Category Archives: Governor

Will History Repeat in Alabama?

Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne

According to a brand new flash poll, history may repeat itself in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District special run-off election scheduled for next Tuesday.

In 2010, Alabama state Sen. Bradley Byrne scored 27.9 percent of the statewide Republican gubernatorial vote to finish in first place and advance to the two-person run-off election. He was paired with Tuscaloosa dermatologist and state Rep. Robert Bentley, who qualified for the secondary vote with the barest of margins over the man placing third, Tim James, the son of former Gov. Fob James. Backed by the various Tea Party organizations and his strongly conservative base voter, Bentley soared past Sen. Byrne to capture a 56-44 percent Republican nomination run-off victory, and then was elected governor in the general election.

Now, as a candidate in the special congressional election for resigned Rep. Jo Bonner’s (R-AL-1) former position, Byrne again placed first in the original primary, garnering 35 percent of the total Republican vote. He faces businessman and conservative activist Dean Young, who scored 23 percent on Sept. 24, but is now running much closer according to late race polling.

Byrne is leaving no stone unturned in this run-off campaign, employing aggressive fundraising and advertising techniques, capturing more endorsements, benefiting from outside independent expenditure advocacy, and attracting establishment Republican support. But, according to a new Cygnal consulting firm flash poll conducted on Oct. 30, Byrne has dropped behind his opponent, Young, by a 43-40 percent  Continue reading >

Is Cuccinelli Suddenly Narrowing the Gap in Virginia?

Two just-released polls suggest that Virginia’s embattled Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli is making strides in his battle against Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, but even this data still portends that the latter will win the race next Tuesday.

The least credible of the two surveys comes from Zogby-Newsmax (dates and sample size not released). The results reveal a McAuliffe lead of only 35-30 percent, with nine percent headed for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. No other poll has shown such a low determined number of voters. Zogby then removed all of the undecideds and the adjusted report gives McAuliffe a 43-37 percent advantage, with Sarvis posting 11 percent.

Two additional sector reports also initiate skepticism. First, the pollster suggests that Libertarian Sarvis “hitting double-digits is very doable.” Often times third-party candidates poll well during a race, normally when both major party candidates are negatively viewed as in this Virginia race. Rarely, if ever, do they exceed the 10 percent figure, however. The Zogby statement about Sarvis’ potential performance ignores virtually all previous trends.

In the most recent race where the Independent candidate was a potentially serious factor occurred in New Jersey back in 2009. Then, Chris Daggett was polling far better against Chris Christie and then-Gov. Jon Corzine than Sarvis is against McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, but finished with just under 6 percent of the vote.

Second, the Zogby poll projects that approximately one-third of African-American voters are still undecided. Based upon voting history and turnout projections, this is an unrealistic and clearly incorrect conclusion. Factoring in the typical African-American share of the electorate added to their traditional overwhelming support of the Democratic candidate would then allow McAuliffe to claim a much bigger lead than the five points illuminated in the spread above.

The second poll, from Quinnipiac University (Oct. 22-28; 1,182 likely Virginia voters) – an organization that regularly surveys the  Continue reading >

Is this the Death Knell for Cuccinelli We’re Hearing?

The Washington Post’s latest survey portends good news for Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe and the rest of his ticket, and signals what could be the figurative death knell for Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the state’s gubernatorial contest. All of the various pollsters who have been studying the Virginia governor’s race will be releasing their final numbers in the next few days, meaning we will be exposed to a continual stream of Virginia political data.

According to the Post figures (Oct. 24-27; 1,061 registered Virgnia voters; 762 likely Virginia voters) McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli 51-39 percent, which is the largest Democratic lead recorded in any Virginia poll to date. Dozens of surveys have been conducted in the past eight weeks, reporting remarkably consistent results, with all of them posting McAuliffe to leads but within a five- to eight-point range.

The Post results are both believable and unsurprising. McAuliffe has overwhelmed Cuccinelli with late campaign advertising and continues to feature prominent Republicans around the state who have endorsed him over their own nominee. This has helped achieve McAuliffe’s goal of splitting the Republican base wide open, and thus exacerbate the rift between the Virginia conservative and moderate base Republicans.

According to the Post, the Cuccinelli collapse is likewise beginning to affect the rest of the ticket; in the lieutenant governor’s race, their data shows state Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk/Virginia Beach) running ahead of Republican nominee E.W. Jackson by a 52-39 percent margin. In the attorney general’s race between two sitting state senators, in which Republican nominee Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) has led Mark Herring (D-Loudon County) by small margins for weeks, the Post forecasts a change here, too. The poll yields Herring a slight 49-46 percent advantage.

The Washington Post survey also underscores that McAuliffe’s success in this race is less due to voters’ positive feelings about him than their negative views toward Cuccinelli. Asking people who earlier said they intend to vote for McAuliffe: “is your vote more for McAuliffe or more against Cuccinelli”, only 34 percent of the McAuliffe  Continue reading >

Battleground Michigan

There’s a great deal of news affecting Michigan politics this week.

First, Republican senatorial nominee Terri Lynn Land announcing that she will report more than $2 million raised in the quarter ending Sept. 30 is clearly a positive sign for her campaign. Irrespective of the fact that $1 million of the money came as a self-funding donation, the aggregate figure suggests that her campaign is off the ground in a significant way. This, coupled with relatively recent polling data projecting that she and Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14), the consensus Democratic candidate, are virtually tied, is making the GOP leaders’ case that the open Michigan Senate race will become a highly competitive national campaign.

At the end of the previous quarter, Rep. Peters had already banked more than $1.7 million. His third quarter entry is expected to top $3 million in aggregate dollars raised. The combined Democrat and Republican monetary amounts is beginning to boost this race into the top national tier.

Second, earlier in the week Public Policy Polling, surveying for the MoveOn.org PAC, examined 24 Republican congressional districts in order to test GOP incumbents against the charge that they are solely responsible for shutting down the government. Though the timing of the polling and slanted questionnaires skews the data, some tangible information did come forth. Of the 24 tested Republican House members, seven found themselves trailing a generic Democratic placebo by nine points or more. Three of the seven hail from Michigan.

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI-7), who scored a strong but not overwhelming 53-43 percent win last November in his post-redistricting 7th CD, trailed the generic Democrat 42-51 percent.

Freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI-11), who is already facing a strong Republican primary challenger, placed 15 points behind the generic D, 39-54 percent.

The member faring the worst of all 24 tested, sophomore Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI-1), drops behind a Democratic placebo by 22 full points, 35-57 percent. While these numbers come from polls  Continue reading >

New Virginia Polls: Race Not Over

There seems to be an air of defeatism surrounding many Virginia Republicans about the impending governor’s race, but three new polls still show that GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli is within striking distance of Democrat Terry McAuliffe. All three polls, from Hampton University, Emerson College and the University of Mary Washington, give McAuliffe a lead ranging from five to seven points, with both candidates well under 50 percent – data that hardly concludes the front-runner is on the threshold of clinching the election.

Hampton University (Sept. 25-26 and 28-29; 800 likely Virginia voters) gives McAuliffe a 42-37 percent edge over Cuccinelli, with Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis scoring eight percent. The Emerson College Polling Society (Boston, MA) conducted their survey Sept. 26-30 and interviewed 519 Virginia registered voters. They found McAuliffe to be leading Cuccinelli and Sarvis 43-38-11 percent, a five-point reduction in the Democrat’s lead from the ECPS August poll. Finally the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA), conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International during the Sept. 25-29 period of 823 Virginia registered voters (from a total resident sample of 1,001), posts McAuliffe to a 42-35 percent advantage, with Sarvis picking up 10 percent support.

The Sarvis number could be a wild card. Oftentimes when major party candidates display high unfavorable ratings, and all polling has consistently revealed such in this particular race, an Independent can score abnormally high in surveys, often reaching double-digits, as Sarvis is doing here. Such early support for Independents in polls, however, rarely translates into votes on Election Day. Should this pattern hold in the Virginia race, then Cuccinelli could be the benefactor because his lower numbers among conservative oriented independents portend that he is losing more support to Sarvis than is McAuliffe, thus his ability to gain may be greater once these people come to the conclusion that voting for a candidate with no potential to win is a waste.

Polling Segmentation

The Hampton poll segmented the state into regions. McAuliffe runs strongest in the Washington, DC suburbs (50-29 percent),  Continue reading >