 and 267 of them identify themselves as either Democratic or Republican primary voters, respectively. One would expect at least the Democratic number to be much  Continue reading >

Three States, Three Potentially Challenging Races for Incumbents

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham

South Carolina

The long-expected Republican primary challenge to Sen. Lindsey Graham is now coming to fruition. A candidate emerged yesterday who has an interesting background. It remains to be seen if she has the political wherewithal to compete with the veteran senator, however.

Nancy Mace is the first female graduate of The Citadel. Born into a military family, her father is a retired Army general. She announced her challenge to the senator late this week, joining Greenville area businessman and former 3rd District congressional candidate Richard Cash in the nomination race. State Sen. Lee Bright, coming from the Ron and Rand Paul wing of the Republican Party, says he will soon follow suit.

Can any of the three beat Lindsey Graham? While it’s clearly a long shot, the senator does have some obvious vulnerabilities. First and foremost, as any casual political observer understands, Graham is to the left of the South Carolina Republican electorate and has taken some unpopular stands in the state, such as his leadership efforts in the area of immigration reform.

Secondly, though a crowded field usually helps an embattled incumbent, South Carolina does have a run-off law, meaning it could become harder to capture a majority in a split vote primary situation. If someone is strong enough to deny the senator an outright primary victory, the scenario would then be drawn to upset him in the secondary election.

Third, while none of his opponents has significant name ID, they are all substantial individuals, and if one or more can prove they possess fundraising ability, outside conservative groups are ready to come to their aid if Graham begins to falter.
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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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