Category Archives: Polling

Intriguing “Real Clear” Projections Show the GOP Winning the Senate

To see this map and the data behind it, visit Real Clear Politics (RCP).

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022

Senate

How Republicans Look to Claim Senate Majority — The Real Clear Politics (RCP) data group released their updated US Senate projections, and their formula suggests that Republicans will claim a surprising 53-47 majority.

Such a projection seems to cut against most of the data we currently see, and, in at least three cases, their win projection is opposite of what their own current Real Clear Politics formula shows.

The crux of their predictions lies in a field entitled “Polls Underestimated,” which factors in an average under-poll for one party or the other. In the 10 Senate races they isolated, Republicans are the under-polled party in most but not all of the targeted campaigns.

Utah, Alaska, Iowa, Washington — The two competitive Senate races not included were first, Utah, where they list Sen. Mike Lee (R) as a “likely” winner, though polling generally shows his race with Independent Evan McMullin falling to within single digits. The second is Alaska, which is excluded because the contest is evolving into a race between two Republicans; hence, the seat is not a factor in determining the overall Senate majority. Also, the race between Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) and retired Navy Adm. Michael Franken (D) is also not included, but Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) battle against Republican Tiffany Smiley in Washington is added.

As mentioned above, in three of the races the RCP prognosticators are expecting a turnaround since their own current data is suggesting an opposite result.

Nevada — The RCP current polling projection in the Silver State suggests that Republican former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt holds a slight 0.8 percent lead over Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D). Here, RCP estimates that Democrats under-poll in Nevada by one percentage point. This should leave Sen. Cortez Masto with a 0.2 percent edge, but the table shows Laxalt holding such a lead. This appears to be an error. In any event, their final prediction shows a Laxalt victory, which is reasonable.

Arizona — A state away, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) currently holds an RCP polling lead of 2.5 percentage points over Republican opponent Blake Masters. A Republican under-poll of 1.6 is factored from results during the last three election cycles, which reduces the senator’s advantage to 0.9 percent. In 2020, a total of 21 polls were conducted of the Kelly-Martha McSally Senate race, and Kelly’s average margin was 6.6 points, yet he won only 51-49 percent. Therefore, concluding a Republican under-poll exists in Arizona is reasonable. In this situation, while their model finds Sen. Kelly leading today, RCP predicts a Republican victory for venture capitalist Masters.

Georgia — The other conclusion that is perhaps inconsistent is their prediction for the Georgia Senate race. Showing Republican Herschel Walker with a 1.1 percentage point edge after an under-poll factor of 1.4 is added to the Republican column leads the RCP final prediction that Walker and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) would be forced into a post-election runoff on Dec. 6. Yet, in the overall count, Georgia is counted in the Republican column. Though not stated, RCP must be predicting that Walker would win the runoff election.

Under Georgia law, as we will remember from 2020, a candidate must receive majority support to win the general election. On the ballot with Sen. Warnock and Walker is Georgia Libertarian Party chairman Chase Oliver. If Warnock and Walker split the vote to where both candidates post in the neighborhood of the 48-49 percent number, then a few points going to Oliver could send the two major party nominees into a Dec. 6 secondary election with Oliver being eliminated from the mix. Thus, we will see more even intrigue on election night coming from the Peach State.

Pennsylvania — RCP is also predicting victory for two candidates who their model suggests are currently behind but who flip after adding the under-poll factor. In Pennsylvania, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is running ahead by 1.3 percentage points according to the current RCP survey average. Adding a 3.9 percent Republican under-poll to the aggregate gives Dr. Mehmet Oz a 2.6 percent adjusted lead. RCP predicts a Dr. Oz victory on Nov. 8.

New Hampshire — The race between Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) and retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R) has tightened. The RCP average sees a Hassan lead of 3.6 percent but adding a large 5.4 New Hampshire Republican under-poll actually gives Gen. Bolduc a 1.8 percent edge. Still, RCP predicts a Hassan Democratic victory on Election Day.

Other Wins — Finally, the Real Clear Politics data team predicts Republicans to win the Senate races in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin, with Democrats holding Washington.

Added up, these numbers result in a 53-47 Republican majority. Possible? Yes. Likely? No.

First Early Vote Report; NY Judge Nixes Pre-Election Absentee Ballot Counting, Zeldin Gains Momentum; Grassley’s Lead More Comfortable

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022

Voting

Target Smart: First Early Vote Report — The Target Smart data organization has released their first major report highlighting the earliest of early voting figures (through Oct. 19). Though the pre-election ballot casting cycle still has multiple days remaining for the 45 states that employ some form of an early voting procedure, we already see turnout figures very similar to the 2020 partisan voting pattern.

In the Senate battleground states, Target Smart has recorded over 2.7 million ballots already cast. This is just under one-third the number of people who voted early in these states back in 2020 and already a half-million more than the total early votes cast in the 2018 midterm.

At this point, it appears that the partisan early vote complexion nationally and in the battleground states is similar to what we saw unfold in 2020. Therefore, if Republicans are headed for a significant bump in this midterm turnout, it is not yet evident from the preliminary early voting reports.

New York: Judge Strikes Down Absentee Ballot Pre-Election Counting — New York is already one of the slowest ballot counting states, and a judicial ruling rendered on Friday will likely lead to an even slower count. The legislature and governor had enacted a law that allowed election officials to count the received absentee ballots before the election with the caveat that no results were released. The judicial ruling struck down this new law, saying such a process is unconstitutional under New York law. Therefore, we can count on not receiving final returns until some six weeks post-election day.

Senate

Iowa: Sen. Grassley’s More Comfortable Lead — On the heels of the Des Moines Register/ Selzer & Company poll (Oct. 9-12; 620 likely Iowa voters) that found Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) holding only a three-point lead over retired Navy Adm. Michael Franken (D), The Tarrance Group followed with their own study. This poll (Oct. 15-19; 600 likely Iowa general election voters; live interview) restores the senator to a double-digit lead, 53-42 percent. Still, this is a competitive contest and a race to watch in this election cycle’s final days.

Washington: Big Conflict — Once again, we see two polling firms testing at exactly the same time in the same Senate race (Oct. 19-20) but arriving at radically different conclusions. Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute (782 likely Washington voters; live interview & text) sees Sen. Patty Murray (D) topping Republican Tiffany Smiley, 52-42 percent, which is consistent with most other surveys and the Aug. 2 jungle primary vote (Murray 54-Smiley 32 percent). Conversely, the co/efficient firm (1,181 likely Washington voters; live interview & text) sees only a three-point margin between the two candidates, 48-45 percent, in the senator’s favor.

Survey USA was also in the field during the similar period (Oct. 14-19; 589 likely Washington voters; online) and they split the difference between PPP and co/efficient. S-USA returned a 49-41 percent Murray advantage. Though this race has several times touched upon competitiveness, the jungle primary and Washington voter history again suggests an impending victory for Sen. Murray.

Governor

New York: Rep. Zeldin Takes Lead — The last week has brought new data regarding the New York governor’s race. Several pollsters are suggesting that US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) is gaining momentum against Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). The co/efficient firm (Oct. 18-19; 1,056 likely New York general election voters; live interview & text) reports their ballot test showing, for the first time, Rep. Zeldin taking a one-point, 46-45 percent, lead.

The five previously released October polls saw Rep. Zeldin trailing by 8 (Marist College), 6 (Schoen Cooperman Research), 11 (Siena College), 4 (Quinnipiac University), and 6 points (Survey USA). Now, co/efficient takes him to a one-point edge. It appears that the New York governor’s race is heading toward an interesting conclusion.

Nevada Electorate Trending to Laxalt, GOP in General; Budd Edging Beasley in NC; CO-8 Race Tight; Oregon’s Gubernatorial Race Leaning Towards Drazan

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 24, 2022

Senate

Former Nevada Attorney General and current Senate candidate, Adam Laxalt (R)

Nevada: Trending Laxalt — The latest CBS News/YouGov poll (Oct. 14-19; 1,057 likely Nevada general election voters; online panels) finds former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) regaining a one point lead, 49-48 percent, over Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) in the race now featured as the most likely Democratic seat that potentially flips to the GOP. The CBS/YouGov poll marks the eighth of the most recent nine polls projecting Laxalt to a small lead. Considering there is likely a Republican undercount, chances are good that Laxalt’s edge is slightly larger.

The YouGov pollsters also tested the state’s tight governor’s race. There, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) are tied at 48 percent. Nevada becomes a critical state in determining the Senate majority along with deciding a key governor’s race. The state also features three lean Democratic seats in Las Vegas, all of which are competitive and each has some chance of flipping to the GOP, as well.

North Carolina: Budd’s Breathing Room — The new Trafalgar Group poll is following the East Carolina University survey that projected breathing room for US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) in his open-seat Senate race against former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D). The Trafalgar data (Oct. 16-19; 1,081 likely North Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) gives Budd a 48-44 percent lead over Beasley. A few days earlier, the ECU data projected a 50-44 percent Budd margin.

Until these pollsters detected a swing toward Budd, the two candidates had been tied or separated by one percentage point in the last six consecutive polls from six unique pollsters. Though the race is still rated a toss-up, a break toward Budd could be forming.

House

CO-8: As Tight as Predicted — Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District that stretches from the Denver suburbs north to the city of Greeley was drawn to be a hotly contested CD. A new Global Strategy Group survey for the Yadira Caraveo (D) campaign (Oct. 11-16; 600 likely CO-8 general election voters; live interview) finds Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R-Weld County) claiming a two-point, 46-44 percent, edge over Caraveo a Democratic state representative from Adams County.

The race margin hasn’t changed since Global Strategy Group’s released August poll that also found Kirkmeyer holding a two point advantage. Expect this contest to go down to the wire.

Governor

Oregon: Drazan Still Holding Top Spot — The three-way Oregon gubernatorial campaign, featuring strong Independent candidate Betsy Johnson, who served as a Democrat in the state legislature for 20 years, is one of the nation’s most interesting campaigns. More race data is now available as a Hoffman Research Group survey (Oct. 17-18; 684 likely Oregon general election voters; live interview) produces a result that continues to post Republican Christine Drazan, the former state House Minority Leader, to a two-point, 37-35 percent lead over ex-state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) with Independent Johnson dropping to 17 percent support.

The negative campaign ads have taken their toll on all of the candidates. Drazan fares best of the three contenders with a favorability index of just 35:32 percent favorable to unfavorable. Kotek is upside-down at 31:43 percent, while Johnson posts a 23:32 percent ratio. If successful in the three-way race that features no runoff election, Drazan would become the state’s first Republican governor since Victor Atiyeh left office in January of 1987.

Lake Leads in Arizona Poll, Masters Closes In; Illinois Gov. Pritzker’s Lead Shrinks; Identical Poll Results Show Dixon Closing on Gov. Whitmer

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Oct. 21, 2022

Senate

Former newscaster Kari Lake (R) now running as the open gubernatorial race leader over Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D).

Arizona: More GOP Movement — The Trafalgar Group is reporting on their latest Arizona survey (Oct. 16-17; 1,078 likely Arizona general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) that finds venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) pulling to within one point of Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly (D), 47-46 percent. This race is closing and the Trafalgar poll is not an outlier. Since Oct. 10, four research studies have shown chronological deficits for Masters of only 3, 4, 2, and now 1 percentage point.

Additionally, Trafalgar finds former newscaster Kari Lake (R) now running as the open gubernatorial race leader over Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D). In this poll, Lake carries a 49-46 percent edge, again consistent with recent trends that other pollsters also detect.

House

OH-1: Rep. Chabot Drops Behind — Despite state legislative Republicans drawing the congressional map, veteran GOP Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati), due to political changes within the Queen City, saw his new district become more Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight organization rates the new OH-1 as D+3, which is the exact margin a new Impact Research internal poll revealed.

The IR survey, conducted for the Greg Landsman (D) campaign (Oct. 13-16; 504 likely OH-1 general election voters; live interview & text), posts the Cincinnati City councilman to a 49-46 percent lead over Rep. Chabot. While the turnout model may provide a different result than what this poll finds, we can count on a close result coming here in November.

Governor

Illinois: Likely an Outlier — An Osage Research survey (Oct. 13-15; 600 likely Illinois general election voters; live interview) reports a ballot test that posts Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) to only a 44-42 percent lead over state Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) with a right and wrong track result trending 35:56 percent in the downward direction. The ballot test is likely an outlier because the previous six polls, taken during the months of September and October, give Gov. Pritzker an average lead of 13 percentage points. This, however, is yet another piece of survey research showing a resurgence around the country for GOP candidates.

Michigan: Exact Polling — It’s rare to see two pollsters in the field at the same time producing a duplicate result. That’s what we have seen in the Michigan governor’s race, however. Emerson College and the Cygnal research firm surveyed the Wolverine State electorate over the same Oct. 12-14 period, and both found Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer leading Republican nominee Tudor Dixon by a 49-44 percent count. This represents one of the closest results we’ve seen for this race and is more credible since two independent pollsters each detected the identical result.

Oz Closing the Gap in PA; MN-2 a Bellweather for House Majority; Split Georgia Vote May Be Developing; Zeldin Closes in on Hochul in NY

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania Senate Republican candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, the television doctor

Pennsylvania: Oz Closing the Gap — The AARP polling series that Republican pollster Fabrizio Ward and the Democratic data firm Impact Research jointly conduct again tested the Pennsylvania electorate. Their new poll (Oct. 4-12; 1,400 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; live interview & text) projects Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) as having only a 48-46 percent lead over Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, the television doctor. Previously, the AARP poll June poll found Fetterman holding a larger six-point advantage.

Within the same period, The Trafalgar Group also ran a Pennsylvania survey (Oct. 8-11; 1,078 PA likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) and arrived at a virtually identical 47-45 percent split. It is becoming clear, with early voting already underway, that this critical Senate race is going down to the wire, just as we saw back in May when the state Republican primary ended in a razor-thin result. In fact, from the last 10 polls released of this race, seven of the 10 found Fetterman leading by four percentage points or less.

House

MN-2: Close Again — In a surprise 2020 finish, Republican challenger Tyler Kistner, a military veteran who hadn’t gotten much national attention, lost only a battle to Rep. Angie Craig (D-Eagan) by only two points — 48-46 percent. It appears the two are headed for another razor-thin finish this year in their re-match campaign. A just-released Survey USA poll (Oct. 15-16; 586 likely MN-2 general election voters; automated telephone & online) projects Craig to be holding a slim 46-45 percent lead over Kistner in a polling result wholly consistent with this electorate’s voting history.

Both Minnesota’s southern sector districts — the 1st and 2nd — are important toward determining the new House majority. The GOP would conceivably be on a majority track by winning one of the state’s two southern swing seats. Should their candidates win both, a big Republican night could be in the making. If the Democrats win both, such a performance would suggest that the party would have a legitimate chance of holding their slim majority.

Governor

Georgia: Disconnect with Senate Race — Two more polls were released that find Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leading former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D), and running substantially ahead of Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker. The juxtaposition makes these races interesting to watch.

Insider Advantage (Oct. 16; 550 likely Georgia general election voters) gives Gov. Kemp a 50-43 percent lead over Abrams, but also sees Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock posting a 46-43 percent edge over Walker. Similarly, while Landmark Communications (Oct. 15-17; 500 likely Georgia general election voters) projects Gov. Kemp’s lead at 51-45 percent, the firm derives a 46-46 percent tie between Warnock and Walker. Therefore, we continually see a relatively substantial single-digit swing in Sen. Warnock’s favor when comparing the gubernatorial results from consistent polling samples. This suggests we could see a split decision from these major Georgia statewide races.

New York: More Data Finding Tightening Race — Quinnipiac University has joined the group of pollsters projecting the New York governor’s race between Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), on the ballot for the first time in her own right after ascending to the position when former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned, and US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) as a close race. The Q-Poll (Oct. 12-16; 1,617 likely New York general election voters; live interview) sees the spread between Gov. Hochul and Rep. Zeldin dropping to 50-46 percent.

Four of the past seven polls see the contest falling between two and six percentage points, which represents a notable improvement for Rep. Zeldin. With New York early voting not beginning until Oct. 29, this race’s patterns still have a significant period in which to firm.