Category Archives: Polling

A Changing South Texas

By Jim Ellis — Monday, March 20, 2023

States

Demographics: A Shifting South Texas Electorate — Typically, not much used to happen politically in the Texas’ Rio Grande Valley congressional districts that touch the US-Mexico border, but such is not the case anymore.

Republican freshman Rep. Monica de la Cruz (R-McAllen) converted what became an open 15th District, which stretches from the San Antonio area all the way to the border.

We began seeing the political waves shifting in the 2020 presidential election when then-President Trump ran well ahead of a typical Republican national nominee in a region that was historically solid Democratic. In the five congressional districts that touch the Texas-Mexico border, President Biden was able to break 52 percent in only one of the seats, and that one is in the El Paso-anchored 16th District.

The trend carried over into the 2022 election where almost all of the state’s political action was centered in the border districts, and it’s not just because the cross points are being challenged and overrun with foreigners illegally coming into the United States. Largely due to the Biden Administration’s energy policies and the Democrats’ “Green New Deal” that is causing the area to lose energy-related jobs, Republicans are making political gains. In what were once highly safe Democratic CDs, we now see heightened political competition.

The region is changing to such a degree that now even one of the area’s Republican congressmen, Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio) — in the district that stretches from San Antonio all the way to El Paso and contains more of the border territory than any district in the country — is facing a new primary challenge from his political right. This seat has been competitive for years in the general election, but now is settling itself as the South Texas region’s most reliable Republican seat.

Republican freshman Rep. Monica de la Cruz (R-McAllen — above), who converted what became an open 15th District that stretches from the San Antonio area all the way to the border in and around the McAllen area, looks to be in solid position for re-election next year.

Redistricting is a factor in the results, and if the GOP map drawers had known what would happen in a special election in the Brownsville-anchored 34th District early in 2022, they would likely have crafted different boundaries.

Mayra Flores

As a result, Republican Mayra Flores, who made national news in 2022 when she scored an upset special election win in the 34th, ultimately fell 51-43 percent to fellow Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) in the general election. Rep. Gonzalez, seeing the trends in his 15th CD, decided to run for re-election in the more Democratic 34th after then-Rep. Filemon Vela resigned the seat to accept a position in the private sector.

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Desantis-Trump Conflicting Results; 2022 PA Candidate Won’t Run Again; Decision Time in Wisconsin, Texas

By Jim Ellis — Friday, March 17, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump; Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R)

National Polls: Conflicting Results — While national polls don’t mean much in terms of projecting who will win a presidential nomination because the ultimate winner is decided through accumulating delegate votes through the states, we now see a released pair of interesting Republican nomination surveys conducted during the same period.

The CNN national survey (conducted by SSRS; March 8-12; 1,040 registered US voters; live interview & online) showed that the ballot test favored Gov. Ron DeSantis, who led former President Donald Trump 39-37 percent. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and ex-Vice President Mike Pence were a distant third and fourth with 7 and 6 percent, respectively.

Conversely, Quinnipiac University, in the field with their national poll (March 9-13; 677 Republican and Republican-leaning voters; live interview) projects a completely different ballot test result. The Q-Poll sees Trump holding a strong 46-32 percent lead over Gov. DeSantis, with Haley and Pence following at 5 and 3 percent, respectively.

Because the sample sizes are typically small for national polls, and therefore possess high error factors, we can expect to see continued diverse survey results as the campaign continues to take shape.

Senate

Pennsylvania: 2022 Senate Candidate Won’t Try Again — Businesswoman and political activist Kathy Barnette, who placed a credible third place with 25 percent of the vote behind both Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick in the 2022 Pennsylvania Republican US Senate primary, says she will not return to run again next year. The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the major outside GOP support organizations are attempting to recruit McCormick into next year’s challenge race against Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D).

Doug Mastriano, the ‘22 Republican gubernatorial nominee and a state senator from Chambersburg, says he is considering a comeback. Republican leaders are working to ensure a Mastriano repeat does not happen since he was defeated 56-42 percent in the general election and failed to run a competitive campaign. In any event, Sen. Casey will be favored for re-election.

Wisconsin: Businessman Considering Challenge to Sen. Baldwin — Business owner Scott Mayer (R) confirms he is considering competing for the Wisconsin US Senate nomination in a race that has not yet seen much activity. Mayer is capable of self-funding his race, though he says it’s “not something he is comfortable with.” He has been told he might have to fund as much as $20 million to run a competitive race.

At this point, no notable Republican has come forward to declare their Senate candidacy. Since Wisconsin always features close races, it is probable that this contest has the eventual potential of becoming a top-tier targeted campaign.

House

TX-34: Ex-Rep Leaning Against Re-Match — Republican Mayra Flores made national news in 2022 when she scored an upset special election win in the Texas Rio Grande Valley 34th District that is anchored in the city of Brownsville. In the regular election, however, she fell 51-43 percent to fellow Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) who decided to run in the 34th instead of his previous 15th CD.

The principal reason for Flores losing was redistricting. The 34th went from a D+5 to a D+17 under the FiveThirtyEight data organization statistical calculation making the seat difficult for any Republican to attain.

Seeing the political reality, Flores is indicating that she is unlikely to run again in 2024. In order to make the adjacent 15th CD more winnable for a Republican, which happened with the election of Rep. Monica de la Cruz (R-McAllen) in November, the 34th became more Democratic. The redistricting map was drawn long before Flores won the special election, hence the lopsided partisan lean for a district the GOP was able to convert.

DeSantis on Track to Launch Presidential Campaign in May, June; Calif. Candidate Runs Porn Biz; West Point Grad a Candidate in Illinois; Pollsters Get Rated

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, March 14, 2023

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Gov. Ron DeSantis: Moves Being Made — Several occurrences suggest that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is on track to launch his presidential campaign in late May or early June. The timing corresponds to the Florida legislature adjourning.

First, it is being reported that the governor is telling close advisors and donors that he will run. Second, he visited Davenport, Iowa on Friday and delivered a policy speech, which drew a large audience. Iowa is still first on the Republican nomination schedule even though Democrats have dropped the state from their early voting tier. Third, and most surprisingly, former Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli (R), who was a senior official in the Trump Administration and is a conservative leader, has formed a political action committee whose purpose is to encourage the Florida governor to run for president.

House

CA-13: Rep. Duarte Opponent’s Alias — Phil Arballo (D) has twice run unsuccessfully for Congress and has announced his 2024 candidacy for the state’s 13th District, the seat that delivered the second-closest election in 2022. In that race, Rep. John Duarte (R-Modesto) defeated now-former state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D) by just 564 votes. Gray is also returning for a re-match.

Arballo’s candidacy, however, may be short-lived. It has just been uncovered that he is running a premium amateur adult porn video business on the side under the name of Felipe Jones. Regardless of what happens in the March 5 all-party jungle primary, expect both Rep. Duarte and Gray to advance into the general election.

IL-13: Rep. Budzinski Challenger Emerges — Educator and West Point graduate Joshua Lloyd (R) announced his congressional candidacy on Friday, hoping to challenge Illinois freshman Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D-Springfield) next year. The 13th District became a created open seat under the gerrymandered Illinois congressional map, and it stretches all the way from the Champaign-Urbana area through Decatur and Springfield until ending in the Illinois side of the St. Louis suburbs.

The seat was drawn to elect a Democrat and force then-Rep. Rodney Davis (R) into another district. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates IL-13 as D+7, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 53.3D – 41.8R. In November, Budzinski won a 57-43 percent victory over conservative activist Regan Deering (R).

IN-5: First Major Candidate Announces — Hoosier State Rep. Victoria Spartz’s (R-Noblesville) surprise retirement decision in only her second US House term had left an open Republican seat with no early declared candidates until late last week. First to announce is state Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville), who is also the president & CEO of an electric company. We expect to see a crowded Republican field in the R+22 district, but the unexpected open-seat status has featured a slow candidate development. The Indiana primary is scheduled for May 7, 2024.

States

Polling: 538 Releases New Pollster Ratings — The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates polling accuracy around the country and just released their post-2022 election ratings. Only four of the 506 rated entities were awarded A+ grades. They are, Siena College for the New York Times, Selzer & Company, Research & Polling, Inc., and Survey USA.

Only five more survey research entities that conducted at least 40 polls received an A rating. They are: ABC News/Washington Post, Beacon Research & The Shaw Company for Fox News, Marist College, Monmouth University, and Landmark Communications. Two more received A grades but conducted fewer than 40 surveys. In this category are AtlasIntel and Cygnal.

Gallego Ahead in Arizona; Montana Senate Race Update; Republican Garcia Draws Opponent in Calif.; First Major Candidate Announces in R.I.

By Jim Ellis — Monday, March 13, 2023

Senate

Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D)

Arizona: Gallego Leads & Sinema Gains in New Poll — With no Republican as of yet announcing for the 2024 Arizona Senate race, frequent Arizona pollster OH Predictive Insights released their latest Senate poll. The survey (Jan. 31-Feb. 9; 1,000 registered Arizona voters) gives US Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) the lead under all configurations. The pollster continues to add former Gov. Doug Ducey to the Republican candidate mix even though he has repeatedly said that he is not running. Therefore, we will eliminate covering polling results that include him.

Rep. Gallego polls between 31 and 34 percent in scenarios that include former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, ex-US Senate nominee Blake Masters, and former governor candidate Karrin Taylor Robson. The Republicans post scores between 24 and 26 percent. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who left the Democratic Party to become an Independent, improves her standing from previous polling. She would take between 19 and 22 percent under the various scenarios.

With a late primary in August 2024, much will happen to develop the ultimate candidate lineup. This poll, as do others, suggest a wide-open three-way race where either Gallego, a Republican, or Sinema ultimately could eventually win. Arizona will once again be at the forefront of the battle for the Senate majority.

Montana: Rep. Rosendale Leads in Primary & General — The OnMessage Republican polling firm released the results of their latest Montana US Senate poll (Feb. 18-21; 600 likely Montana voters with an over-sample of 100 Republicans for GOP primary questions; live interview) and the results provide good news across the board for US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive).

Though no one has announced a Senate bid against three-term incumbent Jon Tester (D), OnMessage tested a hypothetical Republican primary consisting of Reps. Rosendale and Ryan Zinke (R-Whitefish) along with former Secretary of State Corey Stapleton. For this question, Rep. Rosendale posted a 36-26-6 percent lead over Zinke and Stapleton. Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R), who has also been mentioned as a possible Senate candidate, was not tested.

In the general election, in a reversal of a previous Political Company survey result, OnMessage finds Rep. Rosendale topping Sen. Tester, 46-41 percent. There is no report as to whether the pollsters tested the other candidates singularly against Sen. Tester.

House

CA-27: Rep. Garcia Draws New Opponent — GOP Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) has won three elections in a seat that favors the Democrats against former state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D), but he’s almost certain to see a new challenger in 2024.

Franky Carrillo (D) was falsely imprisoned for 22 years, convicted for a murder later proven he did not commit and was awarded $11 million in compensation after winning a lawsuit against the state of California. Since then, Carrillo has been appointed as a Los Angeles County Probation Oversight commissioner. Last week, he announced that he will run for the US House next year.

It’s clear that the Democrats must change the paradigm against Rep. Garcia, and it remains to be seen if Carrillo is the type of candidate who can alter the partisan flow of this northern Los Angeles County CD against an incumbent who has proven he can draw crossover votes.

RI-1: First Major Candidate Announces — Last week, Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) announced that he is resigning his seat on June 1 to accept a position with a non-profit organization. While the list of potential Democratic candidates who might declare for the impending special election to be scheduled later this year is long, the first major contender just announced her plans late last week. Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos (D), the former president of the Providence City Council, formally declared her congressional candidacy.

The real political battle for this seat will be fought in the Democratic primary. In a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+32, it is a foregone conclusion that Rep. Cicilline’s eventual successor will be a Democrat. Expect a crowded field and a plurality primary victory that will lead to an easy Democratic special general election win.

Dixon Won’t Run for Senate; Pelosi Successor Waiting in the Wings; A Gonzales Challenger; A Republican Leads Liberal Group’s Poll

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Senate

Michigan School Board member Nikki Snyder (R)

Michigan: Tudor Dixon Won’t Run for Senate — Over the weekend, Tudor Dixon, the defeated 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate, announced she will not join the forming open US Senate field. Last week, three-term US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) entered the race, and is widely viewed as the favorite for the Democratic nomination and the seat. In December, four-term incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D) announced that she will retire at the end of this Congress.

We can soon expect more Republican action in this race. Michigan School Board member Nikki Snyder is the only announced GOP candidate. Others reportedly considering the race are US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland), and former Reps. Fred Upton, Mike Rogers, and Peter Meijer.

House

CA-11: Pelosi Successor Waiting in the Wings — California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is making his political future known. Anticipating that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) will not seek re-election in 2024, Sen. Wiener has filed a congressional exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission. He says he will run for the 11th District seat, which covers most of the San Francisco peninsula, if Rep. Pelosi decides to retire.

He could be getting the jump on another scenario, also. Should Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly (D) resign later this year to mount a race for governor of Indiana as many believe he will, odds are strong that Pelosi will be appointed as his replacement. If so, a special election would then be scheduled for District 11. The ambassador of the United States to the Holy See is the official representative of the United States of America to the Holy See, the leadership of the Catholic Church. Before his ambassadorial appointment, Donnelly served both in the House and Senate. He was defeated for re-election to the Senate in 2018.

TX-23: Rep. Gonzales’ Primary Challenge — US Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio), after the Texas Republican Party recently voted to censure him for his support of gun control legislation, voting for the establishment of the January 6th Committee, and border legislation that the organization felt was not strong enough, drew Republican primary opposition. Medina County Republican Party chair Julie Clark announced that she will challenge the two-term incumbent who in 2022 scored the largest re-election percentage (55.9 percent) for any Republican since former Rep. Henry Bonilla’s 2004 victory.

Governor

North Carolina: GOP Lieutenant Governor Leads Liberal Group’s Poll — Raleigh based Public Policy Polling conducted a survey of the North Carolina electorate for the progressive left Forward Carolina organization (March 2-3; 704 registered North Carolina voters) and finds an unsurprisingly tight battle developing between unannounced gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson (R), the state’s lieutenant governor, and Attorney General Josh Stein (D) who is an official contender. The poll results find the two locked in a dead heat with Robinson holding a 44-42 percent edge. The lieutenant governor’s strong 56-28 percent showing in the state’s substantial rural areas is what catapults him to the lead.

Robinson was elected lieutenant governor as a Republican in 2020 despite now term-limited Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper (D) winning re-election. Robinson carried the state 51.6 – 48.4 percent. Attorney General Stein survived a close re-election battle in the same year, slipping past his Republican opponent with only a 50.1 – 49.9 percent victory margin. The open NC governor’s race will undoubtedly feature a tight finish.

Surprising VA Presidential Poll Numbers; Race for Slotkin’s Open Seat; NC Political Gerrymandering Case

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, March 7, 2023

President

Virginia Glenn Youngkin (R) tops Biden in VA poll.

Roanoke College Poll: Surprising VA Numbers — Roanoke College just released their new Virginia general electorate poll that tested three GOP candidates or potential candidates against President Biden. The survey (Feb. 12-25; 585 Virginia registered voters; live interview) finds the Commonwealth’s own governor, Glenn Youngkin (R), as enjoying the best standing against the president, and in major fashion.

According to this sampling universe, which the pollsters say has a D+5 partisan complexion, Gov. Youngkin would swamp the president, 55-39 percent, in what has become a reliable Democratic state. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would also top President Biden. His margin is 48-43 percent. Former President Donald Trump, however, would still trail President Biden, but by only a single point, 47-46 percent.

GOP strategists would have to see these types of results repeating themselves for Virginia to become a top tier target state. In 2020, President Biden carried the state, 54-44 percent. In 2016, Hillary Clinton topped Trump, 49.7 – 44.4 percent. Roanoke College is rated as a B/C pollster according to the FiveThirtyEight independent pollster ratings.

House

MI-7: Potentially Yes, and No — With three-term Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) now officially in the Senate race, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor (D) announced that he has launched a congressional exploratory committee to assess his chances of winning what will be a competitive open seat contest. Conversely, former Congressman Mike Bishop (R), who Rep. Slotkin unseated in 2018, said he will not run. Saying he doesn’t live in the new 7th District, Bishop said, “I know it’s the trend lately to run in districts where you don’t live, but I have no interest in that.”

The 7th District, which includes territory in and around the state’s capital city of Lansing, is politically marginal and one of only 20 districts where the FiveThirtyEight and Dave’s Redistricting App data organizations disagree as to how the partisan lean breaks. The 538 group rates MI-7 as R+4, while Dave’s App finds the partisan spread to be 49.2D – 47.7R.

States

SCOTUS: NC Political Gerrymandering Case Could be Dropped — Speculation is mounting that the US Supreme Court will drop the North Carolina political gerrymandering and judicial authority case, even though the justices have already conducted oral arguments. After the SCOTUS hearing, the new North Carolina Supreme Court, now with a 5R-2D majority, scheduled reconsideration hearings on two election cases that the former state Supreme Court, just before leaving office, had ruled upon. The 4D-3R court declared both the NC Senate district lines and the state’s voter ID law unconstitutional in separate rulings.

Since the state Supreme Court is now actively considering cases that generally come under the purview of what SCOTUS is considering, the national court may defer to the state court, which would make the case before them moot.

Regardless of what happens pertaining to these federal and state election law cases, it is clear the state legislature plans to replace the interim court maps for the US House, state House, and state Senate. Expect a great deal of action coming from North Carolina in the coming months. It is possible that we could see a three-seat Republican gain in the 7D-7R current delegation map.

Hogan Won’t Run for President; RFK Jr. May Soon Announce; No Senate Run for Nevada’s Amodei; OR-6 Candidate Redux; New Orleans’ Mayoral Recall

By Jim Ellis — Monday, March 6, 2023

President

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R)

Gov. Larry Hogan: Won’t Run for President — Over the weekend, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he would not join the Republican presidential field. Hogan explaining his decision said, “I have long said that I care more about ensuring a future for the Republican Party than securing my own future in the Republican Party.”

Hogan had previously expressed his analysis that a crowded Republican field would only help Donald Trump win renomination, something the former Free State governor wants to see avoided. He also indicated his belief that with Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis running far ahead of the lesser-known candidates, it doesn’t leave the lower tier contenders much of an opportunity to compete for the win.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. May Soon Announce Presidential Campaign — Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of the late senator and attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy, is moving closer to announcing a presidential campaign. It appears he will run in the Democratic primary on an anti-vaccination platform. Kennedy became a national activist opposing mandatory vaccinations during the Covid shutdown.

It is possible that he could win the New Hampshire primary. President Biden may not enter the Granite State nomination contest if the NH leadership doesn’t recognize the new Democratic National Committee schedule that takes New Hampshire out of their traditional first-in-the-nation voting position. Therefore, it is quite possible that the primary race could come down to a contest between Kennedy and author Marianne Williamson, who formally announced her own candidacy on Saturday.

Senate

Nevada: Rep. Amodei Won’t Run for Senate — Nevada’s lone Republican Congressman, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Carson City), said on Friday that he will not challenge Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) next year. The Nevada race should be one of the most competitive campaigns in the country, just as it was in 2022. In that election, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) slipped past GOP challenger Adam Laxalt by only a 7,928-vote margin (48.8 – 48.0 percent), which was the closest raw vote spread of all ‘22 Senate campaigns.

At this point, Republicans have no announced candidate, but that will soon change. Along with Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia, the Nevada race will eventually become one of the Republicans’ 2024 top-tier challenge races. Disabled Iraq War veteran and 2022 Senate candidate Sam Brown is considering running again. No one else has so far made a move to enter the Senate race including the state’s two down ballot constitutional officers, Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony and state Controller Andy Matthews. Look for this race to become the top candidate recruitment target for the national Republican leadership.

House

OR-6: 2022 Candidate Will Try Again — Dundee Mayor David Russ (R) announced on Friday that he will return to again run for Congress in 2024. In the previous election, Russ placed sixth in a field of seven Republican candidates with only 3.8 percent of the vote, more than 30 percentage points behind the GOP nominee, Mike Erickson. Erickson would hold then-state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Tigard) to a 50-48 percent victory margin in the 6th District’s first ever congressional race. Due to population growth, Oregon was awarded a new seat in the 2020 national reapportionment formula.

The 6th will again yield a competitive race, but chances will likely prove that the Republicans’ best chance to win this district occurred in the last election. Rep. Salinas will begin as the favorite to hold the seat in the ’24 cycle.

Cities

New Orleans: Mayoral Recall Drive Changes — The signature petition drive to qualify a recall effort against New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) is continuing toward a March 22 deadline. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has set 45,000 valid registered voter signatures as the number necessary to force a recall vote.

Mayor Cantrell was elected in 2017 and was easily re-elected in 2021. The NoLaToya campaign is centered upon the rising murder and crime rate in the city, along with a decline in local services. It remains to be seen if the committee can gather the necessary number of petition signatures in order to schedule a recall election.