Category Archives: Election Analysis

Movement in NC; Oklahoma Senate Races Headed Toward GOP, But Republican Gov. Stitt Trailing; Grassley Trouble in the Polls Deepens

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022

Senate

Former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (left) and Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Finally, Some Movement — The open North Carolina Senate race has been languishing as a dead heat — a virtual tie between US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) for months. On Monday, East Carolina University released a survey (Oct. 10-13; 902 likely North Carolina voters; text & online) that finds Rep. Budd pulling away to a 50-44 percent advantage.

According to the poll analysis, the change is coming from the female sector. In the university’s September poll, Beasley led among women with a substantial 52-41 percent margin. The current respondent sample sees her lead among the female respondents dropping to 48-46 percent. Among men, Budd leads 54-39 percent.

Oklahoma: Both Senate Races Headed Toward GOP — While two polls find the Democratic candidate trending ahead in the Oklahoma gubernatorial race, the same polls, Amber Integrated study (Oct. 13-15; 500 likely Oklahoma general election voters) and Ascend Action, polling for Fox News Oklahoma TV stations (Oct. 10-12; 638 likely Oklahoma general election voters; live interview), projects the Republican candidates in both the regular and special US Senate elections to be in strong position.

Amber Integrated’s regular election poll shows Sen. James Lankford (R) holding a 52-36 percent margin over Democrat Madison Horn. In the special, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) leads former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D) by a similar 52-39 percent count. Ascend Action sees Sen. Lankford leading 51-37 percent, and Rep. Mullin posting a 50-39 percent spread.

House

GA-2: Rep. Bishop Up Only Four — A recent Trafalgar Group survey of the southwest Georgia electorate (Oct. 14-16; 515 likely GA-2 Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) holding only a 50-46 percent advantage over GOP attorney Chris West, suggesting yet another close congressional race.

This one, unlike several others we’ve covered in the past two weeks, is not a particular surprise. Post-redistricting, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated the new GA-2 seat as a D+4. Therefore, the Trafalgar poll is indicating the district is performing exactly as the voting history yields. Before the 2021 redistricting map was passed, the district was rated D+6. While Rep. Bishop remains the favorite for re-election, this is another pending Nov. 8 electoral contest that merits watching.

Governor

Oklahoma: Gov. Stitt Trailing in Two Surveys — We are now continuing to see data suggesting that Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is in serious trouble against Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D). Two surveys find Hofmeister claiming a polling lead against the governor. The Amber Integrated research study (Oct. 13-15; 500 likely Oklahoma general election voters) gives Hofmeister a slight 46-45 percent edge.

Ascend Action, polling for Fox News Oklahoma TV stations (Oct. 10-12; 638 likely Oklahoma general election voters; live interview), sees a much larger Hofmeister lead. The latter poll projects a ballot test of 49-42 percent. Last week, the small-sample Sooner Poll (Oct. 3-6; 301 likely Oklahoma voters) was the first to detect a Hofmeister lead. The news organization found a 47-43 percent spread. A Democratic upset here would be surprising, but the data is suggesting that such an outcome is a clear possibility.

Iowa: Selzer & Company’s Different Result — Yesterday, we reported on a Selzer & Company poll for the Des Moines Register newspaper that sounded warning bells for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R). According to the Senate ballot test, the veteran incumbent led retired US Navy Admiral Mike Franken (D) by a scant 46-43 percent margin.

Now, Selzer is releasing its gubernatorial results culled from the same data (Oct. 9-12; 620 likely Iowa general election voters), and it should give the Grassley campaign even more cause for concern. The polling sample gives Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) a 52-35 percent margin against Democratic marketing consultant Diedre DeJear, a strong margin for a Republican candidate in what is typically a swing state.

Iowa Race Tightens; Blumenthal Lead Drops; DCCC Chairman Trails in Race; Conflicting Gov. Whitmer Results; Rep. Zeldin Closing on NY Gov. Hochul

By Jim Ellis — Oct. 18 2022

Senate

Iowa’s seven-term US Sen. Chuck Grassley (R)

Iowa: Race Tightens — The Des Moines Register Poll that Selzer & Company conducts (Oct. 9-12; 620 likely Iowa general election voters) has routinely been viewed as the most consistently accurate survey of the Iowa electorate. Therefore, the numbers just released over the weekend posting Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) to only a three-point, 46-43 percent, lead over retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken (D) is being taken seriously. Perhaps the most troubling sign for Sen. Grassley is that Franken leads 46-35 percent among self-described independent respondents.

The Iowa electorate can swing wildly, but in the most recent elections it has been going the Republicans’ way. Since most of the comparable data found Sen. Grassley holding low double-digit leads, the Selzer poll is a surprise. More attention will be paid to this race if confirming data soon surfaces.

Connecticut: Blumenthal Lead Drops to Five Points — A just-released Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey (Oct. 10-13; 1,200 likely Connecticut general election voters; live interview & text) finds Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) leading his Republican opponent, former Trump appointee Leora Levy (R), by only a 49-44 percent margin. Though this race has been on the edge of competitiveness for a considerable period, it is highly unlikely that the end result will yield a Republican upset. While Sen. Blumenthal’s victory margin might be less than in years past, he will still comfortably win re-election next month.

House

NY-17: DCCC Chairman Trails in Own Race — McLaughlin & Associates released a new internal study for the Mike Lawler for Congress campaign (Oct. 2-14; 400 likely NY-17 general election voters; live interview & text) that again shows the Republican state assemblyman leading veteran New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring).

This survey posts Lawler to a 52-46 percent advantage. McLaughlin polls from July and September also saw Lawler holding a significant lead. No Democratic poll was released to counter the numbers, but the Maloney campaign spokeswoman responded to the New York Post story about the survey release, saying that the Lawler polling figures are “skewed.”

Governor

Michigan: Major Polling Conflict — We see a pair of polls presenting opposite looks to the Michigan Governor’s race. The Epic-MRA organization, an entity that frequently surveys the Michigan electorate (Oct. 6-12; 600 likely Michigan general election voters; live interview) posts Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to an 11-point, 49-38 percent edge, including leaners, over online talk show personality Tudor Dixon (R). But, Insider Advantage (Oct. 12; 550 likely Michigan general election voters) sees a completely different result, placing Dixon and the governor into a flat 44-44 percent tie. Most other polling has produced similar numbers to Epic-MRA, so this is another situation that bears watching if confirming data to the Insider Advantage results soon surface.

New York: Four Polls Showing Increased Competition — Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has been running consistently ahead of US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island), but now we see four consecutive polls finding the Republican deficit falling between two and eight percentage points.

In chronological order, Schoen Cooperman Research (Oct. 8-12; 824 likely New York general election voters) sees only a 50-44 percent split between Gov. Hochul, who ascended to her position when Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned, and Congressman Zeldin. Marist College (Oct. 3-6; 900 likely voters) posts a similar 52-44 percent split. The Trafalgar Group (Sept. 30-Oct. 3; 1,087 likely voters) sees the closest spread, 45-43 percent. Finally, McLaughlin & Associates (Sept. 21-25; 800 likely voters) recorded a 51-45 percent result in late September.

This is another race on the edge of competitiveness that will likely soon draw more attention. Early voting in New York does not begin until Oct. 29, so more time exists for this potentially fluid electorate to gel.

Sen. Kennedy Poised for Win in Louisiana; Close as Ever in Georgia Senate Race; Sen. Lee struggling in Utah; Kemp Maintains Advantage

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 17, 2022

Senate

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy (R)

Louisiana: Sen. Kennedy Poised for Outright Win — Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy (R) is on the ballot for a second term and a just released Public Policy Polling survey (Oct. 10-11; 633 likely Louisiana general election voters; interactive voice response system & text) projects that his outright win is probable. Sen. Kennedy leads retired Navy officer Luke Mixon (D) and community organizer Gary Chambers (D), 53-16-8 percent.

Even after the PPP surveyors posed negative questions about Sen. Kennedy in an effort to push respondents away from him, the ballot test did not change. On election night, expect Sen. Kennedy to be re-elected in Louisiana’s jungle primary system with a majority vote and thus avoiding a secondary Dec. 10 runoff election.

Georgia: As Close as Ever — Despite the serious attacks that Republican Herschel Walker has absorbed over the past 10 days, a series of three polls, including one from a Democratic source, finds little change in the senatorial campaign battle that pits the former football star against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock.

All three of the polls were conducted over the Oct. 8-11 period, with sample sizes ranging from 717 to 1,084, using multiple sampling techniques. Moore Information actually sees Walker leading the race, 46-44 percent. The Trafalgar Group posts a similar 46-45 percent cut, but with Sen. Warnock on top. Civiqs, polling for the Daily Kos Elections website, gives Warnock his best showing, but even that is a tepid, 49-46 percent.

Utah: McMullin Tops Sen. Lee in Poll — The Hill Research Consultants, polling for the Put Utah First Super PAC (Oct. 5-11; 500 likely Utah general election voters; live interview & online) has found Independent Evan McMullin posting his first significant lead over Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R). The ballot test reveals a 46-42 percent McMullin edge over the two-term incumbent. Sen. Lee’s favorability index has gone south, and now reaches a 42:52 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio. The failure of Utah’s junior senator, Mitt Romney (R), to endorse Sen. Lee has also attracted a large amount of attention. This is another race to watch as the election cycle continues to wind down.

Governor

Georgia: Two More Surveys Find Gov. Kemp with the Advantage — Two of the three pollsters that surveyed the Georgia Senate race (see above) also released numbers for the Peach State governor’s campaign. Both the Trafalgar Group and Civiqs, polling for the Daily Kos Elections website, find that Gov. Brian Kemp has a lead beyond the polling margin of error over 2018 gubernatorial nominee and former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D). Trafalgar sees the governor holding a nine-point advantage over Abrams, 53-44 percent. Civiqs projects a closer contest, posting the Governor to a 51-46 percent edge.

In 2022, a total of 40 polls have been publicly released of the Georgia Governor’s campaign, and Kemp has the lead in 39 of these surveys.

Trump Attacks McConnell Over Campaign Spending in Alaska; Walker Remains Above Attacks in GA; Polls in Nevada Show Some Flip-Flopping

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Oct. 14, 2022

Senate

Alaska republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka

Alaska: Trump Attacks McConnell Over Campaign Spending — The media is covering comments former President Donald Trump is making over the Senate Leadership Fund’s campaign spending as it relates to the Alaska race featuring Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) and the ex-president’s endorsed candidate, Kelly Tshibaka (R). The SLF, an organization that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) former staff members and political allies control, is committing $9 million in media money to support Sen. Murkowski.

Trump attacks the group, and Sen. McConnell by name, for spending this money against another Republican instead of in places where GOP candidates are opposing strong Democratic incumbents such as Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada. Many agree with Trump’s assessment since, particularly in Arizona, more money is needed to counter Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D) huge financial edge.

Because of Alaska’s new electoral system, it is clear that the general election is coming down to a battle between the two Republicans, hence not endangering the Senate’s party division count.

Georgia: Attacks Not Destroying Walker — Republican Herschel Walker has been under intense attack recently in his Senate battle against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), but several new polls, so far, suggest that the attacks about his personal life have not yet devastated his campaign.

A series of six polls were released in the past few days, and only one, from Survey USA, shows Sen. Warnock holding a substantial lead. Four of the six find the margin between the two candidates falling within a 1-3 percentage point margin. A total of four surveys, from The Trafalgar Group, Quinnipiac University, Emerson College, and Insider Advantage, conducted their studies between the Oct. 4-11 period. The other two, from the aforementioned Survey USA and the University of Georgia, polled between Sept. 25 through Oct. 4. The sample sizes range from 550 to 1,157 likely voters. S-USA is most out of line, showing Warnock up 50-38 percent. Quinnipiac sees the second largest Warnock edge, 52-45 percent.

The group of polls allows observers to arrive at two conclusions. First, Sen. Warnock leads the race. Second, Walker is still very competitive and remains within striking distance.

Nevada: Sen. Cortez Masto Rebounds in New Poll — After trailing in seven consecutive polls among likely voters, a new Suffolk University survey (Oct. 4-7; 500 likely Nevada voters; live interview) finds Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) pulling back in front of former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 46-44 percent.

Clearly, the cumulative result from these many polls is that both candidates are alive heading into voter decision making time. The bad sign for Sen. Cortez Masto is that she has failed to reach 50 percent support in the last dozen consecutive polls, dating all the way back to July. Such is a troubling indication for any incumbent.

Governor

Georgia: Conflicting Polls — From the myriad of Georgia Senate polling (see Georgia Senate above), two of the survey research entities released numbers for the Peach State governor’s race. Quinnipiac University (Oct. 7-10; 1,157 likely Georgia general election voters; live interview) plots Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) lead over former state House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams (D) at just 50-49 percent. The University of Georgia (Sept. 25-Oct. 4; 1,030 likely Georgia general election voters; live interview), however, sees a much wider Kemp advantage, 51-41 percent.

Nevada: Sheriff’s Edge — The aforementioned Suffolk University survey (see Nevada Senate above) that found Sen. Cortez Masto (D) reclaiming a small lead over her Republican opponent instead finds Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) holding a slight 44-43 percent edge over Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). Just as in the Senate race where either candidate can win, such is also the case in the Silver State’s governor’s contest.

Conflicting Polls in AZ; Rare Polling in OK; A Polling Conflict in WA;
Noem Struggling in SD?

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022

Senate

Venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) | Sen. Mark Kelly (D)

Conflicting Polls — We have two examples of pollsters surveying the same race within the equivalent time realm and reporting wholly conflicting results. In Arizona, the Big Data Poll (polling for the CD Media site; Oct. 2-5; 970 likely Arizona general election voters; text & oversampling) sees a virtual dead heat, 46-45 percent, result between Sen. Mark Kelly (D) and challenger Blake Masters (R). Conversely, OH Predictive Insights (Oct. 4-6; 674 likely Arizona general election voters) finds a 46-33 percent split in the senator’s favor with Libertarian Marc Victor posting 15 percent. The OH data is certainly outside the overall polling pattern, and no other entity has found the Libertarian candidate drawing such a high preference number.

Oklahoma: Rare Senate Polls — The Sooner Poll that was released earlier in the week and gave Democrat Hoy Hofmeister a surprising 47-43 percent lead over Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) on Tuesday publicized numbers in both US Senate races — both the regular election featuring Sen. James Lankford (R) and the special election to replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R). The poll is flawed in that only 301 respondents comprise the entire statewide sample, but the Senate results appear reasonable, nonetheless.

In the regular election, Sen. Lankford holds a 52-40 percent lead over high tech businessman Madison Horn (D) and US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) tops former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D), 51-42 percent. Both Sen. Lankford and Rep. Mullin are heavy favorites to win in November.

We also see conflict in the Washington Senate race. The Senate Opportunity Fund (Oct. 4; 600 likely Washington general election voters; mechanized) released their survey that gives Sen. Patty Murray (D) only a 46-42 percent edge over Republican Tiffany Smiley. Emerson College (Sept. 21-Oct. 1; 782 likely Washington general election voters; multiple sampling techniques), over a slightly earlier time frame, posted the senator to a 51-40 percent lead. The latter Emerson poll is closer to this race’s polling average.

House

RI-2: Republican Fung Leads in Fourth Poll — Though the Ocean State’s western congressional district is heavily Democratic – D+17 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization – the fourth consecutive survey, this one coming from Suffolk University for the Boston Globe (Oct. 1-4; 422 likely RI-2 general election voters; live interview), confirms that Republican Allan Fung holds the lead over Democratic state Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The Suffolk results post Fung, the former mayor of Cranston and a two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee, to an eight point, 45-37 percent, lead, well beyond the polling margin of error.

Just four polls, from May to the present, have been released of the race, but Fung has led in all with margins between six and 15 percentage points. Despite the Democratic voting history here, Fung looks to be positioning himself to score a major political upset.

Governor

South Dakota: Gov. Noem’s Small Lead — South Dakota State University is releasing a series of political polls, but there is scant information accompanying the ballot test numbers. University polls can often be suspect, and this one without survey dates or sample sizes may fall into such a category. The ballot test finds Gov. Kristi Noem (R) leading state House Minority Leader Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls) by only a 46-42 percent count.

The same unidentified sample, however, also posts Sen. John Thune (R) to a 53-28 percent advantage over Democratic attorney Brian Bengs, which sounds like a reasonable result and provides the gubernatorial ballot test more credibility. Therefore, the South Dakota governor’s race may be another worth watching as we enter the campaigns’ closing weeks. In 2018, Noem, then the state’s at-large congresswoman, scored a 51-48 percent win over then-state Sen. Billie Sutton (D).