Category Archives: Impeachment

What The Van Drew Switch Means

By Jim Ellis

NJ-2 Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew

Dec. 18, 2019 — We can expect an official announcement coming this week that freshman New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis Township) will become a Republican. Seeing most of his staff resign over this past weekend is the clearest indication that the speculation surrounding the congressman’s impending political move will in fact occur.

What does Van Drew’s switch mean for the House outlook in 2020? After the 2018 cycle House were finally tabulated, including the 2019 special elections to fill vacancies, the Republicans were tasked with converting a net 18 seats to obtain a bare one-vote majority.

Such a calculation has changed, however. The North Carolina court-mandated redistricting plan, the state’s third in this decade, will cost the Republicans at least two seats, meaning the GOP majority conversion number increases to 20. The Van Drew switch now reduces that number to 19, assuming each party holds their two vacant seats that will be decided in special elections prior to the regular 2020 general election.

Van Drew decided to switch parties due to his opposition to the Trump impeachment plans, but the underlying related reason points to some of his key county Democratic chairmen indicating they would support an intra-party challenge against him. New Jersey political parties are strong, and a Democratic chairman opposing one of his own incumbents would be taken seriously. The party endorsements in this state carry tangible benefits, including a particular advantageous ballot placement. An incumbent not receiving the party endorsement goes a long way to seeing such an office holder replaced.

The Republican move doesn’t solve all of Rep. Van Drew’s political problems, however. Upon hearing the party switching speculation, venture capitalist David Richter stated that not only is he remaining in the Republican primary to face Van Drew, but he is prepared to spend $1 million of his own money to win the nomination. On the Democratic side, college professor Brigid Callahan Harrison announced that she will run for the party nomination, and others are expected to soon follow her lead. It is clear that Rep. Van Drew will face both a competitive Republican primary and general election to secure a second term.

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Impeachment: First Political Clues

By Jim Ellis

President Donald Trump | whitehouse.gov

Dec. 16, 2019 — As we move toward the impeachment vote in the full House and the impending Senate trial to determine whether President Trump should be removed from office, a great deal of speculation exists about how voters will respond to this situation. A series of early December polls from the most critical swing states gives us a clue.

Firehouse Strategies/Optimus commissioned simultaneous polls within the Dec. 3-5 period in the top swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. As we remember, all of these places gave Trump a small victory margin in 2016. Phoenix-based pollster OH Predictive Insights conducted a poll of the Arizona electorate during the same period. Firehouse found sampling groups numbering between 551 and 610 respondents in the three states. OH used a slightly larger 628 person sample cell in the Grand Canyon State.

Both pollsters tested President Trump in each targeted state against former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and ex-New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

In all instances President Trump led his prospective opponent when individually paired. Since he had been trailing in similar ballot test responses from several previous polls in the Great Lakes States and was about even in Arizona, the change at the height of the impeachment proceedings suggests that he is seeing a net positive early return from the legal attack.

Of course, much could change before the process concludes, but this first data does provide us an interesting political snapshot as it relates to impeachment perceptions. As a rule, general election polling before the parties nominate their presidential candidates is usually irrelevant but, considering the present impeachment overlay, these numbers appear to be significant and particularly so because they are originating from critically important states.

For President Trump to win re-election, he must carry all five of the states in his 2016 coalition that typically vote Republican but have been trending closer to the Democrats since the last presidential election. Those are: Arizona, Georgia, and Texas. Florida and North Carolina are always swing states in virtually every election and will be again in 2020. To win, the president must first carry all of these aforementioned states. If so, he then would need to win just one of the Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin trio in order to yield a bare Electoral College majority.

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Impeachment in the States

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 9, 2019 — The Civiqs polling firm, as covered in the Daily Kos Elections site, has been testing all 50 states regarding impeachment in a national tracking survey that attracted 150,070 online respondents from May 16 through Oct. 6. The latest numbers suggest that 51 percent of those respondents favor impeaching President Trump, while 45 percent oppose. But, it is in the breakdown of the states’ numbers where the true political story is being told.

Looking at the 50 individual states, it is no surprise that the respondents from almost all of the places that voted for Hillary Clinton support impeachment. But at this point, it appears President Trump has the potential of losing some of his coalition states. Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin all are now leaning toward impeachment.

Whether a person would or would not vote for an impeached president is not necessarily indicative about how their state would vote regarding a 2020 national candidate, but it does appear to be a reasonable gauge.

Arizona, a normally reliable Republican state but one that appears to be moving leftward, has 11 electoral votes. The Civiqs poll finds the Arizona respondents supporting impeachment 50-46 percent. The Michigan sample favors the impeachment inquiry, 51-45 percent. The Wolverine State has 18 electoral votes. Wisconsin, with 10 votes, also sees its Civiqs respondents currently favoring impeachment by a tight 49-47 percent margin.

Nevada, a Clinton 2016 state, and Iowa, a Trump state, are in flat ties according to Civiqs’ impeachment track. If the electoral vote count were based upon these results, the presidential election might come down to one state, or could even conceivably evolve into a 269-269 tie.

It is impossible to predict what twists and turns we will see before the impeachment issue is settled, nor can anyone accurate forecast how the electorate will respond. Right now, at least the Civiqs state tracking operation slightly favors the Democratic position on the impeachment question, but most of the margins are tight enough to quickly change.

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