Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has decided not to enter this year’s gubernatorial campaign as an Independent candidate. In an email communication sent to his supporters that sounded very similar to one he sent on Feb. 28, Bolling indicated that his decision not to run largely revolved around the ability to raise enough money to run a “winning” campaign for Virginia governor, in addition to his distaste for what he terms the “rigid ideology” of today’s modern politics.
“In many ways I fear that the ‘Virginia way’ of doing things is rapidly being replaced by the ‘Washington way’ of doing things and that’s not good for Virginia. As a result, the political process has become much more ideologically driven, hyper-partisan and mean-spirited. Rigid ideologies and personal political agendas are too often placed ahead of sound public policy and legitimate policy disagreements too quickly degenerate into unwarranted personal attacks. This makes it more difficult to govern effectively and get things done,” Bolling wrote as part of his message.
The development should result as a big plus for consensus Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general. Though polling generally indicated that Bolling’s entry really didn’t move the race dramatically toward presumed Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, over the course of the campaign that would likely have been the result. Without Bolling in the race trying to chip away moderate Republican support from Cuccinelli, the attorney general will have a better chance of unifying his party’s support for the general election campaign.
Polling has shown that the McAuliffe-Cuccinelli race begins as a dead heat and there is a good chance that the campaign will remain in such a mode all the way through Election Day.
Public Policy Polling just released its new survey of the Michigan electorate (March 2-4; 702 registered Michigan voters) and, after showing Gov. Rick Snyder (R) with poor job approval ratings (a 37:54 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio), the survey shows Detroit Congressman Gary Peters (D-MI-14) to be the Democrat with the best potential to unseat the one-term incumbent. According to their data, Peters would lead Snyder 44-37 percent in a hypothetical ballot test question. At the current time, no challenger from either party has announced an official campaign for governor.
When paired with the man he beat 58-40 percent in 2010, Gov. Snyder trails Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero 38-43 percent. Finally, against former Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI-7), who was defeated in 2010 after serving one term in office, the potential challenger leads this ballot test, too, but by a smaller 40-36 percent.
Though these numbers clearly show that Snyder has political weakness, he is far from moribund status for next year’s re-election contest. Single-digit leads change frequently, and polling more than 19 months from the election doesn’t mean a great deal. Still — and even more so when considering Michigan’s voting history — the numbers do yield trends and they reasonably tell us to expect a competitive statewide campaign in 2014.
Though Snyder’s job approval is poor, such a conclusion must also be qualified. PPP tends to poll this question in a way that typically registers negative job approval responses for almost every public official. Even here, the very Democratic potential candidates who lead Snyder in their latest poll, also produce upside down favorability ratings about themselves.
Bernero scores a 20:26 percent ratio when asked if the respondents have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him. This result is actually a bit worse than the spread Continue reading >
Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) still says he’s deciding whether to run as an Independent for governor but a communication to previous political supporters “seeking [their] advice” clearly indicates a preference to join the battle. Bolling was originally planning to challenge Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the Republican primary but, when the voting format was changed to a statewide convention, it became clear even to Bolling that he had little chance of prevailing.
Upset at being dashed by the Republican brass for a second time (four years ago Bolling stepped aside so that then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell could run for governor, with assurances that he would be next in line come 2013) he started publicly contemplating about running in the general election as a third candidate. He states that he would enter the race as an “Independent Republican” and it is clear to him “… that there is a great deal of uneasiness about the candidates the two major political parties appear poised to nominate, and a lot of people in our state are looking for a better option.”
Bolling also released his internally commissioned McLaughlin & Associates poll (released Feb. 26; 400 registered Virginia voters) that shows an overwhelming number of people would consider voting for an Independent candidate, but one that also projects him to be faring poorly against Cuccinelli and consensus Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe.
According to the McLaughlin data, Bolling enjoys a 44:11 percent favorability index. This compares to Cuccinelli’s 41:27 percent, and McAuliffe’s rather poor 25:22 percent ratio. In his analysis, chief pollster John McLaughlin then points to results saying that 67 percent of the survey sample would consider voting for an “Independent candidate running for governor.” Continue reading >
Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) announced yesterday that he will not seek the open Iowa Senate seat next year. His decision is not particularly surprising. Iowa insiders had been indicating for more than a week that the 10-term congressman was leaning against launching a statewide bid.
In publicizing his decision, Latham indicated that he had just been re-elected to the House in a much different post-redistricting CD — in fact, 83 percent of the constituents are new to him — and a two-year statewide campaign would take him away from properly fulfilling his current responsibilities.
Politically, though he was commonly seen as the best general election candidate the Republicans could field, he faced a major obstacle in the GOP primary. Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4), fresh from his own convincing re-election victory over a strong and well-known Democratic opponent, commands the inside track to the Senate nomination. King is backed with vigorous Tea Party support and enjoys strong grassroots presence for his Republican nomination campaign, which are major factors.
Late January and early February polling provided us a quick glimpse into how the Continue reading >
A new Public Policy Polling survey (Feb. 15-17; 1,011 registered Montana voters; 371 “usual” Democratic primary voters) shows clear vulnerability for Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). The senator, first elected in 1978, is preparing a run for a seventh term next year. Prior to his service in the Senate, Baucus spent four years in the US House of Representatives.
While the senator’s numbers aren’t particularly strong, he fares much worse against individuals unlikely to challenge him. Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), who has repeatedly said he has no intention of running for the Senate, compares very well to Baucus if he were to oppose him in the Democratic primary. According to the survey results, the ex-two-term governor would bury the veteran federal incumbent 54-35 percent. Schweitzer’s personal favorability index registers a strong 56:37 percent positive to negative. In contrast, Sen. Baucus’ job approval ratio is an upside down 45:48 percent.
Three Republicans are highly competitive with the senator, but at least two of them won’t become candidates. Former Gov. Marc Racicot (R) leads Baucus 47-42 percent. Freshman Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-AL) enjoys a 49-44 percent margin over the incumbent. Newly elected Attorney General Tim Fox (R) trails Baucus only 43-46 percent.
When paired individually against the two Republicans who have announced a campaign for the Senate — ex-state Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton and state Rep. Champ Edmunds — Sen. Baucus re-establishes healthy leads. He tops Stapleton 45-38 percent, while posting a full 10-point advantage over Edmunds, 47-37 percent. Continue reading >