Category Archives: Governor

Boozman Looks to be in Strong Shape in Arkansas; Two Pollsters, Same Tight Result in Arizona; Minnesota Gov. Walz Has Comfortable Lead

By Jim Ellis — Sept. 21, 2022

Senate

Arkansas Sen. John Boozman (R)

Arkansas: Rare Data — It has been assumed that Sen. John Boozman (R) secured a third term in office when he won his contested Republican primary back in March. A Hendrix College/Talk Business Net survey, from the organizations that regularly sponsor Arkansas political polls, finds Boozman in predictably strong shape for the November election. The survey (Sept. 12; 835 likely Arkansas general election voters) gives the senator a 44-31 percent advantage over civil rights activist and realtor Natalie James (D).

Arizona: Two Pollsters, Same Tight Result — The Trafalgar Group’s new Arizona survey (Sept. 14-17; 1,080 likely Arizona general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D) previously large lead dwindling to 47-45 percent over Republican venture capitalist Blake Masters.

Earlier in September, Emerson College (Sept. 6-7; 627 likely Arizona general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) arrived at exactly the same conclusion: Sen. Kelly leading 47-45 percent. Remembering that the 2020 Senate race closed quickly against Kelly, limiting him to a 51-49 percent victory over appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) after leading by an average margin of 6.6 percent through 21 October polls according to the Real Clear Politics polling archives, the 2022 race looks to be headed toward a very interesting conclusion.

House

IA-3: An Unsurprising Dead Heat — In one of America’s tightest congressional districts, Rep. Cindy Axne’s (D-Des Moines) campaign just made an interesting move. The congresswoman’s political leadership yesterday released Rep. Axne’s new internal Impact Research survey (Sept. 7-11; 500 likely IA-3 voters; live interview & text) that reports she and her Republican challenger, state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant), are tied at 47 percent apiece.

The point of releasing the poll, however, is to show emphasis on the abortion issue among the respondents, which the campaign strategists believe will swing voters to the Democratic incumbent. Even when knowing Sen. Nunn’s abortion position, however, the best Rep. Axne can do is tie, suggesting that despite deep disagreements over the issue in the central Iowa region it does not appear to be bringing any more voters into Axne’s camp. Her 47 percent support figure quoted in this poll is consistent with her two 49 percent victory percentages in 2020 and 2018.

Governor

Minnesota: Gov. Walz With Comfortable Lead — In a race where the polling has been inconsistent during the past few months, Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy has released a new ballot test result from their research study conducted for the Minneapolis Star Review and Minnesota Public Radio (Sept. 12-14; 800 likely Minnesota general election voters; live interview). The M-D conclusion finds Gov. Tim Walz (D) leading former state Sen. Scott Jensen (R), 48-41 percent.

The governor’s job approval score is 52:42 percent favorable to unfavorable. President Biden remains upside-down in Minnesota on his favorability index, but the number is improving. In this M-D poll, 46 percent approve of the job the president is doing and 49 percent disapprove.

Ohio: Conflicting Surveys — We are seeing places around the country where pollsters are producing very diverse ballot test results even when testing an electorate within the same time realm. The Ohio governor’s race is another such example. A Civiqs organization poll, surveying for the Daily Kos Elections site (Sept. 10-13; 780 likely Ohio general election voters; online) projects a close race developing between Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D). The Civiqs ballot test projects Gov. DeWine to hold only a 44-41 percent edge.

Emerson College, however, sees a much different margin when polling within exactly the same time frame. Their poll (Sept. 10-13; 1,000 likely Ohio general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) yields the governor a wide 50-33 percent spread over Mayor Whaley. The latter poll result is more consistent with other publicly released surveys for this campaign.

Sen. Warnock Back Ahead in Georgia; Utah: Response Results; Sen. Johnson Rebounds in Wisconsin

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Sept. 19, 2022

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Back Ahead — After several polls were released showing Republican Herschel Walker topping Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), Quinnipiac University publicized their most recent Georgia poll (Sept. 8-12; 1,278 likely Georgia voters) that projects a different conclusion. Not only does the Q-Poll place Sen. Warnock back into the lead, but the margin, 52-46 percent, is larger than any regular poll released since July. More will have to be seen in order to determine if a new trend is forming or if the Q-Poll is an anomaly.

Utah: Response Poll — Last week’s surprise Impact Research poll that showed Independent challenger Evan McMullin leading Sen. Mike Lee (R) by a slight 47-46 percent margin has now been countered, at least to a degree. The Center Street PAC released the results of their new Utah survey (Sept. 6-9; 563 likely Utah general election voters) that posts Sen. Lee to only a 43-39 percent edge. The Utah Democratic Party did not field a candidate in order to coalesce behind McMullin. The move allowed McMullin a head-to-head match-up with the two-term incumbent, and it appears, at least in the short term, that the strategy to make this a competitive race has worked.

Wisconsin: Sen. Johnson Rebounds — After seeing a series of three post-primary surveys where Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) held a lead over Sen. Ron Johnson (R), the regular Marquette Law School Wisconsin poll (Sept. 6-11; 801 registered Wisconsin voters; live interview) finds the incumbent forging a one-point edge, 49-48 percent. Lagging in the polls is nothing new for Sen. Johnson. In 2016, 30 polls were conducted of the Wisconsin Senate race according to the Real Clear Politics polling archive, and Sen. Johnson trailed in 29; yet, on election night, he claimed a three-point victory.

Though he was behind in most of the polling this year, the margins are much closer than in 2016, and Sen. Johnson has now already captured a lead. Compared to his last race against former Sen. Russ Feingold (D), the two-term incumbent appears to be in much better political shape in this election campaign.

Governor

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers in Toss-Up Campaign — The Marquette Law School Wisconsin poll (see Wisconsin Senate race above) also finds a tight governor’s race. The MU survey posts Gov. Tony Evers (D) to a 47-44 percent lead over GOP nominee and businessman Tim Michels. If the undercount of Republican voters that has been present in recent Wisconsin races is again in evidence, Michels could already effectively be in a dead even race.

Ohio Senate Race Flip-Flopping; NY-19 Close; Zeldin-Hochul Race Tightens

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 16, 2022

Senate

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Senate Race Flip-Flopping — After most polling had given author J.D. Vance (R) a small lead in the Senate race, Suffolk University’s new survey (Sept. 5-7; 500 likely Ohio general election voters; live interview) finds US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) claiming a slim one-point, 47-46 percent advantage. Additionally, the Democratic firm, Impact Research, also went into the field (Aug. 17-23; 800 likely Ohio general election voters) finds Rep. Ryan holding a slightly larger 50-47 percent margin. This race continues to seesaw between the two candidates.

Alaska: Sen. Murkowski Falls Behind — A new poll from the Fabrizio Ward/Impact Research organizations for AARP (Sept. 6-11; 1,050 likely Alaska voters; 500 statewide sample; 550 voters 50 years of age and older; live interview & text) sees the Alaska Senate race heading in a much different direction than even the jungle primary results revealed. The AARP poll finds former Alaska Administration Director Kelly Tshibaka (R) leading Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), 43-35 percent, which is a significant change from the Aug. 16 primary vote when the senator topped her main opponent, 45-39 percent.

The AARP pollsters delved into the Ranked Choice rounds and found that in the final vote, Murkowski and Tshibaka fall into a virtual dead heat tie. The pollsters indicated the internal raw number final round count among the survey participants was 227 for Sen. Murkowski and 224 for Tshibaka. The pollsters then stated that it is “an understatement to call that within the margin of error.” Because the race is coming down to a pair of Republicans battling, the partisan context is not an issue. Still, the implications associated with this major contest are of national political interest.

House

NY-19: Another Race Brandishing a Close Poll — Though Rep. Pat Ryan (D-Poughkeepsie) won the NY-19 special election in late August, he is seeking re-election in the 18th District. Attorney Josh Riley is the succeeding Democratic nominee who is opposing Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R). A new Garin Hart Yang Research Group poll (Aug. 29-Sept. 1; 403 NY-19 likely general election voters; live interview) again finds the race within the polling margin of error, like most competitive races around the country. The GHY data finds Riley leading Molinaro, 47-44 percent.

The new 19th CD has only 43 percent carryover from the current 19th where the August special election was held. Therefore, this race with a new candidate lineup is a much different campaign. The special election ended in a 51-49 percent Democratic victory. The new 19th is slightly more Democratic but still very much in play during the general election. This is yet another key House race carrying national implications toward determining the next majority.

Governor

New York: Becoming Closer — A new survey, this one from the Republican survey research firm co/efficient, confirms an earlier poll that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) lead over US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) is down to single digits. The co/efficient survey (Sept. 5-7; 1,194 likely New York general election voters; live interview & text) posts the governor to only a 49-43 percent lead. Last week, the Trafalgar Group released their poll (Aug. 31-Sept. 1; 1,091 likely New York general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) that gave the governor a similar 48-43 percent edge. In between, however, Emerson College (Sept. 4-6; 1,000 likely New York general election voters; online, text & interactive voice response system) produced a 50-35 percent ballot test in Gov. Hochul’s favor.

Tight Polls in Arizona; Independent Fairs Well in Utah; More Alaska Ranked Choice Voting Analysis

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022

Senate

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly (D)

Arizona: Two Tight Polls — In the 2020 special US Senate election, then-candidate Mark Kelly (D) consistently ran ahead of then-Sen. Martha McSally (R) and by an average of 7.1 percentage points in 21 polls conducted from Oct. 1 to Election Day, but only won the race, 51-49 percent. In the 2020 cycle, we see much closer polling as two new surveys exemplify.

The pair of studies, both taken during the Sept. 6-7 period, are from Emerson College (627 likely Arizona voters; multiple sampling techniques) and the Republican research firm Insider Advantage (550 likely Arizona voters). Emerson finds the race well within the polling margin of error at 47-45 percent, while the IA result projects a 45-39 percent division. Both post Sen. Kelly leading Republican nominee and venture capitalist Blake Masters.

Utah: Another Independent Faring Well — Utah Independent US Senate candidate Evan McMullin released a Democratic firm’s poll that yields him a one-point edge. Impact Research (Aug. 29-Sept. 1; 800 likely Utah general election voters) found McMullin leading Sen. Mike Lee (R) by a 47-46 percent margin. Sen. Lee quickly countered with re-releasing his early August WPA Intelligence poll that saw him holding a major 50-32 percent advantage. Expect the Lee campaign to soon release more recent data.

House

AK-AL: More Ranked Choice Analysis — The Fair Vote organization, which is the principal promoter of the Ranked Choice Voting system, released a further analysis of the RCV vote in the Alaska special election that elected Democrat Mary Peltola, even though she attracted only 40 percent of the actual vote. The Ranked Choice advocates claim the system rewards the candidate who has the broadest support, but it tends to do the opposite since candidates with minority support have won most of the major races where the system has been used.

The analysis suggests that had candidate Nick Begich III been opposite Peltola in the final round instead of former governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, he would have won the race. The Fair Vote analysis reveals that 59 percent of the Palin vote would have gone Begich’s way — as opposed to Palin gaining only 50.3 percent of the Begich second choice votes. The bigger difference, however, was Peltola attracting only six percent of the Palin second-choice votes as compared to the 28 percent she received from Begich voters.

What the analysis fails to include, however, are the more than 11,000 Begich voters whose ballots were not counted in the second round. The analysis claims those people simply didn’t make an additional ranked choice, but in reality, it may be due to a lack of understanding the confusing system. In other places, attorneys who have challenged the system report that most ballots are disqualified because the voter inaccurately completed the ballot. Since Palin lost by 5,219 votes, more than 11,000 non-counted Begich ballots could have made the difference, and it is likely that a large number of these had their ballots disqualified as opposed to not making a choice. Therefore, the Fair Vote conclusion that Palin lost because the Begich voters eschewed her may not be entirely accurate.

Governor

Arizona: Evolving Dead Heat Race — The aforementioned pair of Arizona polls from Emerson College and Insider Advantage (see Arizona Senate race above) forecasts an even closer race for governor than they do for US Senate. Emerson College projects a straight tie between Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and former Phoenix news anchor Kari Lake (R), with both candidates posting 46 percent support scores. Insider Advantage finds a similar result with Hobbs leading by the slightest of margins, 44-43 percent.

Gen. Bolduc Leads;
Gov. McKee Survives

By Jim Ellis — Sept. 14, 2022

The Final Primaries

Retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R)

New Hampshire — The last major US Senate primary is close to concluding as retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc, despite being wildly outspent, appears to have turned back state Senate President Chuck Morse’s late race momentum and is staked to a one-point, 37-36 percent lead (1,270 votes) in the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary with 85 percent of the expected vote counted.

Though the margin is tight, it is most likely that Gen. Bolduc will advance into a shortened general election cycle against incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan (D).

A great deal of controversy surrounded this primary, particularly a verbal sparring battle between Gen. Bolduc and Gov. Chris Sununu (R). Both had unflattering things to say about the other, and now it will be interesting if we see a quick healing between the two. No doubt Democrats will use the governor’s words against Bolduc. Even before the votes were tabulated, however, Gov. Sununu was sending more conciliatory signals and stressing the importance of Republicans uniting to defeat Sen. Hassan, whom he says, “nobody likes.”

Though Bolduc was viewed as the weakest general election candidate in the field of six, head-to-head test polling didn’t show him any further behind Sen. Hassan than those, such as Sen. Morse, who were viewed as the better options to become the Republican standard bearer.

The Republican leadership will now have a difficult decision about how to proceed. Do they invest heavily in this race to back a candidate who they believe is weak even though Sen. Hassan appears vulnerable in a state that could easily swing Republican, or to do they cut their losses early and transfer the funds to another place where their chances for victory might be brighter? It will be interesting to see what they decide.
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