Category Archives: Election Analysis

Senate Candidate Gibbons Confirmed to be in Top Tier of Ohio Race

By Jim Ellis

Ohio US Senate candidate Mike Gibbons forges into a small lead.

Feb. 15, 2022 — At the end of January, a Cygnal research poll found investment banker and 2018 Ohio US Senate candidate Mike Gibbons forging into a small lead over perennial GOP primary leader Josh Mandel, the state’s former treasurer and 2012 US Senate nominee. Two new polls now confirm Gibbons’ outright lead in the battle to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

The previously released internal Gibbons’ campaign Cygnal January poll (Jan. 28-30; 929 likely Ohio Republican primary voters, SMS text & email) gave their candidate a 16-13 percent lead over Mandel, with author J.D. Vance showing in double-digits at 10 percent.

The new pair of statewide Buckeye State Republican US Senate primary surveys find the businessman again overtaking Mandel to claim first place. A co/efficent independent survey (Feb. 6-8; 613 likely Ohio Republican primary voters, text & automated interview responses) posts Gibbons to a 20-18 percent lead over Mandel, with state senator and Cleveland Guardians MLB club minority owner Mike Dolan, former state Republican Party chair Jane Timken, and Vance trailing with 7, 6 and 5 percent support, respectively.

The new Cyngal research firm’s internal poll for the Gibbons campaign (Feb. 8-10; 609 likely Ohio Republican primary voters, SMS text & email), however, gives their candidate a much larger margin over the rest of the field.

One possible reason for the increase in support is that another business candidate, car dealer Bernie Moreno, who had reached as high as 11 percent in a January poll, withdrew from the race in early February, reportedly at the behest of former President Donald Trump. It is conceivable that much of the Moreno support base went to Gibbons, since the two candidates were similar in several ways.

The most recent Cygnal numbers find Gibbons holding a surprisingly large 23 percent support figure, with Mandel, Vance, Timken, and Dolan trailing with 11, 9, 8 and 6 percent, respectively. The Gibbons’ media blitz, to an extent featuring Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) endorsing the investment banker’s candidacy, has clearly achieved its goal of propelling Gibbons into serious contention for the party nomination that will be decided in the open May 3 primary election.

Though the study’s analysis report doesn’t provide segmented numbers, the Cygnal pollsters claim the Gibbons lead is widespread within the key Republican voter groups. They report Gibbons leads by double digits among “self-identified Trump Republicans as well as Traditional Republicans.”

Gibbons also maintains similar leads with “self-identified Extremely Conservative, Very Conservative, and Somewhat Conservative voters, and over the nearest competitor among both men and women.” He also “holds strong advantages among Evangelical Protestants, Mainline Protestants, and Catholic voters.”

Gibbons’ effort is almost exclusively self-financed, to the tune of $11.4 million, all as a loan to the campaign. He has spent $5.8 million and had a cash-on-hand reserve of $6.4 million at the end of 2021. Therefore, even if his fundraising operation does not raise major money, Gibbons has enough to compete for the nomination.

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The Pew Religious Voter Study

By Jim Ellis

Poll shows President Joe Biden’s future outlook is far from positive.

Feb. 14, 2022 — The Pew Research Center released their nationwide poll late last week studying the perception of President Biden’s job approval one year after taking office among various religious segments and found a downturn in almost all groups’ perceptions when compared to their same beliefs at the beginning of the new administration.

The poll, conducted during the Jan. 10-17 period, questioned 5,128 US adults who agreed to be surveyed as part of Pew’s American Trends Panel that features a total universe of 17,472 individuals who are asked to participate in various surveys.

The survey sample, which “included oversamples of Asian, Black and Hispanic Americans in order to provide more precise estimates of the opinions and experiences of these smaller demographic subgroups,” also included atheist, agnostic, religiously unaffiliated, and those who identified themselves as “nothing in particular” in reference to religious classifications.

Therefore, the respondent sample represents a much broader matrix of religious viewpoints than those who belong to traditional Christian religions. The Jewish sector was not included in this study.

The Pew Researchers’ top point was charting how far President Biden’s image had fallen with African American Protestants. While 65 percent of Black Protestants still approve of the president’s job performance, Pew notes that his number has fallen from 92 percent after his first few days in office. The Black Protestant segment is, however, one of only three religious segments who believe Biden will be regarded as a successful president at the end of his term. The other two groups are Hispanic Catholics and atheists.

Even including these favorable sectors, the Biden future outlook is far from positive. While more Black Protestants believe he will be successful at this point than not, the aggregate sector percentage is still only 35, as compared to 14 percent who believe he will be unsuccessful. Almost half, at 49 percent, believe it is too early to tell, again a rather unacceptably high number from a group who Biden has heavily emphasized in his early Administration policy objectives.

Among Hispanic Catholics, his successful vs. unsuccessful ratio is 32:19 percent. The atheists rate him 32:30 percent successful vs. unsuccessful. A total of 48 percent of Hispanic Catholics and 38 percent of atheists believe it is too early to tell whether the Biden Administration will be regarded as successful in what Pew terms as “the long run.”

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The Redistricting Scorecard

By Jim Ellis

In the trifecta of political parties controlling the House, Senate and Executive branches in a state, how many will really benefit from that power in the redistricting process?

Feb. 11, 2022 — There has been quite a bit of redistricting news surfacing during the past few weeks, with many analysts now reversing their earlier predictions about which party is the clear beneficiary from the re-draw process.

Most said early that the Republicans would benefit the most from redistricting and that map drawing alone would be enough to allow the party to reclaim the House majority. We, on the other hand, were showing that the cut would more than likely be about equal even though the GOP has a major advantage in trifecta states, that is, those where one party controls all three legs of the legislative stool, meaning the state Senate, state House, and the governor’s office.

Though the Republicans control 25 states outright from a redistricting perspective compared to the Democrats’ 15, the number of states where each can draw maps to expand their party’s congressional delegation really comes down to seven where Republicans control and a commensurate four for the Democrats.

What balances the process this year is that Republicans appear to have have only one state where they can gain multiple seats — North Carolina — while Democrats can run the table, and have, in two big states, New York and Illinois.

Where both parties suffer in their trifecta states is the number of places where they already control the maximum number of seats, or redistricting power has been transferred to a commission. Either one party already has all the seats in a state like the Democrats do in Massachusetts and the Republicans have in Arkansas, for example, or the state has only one at-large member.

In one place, West Virginia, even though the Republicans have a legislative trifecta, they will drop a seat post election. Currently, the West Virginia delegation consists of three Republicans, but the state loses a seat in national reapportionment. Therefore, the GOP majority had no choice but to collapse one of their own districts.

Articles are now appearing that suggest it is the Democrats who could end the redistricting process with a net seat advantage rather than the Republicans. This, as it has been from the beginning, is true.

In looking at the states once all 50 have adopted new congressional lines, it projects today that the Republicans would add approximately 13 seats, while the Democrats, with multiple seat additions in Illinois and New York, would gain 11 new members. Seven states remain undecided because their level of political competition is predicted to be intense.

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Dissecting the New York Map

The recently enacted New York congressional map (go to FiveThirtyEight.com to see fully interactive map, or click on the map above.)

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 10, 2022 — The recently enacted New York congressional map is one of the most gerrymandered in the country and designed to reduce the Republican contingent to just four of 26 seats. While Republicans will no doubt challenge the map in court, some of the moves, however, will prove justifiable.

Since the Democrats control the redistricting process in only four states, national pressure came upon the party’s legislative leaders in New York, Illinois, New Mexico, and Oregon to draw the maximum partisan maps. They did so in each case, but when such a map is constructed, invariably some of the majority seats are weakened to the point of being competitive in wave election years for the opposite party. Such appears to be the case with the New York lines.

To begin, the map drawers were able to cut the Republican contingent in half by executing several fundamental strategic moves.

First, they reduced Democratic strength (even with the current map or weaker) in 15 of the current 19 party held districts but still made the seats untouchable. Second, the remaining four Republican districts saw an increase in GOP loyalty. Third, the Republicans were forced to absorb the seat the state lost in national reapportionment, and the Dems were able to take advantage of three GOP members not seeking re-election: Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley; running for governor), Tom Reed (R-Corning; retiring) and John Katko (R-Syracuse; retiring).

Using the FiveThirtyEight statistical organization’s rating of each new district, we can draw conclusions about party performance in each of the new 26 CDs.

The Democratic members receiving politically safe seats ranging from D+20 all the way to D+77 are mostly from New York City: Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens; D+54), Grace Meng (D-Queens; D+24), Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn; D+65), Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn; D+55), Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn; D+55), Jerrold Nadler (D-New York City; D+52), Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan; D+67), Adriano Espaillat (D-Bronx; D+77), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx; D+50), Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx; D+72), Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers; D+36), and Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo; D+20).

The four safe Republican seats are mostly in upstate New York, with one Long Island exception. Those seats are for Reps. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville; R+20), Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville; R+23), Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford; R+26), and Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park; R+25).

The collapsed seat is actually Rep. Tenney’s current 22nd District. It was justified combining the 22nd with Rep. Reed’s 23rd because those districts, located adjacent to one another, are the two lowest in population.

The current 22nd District was then combined with Rep. Katko’s current 24th to make the new open 22nd District, which resulted in a D+13 rating and a district again anchored in Syracuse. The voting trends in the new 22nd increase from the D+4 rating that the current 24th carries.

The new draw and Rep. Reed’s retirement allows Rep. Tenney to run in the new 23rd where she will likely have to win a competitive Republican primary, but would have a safe seat in the general election. The new 23rd, however, contains only 10 percent of her current constituency.

Rep. Jacobs’ current 27th District is then pushed northward from his Buffalo and Rochester outer suburbs district into a new safely Republican 24th CD that contains just under 60 percent of his current constituency. He, too, could face GOP primary opposition but will have a safe seat for the general election.

Democrats will have a strong chance of converting open District 1 on Long Island. This seat goes from a R+10 rating that Zeldin held to a D+6. Currently, with Suffolk County Legislators Bridget Fleming and Kara Hahn in the race, along with ex-Babylon Town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon who was the District 2 nominee in 2020, the Democrats have the stronger early contenders. The candidate filing deadline is not until April 7 for the June 28 primary, so the GOP has time to coalesce around a viable candidate of their own.

Rep. Tom Suozzi’s (D-Glen Cove) Long Island-anchored 3rd District increases to D+10 from D+6. He is running for governor and leaves behind a crowded Democratic primary field. The winner will face consensus Republican candidate George Santos (R) who performed surprisingly well as the 2020 nominee.

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Alabama Map Ruling Stayed; Redistricting Update

By Jim Ellis

Alabama redistricting map (Click on the map above or go to DavesRedistricting.org to see interactive map)

Feb. 9, 2022 — On a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court voted to stay the lower court ruling that invalidated the new Alabama congressional map. A Republican three-judge panel had ruled that a second majority minority district could have been drawn among the state’s seven congressional districts, and thus disqualified the plan on Jan. 23.

Writing a concurring opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated that the lower court decision was made too close to the 2022 election, meaning that the judicial process would not have proper time to hear the appeal and make an educated ruling prior to the state’s scheduled primary election. The ruling does not mean the appeal was granted, but merely postpones hearing the case to a later date.

Analysts say the stay ensures that the original map will be in place for this year’s election. It does not mean, however, that the map won’t be altered for the 2024 election and beyond.

The new plan is virtually an extension of the current map, which elected six Republicans and one Democrat in the 2020 election. It was a curious original decision, not only because the judges that ruled against the GOP map drawers were appointed by former President Donald Trump (2) and the late President Ronald Reagan (1), but that the same map footprint stood unencumbered for the past 10 years.

The major change made from the current map to the new draw came in the 7th CD, which is the Voting Rights district. The legislature, however, had no choice but to make a substantial change. AL-7 was 53,143 people short of reaching the state’s congressional district population quota of 717,754 individuals.

The previous ruling also postponed the Jan. 28 candidate filing deadline for the Alabama US House candidates. Those running for all other offices have now already filed and been qualified for the respective party primary ballots. The congressional candidates will now file on Feb. 11.

Redistricting Notes

• Summarizing the legal action in other states, the North Carolina map has been disqualified and the legislature will now return to redraw the congressional and state legislative maps. As has been the case throughout the previous decade, the partisan Republican legislature and the partisan Democratic state Supreme Court continue to go back and forth over the issue of partisan gerrymandering.

• The lower court ruling in Michigan rejected the Detroit area Democratic current and former state legislators’ claim that the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission members violated the Voting Rights Act in drawing the city of Detroit’s congressional and state legislative maps. Unless an appeal is granted, the new Michigan maps will stand for this year’s elections.

• The Kansas legislature adjourned without voting to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of the state’s congressional map. The hasty adjournment move, however, allows the legislature to reconsider the veto override. Without a successful override vote, the map will go to the courts for a redrawing of the Kansas City metro area.

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North Carolina Map Rejected

Rejected 2022 North Carolina Congressional Redistricting map (click on map above or here to go to an interactive map at DavesRedistricting.com)

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 8, 2022 — In what has almost been a decade-long game of gerrymander ping pong, the state Supreme Court on Friday rejected the new North Carolina congressional and state legislative maps, thus repeating their actions from the two previous times the panel’s majority disqualified a Republican legislature’s map.

The vote was 4-3, with all four Democrats voting in favor of declaring the map a partisan gerrymander, consistent with their past action, while the three Republicans voted to uphold the plans.

We are again looking at a relatively quick re-draw situation because the twice-postponed North Carolina primary is now scheduled for June 7. If an agreement cannot be reached, it is possible the candidate filing deadline and statewide primary are again postponed.

The high court’s move was expected, but this is a serious setback to Republicans from a national perspective since North Carolina appears to be the only state where the party can gain multiple seats through redistricting.

It is likely that the inter-party pairing of Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) and Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) will be re-drawn when a new congressional version is passed. The Greensboro area has been the major focal point of this and the previous maps, with the partisan Republican legislature and partisan Democratic court continuing to battle over a map that will eventually become the state’s 2022 political playing field.

As drawn, the legislature’s map — under North Carolina law and procedure, the governor, in this case Democrat Roy Cooper, has no veto power over redistricting — would have returned either 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats or possibly has high as 11 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Under the current draw, the Republican advantage is 8-5.

North Carolina gained one seat under national reapportionment, and the last iteration of the state Supreme Court map, ordered before the 2020 election, resulted in the Republicans losing two seats, one in Raleigh and the other in the Greensboro area.

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House Money: Year-End 2021

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 7, 2022 — The Federal Elections Commission finally posted the year-end 2021 campaign financial disclosure numbers, and the Daily Kos Elections site statistical team has already compiled the totals for both the House and Senate.

We concentrate on the House financial picture since all of the competitive Senate races will feature each party’s nominee having more than enough funding with which to communicate their message to the targeted voter segments.

Our first table illustrates the House leadership’s fundraising totals, as they are a key focal point of national funding for their candidates. With a close House partisan division, and a large number of competitive races slated for November, the political dollars will be flowing abundantly.

The text shows the member’s name (party identified by color: red = GOP; blue = DEM ), the amount (in thousands) raised in the 4th quarter of 2021, the cash-on-hand reported in the member’s campaign account on Dec. 31, 2021, and how much the income each campaign committee reports for the entire 2022 election cycle.

Leadership

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
McCARTHY, KEVIN CA-20 $3,758       $8,350       $14,890
PELOSI, NANCY CA-11 $2,844       $5,420       $15,941
SCALISE, STEVE LA-1 $2,652       $6,524       $12,888
STEFANIK, ELISE NY-21 $1,078       $3,140       $5,050
CLYBURN, JIM SC-6 $523       $2,452       $1,761
HOYER, STENY MD-5 $443       $1,164       $1,916

$1 Million in Qtr 4 – Non-Leadership Incumbents

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
SCHIFF, ADAM CA-30 $2,806       $16,766       $9,997
PORTER, KATIE CA-47 $2,515       $16,125       $10,231
CRENSHAW, DAN TX-2 $2,115       $4,516       $10,794
CHENEY, LIZ WY-AL $2,043       $4,715       $7,221
JORDAN, JIM OH-4 $1,448       $8,532       $6,891
OCASIO-CORTEZ, AL. NY-14 $1,422       $6,236       $9,879
KIM, YOUNG CA-40 $1,216       $2,564       $4,009
GREENE, MARJORIE T. GA-14 $1,185       $3,512       $8,690
JACKSON, RONNY TX-13 $1,126       $1,079       $2,450
KRISHNAMOORTHI, RAJA IL-8 $1,108       $11,551       $4,447
GOTTHEIMER, JOSH NJ-5 $1,041       $12,012       $3,950
SCHRIER, KIM WA-8 $1,002       $4,022       $3,026

$1 Million in Qtr 4 – Open Seats & Challengers

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
FLOWERS, MARCUS GA-14 $1,321       $1,544       $4,603
LUTTRELL, MARCUS TX-8 $1,186       $1,618       $1,923
HUNT, WESLEY TX-38 $1,004       $1,555       $2,029

Most Cash-on-Hand – $3 Million +

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
SCHIFF, ADAM CA-30 $2,806       $16,766       $9,997
PORTER, KATIE CA-47 $2,515       $16,125       $10,231
GOTTHEIMER, JOSH NJ-5 $1,041       $12,012       $3,950
JORDAN, JIM OH-4 $1,448       $8,532       $6,891
McCARTHY, KEVIN CA-20 $3,758       $8,350       $14,890
SCALISE, STEVE LA-1 $2,652       $6,524       $12,888
HARDER, JOSH CA-9 $867       $6,316       $3,660
OCASIO-CORTEZ, AL. NY-14 $1,422       $6,236       $9,879
DELGADO, ANTONIO NY-19 $708       $5,481       $3,219
DOGGETT, LLOYD TX-37 $166       $5,476       $582
PELOSI, NANCY CA-11 $2,844       $5,420       $15,941
SHERRILL, MIKIE NJ-11 $771       $5,078       $2,911
THANEDAR, SHRI MI-13 $5       $5,000       $5
CHENEY, LIZ WY-AL $2,043       $4,715       $7,221
HOULAHAN, CHRISSY PA-6 $464       $4,545       $2,005
CRENSHAW, DAN TX-2 $2,115       $4,516       $10,794
SLOTKIN, ELISSA MI-7 $957       $4,509       $3,894
KHANNA, RO CA-17 $310       $4,330       $3,556
FOSTER, BILL IL-11 $383       $4,264       $917
LaHOOD, DARIN IL-17 $550       $4,244       $2,080
SCHRIER, KIM WA-8 $1,002       $4,022       $3,026
SHERMAN, BRAD CA-32 $244       $3,956       $1,083
PALLONE, FRANK NJ-6 $362       $3,836       $1,296
BROWNLEY, JULIA CA-26 $223       $3,658       $930
SCHRADER, KURT OR-5 $427       $3,563       $1,408
GREENE, MARJORIE T. GA-14 $1,185       $3,512       $8,690
CONNOLLY, GERRY VA-11 $199       $3,497       $1,079
KILMER, DEREK WA-6 $258       $3,464       $1,147
KIM, ANDY NJ-3 $761       $3,300       $3,369
CHU, JUDY CA-28 $214       $3,177       $656
STEFANIK, ELISE NY-21 $1,078       $3,140       $5,050
JEFFRIES, HAKEEM NY-8 $787       $3,119       $3,046
SPANBERGER, ABIGAIL VA-7 $776       $3,036       $3,066