Category Archives: Polling

2020 Open House Seats Review

By Jim Ellis

June 12, 2019 — Since the last national redistricting completed in 2011 for the 2012 election cycle, we have seen 222 US House seats come open, for a mean average of 55.5 per cycle during the eight-year period. Prior to this decade, the average House open seat factor was typically closer to 35.

In 2012, reflective of the new reapportionment from the 2010 census, the House featured 62 open seats. This was followed by 47 more in 2014, another 49 in 2016, and finally 64 opens in the 2018 election cycle.

So far in this current 2020 election cycle, the exodus syndrome appears to be winding down as we see only nine districts now opening, assuming that Montana at-large Rep. Greg Gianforte follows through with his stated plans to announce his gubernatorial campaign later this week. One open district, PA-12, was already filled at the end of May as Republican Rick Keller replaced resigned Rep. Tom Marino (R-Williamsport).

Below is a listing of the nine seats and the preliminary replacement outlook:


Special Elections – Sept. 10, 2019

NC-3: Rep. Walter Jones (R) – passed away Feb. 10, 2019
The Republicans are in a run-off election that will be decided on July 9. Participants are state Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Greenville) and physician Joan Perry of Kinston. The winner faces Democratic nominee Allen Thomas, the former mayor of Greenville. The eventual GOP nominee will begin the special general election as a heavy favorite for a seat that has been in Republican hands since 1995.


NC-9: Vacancy, non-declaration of 2018 election winner due to alleged voter fraud
Both parties nominated outright in this special election. Democrats feature 2018 nominee Dan McCready, who ran unopposed in the special primary. Republicans nominated outright state Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte), who captured 48 percent of the vote in a crowded Republican primary. A minimum total of 30 percent was needed to win outright nomination and avoid a run-off. Two polls have been released, both showing the race in toss-up mode with each candidate leading in one of the surveys.


Regular-Cycle Open Seats

AL-1: Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) running for Senate
With the Republican presidential nominee topping 60 percent of the vote here in the past three national elections, including President Trump attracting 63.5 percent, the Republicans will be in strong position to hold this seat. With candidate filing coming on Nov. 8 for the March 3 primary, the field of four announced candidates could swell to as many as 10 before the filing cycle concludes. No Democrat has yet come forward to declare.


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Biden Beginning to Show Cracks

By Jim Ellis

Former vice president and ex-Delaware senator Joe Biden is the Democratic front-runner in the 2020 presidential bid.

June 11, 2019 — Two polls were just released in critical Democratic primary states that find former Vice President Joe Biden’s standing to be weaker than his latest national polling results.

In Texas, the Change Research poll (May 20-June 3; 1,218 likely Texas Democratic primary voters) projects that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) has risen to the top of his home state electorate, leading Biden, 27-24 percent with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) posting 13 percent support. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is right behind with 12 percent, while California Sen. Kamala Harris records only eight percent backing.

Turning to Iowa, Selzer & Company released another of their Iowa Polls (June 2-5; 600 likely Iowa Caucus attenders; 433 saying they would personally attend their precinct caucus meeting while another 167 said they were interested in participating in the new virtual caucus that will be an Iowa Caucus feature for the first time) and while Biden leads the group of Democratic candidates, the combined numbers from the second, third, and fourth place finishers outpaces the leader by almost a 2:1 ratio.

In the Iowa Poll, conducted for CNN, the Des Moines Register newspaper, and Mediacom, Biden posts only 24 percent support. He is followed by Sen. Sanders at 16 percent, Sen. Warren notching 15 percent, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg trailing closely with 14 percent. But, Sens. Sanders and Warren together top Biden by seven percentage points and when Buttigieg is added, the trio comes close to denying Biden even the possibility of reaching majority status.

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Democrat Debate Friction


By Jim Ellis

June 10, 2019 — The Politico publication ran a story late last week detailing building friction between the Democratic National Committee and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a late-entering Democratic presidential candidate, over the committee leaders apparently axing the western governor from the first debate forum coming later this month.

The source of controversy is the party leadership contending that Gov. Bullock, who looked to have qualified for the debate under the outlined criteria, now has not. Instead, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is in position to capture the 20th and final debate podium for the upcoming June 26-27 candidate forums from Miami.

As we have previously reported, the qualifications the party leaders have placed upon the candidates require them to either build a fundraising organization of 65,000 donors, with a minimum of 200 coming from 20 states, or score one percent support in at least three surveys from eight designated pollsters.

Gov. Bullock appeared to have met the polling requirement. He exceeded the one percent threshold in the ABC/Washington Post survey in January. But, the DNC is now disallowing this particular poll, and the action probably eliminates him from the debate.

Their reasoning is that the ABC/Post poll asked an open-ended presidential ballot test question — that is, where the names of the candidates are not read, but the respondents must voluntarily state a name. This type of question is usually employed to test hard name identification and candidate strength.

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Polling vs. Delegates:
“The Game Within the Game”

By Jim Ellis

Texas state senate districts

June 7, 2018 — Quinnipiac University released their latest Texas poll (May 29-June 4; 1,159 registered Texas voters) and it finds former Vice President Joe Biden doing well in opponents’ Beto O’Rourke and Joaquin Castro’s home state.

According to the results, Biden heads the Lone Star State Democratic presidential field and is the only candidate to top President Trump when the president is isolated against each competitive Democrat (Biden over Trump: 48-44 percent).

Arguably, Texas, with its 38 Electoral Votes and the largest cache that a Republican candidate can generally claim, is Trump’s most important state. Losing here would likely mean forfeiting the presidency. There is no mathematical way to compensate for Trump failing to win Texas’ electoral votes and still allow him a path to reach the 270 Electoral Votes to claim a national victory.

In the Democratic primary, scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 3, Biden leads the pack of candidates with 30 percent of the vote, topping ex-Rep. O’Rourke (16 percent), Sen. Bernie Sanders (15 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (11 percent), and the nine others who recorded between one and four percent statewide support.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Govs. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Steve Bullock (D-MT), Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), and Mayors Bill de Blasio (New York, NY), Wayne Messam (Miramar, FL), failed to reach the one percent plateau.

But, how would such a vote split translate into delegates for the participating candidates? Under Democratic Party rules, each state has both at-large and district delegates. Another group, called PLEO’s, are comprised of state and local Democratic Party leaders along with elected officials.

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A Counter Poll in NC-9

By Jim Ellis

North Carolina Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop (left) | Democrat Dan McCready (right)

June 5, 2019 — The Atlantic Media & Research organization went into the field in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District and found a different special election leader than last week’s JMC Analytics poll. Atlantic’s conclusion sees Democrat Dan McCready topping state Sen. Dan Bishop 41-39 percent, which is the inverse of JMC’s result.

JMC projected Sen. Bishop leading 46-42 percent in their survey of 350 likely special election voters conducted on May 21-24. Atlantic polled 358 “definite or very likely” special election voters from May 20-23 and continuing through May 28-30. Though the two polls produced separate leaders, their combined data conclusions are similar in that the participants are within the polling margin of error. While the spread yields an eight-point net difference between the two polls, the margin of error contained in each is less than four percent.

But the Atlantic methodology is a bit different. The research firm polled on consecutive weekdays in two separate weeks leaving the Memorial Day weekend period unsampled. The gap leads to a longer than average polling stage, which could mean a less accurate conclusion.

Atlantic Media also reviews its previous poll completed five months ago in December of last year, just after the general election, and compares those results with the most current data set. The numbers are similar in that the partisan ballot tests and the president’s job approval rating varies by only a percentage point or two. And, attempting to discount the final 2018 result that was infected with voter fraud, the Atlantic December post-election poll finds candidate McCready topping Republican Mark Harris by a tight 46-43 percent margin.

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Democrats Up the Debate Ante

By Jim Ellis

May 31, 2019 — The Democratic National Committee just announced the imposition of new requirements for presidential candidates to participate in the series of subsequent debates to begin in mid-September. The first two sessions are scheduled for June 26-27 and July 30-31 in Miami and Detroit, respectively.

The field is close to being set for the initial forums with 20 candidates qualifying according to the Intelligencer publication, the personnel from which have been tracking the debate process since the schedule was first announced.

To earn a podium in the first two debates, the candidates are required to either score one percent support in three of eight designated polls or reach 65,000 donors, of which at least 200 must come from 20 specific states.

The participants will include some of the more obscure candidates including author Marianne Williamson, New York City businessman Andrew Yang, and the two western governors, Jay Inslee of Washington, and Steve Bullock from Montana.

This means that Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), and Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam likely will not be part of the first forum, though time remains for them to still qualify.

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NC-9: The First Poll is Surprising

By Jim Ellis

North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District

May 30, 2019 — The JMC Analytics survey research firm released the first special general election poll for North Carolina’s 9th District, and some may consider the results surprising.

According to JMC (May 21-24; 350 NC-9 registered voters), Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) has taken a 46-42 percent lead over Democrat Dan McCready, the solar energy businessman who was the 2018 party nominee. Considering the seven-month-long vote fraud controversy that kept the North Carolina Board of Elections from certifying Republican Mark Harris as the general election victor over McCready (the unofficial total gave the GOP nominee a 905-vote edge) many expected the Democrat to open the special election campaign with a discernible advantage.

There is no doubt that McCready has a resource advantage, however, which should play a major role as this contest moves toward a Sept. 10 conclusion. In the pre-primary financial disclosure period report that ended April 24, McCready reported already raising over $2.01 million, with a $1.57 million cash-on-hand figure. In contrast, Sen. Bishop stated $505,000 raised within the same time frame, more than any individual Republican candidate at the time, but the total included a $250,000 personal loan.

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