Category Archives: Governor

Sen. Kelly Expands Lead in Arizona; Tied Again in North Carolina; Whitmer Holds Lead in Wisconsin

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


By Jim Ellis — August 22, 2022

Senate

Arizona: Sen. Kelly Expands Lead — Fox News, as part of their recent polling series, tested the Grand Canyon State electorate (Aug. 8-12; 1,012 registered Arizona voters; live interview) and found Sen. Mark Kelly (D) topping new Republican nominee and venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) with a 50-42 percent advantage. This is one of the first general election polls released since the state’s Aug. 2 statewide primary.

North Carolina: Candidates Again Tied — The Cygnal polling organization, surveying for the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation (Aug. 13-15; 615 likely North Carolina general election voters; live interview & text), projects that former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) and US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) are now tied at 42 percent apiece. Beasley had led in the last two polls, conducted during the last week of July and first week in August. Republicans, however, typically under-poll in North Carolina, a state that almost always features razor-thin elections.

Wisconsin: Nothing New — The latest Fox News poll (Aug. 8-12; 1,006 registered Wisconsin voters; live interview) finds Sen. Ron Johnson (R) trailing Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) by a 50-46 percent count, but this particular incumbent being behind in an election poll is standard operating procedure. According to the Real Clear Politics polling archive, 30 polls were conducted in the 2016 election, and Johnson trailed in 29 of the surveys that multiple pollsters conducted. In the end, Sen. Johnson defeated former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) by three percentage points.

Governor

Arizona: Lake Within Range — Fox News also tested the governor’s race in their new statewide Arizona poll (see Arizona Senate above). While the ballot test gives Sen. Mark Kelly (D) a rather large lead, the same respondent sample projects the governor’s contest as being much closer. The gubernatorial ballot test finds Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) leading former news anchor Kari Lake (R), 47-44 percent.

Michigan: Tudor Coming into Range — The Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) team again collaborated on a new statewide survey for AARP, this time in Michigan. The study (Aug. 8-14; 1,365 likely Michigan voters; live interview & text) finds Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) holding only a 51-46 percent edge over online talk show host Tudor Dixon (R) in the governor’s general election.

Neither Gov. Whitmer nor Dixon have a strong image. The governor’s personal favorability index is 50:48 percent positive to negative, while her job approval is 51:47 percent. Dixon falls into a slightly upside-down realm at 38:41 percent. A whopping 71 percent of respondents believe the US is on the wrong track while 55 percent also perceive the state of Michigan to be headed in the wrong direction.

Wisconsin: Already Close — The Fox News Wisconsin poll (see Wisconsin Senate above) also shows a tight race for governor. Gov. Tony Evers (D) holds a 49-46 percent edge, already within the polling margin of error, over new Republican gubernatorial nominee Tim Michels. It appears that both the Wisconsin governor and Senate race are becoming as hot as originally expected.

Conflicting Polls in Florida; Vance Rebounds in Ohio; Fetterman Bounces Back With Big Lead in PA

By Jim Ellis — August 19, 2022

Senate

Rubio | Demmings

Florida: Conflicting Polls — A pair of polls was recently released, and each shows a different leader. The University of North Florida released their survey (Aug. 8-12; 1,624 registered Florida voters; online) and surprisingly found Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) leading incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R) by a 48-44 percent clip, the first time any poll had shown a result such as this since early May. In six polls since that time, Sen. Rubio had led in four with two dead heat ties.

Simultaneously, the Center Street PAC surveyed the Florida electorate (Aug. 12-14; 610 likely Florida voters) and found a completely different result. This poll projects Sen. Rubio to a 52-41 percent likely voter advantage, and a smaller 46-39 percent edge among the larger pool of 996 Florida registered voters. These two polls, conducted within the same relative time frame, show the volatility in the current race, which is typical for Florida election polling. Republican votes are also usually slightly under-counted in Sunshine State polls, as well.

Ohio: Vance Rebounds to Lead — After seeing a series of six statewide polls that projected Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) to be holding a small lead over author J.D. Vance (R), the new Emerson College survey sees a GOP rebound. The Emerson poll (Aug. 15-16; 925 likely Ohio general election voters) finds Vance reversing the field to claim a three-point 45-42 percent edge.

The results are to be expected. Rep. Ryan developed a lead when spending $7 million-plus on early advertising with no counter from Vance or Republican outside groups. Now beginning to promote their message, we see a new survey reflecting Vance in a better position. Typically, the Ohio electorate polls close until the final weeks when one candidate pulls away, usually the Republican, and wins the race going away.

Pennsylvania: Fetterman Returns With Big Lead — Still recovering from a major stroke suffered right before the May 17 Pennsylvania primary, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman returned to the campaign trail late last week. This week, a new poll shows him expanding his lead over Dr. Mehmet Oz (R). Public Opinion Strategies released the results of their new August survey conducted for the Pittsburgh Works Together organization (Aug. 7-10; 600 registered Pennsylvania voters; live interview) that posts Fetterman to a 52-36 percent lead over Dr. Oz. This 16-point spread represents the largest polling margin of this campaign.

House

VA-7: Rep. Spanberger Holding Edge — RMG Research, conducting their series of polls around the country for US Term Limits (July 31-Aug. 6; 400 likely VA-7 voters) finds two-term Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) leading Prince William County Supervisor Vesli Vega (R) by a 46-41 percent margin, suggesting we will see a highly competitive campaign effort from both sides throughout the remaining part of the general election cycle. Though upside-down in job approval in the 7th CD, President Biden’s ratio is better than in most places, 48:51 percent positive to negative. The Biden factor should be less of a drain on Rep. Spanberger than it may prove on certain Democratic candidates in other places.

Governor

Pennsylvania: Shapiro Up, Too — The aforementioned Public Opinion Strategies survey (see Pennsylvania Senate above) also tested the open Pennsylvania governor’s race. The ballot test on this contest favors Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro over Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) by a strong 51-37 percent margin, slightly less than the Senate Democratic spread, but more than enough to secure a comfortable victory.

Primaries: Alaska Preview, Hawaii Wrapup; Oklahoma Special Election

By Jim Ellis — August 16, 2022

Primaries

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska — The long-awaited Alaska primary and special House election will be decided today, and the state’s unique top-four qualifying primary system will be put to its second test.

In the US Senate race, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is running for a fourth full term after being appointed to the seat in 2002 when her father, former Sen. Frank Murkowski (R), was elected governor.

The new top-four system virtually guarantees that the senator will advance into the general election, thus negating the potential of her again losing a partisan Republican primary as she did in 2010. In that year, she was able to win the general election after launching a write-in bid as an Independent.

This time, she faces another Republican challenger, one with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Kelly Tshibaka, the former Alaska Director of Administration and Trump-supported candidate, is also well positioned to advance into the general election and may well have been a serious threat to the Senator in a traditional Republican primary.

A total of 19 candidates are on the Senate ballot: eight Republicans, three Democrats, and eight minor party and independent candidates. Of the three Democrats, two — ex-Seward Mayor Edgar Blatchford and former state Senate nominee Pat Chesbro — have previously won campaigns. It is probable that one of these two will also qualify for the general election simply because one will likely attract enough Democratic votes to place either third or fourth.

As is usually the case, polling is sparse in Alaska and we see no late breaking data. This is likely due to the large number of candidates and that a total of four will advance, thus making the primary vote less significant. In the field of four general election candidates, the Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system will be used. Voters will assign a priority of 1-4 for the listed candidates. Should no one reach 50 percent, the last-place finisher is eliminated and the process continues until one candidate reaches majority support.

The RCV system is in effect today and will produce a winner among the three finalists in the US House special election campaign to succeed the late at-large Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon).

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

There are three finalists in this race because the original third place finisher, Independent Al Gross, the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee, dropped out of the race after qualifying. This left 2008 vice presidential nominee and ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Party of Alaska officially endorsed contender Nick Begich III, whose grandfather, the late Nick Begich, Sr. (D), was the congressman prior to Rep. Young, and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D).

It is likely that Peltola will finish first, consolidating the Democratic vote, but falling well short of majority support. Thus, the RCV system would then swing into action. The key position will be second, and all indications suggest that Palin and Begich are in a tight battle to avoid elimination. It is then probable that the surviving Republican will defeat Peltola in the second round.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is also on the ballot running for a second term. It is expected that Dunleavy, former Gov. Bill Walker (I), and ex-state Rep. Les Gara (D) will secure three of the four available general election ballot positions.

It will be an interesting night in Alaska, but results won’t likely be clear until well into Wednesday considering the significant time change and the counting delays often seen in the Last Frontier when tabulating votes from the remote rural areas.

Hawaii — Hawaii held its statewide primary Saturday, and the results produced no surprises.  In the defining Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, a physician, easily defeated former Aloha State first lady Vicky Cayetano and US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) in a landslide 64-21-14 percent, respectively.  Green now becomes the prohibitive favorite to defeat Republican nominee, former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, who scored a majority victory in the GOP primary.

In the open 2nd House District race, former state Sen. Jill Tokuda recorded a 59-25 percent victory over state Rep. Patrick Branco (D-Kailua) and four others.  She now becomes a lock to replace Rep. Kahele who risked his safe House seat for his long shot, and now proven unsuccessful, run for governor.  The Republican primary winner, with 83 percent of the vote, is 2020 GOP congressional nominee Joe Akana.  Two years ago, he lost to Kahele 58-28 percent in the general election, and is likely headed to a similar fate later this year.

Sen. Brian Schatz was an overwhelming winner in his Democratic primary, notching 94 percent of his party’s vote.  He will face state Rep. Bob McDermott (R-Ewa), who won the Republican primary with a 41 percent plurality over four opponents.

Rep. Ed Case (D-Kaneohe) also easily won renomination in his 1st District Democratic primary, with an 84-16 percent landslide over progressive left challenger Sergio Alcubilla.

Democratic turnout overwhelmed that of Republicans.  With ancillary counting remaining, a total of 218,523 individuals voted in the Democratic primary versus just 59,006 who chose the Republican contests.

Senate

Oklahoma Special: Conflicting Polls, Same Leader — The Oklahoma Republican runoff election to advance into the November special election to replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) will be decided on Aug. 23. We now see two recently released surveys, both projecting US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) leading former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon but by varying degrees.

The most recent, from Battleground Connect (July 31-Aug. 1; 800 likely Oklahoma Republican special runoff voters; live interview) sees Rep. Mullin leading Shannon, 46-38 percent. Both men are viewed favorably. Rep. Mullin sports a 62:23 percent favorable ratio, while Shannon scores 48:15 percent, though fewer respondents know him well enough to form an opinion.

The Sooner Poll conducted for News Channel 9 in Oklahoma City. The sampling period was longer and the sample size smaller than Battleground Connect’s (July 25-Aug. 1; 383 likely Oklahoma Republican special runoff voters; live interview) and it produced an overwhelming advantage for Rep. Mullin, 63-35 percent. The Republican runoff winner will be favored to defeat former US Rep. Kendra Horn, who is the official Democratic Party nominee, in the November special general election.

Beasley Up in North Carolina; CO-8 Shows Toss-Up Race; Dem Race Tightens in Florida

By Jim Ellis — August 12, 2022

Senate

Former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D)

North Carolina: Democrat Beasley Up in New Poll — Blueprint Polling released a new North Carolina US Senate poll (Aug. 4-6; 656 registered North Carolina voters; live interview) that projects former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) to be holding a 46-42 percent edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). A Republican being down in a North Carolina poll is nothing new, however. In 2020, GOP Sen. Thom Tillis found himself outside the lead in 26 of 28 October public polls but won the race by two percentage points.

House

CO-8: Toss-Up District Shows Toss-Up Race — Colorado received a new congressional district in national reapportionment, and the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission members drew the new seat, located just north of Denver, to be an even district from a partisan perspective. A new Global Strategy Group poll (July 26-Aug. 2; 500 likely CO-8 general election voters) suggests the district is performing as designed. The ballot test finds Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer leading state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D) by a tight 44-42 percent margin. This district is highly important to both parties in determining the next congressional majority.

NY-12: Potential Three-Way Race — Slingshot Strategies, polling for the Indian American Impact Fund (Aug. 2-5; 600 likely NY-12 Democratic primary voters) sees a tight ballot test forming between Democratic paired incumbents Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, but also a third candidate coming into range. Businessman Suraj Patel returns for a third Democratic primary challenge to Rep. Maloney, and the poll, the sponsors of which favor Patel, find the race breaking 29-27-20 percent in favor of Rep. Nadler. Maloney holds a close second place, with Patel showing enough momentum to possibly make a significant closing run.

The New York congressional primary is Aug. 23. The Democratic primary in this new Lower Manhattan/Brooklyn congressional district easily wins the seat in the general election.

Governor

Florida: Dem Race Tightens — State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a new Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 8-9; 664 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) that suggests the primary race scheduled for Aug. 23 is becoming much closer.

The PPP data finds Rep. Charlie Crist’s (D-St. Petersburg) once substantial lead over Fried now falling to just 42-35 percent suggesting that the latter candidate may have enough closing momentum to cast doubt over the eventual outcome especially with 23 percent saying they are still undecided. The eventual Democratic nominee begins a shortened general election cycle in the underdog position opposite GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Tied Poll for Florida Senate Race? Ryan Leads in Ohio; Hererra Beutler Behind in WA-3

By Jim Ellis — August 11, 2022

Senate

Florida: Demings Touting Tied Poll — Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) is brandishing a new poll that finds she and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) tied at 45 percent apiece. This is only the second poll of the 10 released this year that does not project the senator as the race leader. The Clarity Campaigns survey (July 26-31) conducted an online survey of 2,244 registered voters from a pre-selected panel. Since 2016, pollsters have typically underestimated Republican strength in Florida, so it is reasonable to add a couple of percentage points for the Republican candidate in a typical Sunshine State poll.

Ohio: Heavy Campaign Spending Keeps Rep. Ryan in Lead — Riding a major campaign spending wave, thus taking advantage of his abundant campaign war chest, US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) again sees a developing lead in his race against Republican nominee and author J.D. Vance. The just released Impact Research survey (July 21-28; 800 likely Ohio general election voters) projects Ryan as holding a 48-45 percent edge in the race for the open Ohio Senate seat. Last month, the same firm also found Ryan holding an almost identical lead at 48-45 percent.

The Ryan campaign has spent over $6.5 million on the airwaves since the end of May according to the Politico news publication, with virtually no counter media push from the Vance forces. Though Rep. Ryan has had the field virtually to himself in the early going, he still does not expand beyond the polling margin of error. When Vance does counter, we are likely to see a Republican rebound here.

House

Trump-endorsed former retired Army officer Joe Kent (R)

WA-3: Rep. Hererra Beutler Now Behind — New results from the laborious Washington ballot counting process have put Trump-endorsed former retired Army officer Joe Kent (R) ahead of six-term incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground/ Vancouver) by 960 votes with still several thousand ballots left to count. Officials report that it may be as long as Aug. 16 before the totals are finalized.

Since the bulk of the outstanding ballots are from Thurston County, an entity where Kent placed first, some analysts are declaring that Rep. Herrera Beutler will not be able to rebound. At this point, Democrat Marie Glusenkamp Perez places first and will advance to the general election presumably to face Kent.

If this trend holds and Herrera Beutler is defeated, it will mean that 11 House incumbents will have already lost their seats in the 2022 election cycle, and 68 seats will be open in the general election. Republican prospects to hold the 3rd District are strong despite the incumbent losing and a Democrat placing first in the jungle primary, however. A total of 64.8 percent of the more than 208,000 primary voters at this point voted for a Republican candidate.

Governor

Oklahoma Poll: Governor’s Race Closer Than Expected — The Democratic online polling firm Change Research released their latest Oklahoma Governor’s survey (July 22-26; 2,079 likely Oklahoma general election voters; online) and sees Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) in a tighter battle than expected against Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D). The ballot test projects the governor to be holding only a 42-34 percent advantage.

The main reason for Stitt’s downturn apparently relates to his falling job approval rating. According to the Change numbers, the governor’s favorability index has slid to 42:56 percent favorable to unfavorable. It is probable, however, that the governor will be able to rebound and score a convincing win in November. It is difficult to predict a deep red state like Oklahoma going Democratic in what appears to be at least a relatively strong Republican election year.