Category Archives: Governor

Kelly’s Margin Erodes, Lake Leads in Ariz.; Gov. Lujan Grisham Expands Lead in NM; Candidates Tied in Wisc.

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 31, 2022

Senate

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

Arizona: Sen. Kelly’s Margin Erodes –– The Trafalgar Group, running a series of polls covering several states, released their numbers for the Arizona Senate race. The survey (Aug. 24-27; 1,074 likely Arizona general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) comes to a different conclusion than the other post-primary polls that have averaged a 12-point advantage for Sen. Mark Kelly (D) among registered voters. According to the Trafalgar numbers, Sen. Kelly’s edge over venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) is only 48-44 percent.

Trafalgar often shows better numbers for Republicans, but says their unique and unreleased polling methodology allows them to better capture the entire electorate. Arguably, Trafalgar has often been correct when arriving at different conclusions than seemingly the rest of the polling community.
In 2020 election’s late stage, 21 polls were conducted from 12 different pollsters of the Arizona Senate race from the beginning of October to the election according to the Real Clear Politics polling archive. Those 21 posted Kelly to a mean average 6.7 percent advantage over then-Sen. Martha McSally (R), but he only won by 2.4 percentage points. The Trafalgar Group, in their lone released 2020 Arizona Senate poll, found the two separated by an accurate two percent.

Governor

Arizona: New Poll Pushes Kari Lake to Lead — The Trafalgar Group’s Arizona poll (see Senate race above) also tested the open governor’s race. Two polls conducted after the state’s Aug. 2 primary gave Democrat Katie Hobbs, the Arizona Secretary of State, leads over former news anchor Kari Lake (R) within the polling margin of error range. On the other hand, Trafalgar posts Lake to her first lead of the general election, 47-46 percent. All of the data suggest that this race is in the toss-up realm.

New Mexico: Gov. Lujan Grisham Expands Lead — The New Mexico based Research & Polling, Inc. company has released new data for the competitive Land of Enchantment governor’s race, the first time since mid-June that we’ve seen new numbers for this campaign.

According to the recently completed survey conducted for the Albuquerque Journal newspaper (Aug. 19-25; 518 likely New Mexico general election voters; live interview), Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) leads former television weatherman Mark Ronchetti (R) by a 47-40 percent count. The ballot test spread is beyond this survey’s polling margin of error of 4.3 percentage points, the latter factor high largely due to the low size of the statewide polling sample. The previous published survey, GQR Research’s June 11-17 study also featuring a low sampling universe of 500 likely voters, posted the governor to a 48-44 percent edge.

Wisconsin: Candidates Tied — The new Trafalgar Group survey (Aug. 22-25; 1,091 likely Wisconsin general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects that the Wisconsin governor’s race, always predicted to be tight, has already fallen into a tie. The Trafalgar results see Gov. Tony Evers (D) and businessman Tim Michels (R) each attracting 47 percent of the sample’s respondents. Such a result is not surprising. Wisconsin routinely features very close statewide elections, and the current governor and Senate campaigns will certainly fall within the established Badger State electoral pattern.

Schmitt Up Comfortably in Missouri;
Tight Election Evolving in AZ-1; Whitmer Still Leading in Michigan

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022

Senate

Missouri AG Eric Schmitt (R)

Missouri: GOP’s Eric Schmitt Up Comfortably — International online pollster YouGov tested the Missouri Senate race, one of the first we’ve seen since Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the Republican primary on Aug. 2 and philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine prevailed on the Democratic side. The YouGov poll (released Aug. 25; Aug. 8-16; 900 likely Missouri general election voters) posts Schmitt to a double-digit 49-38 percent advantage. This race, another must win for the national GOP, should be rated as Likely Republican.

House

AZ-1: Tight General Election Evolving — Arizona’s new 1st Congressional District was crafted as somewhat more favorable to the Democrats, but still a decidedly Republican seat (FiveThirtyEight rating: new AZ-1: R+7; former AZ-6: R+13; 25 percent new territory). Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a new Normington Petts survey for the Jevin Hodge (D) campaign (Aug. 15-18; 500 likely AZ-1 general election voters; live interview & text) sees the 2022 congressional race as a dead heat, with Hodge and incumbent Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) each receiving 47 percent support.

The poll finds Rep. Schweikert, who before the 2020 election accepted 11 ethics violations fines for misuse of his congressional office and campaign finance related issues, posting a poor 26:46 percent personal favorability rating. The additional fact that the congressman received only 43.3 percent in this year’s Republican primary against two opponents, and may well have been defeated if only one individual had challenged him, suggests that this should be a race of concern for the Republican leadership.

Governor

Kansas: Independent Qualifies; Poll Result — Northeastern Kansas state Sen. Dennis Pyle (I-Hiawatha) qualified for the ballot as an independent gubernatorial candidate on Friday. Pyle, who was elected as a Republican but became an Independent in further evidence of the deep divide between Kansas conservative and centrist Republicans, is getting support from an improbable source.

Some in the Democratic Party were active in helping further the petition signature process that allowed him to qualify for the general election. Sen. Pyle attacks GOP nominee Derek Schmidt, the state’s attorney general, as being insufficiently conservative, while the Democrats want Pyle to take conservative votes away from the GOP nominee to help incumbent Gov. Laura Kelly (D).

Four years ago, Gov. Kelly won her office with plurality support (48 percent), and her likely path to re-election will again be with less than a majority. The latest released survey, from Battleground Connect (Aug. 8-10; 1,074 likely Kansas general election voters; text) found Schmidt leading Gov. Kelly, 48-45 percent, with Pyle attracting only two percent support. This poll was conducted, however, prior to the latter man qualifying as an official November contender.

Michigan: More Conflicting Polls — Around the country, we have been seeing a number of places report conflicting polling data. Such is the case last week in the Michigan governor’s race. Though both EPIC-MRA, polling for the Michigan Information & Research Service, and the Trafalgar Group find Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) leading GOP nominee Tudor Dixon, the margins are quite different.

EPIC (Aug. 18-23; 600 likely Michigan general election voters; live interview) posts Gov. Whitmer to a double-digit, 50-39 percent advantage. But The Trafalgar Group, surveying basically within the same time realm (Aug. 22-25; 1,080 likely Michigan voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees the governor holding a lead just outside the polling margin of error, 49-45 percent. This example again reminds us of the volatility that can occur from pollsters using different techniques and weighting methodology.

Polling Conflict in Nevada;
Dr. Oz Draws Closer in PA;
Two Polls, Different Results

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 29, 2022

Senate

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

Nevada: Polling Conflict — The Nevada Senate race is one of the most competitive and important statewide contests in this midterm election cycle, and two polls conducted within the same sampling realm report drawing opposite conclusions. Suffolk University, polling for the Reno Gazette Journal (Aug. 14-17; 500 likely Nevada general election voters; live interview), projects Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) to be leading former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 45-38 percent. Conversely, The Trafalgar Group (Aug. 15-18; 1,082 likely Nevada general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees a complete opposite picture. They find Laxalt holding a three-point edge, 47-44 percent.

It is not particularly surprising to see The Trafalgar Group with different results since their polling methodology is unique. Their accuracy rate, however, is among the best in the survey research industry.

Pennsylvania: Oz Drawing Closer — Despite what even a casual observer would perceive as Pennsylvania Republican Senate nominee Mehmet Oz’s campaign going poorly, two new statewide surveys find him trailing Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) by only four percentage points as the two research firms arrived at exactly identical ballot test results.

The pollsters, The Trafalgar Group (Aug. 15-19; 1,087 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) and Emerson College (Aug. 22-23; 1,034 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; interactive voice response system, online & text) both see Fetterman leading Dr. Oz, 48-44 percent. On the other hand, the new Franklin & Marshall College poll (Aug. 15-21; 522 registered Pennsylvania voters; live interview), with a much higher error rate than the other two, finds Fetterman’s advantage to be 43-30 percent.

House

MI-10: Two Polls, Same Time, Different Results — Regular Michigan pollster Mitchell Research, again surveying for the Michigan Information & Research Service (Aug. 16-21; 429 ikely MI-10 lgeneral election voters), finds former US Senate Republican nominee John James leading ex-Macomb County prosecutor Carl Marlinga (D), by a 47-38 percent clip, well beyond the polling margin of error. The Marlinga campaign countered with a Target Insyght survey (Aug. 16-18; 400 likely Michigan general election voters) that gives their candidate, Marlinga, a slight 47-45 percent edge. The new 10th was drawn as a highly competitive district, so a close finish here is clearly on the political horizon.

Governor

Pennsylvania: Same Pattern as Senate — The three pollsters that tested the Pennsylvania Senate race, The Trafalgar Group, Emerson College and Franklin & Marshall College (see PA Senate above) the same partisan pattern is also appearing in the governor’s race. The Trafalgar and Emerson results are similar, and the F&M conclusion greatly differs, though they all agree on the race order.

In the governor’s race, The Trafalgar Group finds Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) leading state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), 49-45 percent, while Emerson posts a similar 47-44 percent division. Like in the Senate race, Franklin & Marshall sees the Democratic performance in much better position. Their ballot test projects AG Shapiro with a stronger 44-33percent advantage. The stated margin of error factor on the Trafalgar poll is 2.9, while Emerson’s is an almost identical 3.0. The F&M error factor, however, is listed as 4.3percent.

Vance Surges in Ohio; Hill Withdraws in SC-4; Ohio Gov. DeWine With a Double Digit Lead; Term Limits

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022

Senate

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Vance Tilts Up — After a series of polls from the end of June through early August found US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) leading the Ohio US Senate general election, a second survey this week sees Republican J.D. Vance surging ahead. For the early part of the campaign, Ryan was spending heavily on advertising that Vance and his Republican allies left unchecked, thus largely explaining why the Democrat was able to build a lead. Now that Vance has countered, he has already moved past the veteran congressman.

The new Trafalgar Group survey (Aug. 16-19; 1,087 likely Ohio general election voters; multi-sampling techniques) finds Vance topping Ryan, 50-45 percent. This largely confirms the Emerson College poll released earlier in the week that saw Vance holding a similar 45-42 percent advantage.

SC-4: Rep. Timmons Catches Break — South Carolina Rep. William Timmons (R-Greenville) caught a major re-election break earlier this week when his Democratic opponent, Ken Hill, withdrew from the race. Hill said his business responsibilities, which now require him to spend substantial time in New York, make it impossible for him to continue his congressional campaign.

Rep. Timmons won a closer-than-expected Republican primary in June, avoiding a runoff with just 52.7 percent of the vote, largely due to extramarital affair allegations and related unproven claims that he was improperly using his congressional power. Now, he will run without having a Democratic opponent. Businesswoman Lee Turner (D) says she will run as a write-in candidate, however. Under South Carolina election procedure, it is too late for the Democratic Party to officially replace Hill on the ballot.

Governor

Ohio: Gov. DeWine Leading In Double-Digits — A week after a Lake Research Partners (D) survey found Gov. Mike DeWine (R) edging Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D) by a slim 44-43 percent margin, the aforementioned Trafalgar Group Ohio survey (see Ohio Senate above) and an Emerson College poll (Aug. 15-16; 925 likely Ohio general election voters; multi-sampling techniques) see the governor pulling away to a pair of substantial leads. Trafalgar projects a 16-point advantage for Gov. DeWine at 54-38 percent. Emerson College posts a similar 49-33 percent spread.

House

US Term Limits’ Polling Series: Six New August Polls — The US Term Limits organization has been conducting a series of US House polls around the nation. RMG Research conducted the House campaign surveys for the group and released the results of six new polls conducted between July 31 and Aug. 15. All included 400 likely general election voters, but how the polling samples were surveyed was not disclosed.

Of the six August polls, two incumbents were ahead, two were behind, and one was tied. The other study surveyed a North Carolina open-seat electorate. In Arizona, Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) leads businessman Kelly Cooper (R), 46-39 percent. Washington Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Sammamish) held a 47-43 percent edge over Matt Larkin (R), the 2020 finalist in the attorney general’s race.

The two trailing incumbents are Reps. Susan Wild (D-PA) and David Trone (D-MD). The tied incumbent is Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas). In the Allentown-Bethlehem district, GOP challenger Lisa Scheller held a 47-43 percent advantage over Wild. Maryland state Delegate Neil Parrott (R-Frederick) topped Rep. Trone, 45-43 percent, while Rep. Horsford and insurance agency owner Sam Peters (R) were tied at 43 percent preference. In the lone released open seat poll, Republican Bo Hines held a 44-39 percent lead over North Carolina state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh).

Florida, NY, OK Primaries; Term Limits Polling; Whitmer With Larger Lead

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022

Primaries

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Florida — The Sunshine State voters also will choose their nominees today, and many important intra-party races will be decided.

Gov. DeSantis Well Ahead in Pre-Primary Poll — Florida voters will choose their general election nominees today, and a new Cherry Communications survey (conducted for the Florida Chamber of Commerce; Aug. 4-15; 608 likely Florida general election voters; live interview) projects Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as well positioned for re-election. The CC poll results find the governor leading US Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) 51-43 percent, while his advantage over state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is a similar 50-43 percent. This, in a state where Republicans traditionally under-poll. Crist, the former governor and multi-time statewide candidate who has run, and lost, under the Democratic, Republican, and Independent banners.

After recent polls found Florida Crist falling into an increasingly more competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign with Fried, a new St. Pete Polls survey, on election eve, finds the congressman and former governor now ahead in a landslide. The St. Pete Polls survey (Aug. 20-21; 1,617 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system) projects Rep. Crist to be holding a major 59-30 percent lead, far above any advantage he has recently posted. The Democratic winner will face Gov. DeSantis in November and will face an uphill battle against DeSantis in a campaign that will become a national event.

The Senate nomination contests in both parties, while leading to a competitive general election, are set. Sen. Marco Rubio (R) will be defending his seat against US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), the former Orlando police chief. Recent polling has tightened, but voting history suggests that Sen. Rubio has at least a small lead.

A large number of US House races feature competitive nomination battles beginning in northwestern Florida’s 1st District where controversial Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) is in a serious campaign with former FedEx executive Mark Lombardo. Gaetz’s highly publicized legal trouble is front and center in this race as well as Lombardo charging that the congressman’s national activities and profile have taken his attention away from serving the local district. This is certainly a race to watch, and a Lombardo upset is possible.

Florida gained a new seat in national reapportionment, and the state’s 15th District has been created. The district stretches from Lakeland into Tampa and leans Republican but we can expect some competition in the general election. Both parties feature five-person candidate fields. Polling suggests that former Secretary of State Laurel Lee has the inside track for the Republican nomination over state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa). The leading Democrat appears to be former news anchorman and two-time congressional nominee Alan Cohn.

New York — When the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ordered the congressional districts and state Senate map redrawn, a second primary was scheduled just for these races. The original NY primary was held on June 28. The congressional and state Senate nominees will be finally decided today, and many US House contests are in a competitive mode.

Oklahoma: Close Result on Tap for Tonight in OK-2 — When Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) opted to run for the Senate, his open eastern Oklahoma congressional district drew a crowded 14-candidate Republican field. In the June 28 regular primary for the strongest GOP district in the state (R+55 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization), two candidates advanced into today’s runoff election even though they finished with less than 30 percent of the aggregate primary vote combined.

State Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) topped former state Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-Ada) by just 757 votes to secure the first runoff position. Brecheen then claimed the second slot over former Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee by an even lesser 616-vote margin. In all, the top five candidates finished within 2,892 votes of each other.

Polling finds that the race still remains tight. The wrap-up Sooner Poll (Aug. 11-17; number of likely voter polling respondents undisclosed) projected Rep. Frix holding the lead, but with only a 43-35 percent margin. While Frix apparently enjoys a small edge, this race is still anybody’s game.

Rep. Mullin has enjoyed large leads in his bid for the Senate in post-primary polling up until the latest release. Immediately after the June 28 primary election, where he easily topped former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, 44-18 percent within a field of 12 candidates, Rep. Mullin was seeing average leads of 18 percentage points among three polls conducted from July 25 through Aug. 15.

The latest study, however, from the Sooner Poll, which is an add-on track from their Aug. 11-15 survey that ended on Aug. 17 (322 likely Oklahoma Republican runoff voters), shows the congressman’s statewide advantage at only 53-47 percent over Shannon. Tonight’s special runoff winner will advance into the general election against former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D).

Governor

Michigan: Whitmer With Larger Lead — Countering last week’s published Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) teamed Michigan governor’s study (Aug. 8-14; 1,365 likely Michigan voters; live interview & text) that projected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to be leading online talk show host Tudor Dixon (R) 51-46 percent, Democratic pollster Blueprint Polling (Aug. 15-16; 611 likely Michigan general election voters; live interview) posts the governor to a much larger 51-39 percent advantage.

Ohio: One-Point Lead — Democratic pollster Lake Research (Aug. 4-9; 611 OH likely general election voters; live interview) released their latest survey that finds Gov. Mike DeWine (R) holding only a narrow one-point, 44-43 percent, edge over Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D).

This result is not particularly surprising. First, the Ohio electorate typically polls close and then one candidate significantly pulls away in the campaign’s last two weeks. Second, Gov. DeWine won his Republican primary with only 48.1 percent of the vote opposite three opponents suggesting clear weakness within his party’s base. Additionally, over one-third of DeWine voters say their support for him is “not so strong” or that they are only “leaning” in his direction. Expect the governor to soon use his strong financial advantage to put distance between he and Mayor Whaley.