Category Archives: Polling

Florida Poll: Trump Cruising

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Aug. 28, 2023

President

This booking photo provided by Fulton County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office of former President Donald Trump was taken Thursday, Aug. 24 as he was booked at the county jail. He surrendered to face charges of trying to steal the 2020 election in Georgia.

Florida Poll: Trump Cruising — The Victory Polling organization surveyed Gov. Ron DeSantis’ home state of Florida’s electorate (Aug. 21-23; 590 likely Florida Republican primary voters) and delivered bad news for the host politician. The Victory results find former President Donald Trump holding a commanding Sunshine State lead of 59-23 percent over Gov. DeSantis with no other candidate even reaching five percent support. The former president now lives in Florida, having filed a “declaration of domicile” that declared his Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach as his permanent residence in 2019. It will be curious to see if Gov. DeSantis’ strong debate performance begins to change some voters’ allegiance.

Pennsylvania Poll: Getting Closer — Franklin & Marshall College, a Lancaster, PA institution that regularly polls the Keystone State, released their new small-sample Republican statewide survey (Aug. 9-20; 723 PA registered voters; 297 Republican primary voters; live interview) and the results show a tightening presidential field when compared with most other states. While former President Trump still leads the group, his margin is becoming somewhat smaller. The F&M numbers find him commanding 39 percent support as compared to Gov. DeSantis’ 21 percent. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy is third with nine percent, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) pulls six percent, and no other candidate exceeds the five percent threshold.

House

RI-1: Lead Change in New Poll — Apparently, the controversy over Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos’ petition signatures has taken a toll on her approval rating. The previous polling leader has slipped to an upside-down favorability index of 29:44 percent positive to negative. A new Blueprint Polling survey (Aug. 15-17; 451 definite and probable RI-1 special election voters), the source of the Matos approval rating data, finds former state representative and 2018 lieutenant governor candidate Aaron Regunberg now leading the large field of 12 candidates vying for the all-important Democratic primary in this district.

Regunberg tops former Obama and Biden White House aide Gabe Amo, 28-19 percent. Lt. Gov. Matos drops to a virtual tie for third place with state Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Pawtucket) with 11 percent apiece. The special primary is scheduled for Sept. 5. Former Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) resigned in June. Winning the Democratic primary here is tantamount to clinching the Nov. 7 special general.

Governor

Louisiana: Landry, Wilson Look to Advance — Louisiana voters will choose a new governor later this year, and a new Faucheux Associates poll conducted for the Advocate online publication, the Urban League of Louisiana, the Public Affairs Research Council of Baton Rouge, and three Louisiana television stations (Aug. 14-19; 800 likely Louisiana voters; live interview) finds Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) and former LA Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D) developing strong leads to capture the two runoff positions from the upcoming Oct. 14 jungle primary.

Landry attracts 36 percent support as compared to Wilson’s 26 percent. The two are far ahead of the other five candidates, none of whom even reach eight percent support. Should no candidate receive majority support in the Oct. 14 primary, the top two finishers will advance to a Nov. 18 runoff election. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

North Carolina: Retiring Judge May Enter Gov Race — North Carolina state Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan (D) announced that he will resign his seat 16 months prior to his term expiring. Justice Morgan had already said he would not seek another eight-year term on the high court largely because the state imposed age limit on judges would only allow him to serve only half of the next term. No North Carolina judge may serve past the age of 72.

It is now likely that the early resignation means Justice Morgan will enter the Democratic primary for governor and oppose Attorney General Josh Stein, who so far is unchallenged for the party nomination. A Morgan candidacy would create a seriously contested Democratic primary. Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is purportedly the leading GOP candidate. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is ineligible to seek a third term in the 2024 election.

Republicans Debate but Biden Leads

The Fox News Republican debate stage in Milwaukee. / Fox News Photo

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023

President

Republicans Debate: But What About Biden? — While last night’s Republican presidential debate featured a livelier discussion than many expected, a new national poll continues to find that President Joe Biden leads his Republican opposition despite a majority believing he is unfit for the job.

The GOP candidates sans Donald Trump gathered in Milwaukee, debating in the very arena that will host the 2024 Republican National Convention. Post-debate analysis seemed to indicate that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy performed best.

Perhaps the evening’s biggest surprise was who the other candidates attacked and who stood above the fray. Ramaswamy, moving up in the polls to the point where most Republican ballot tests see him in third place if not second, was the participant the others routinely targeted. The harshest attacks came from former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley about his inexperience in the political arena and lack of foreign affairs knowledge, respectively.

While pre-debate predictions suggested that Gov. DeSantis would be under heavy attack, no one launched any verbal assault in his direction.

Yesterday, a new YouGov survey for the Economist publication was released. The international online pollster regularly polls for the Economist, featuring long and largely issue-based questionnaires.

This particular survey (Aug. 19-22; 1,500 US adults; 1,309 registered voters; online) again produces a familiar response pattern. President Biden scores poorly, but still leads the tested Republicans in general election ballot tests.

Overall, the Biden job approval ratio is 41:54 percent favorable to unfavorable. Pertaining to isolated issues, the president fails to score in positive territory on any tested question.

He records a 40:51 percent positive to negative ratios on jobs and the economy; 31:58 percent on immigration; 38:49 percent for his handling of foreign policy; 41:47 percent concerning national security; 40:45 percent in relation to education; 33:52 percent on crime; 32:49 percent about criminal justice reform; and 33:59 percent regarding inflation.

Yet, turning to a straight ballot test question when individually paired with former President Trump and Gov. DeSantis, the respondents still favor Biden for re-election.

In a YouGov national survey conducted just before the one analyzed above (Aug. 17-21; 1,665 US adults; 1,115 registered voters; online) the president scores a 47-41 percent split opposite Trump and posts a 45-40 percent lead over Gov. DeSantis.

This is consistent with the aforementioned survey that finds 44 percent of those respondents saying they would vote for the Democratic candidate and 40 percent for the eventual Republican nominee. On the generic congressional vote, the results are similar with 45 percent choosing the Democratic congressional candidate while 42 percent would support the Republican.

The presidential ballot test numbers are somewhat astonishing in that just 50 percent of questioned Democrats and Independents say they want to see President Biden renominated and only 26 percent of the entire polling sample believes Biden is “fit to serve another term as president.”

Furthermore, of those who feel the president is unfit for another four year term, 34.4 percent say he is “incompetent,” 27.6 percent believe he is “too old,” and 20.7 percent label him as “corrupt.”

Yet, with these negative impressions, a strong majority of Democrats and Independents (69 percent) would vote to renominate him in the party primary, and he records an average 5.5 percentage point edge over the two leading Republican nomination candidates.

These numbers, which are consistent when perusing various polls, suggest that the Republicans must develop a more compelling message if they hope to overcome the president’s current re-election advantage. This, despite majorities from the representative samples expressing negative opinions of the current incumbent’s performance.

Ramaswamy Rises in Polling; Rep. Slotkin Struggles for Recognition; Rep. Ilhan Omar Draws Opponent; Republican Withdraws in Ohio Race

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023

President

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy gets a polling boost. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Ramaswamy: Fourth Poll Sees Presidential Candidate Moving to Top Tier — Late last week we reported on three separate Republican primary surveys that placed businessman Vivek Ramaswamy in either third or even second place in national Republican presidential polling and crossing the double digit threshold in each. Now, Emerson College arrives at a similar conclusion to those of Fox News, CBS News, and RMG Research.

Their poll (Aug. 16-17; 1,000 registered US voters; multiple sampling techniques), surveying the self-identified Republicans, shows former President Donald Trump again topping the field with 56 percent, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Ramaswamy each post 10 percent support figures. When compared to Emerson’s June national poll, Gov. DeSantis has dropped 11 percentage points and Ramaswamy has gained eight.

Senate

Michigan: New Poll; Similar Close Result: Regular Michigan media pollster EPIC-MRA went into the field to test a potential open Michigan Senate general election between US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) and former seven-term US Congressman Mike Rogers (R). The poll (Aug. 6-11; 600 likely Michigan voters; live interview) sees Rep. Slotkin leading Rogers, 42-37 percent, which is similar to Emerson College’s Michigan poll (Aug. 1-2; 1,121 registered Michigan voters; multiple sampling techniques) that found a 44-38 percent ballot test between the pair.

Both candidates are relatively unfamiliar to the statewide respondent sample. A total of 54 percent of poll respondents said they did not recognize Rep. Slotkin, and 72 percent responded in the same way when asked about Rogers. Rogers left office at the beginning of 2015. Slotkin was first elected to the House in 2018.

House

MN-5: Rep. Omar Draws Dem Primary Challenge — Attorney and non-profit organization founder Sarah Gad (D), who overcame opioid addiction to attend law school and pass the bar, becomes the first individual to enter the 2024 Minnesota Democratic primary against controversial three-term Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis).

In 2022, Rep. Omar found herself in a very tight primary campaign, outlasting former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels by just a 50.3 – 48.2 percent margin, a difference of 2,466 votes of 114,567 ballots cast. It’s likely that others, possibly including Samuels, will enter what should be another competitive Democratic primary race.

OH-13: Republican Gilbert Withdraws — Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R), who lost the open Akron anchored 13th Congressional District race to now-freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) last November, announced that she will end her abbreviated 2024 rematch campaign and will instead serve as a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.

The 13th District, which the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+2, is competitive and we can expect Republicans to again put forth a strong challenge effort. Currently in the GOP race are Greg Wheeler, who finished second in the 2022 GOP congressional primary and Hudson City Councilman Chris Banweg. Former Ohio Republican Party chair and 2022 US Senate candidate Jane Timken indicates she is considering entering this contest.

Ramaswamy Advances in Polling; Romney Support Dips in Utah;
Rep. Boebert’s Colorado Challenge; Significant Candidate Lead in NH

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

President

Vivek Ramaswamy (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Vivek Ramaswamy: Major Move in National Polls — Three new national Republican primary surveys find businessman Vivek Ramaswamy moving into the top tier within the large field of presidential candidates. The Fox News Poll (Aug. 11-14; 1,002 registered US voters; live interview) and the Quinnipiac University national surveys (Aug. 11-14; 1,632 self-identified US registered voters; 681 Republican and Republican leaning voters; 666 Democratic and Democratic leaning primary voters; live interview) project Ramaswamy as placing third behind former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The RMG Research survey finds Ramaswamy doing even better. In their latest poll (Aug. 11-14; 1,000 registered US voters; 229 likely Republican primary voters), though with a very small national GOP sample, Ramaswamy moves into second place with 13 percent compared to Gov. DeSantis’ 8 percent. Former President Trump tops the RMG poll with a whopping 60 percent support figure.

Senate

Utah: Sen. Romney at 30 percent in New GOP Poll — A Noble Predictive Insights survey conducted a month ago but just released just late last week (July 7-18; 598 registered Utah voters; 301 likely Republican primary voters; online) finds Utah Sen. Mitt Romney drawing only 30 percent support among a respondent sample of his own Republican primary voters.

Despite the low preference number, Sen. Romney leads a group of potential GOP opponents. Closest to him is Attorney General Sean Reyes, an unannounced Senate candidate, who posted 13 percent support. The two official candidates, state House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) and Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs posted five and three percent, respectively. When asked of the entire sample whether they believe Sen. Romney should run for re-election, 39 percent answered yes, while 44 percent replied with a negative response.

House

CO-3: Rep. Boebert’s Republican Challenge — Saying he’s “… not interested in becoming a social media celebrity … I’m interested in helping families and helping businesses and helping communities,” attorney Jeff Hurd entered Colorado’s 3rd District Republican primary hoping to deny two-term incumbent Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) renomination. In 2022, then-state Sen. Don Coram challenged her in the party primary but received only 34 percent of the Republican vote.

Should Rep. Boebert win renomination, she will again face a difficult general election against Democrat Adam Frisch who came within 546 votes of unseating her in the 2022 general election. This, despite the FiveThirtyEight data organization rating CO-3 as R+15.

Governor

New Hampshire: Significant Open Primary Polling Leads — Earlier in the week, we covered an Emerson College survey (Aug. 9-11; 837 registered New Hampshire voters; interactive voice response system, text & online) that posted former US Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) to substantial leads over two strong Democratic contenders. Now, we see the primary numbers from this same poll.

According to Emerson, Ayotte would not only lead in the general election, but she opens a definitive edge over who will likely be her chief Republican opponent, former state Senate President Chuck Morse. The initial ballot test finds Ayotte leading Morse, 45-9 percent. On the Democratic side, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig is staked to a strong 52-15 percent advantage over Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is retiring after serving what will be four consecutive terms when his tenure expires at the beginning of 2025.

No Labels Qualifies in 10 States

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Aug. 18, 2023

President

No Labels Party: Growing in Influence — The No Labels Party, under attack for not releasing their donors’ identities despite raising huge sums of money, has now qualified for the ballot in several more states.

The North Carolina Board of Elections, with four of the five members in favor of No Labels, certified them for a 2024 ballot position, becoming the tenth state to recognize the entity. North Carolina joins Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, and Utah as domains granting the minor party a ballot line.

Though the current aggregate number of qualified states represents only one fifth of the total number of states, No Labels can already have a major effect upon the presidential election outcome. Alaska, with their new Ranked Choice Voting system, Arizona, Nevada, and North Carolina, are among the small group of swing states that will largely determine the next general election result.

While former President Donald Trump carried Alaska by double-digits in both of his elections, his percentage was only 52.8 percent in 2020 and 51.3 percent in 2016. In a state that already draws a large number of independent and minor party voters, seeing a No Labels candidate force Trump or another eventual Republican nominee below the 50 percent majority figure is a distinct possibility.

As we have seen in previous Ranked Choice Alaska elections, the Democratic candidate has a strong chance of winning in the extra rounds.

The Arizona election was decided by just 10,447 votes. Nevada came down to less than two-and-a-half percentage points, and North Carolina’s final 2020 presidential vote was decided by a margin of less than 1.5 percent.

Therefore, a prominent No Labels Party candidate could clearly tip the balance of power in these critical swing states from one candidate to the other, particularly with as high as 40 percent of the voting public identifying as Independent according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization’s research.

If No Labels decides to field a presidential candidate, and they will formally do so at their national party meeting in Dallas on April 14-15 next year, it is clear they will choose someone who is already well known. If they attempt to be a deciding factor, the No Labels effort stands to earn success. If they have the far-reaching goal of winning the presidential race, then this group is likely to go the way of most other small political entities that usually find themselves falling apart after a short shelf life, figuratively speaking.

There is a great deal of controversy over which of the two major candidates, assuming a Biden-Trump 2024 general election, a No Labels Party candidate would hurt the most. We are seeing in current polling that Dr. Cornel West, running on the Green Party ticket, draws about four percent vote preference, and that largely comes from President Joe Biden’s vote pool. It is doubtful that a No Labels Party candidate would garner votes in the same manner, however.

Many on the left believe such a presence on major general election ballots would hurt Biden much more than Trump. Such a theory suggests the number of detracted votes could be enough to either throw the election to the former president or send a disputed outcome where neither party candidate receives 270 electoral votes to the House of Representatives.

Looking at this bipartisan political entity’s Republican composition, it is difficult to see any Trump supporters within the group. For example, the national co-chairman, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), and one of their chief political strategists, longtime national Republican consultant Charlie Black, are closer to the Never Trump movement rather than the Trump coalition.

Therefore, to see a scenario where No Labels chooses a candidate who would take enough votes away from Biden to help Trump win the national election is unrealistic and a misinterpretation of the involved GOP personnel’s intentions.

It is far more likely that the No Labels entity will choose a candidate, if they field one at all, who takes Republican suburban votes away from Trump in places like Anchorage, Atlanta, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Raleigh. Therefore, their ultimate candidate selection is much more likely to help the current president rather than the former.

Unusual NH Presidential Poll; Republican Primary Developing in Montana; VA-7 Candidates Coming Forward; NH Governor News

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023

President

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

New Hampshire: New Poll; Unique Info — The new Emerson College survey (Aug. 9-11; 837 registered New Hampshire voters; interactive voice response system, text & online) provides new information not seen in any other similar study.

For example, the results find:

  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie moving into second place
  • No candidate but former President Donald Trump landing in double digits
  • Cornel West’s influence level is confirmed at four percent, which appears to come from President Joe Biden’s vote pool
  • Businessman Perry Johnson attracting enough support to be recorded on a poll
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence flirting with last place

It remains to be seen if this survey is an outlier, or if new trends are forming.

House

MT-2: Republican Primary Developing — We reported that Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen (R) filed a congressional exploratory committee in anticipation that Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) will run for the Senate. Now we see State Auditor Troy Downing (R) doing the same.

Both qualify that their interest in the 2nd District seat is present only if Rep. Rosendale foregoes re-election and formally enters the Senate race. Downing has run for Congress before. He entered the 2018 US Senate primary and placed third with 19.1 percent of the vote. Rosendale won the nomination with 33.8 percent, and then lost 50-47 percent to Sen. Jon Tester (D) in the associated general election.

VA-7: GOP Candidates Coming Forward — Political speculation suggesting that Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) will not seek re-election in order to prepare for a 2025 open governor’s race has already encouraged potential Republican candidates to come forward. Several are now testing the political waters for a 2024 run in the politically marginal 7th Congressional District.

Two military veterans — retired Navy SEAL and defense contractor Cameron Hamilton and Iraq War veteran Jon Myers, a retired Marine Corps officer — have both filed congressional campaign committees with the Federal Election Commission. Business consultant Bill Moher and Army veteran Shaliek Tarpley are previously announced Republican candidates.

Should Rep. Spanberger retire, we can expect a very crowded Republican and Democratic primary season. Republicans will likely hold either a nominating convention or what they term as a “firehouse primary” (where only a few polling places are open throughout the sprawling district), while Democrats typically hold a traditional primary. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates VA-7 as a highly competitive D+2.

Governor

New Hampshire: Ayotte Leads in Early Poll — Former US Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) is starting her campaign for governor with a lead according to a new Emerson College poll (Aug. 9-11; 837 registered New Hampshire voters; interactive voice response system, text & online). According to the results, Ayotte would lead Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig (D) 46-37 percent, and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington (D) by a larger 47-34 percent span.

The poll did not test the Republican primary. At this point, former state Senate president and 2022 US Senate candidate Chuck Morse is opposing Ayotte for the Republican nomination and others are expected to enter. Incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is not seeking a fifth term.

Senate Primaries Forming – Part II

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Aug. 14, 2023

Senate

Sen. Pete Ricketts (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Senate Races: Balance of Power — We conclude our look into the critical Senate primary campaigns by previewing the states alphabetically from Nebraska to Wisconsin. (See Friday’s post:
Senate Primaries Forming — Part 1.)

• Nebraska: Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R) resignation earlier this year led to former Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) being appointed to the seat. The new senator must now run in a special election to fill the balance of the term, and then again in 2026 for a full six-year stint. Sen. Ricketts has already announced that he will run in both elections.

Republicans are safe here in the general election; thus, the primary could become the competitive race. So far, no major challenger has come forward, though rancher Chuck Herbster, who placed only second in the 2022 governor’s primary despite having a Donald Trump endorsement, remains a potential candidate.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R), on the ballot for the regular term, has no opposition to date in either the primary or general elections. Nebraskans will choose their nominees on May 14, 2024.

• Nevada: Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) is on the ballot for a second term, and the Republican primary is now becoming crowded. Sam Brown, a disabled Afghan War veteran, is the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s choice and should be viewed as the leading candidate.

Earlier this week, former ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter and retired Air Force officer and director of the Reno Air Aces, Tony Grady, entered the race and could make the Republican primary interesting. The Nevada general election contest could well become a top-tier challenge race. The Silver State primary is scheduled for June 11, 2024.

• Ohio: One of the top three Republican conversion opportunities is the Ohio race featuring Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D) run for a fourth term. Republicans have three major contenders: Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state senator and 2022 US Senate candidate Matt Dolan, and businessman Bernie Moreno.

Early polling gives LaRose, who has won a statewide campaign, the advantage. Sen. Dolan, in his 2022 race, came on strong at the end and finished within one percentage point of second place. Moreno, who was also in the 2022 Senate race but withdrew before voting began, has earned Ohio junior Sen. J.D. Vance’s (R) endorsement.

Regardless of who wins the Republican primary, the Buckeye State Senate campaign will remain a top-tier challenge race. The Ohio primary will occur on March 19, 2024.

• Pennsylvania: Little is occurring in the GOP nomination race as Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) rallies his supporters in a quest for a fourth term.

Republicans are confident that 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick (R) will enter the race, and the primary appears his for the taking. McCormick lost the 2022 Republican campaign to Dr. Mehmet Oz by just 950 votes statewide. Assuming he returns, McCormick will begin the general election contest as a decided underdog to Sen. Casey. The Pennsylvania primary will be conducted on April 23, 2024.

• Texas: The Lone Star State Senate contest appears to be the Democrats only shot at developing a competitive challenge race. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is on the ballot for a third term and must be considered a clear favorite in a state where Democrats still have not won a major statewide campaign in decades. In a presidential year, their task becomes even harder.

The Democratic leadership is backing US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas), but he faces a serious challenge from state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio). The senator is the top gun control advocate in the legislature and much closer to the party’s progressive left base than is Rep. Allred.

Additionally, Texas state Senate seats are bigger than congressional districts, so Gutierrez actually represents 150,000 more people than does Rep. Allred.

Allred has raised more than $6 million since his announcement, but now must spend that and more just to win the party nomination. Sen. Cruz will use the primary to force both men further to the left on energy issues, which are so critical to the Texas economy. The Lone Star primary will be held on Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

• Utah: The big question lingering in the Beehive State is whether Sen. Mitt Romney (R) will run for a second term. The senator says he will make a decision in the fall. If he does run, Romney faces a competitive Republican primary challenge, likely from state House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville).

Sen. Romney has little chance of winning the state nominating convention, so to qualify for the ballot he will need to recruit 28,000 valid petition signatures from around the state. This process would allow him to bypass the party structure and go directly to the primary ballot.

Republicans will hold the seat in the general election, but the political drama comes in the Republican primary where it is not inconceivable that Sen. Romney could lose. The nomination will be decided on June 25, 2024.

• West Virginia: Sen. Joe Manchin (D) continues to waver about seeking re-election. He is again making statements that he could become an Independent or run for president as a minor party nominee. Regardless of his decision, the West Virginia race is the Republicans’ best conversion opportunity. Gov. Jim Justice (R) is an announced candidate in the Republican primary and faces US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town).

The winner, likely Gov. Justice, will be considered the favorite for the general election in what has been former President Donald Trump’s second-best state in the nation during both his 2016 and 2020 election campaigns. With the Club for Growth willing to spend millions to help Mooney from the outside, the Republican primary will be more competitive than one might believe at first glance. The victory odds, however, still favor Gov. Justice. The Republican nomination will be settled on May 14, 2024.

• Wisconsin: The Badger State race is the Republicans’ biggest disappointment to date in terms of candidate recruitment. No one has yet come forward to challenge two-term Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D), and it’s possible that she could run without a serious challenge in what is typically a close state.

Should the congressional districts be redrawn, it is possible that Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) will find that entering the Senate race is his best political option. He would be the Republicans’ strongest contender. The Wisconsin primary is not until Aug. 6, 2024, so time remains for Republicans to right their political ship.