Now in the first full week of October, it is time to peruse the aggregate House political situation. The Republicans appear to be a cinch to retain control of the body, but several individual seats could well change hands. Below is a quick description of those with the strongest potential of switching parties.
Democratic Seats Headed to Republicans
• NC-7 (Rep. Mike McIntyre-D): The southeast North Carolina seat is now no contest with Rep. McIntyre retiring. The closest election district of 2012 now becomes an easy ride for Republican former state Sen. David Rouzer.
• UT-4 (Rep. Jim Matheson-D): This was the site of another close 2012 race, but veteran Rep. Matheson’s retirement should leave this south Salt Lake City seat in the hands of Republican Mia Love. Her victory percentage might be a bit lower against attorney Doug Owens (D) than many today project, but Love is almost assuredly headed to Congress.
Democratic Seats Trending Republican
• NY-21 (Rep. Bill Owens-D): It was always believed that when the Republicans and Conservatives could get behind the same candidate, the seat would return to the Continue reading >
Midway through the election cycle it appeared a solid bet that at least four candidates who would normally be favorites were headed for losses. But, predictions of such demise are now being proven premature.
First-term North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D) appeared doomed, unable to break 42 percent support in any poll, and was clearly sliding down a pathway toward defeat.
Democrats, in the person of Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1), were odds-on favorites to replace retiring Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D) but he, too, has experienced a reversal of political fortunes.
Republican Bruce Rauner was running consistently ahead of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and was on a clear track toward victory even in the heavily Democratic state. But the electoral patterns are beginning to reverse, and now Quinn has a fighting chance to survive.
Upon his indictment on federal charges relating to his restaurant business dealings prior to being elected to Congress, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY-11) looked to be headed toward the political scrap heap. But he is proving a much tougher “out” than the local Democrats originally perceived. Continue reading >
In our ongoing search to find intriguing campaigns below the political radar, we see two congressional races gaining more credibility. Though specific polling data now shows upset possibilities for a Maine Republican and an Iowa Democrat, just how reliable are the results?
Iraq War veteran Jim Mowrer (D) has captured some previous national attention with his prodigious fundraising in his battle with six-term western Iowa Rep. Steve King (R). Now well on his way to raising $2 million for his challenge campaign against King, a new poll gives Mowrer confirmation that he is positioning himself in upset territory.
DFM Research, a Minneapolis Democratic polling firm, conducted a 4th District survey for the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Union (Sept. 20-23; 450 IA-4 residents) largely for purposes of questioning people about transportation issues, specifically surrounding rail. The congressional and US Senate questions were of secondary importance. Because of that, the data contains some glaring political weaknesses.
The DFM conclusion suggests that Rep. King has only a 46-43 percent advantage over Mowrer. But keep in mind that the sampling universe was not even screened for registered voters, let alone those most likely Continue reading >
In a normal course of an election cycle, particularly when entering the last month of campaign activity, discussion often turns to sleeper races. Some recent polling data gives us a clue in a couple of cases.
North Dakota – House
In a contest that is on virtually no one’s political board, a new Mellman Group poll for the George Sinner campaign actually shows the Democratic challenger taking a two-point, 40-38 percent, lead over freshman incumbent Rep. Kevin Cramer (R).
The survey (Sept. 20-22; 400 likely North Dakota voters) reveals a shocking turn of events that puts Sinner ahead of newcomer incumbent Cramer. The polling error factor, however, is “4.9 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence”, which is high. This means that the two candidates are running close together, from 2.5 points up to 2.5 points down. Hence, the tandem is about even, which will sound warning bells among Republican national party decision makers. Their solution will be to spend money in order to keep a seat that did not originally appear vulnerable.
It is clear that the Mellman Group, a well-known and respected Democratic Continue reading >
While recent polling numbers are improving for Democrats or their allies in a number of key Senate races (North Carolina, Colorado, Louisiana, and Kansas), a look at the party’s new ad buy in congressional races capsulizes their plight in the House.
In a six-day period, seven different pollsters surveyed the New Hampshire electorate, thus providing us a well-researched picture of the state’s political position concerning the increasingly competitive US Senate contest between incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R). Two other pollsters looked at the state’s pair of congressional campaigns.
With seven independent polls in the field almost simultaneously between Sept. 10-15, it appears that Sen. Shaheen holds a clear advantage over Brown. Shaheen’s strongest survey is the last one conducted, a New England College Granite State Poll (Sept. 10-11; 630 registered New Hampshire voters) that posts the incumbent to an 11-point, 51-40 percent advantage.
Though the political party division is virtually even, the poll appears to skew a bit left. President Obama’s job approval, according to the NEC data, is 48:48 percent positive to negative. Two of the other pollsters who asked the same question at the same time (Magellan Strategies and CNN/ORC), found much worse numbers that are more consistent with national reports. Magellan rates the president 33:57 percent, while CNN posts him to an even Continue reading >
Another institution of higher learning has released political polling data, this time targeting US House elections in one particular state.
Dubuque’s Loras College conducted a statewide poll of the Hawkeye State electorate and divided the respondents evenly among Iowa’s quartet of congressional districts. At least to a degree, all of the campaigns are competitive. The methodology included weighting the responses for demographic characteristics but not political party preference. Therefore, the overall sample appears skewed Democratic by more than two full percentage points.
The pollsters first asked about President Obama’s job approval, and found that only 41 percent of the sampled respondents (300 per congressional district) expressed positive sentiments. A clear majority, 53 percent, disapproves of how he handles his official duties. In a state that twice voted for Obama and gave him six- and 10-point victory margins in 2012 and 2008, respectively, these job performance numbers have to be considered poor.
The survey questionnaire also featured a query about the direction of the country’s policies, commonly referred to as the “right track/wrong track” question. Here, as in all Continue reading >