Category Archives: House

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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Final Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022

We have finally reached the end of primary season, as voters in three northeastern states will cast their nomination ballots today. Once these votes are counted, all of the stand-alone primary states will have nominated their general election candidates. At that point only Louisiana, which holds its qualification election concurrently with the general, will remain in primary mode.

Each of the states holding their primaries are in the east, with New England’s New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the schedule along with Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic region.

New Hampshire — The most noteworthy primary is the New Hampshire Republican Senate race, complete with its share of controversy. Polling leader Don Bolduc, a retired Army General who ran unsuccessfully in 2020 (failing to prevail in the Republican primary in order to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen), and Gov. Chris Sununu (R) have been in a public war of words. Gen. Bolduc accused the governor of being a “communist sympathizer” and that his family’s business supports terrorism. The governor retorted that Bolduc is a “conspiracy theory type” who is not “a serious candidate.”

Many in the Republican Party, including Gov. Sununu, believe that Gen. Bolduc will not be a strong enough nominee against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) even though polling shows that she is vulnerable. The governor has endorsed state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), who seems to be the only viable competitor who could deny Bolduc the nomination among the 10 others on the ballot.

The latest available Senate poll, this from the University of New Hampshire (Aug. 25-29; 892 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online), found Gen. Bolduc leading Sen. Morse, 43-22 percent. Since this poll was conducted, however, some $4 million has been spent attempting to deny Bolduc the nomination, and Democratic organizations have come from the outside to help him win the primary since they, too, believe that he would be easiest for Sen. Hassan to beat.

The retired General is at an extreme financial disadvantage, so he has little ability to promote himself. This race will draw the most attention tonight.

New Hampshire’s two congressional districts also feature competitive Republican primaries. Both seats will be hotly contested in the general election because Reps. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) and Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) are clear Republican targets.

Another crowded ten-person Republican 1st District primary appears to be coming down to a battle among 2020 nominee Matt Mowers, who held Rep. Pappas to a 51-46 percent re-election victory before an electorate that has defeated more incumbents than any other in the nation, former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt, and ex-television news reporter Gail Huff Brown, wife of former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R). Polling suggests that Mowers has the slight edge heading into election day.

In the western 2nd District, the Republican race is a two-way battle between former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns and Keene Mayor George Hansel. Should Burns win the GOP nomination, and polling suggests he will, his challenge opposite Rep. Kuster will be formidable.

Rhode Island — The most notable race on the Rhode Island card is the Democratic primary for governor. Dan McKee assumed the governorship when incumbent Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to accept her appointment as US Commerce Secretary.

The new governor, running for a first full term in his own right, has four Democratic challengers, and a close outcome in tomorrow’s primary is expected. McKee’s four opponents are Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, businesswoman Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and physician Luis Daniel Munoz. It appears the race is winnowing to a battle between Gov. McKee and Gorbea. Today’s winner becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election.

Delaware — With no governor or senator on the ballot this year, the Delaware primary is basically a non-event. At-large Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington) is unopposed in the Democratic primary, and educator/actor Lee Murphy is the only candidate on the Republican side. The general election will not be competitive, since Rep. Blunt Rochester is a lock for re-election.

Republican Erickson up in OR-6 Poll; Closer Poll in SC Governor’s Race; Other State & Local News

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Sept. 12, 2022

House

Republican Mike Erickson, OR-6

OR-6: Counter Poll Released — Friday, we reported on an Oregon Clout Research poll (Aug. 14-19; 409 likely OR-6 general election voters; live interview) that finds Republican Mike Erickson posting a large 43-34 percent lead over state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) in the open new 6th District, which is the new seat Oregon earned in national reapportionment.

Predictably, the Democrats quickly countered with their own survey, but this data is even older than the Clout poll. During the Aug. 10-14 period, GBAO Research conducted a live interview survey of 500 likely OR-6 voters. They, however, only posted Salinas to a rather unimpressive 48-45 percent count. The region’s Democratic vote history – the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+7 – would suggest a bigger margin. This is likely why the Democrats did not release this poll until they needed to respond.

Governor

South Carolina: Closer Poll Released — Democratic polling firm Impact Research (Aug. 24-30; 700 likely South Carolina general election voters) released a survey that finds that former US Congressman Joe Cunningham (D) has closed Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) lead to 49-42 percent. The McMaster margin is still beyond the polling margin of error, however.

Actually, the Impact Research survey is close to the Republican firm’s results, The Trafalgar Group, that conducted their survey within the same time realm (Aug. 25-28; 1,071 likely South Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques). Trafalgar produced a McMaster lead of 51-43 percent. South Carolina voter history suggests that Gov. McMaster will win re-election by 10 points or slightly more.

State & Local

Michigan: High Court Reverses Board of Elections — At literally the last minute to make a ballot-related decision, the Michigan state Supreme Court overruled the State Board of Elections that previously disqualified an abortion rights ballot proposition and one dealing with the elections code. The BoE struck both because they did not meet technical requirements. Both initiatives are believed to be key Democratic assets to spur the party’s base turnout.

Chicago: US Rep. Garcia Edging toward Mayor’s Race — The Chicago mayor’s race, featuring a likely competitive race with controversial incumbent Lori Lightfoot (D), is scheduled for a first vote on Feb. 28 of next year. Therefore, not much time exists between the regular general election and the new Windy City contest. Last week, Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago), after originally saying he would not enter the mayor’s race, now says the chances of him doing so are “50-50.”

Garcia was elected to the House in 2018, after serving on the Chicago City Council, the Illinois Senate, and the Cook County Commission. He ran for mayor in 2015 but lost to then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D). The mayoral candidate filing deadline is Nov. 28.

No Third Party Challenge in NY-10; Back and Forth in NC-13;
Upsets Brewing in Oregon

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 9, 2022

House

State Assemblywoman Yuh Line-Nioh (D-Manhattan)

NY-10: No Third Party Challenge — State Assemblywoman Yuh Line-Nioh (D-Manhattan) placed second to winner Dan Goldman in the hotly contested open Democratic primary for the new 10th District in the June 28 election, but she did claim the ballot line for the Working Families Party. This means she could have advanced into the general election under that party banner. However, the assemblywoman announced Wednesday that she would not pursue a third party bid, thus virtually guaranteeing Goldman the November election.

In this crowded Democratic primary, both Goldman and Line-Nioh finished ahead of US Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County), who decided to seek re-election in this district instead of the upstate 17th or 18th.

NC-13: Swing District, Swing Forecast — The new North Carolina 13th Congressional District has something for everyone. The cities of Fayetteville’s and south Raleigh’s suburbs tend to vote more liberal, while Johnston County’s conservatives neutralize those votes, thus making the district a basically even from a partisan perspective. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see polling go back and forth.

Previously, we reported on two August polls, one from RMG Research and the other from Public Policy Polling, and now we see another new survey from the Democratic firm Global Strategy Group (Aug. 29-Sept. 1; 500 likely NC-13 general election voters; live interview). RMG found Republican Bo Hines leading 44-39 percent; PPP saw Hines and state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) tied at 40-40 percent; and, now GSG posts Nickel to a 44-40 percent edge. Obviously, this is a toss-up campaign.

OR-5: A Brewing Upset? — When centrist Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) lost his Democratic primary election to attorney and former California local elected official Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the race in the competitive new 5th District took a major turn. A recently released survey from Republican pollster Clout Research (Aug. 15-18; 410 likely OR-5 general election voters; live interview) finds Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R) opening up a significant lead over McLeod-Skinner, with a 44-34 percent spread.

The only other poll released here, one from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling in early June, also found DeRemer with an edge, but only one-point, 42-41 percent. With the available information, it appears that Republicans could well be positioned to see a future upset victory here in November.

OR-6: New District, New Leader — Another surprising Oregon Clout Research poll (Aug. 14-19; 409 likely OR-6 general election voters; live interview) finds Republican Mike Erickson posting a lead over state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego). Though this district is considerably more Democratic than the neighboring 5th CD (D+7 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization), Erickson holds a 43-34 percent advantage over Salinas according to the Clout results.

Governor

Minnesota: Gov. Walz Pulling Away — While early polling suggested a close race between first-term Gov. Tim Walz (D) and former state Sen. Scott Jensen (R), a new survey finds the incumbent pulling away and now possesses a large lead. The Survey USA poll (Aug. 30-Sept. 4; 562 likely Minnesota general election voters) projects Gov. Walz to be currently holding a 51-33 percent advantage.

Wisconsin: New Poll Yields Dead Even Projection — While the Minnesota governor’s race is becoming definitive, the neighboring Wisconsin battle appears to be getting even closer. For the second time, a polling firm found Gov. Tony Evers (D) and businessman Tim Michels (R) to be deadlocked in a flat tie. The Trafalgar Group (Sept. 22-25; 1,091 Wisconsin general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects the two candidates each pulling a 48 percent support factor in the contest’s most recently released survey. This result is identical to the previously reported OnMessage firm’s data derived during the same polling period (Aug. 22-24; 600 likely Wisconsin general election voters; live interview).