Category Archives: Governor

Youngkin Wins in Virginia;
New Jersey’s Races are Teetering;
Ohio Congressional Races & More

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 3, 2021 — Republican Glenn Youngkin claimed the Virginia governor’s race with his victory over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), becoming the first Republican to win a Virginia statewide office since the 2009 election.

In New Jersey, Republican Jack Ciattarelli is fighting Gov. Phil Murphy (D) to a virtual tie, but outstanding ballots suggest the Democratic governor may barely hang on to win a second term. It was a surprisingly strong showing for Ciattarelli in such a heavily Democratic state. Though both houses of the New Jersey legislature will remain under Democratic control, Republicans appear to have added seats in both chambers.

While mail votes are still being tallied and other ballots can be received in Virginia until Friday, it appears Youngkin did exceed the 50 percent plateau with McAuliffe about two percentage points behind. The Youngkin victory helped pull his lieutenant governor Republican partner, Winsome Sears, over the top to claim the state’s second position.

The Virginia attorney general’s race features another Republican, state Delegate Jason Miyares, leading incumbent Mark Herring (D), who is running for a third term. This is the closest of the three races, so uncounted mail ballots and votes to be received after election day could make a difference. Some entities have projected Miyares a winner, and he is certainly in the better position, but the final outcome may not yet be conclusive.

Several other races are still close, but Republicans may have converted the six seats they need to re-claim the state House majority. In any event, the party gained seats.

Turnout was higher than expected in Virginia. More that 3.2 million ballots have been tabulated, meaning that more than 73 percent of the number of people who voted in the record setting 2020 election returned to cast their votes in the 2021 governor’s race. When comparing the 2017 gubernatorial election to the 2016 presidential, the return rate was 66 percent.

OHIO

In the US House, two new Ohio members-elect completed their special election victories with ease. In the vacant Cleveland-Akron seat that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge (D) represented, Democratic Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown, as expected, easily won the congressional special general election with 79 percent of of the vote.

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Today’s Election Scorecard

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 2, 2021 — Today is a significant Election Day, and the menu of races stretches beyond a Virginia governor’s race that has attracted the lion’s share of political attention.

While the VA governor’s race will of course be top of mind as results come in tonight and analysts attempt to assign precursor status to the contest regardless of the final result, other campaigns will also be of significance.

In the Virginia race, if Republican Glenn Youngkin scores an upset win, and the late indications are clearly moving his way, it may be cast as an affront to the Biden Administration and the Democratic majorities in Congress relating to their legislative agenda. In actuality, it is a more locally based issue, education, that should correctly be cast as the linchpin to describe a Youngkin victory.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) debate comment saying he did not believe “parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” will actually prove to be the key turning point to a Youngkin victory should it materialize. In McAuliffe wins, then the talk of a coming Republican wave election next year will certainly dissipate at least in the short term.

In addition to the Virginia governor’s race, the remainder of the statewide ticket, the lieutenant governor and attorney general races could be of significance. If Winsome Sears (R), running for lieutenant governor, and Jason Miyares (R), running for attorney general, both win their races to compliment a Youngkin victory, then talk of a clear precursor or budding Republican wave election will carry a more serious tone.

New Jersey voters will decide their governor’s contest as well. In Jersey, late polling, after seeing some closer numbers not even 10 days ago, seems to show Gov. Phil Murphy (D) pulling away from Republican Jack Ciattarelli in the closing week. The final result will likely be closer than most analysts would have projected at the beginning of the odd-numbered year election cycle, however.

In both Virginia and New Jersey, voters will also be electing members of the state legislature. In the Old Dominion, only the House of Delegates is on the ballot, as state senators, with their four year terms, won’t face the voters as a unit until the 2023 election cycle.

In the Garden State, both parties are projecting they will gain seats, but no one believes the strong Democratic majorities in the state Senate and Assembly are in any danger. In the Virginia House of Delegates, Republicans need to convert a net six seats to re-claim the majority they lost in the 2019 election.

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Youngkin Catapults to Lead In Virginia Gubernatorial Race

Glenn Youngkin, Virginia Republican governor candidate

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 1, 2021 — A surprising polling turn of events came to light late last week as Fox News released a new Virginia survey that shows Republican Glenn Youngkin (R) holding an eight-point lead in the race for governor, his largest of any poll throughout the campaign. The surprise comes in a result that reverses last week’s Fox poll that found former Gov. Terry McAuliffe holding a five-point advantage.

The Fox News poll (Oct. 24-27; 1,212 registered Virginia voters; 1,015 individuals identified as likely VA gubernatorial election voters, live interview) finds Youngkin claiming a 53-45 percent advantage within the likely voter segment. When looking at the entire registered voter sample, however, the Youngkin edge shrinks to 48-47 percent.

The previous Fox poll (Oct. 10-13; 1,004 registered Virginia voters; 726 individuals identified as likely VA gubernatorial election voters, live interview) gave McAuliffe a 51-46 percent margin. Within the entire sample, the McAuliffe advantage leapt to a double-digit eleven point lead at 52-41 percent.

Though Fox News has a well-known right-of-center orientation, their polling operation does not. The Fox Polls are conducted jointly through a Democratic survey research firm and a Republican polling organization. Beacon Research is the Democratic firm, formerly known as Anderson Robbins Research, while the Republican entity is Shaw & Company Research. The two have been collaborating on the Fox polls for 10 years, since 2011.

According to the FiveThirtyEight research organization that ranks polling firms, Fox News is scored with an A rating, but has a Democratic bias factor of 1.8 percentage points. Therefore, despite Fox News’ reputation, their polling arm has trended more Democratic over the joint partnership’s long history.

That being said, this particular poll appears to have a Republican skew. Looking at the likely voters, 46 percent identified themselves as solid or leaning Republican, while 42 percent responded Democratic. This ratio is contrary to recent Virginia voter history.

The Commonwealth does not register voters by political party, so people can float between the two major political organizations. The move toward the Republicans in this poll could be the centrist, or independent voter, moving to the right for this particular election. Regardless, it is probable that Youngkin’s eight-point margin among likely voters is at least somewhat inflated.

A further problem for McAuliffe is his standing among committed voters. In both the current survey and the previous Fox study that found him leading by five points, his committed support remained constant at 44 percent. Seeing no movement on this question suggests that McAuliffe is lacking momentum in the closing days.

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NJ Governor’s Race In Upset Range

Click on above image from TV ad to go to New Jersey gubernatorial Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli’s ad about state taxes and opponent incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 26, 2021 — The most recent Emerson College poll for the New Jersey governor’s race (Oct. 15-18; 600 likely New Jersey voters; combination live interview, text, and interactive voice response system) suggests that Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli, a former state assemblyman and ex-county official, has an outside chance of scoring an upset victory over Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in next week’s statewide election.

While the odds still favor a Murphy win, the new survey certainly shows areas of weakness for the Democratic incumbent and a path to victory for the Republican challenger. According to Emerson, Gov. Murphy leads 50-44 percent, and when leaners are added to the mix, the margin tightens to an even closer 52-48 percent.

Among those who classify themselves as “very likely” voters, the Murphy lead shrinks well within the polling margin of error at 48-45 percent. The biggest Ciattarelli positive sectors are among undecided voters, who are breaking his way on a 59-41 percent clip, the Independent segment, 56-32 percent, men, 50-41 percent, and those in the 50-64 age range, 49-46 percent.

Gov. Murphy obviously can highlight positive sectors of his own. The most favorable sign pointing to a Murphy victory next Tuesday is among the people who say they have already voted. Of those, 76 percent indicated they supported Gov. Murphy as opposed to just 24 percent who cast their ballot for Ciattarelli.

The Emerson poll finds the governor leading among women, 57-40 percent, those aged 18-29, at 58-42 percent, the 30-49 aged sector, 47-41 percent, and the oldest and most reliable voting segment, the people aged 65 and older, 53-42 percent.

Neither candidate has a particular advantage on the favorability index. Gov. Murphy records a 49:47 percent favorable to unfavorable rating, while Ciattarelli posts an even 40:40 percent ratio.

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Contrasting Poll Stories

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 21, 2021 — A pair of Schoen Cooperman Research surveys of the New Jersey and Virginia governors’ races are telling somewhat conflicting internal stories.

First, the Schoen New Jersey poll (Oct. 9-12; 500 certain and likely New Jersey gubernatorial election voters) finds incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) leading challenger Jack Ciattarelli (R), a former state assemblyman and business owner, 50-41 percent. Moving through the poll, however, we see the “always vote in gubernatorial elections” cell segment tell a different story.

Among the “absolutely certain” 2021 voters, the race tightens to a 48-46 percent Murphy lead, and among those who say they “always” vote in gubernatorial elections, the Murphy position slightly improves to 49-45 percent.

Schoen also simultaneously conducted a similar poll of the Virginia governor’s race (Oct. 9-12; 500 certain and likely New Jersey gubernatorial election voters), and the segmented results offer an even more stark contrast when compared with the overall sample.

On the ballot test, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) leads ex-hedge fund CEO Glenn Youngkin (R) by a 47-43 percent count, numbers and a spread we have seen consistently throughout the Old Dominion polling cycle.

Among the “absolutely certain” voters, however, the two are tied at 47 percent, and within the “always vote in gubernatorial elections” segment, Youngkin actually takes a 49-45 percent lead.

This pattern of the most likely voters performing better for the Republican candidates than the sample as a whole is not particularly unusual for what we have previously seen in these two governors’ races, and especially so for Virginia.

In the Commonwealth, Democratic primary turnout was 34,000 people less in 2021 than in the 2017 initial election, a trend contrary to what we’ve seen throughout the nation in the most recent elections. Furthermore, other polls have suggested that the Republican enthusiasm factor for this upcoming vote is definitively greater than among Democratic voters.

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