Category Archives: Polls

Louisiana Data Conflict; Kasich Down in Ohio

Two days ago, a pair of polls were released into the public domain projecting that Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6) is faring well against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D). Yesterday, Public Policy Polling publicized a counter-study showing the senator to be in much better political shape, thus calling the Republican data into question. Why the stark difference? We’ll explain shortly.

The two Republican polls were conducted by OnMessage for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and Harper Polling for a conservative website. The OnMessage data (Aug. 12-15; 800 registered Louisiana voters) gave Sen. Landrieu only a 45-41 percent advantage over Rep. Cassidy. HP (Aug. 14-15; 596 registered Louisiana voters) found even better results for the Baton Rouge congressman, actually placing him ahead of the incumbent on a 47-45 percent count.

The PPP data (Aug. 16-19; 721 registered Louisiana voters) forecasts quite a different take. According to these results, Sen. Landrieu has a comfortable lead over Rep. Cassidy, 50-40 percent, when the two are paired in a hypothetical post-primary December 2014 run-off election.

Seeing Democratic and Republican pollsters surveying the same race at the same time but arriving at drastically different conclusions happened relatively frequently during the last election cycle. Particularly in the presidential campaign, we often saw the Republican data placing GOP nominee Mitt Romney in much better position against President Obama than was actually the case.

The chief reason for the past projection disparity was the turnout screening mechanism used in qualifying those who constituted the various sampling universes, and such is undoubtedly the case with these conflicting Louisiana numbers.

In the presidential year, the Democratic pollsters were much closer to accurately forecasting the participation model in what will prove to be the higher turnout year of 2012. Now heading into the mid-term cycle, where voting participation is always lower than in presidential elections, it may be the GOP numbers that yield the more accurate prediction.

As we know, who turns out always determines an election winner, and no one suggests that election year 2014 will be any exception to that rule. Defining the most  Continue reading >

New Hampshire Volatility – Again

Over the past four election cycles, no state has generated more political ups and downs than the Granite State of New Hampshire.

During that time more US House incumbents have been defeated than re-elected, an extraordinary statistic for any state. (In the stretch from 2006 through 2012 in the state, five House incumbents have lost their seats and only two have been re-elected consecutively. Two incumbents have both lost and won during this span of elections.) New Hampshire voters have also defeated a US Senator and a House incumbent attempting to win the statewide office. They have also changed majorities in the state legislative chambers virtually at will.

Now the University of New Hampshire just released a poll (July 18-29; 516 New Hampshire adults) testing their federal incumbents’ job approval scores and again found signs that the electorate may already be getting restless.

It is wise to approach the UNH polls with caution, however. First, the University’s polling institute hasn’t been among the most accurate of pollsters during that past few years. It is fair to consider their numbers with skepticism. Second, as is typical for their polls, the sampling period of 12 days is much too long, especially for a sample size of just 516 respondents. Finally, this particular poll only tested “adults” and not registered voters.

That being said, the data does give us some insight as to how the four all-female federal office holders are faring.

The Senators

The strongest is Sen. Jeanne Shaheen who stands for her first re-election next year. In 2006, after serving from 1997-2003 as the state’s governor, Shaheen defeated then-Sen. John E. Sununu (R), 52-45 percent after losing to him 47-51 percent in 2002. According to the poll results, Sen. Shaheen scores a strong 53:23 percent positive to negative on the personal favorability scale. Fifty percent of the sample believes she deserves to be re-elected in 2014, while 34 percent say they would prefer a generic “someone else.” Her re-elect score among Democrats is 78 percent. Among the self-identified Republicans, 27 percent favor her re-election.

Though first-term Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) is not on the ballot again until 2016, she was also tested. Her favorability score is a less impressive 41:32 percent, down from 50:25 percent from the last UNH poll conducted in April.
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Brown’s First NH Numbers

Public Policy Polling (April 19-21; 933 registered New Hampshire voters) went to New Hampshire to test former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown’s (R) electability in the Granite State. Two weeks ago, Brown, who was defeated for re-election in Massachusetts last November, indicated that he is considering challenging Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) in 2014. Since publicly confirming that the idea is at least a possibility, he has made several appearances in the state.

The early PPP numbers, however, don’t look particularly promising for Brown, but he does fare better than any other Republican against Shaheen. If the election were in the current time frame, the senator would lead him 52-41 percent. Though being 11 points down early in the cycle is not the worst of positions for a challenger, it was believed Brown might fare better because of being so well-known throughout the entire New England region.

But, it’s not the ballot test results that suggest the former senator begins in relatively weak political position in New Hampshire. When asked if the respondents think that Brown should run for Senate in the state next year, only 32 percent said they believe he should as compared to 54 percent who said no.

Turning to whether those in the sampling universe consider Brown a New Hampshirite, only 18 percent said that they did. A full 63 percent said they did not.

As previously stated, Brown does fare better than any other Republican against Sen. Shaheen. Former US congressman Jeb Bradley (R-NH-1), who now is the state Senate Majority Leader, trails the senator 39-54 percent. Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas (R) is behind 34-53 percent; ex-congressman Frank Guinta (R-NH-1) comes up 18 points short at 37-55 percent. Finally, Executive Councilor Chris Sununu (R), the son of former governor and White House Chief of Staff John Sununu and brother of former senator John E. Sununu, would lose to Sen. Shaheen 39-53 percent.
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The Return of Anthony Weiner?

Last week, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY-9) who resigned from the House in disgrace in 2011, said publicly that he is at least contemplating a 2013 run for mayor of New York. This week, Quinnipiac University released their current poll of the race (April 15-18; 1,161 registered New York City voters; 740 Democrats) that shows Weiner in second position even though his popularity index is an upside down 33:41 percent favorable to unfavorable.

According to the data, Weiner scores support from 15 percent of the Democrats polled, compared to NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s 28 percent. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former city comptroller William Thompson, and current City Comptroller John Liu follow with 11, 10, and 9 percent, respectively. Of the entire group, Thompson has, at 32:9 percent, the strongest favorability ratio but it is not as yet translating into stated support.

Days earlier, the Marist Poll (April 11-15; 873 Democratic New York city voters) showed almost identical results. According to this data, Quinn leads with 26 percent; Weiner was again second with an identical 15 percent, and Liu, de Blasio, and Thompson follow with 12 percent, 11 percent, and 11 percent, respectively.

Weiner still has some time to decide whether to run. Mandatory “designating petitions” can be circulated beginning June 4, with the requisite number being returned no later than July 11. The primary election is scheduled for Sept. 10. If no candidate receives 40 percent plus one vote, the top two will participate in a special run-off election scheduled for Sept. 24. The municipal general election is Nov. 5.

The leading Republican candidate is Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board chairman Joe Lhota. It is clear from the polling, however, that the Democratic primary and likely run-off will determine the identity of the next mayor. Lhota is substantially behind all of the Democratic candidates, even Wiener though the Republican does perform best against him. According to the Quinnipiac survey, Weiner is the choice of 51 percent of those tested  Continue reading >

Utah Convention Takes Center Stage

Now that the GOP presidential campaign is virtually over, the congressional primaries are taking center stage. This coming weekend at the Utah state Republican convention, several important contests will pass decision points.

Utah Senate

Thirty-six year veteran Sen. Orrin Hatch is fighting for renomination to a seventh term. Nine GOP candidates are mounting convention challenges to Hatch, who knows all too well the fate of his former seat mate, Bob Bennett. Two years ago, Sen. Bennett was denied renomination at the 2010 version of this convention by failing to tally even 40 percent of the delegate vote. To win the nomination this Saturday, one candidate must garner 60 percent of the convention votes cast. If no one reaches this plateau, then the top two candidates between 40-59 percent will face each other in a June 26 primary election.

The county conventions chose the approximately 3,500 state delegates who will cast these votes on Saturday. Before 2010, the average statewide turnout at county conventions numbered in the 30,000 range. In 2010, because of the challenge to Sen. Bennett, turnout swelled to about 75,000. This year, the participation rate was even higher, with more than 125,000 individuals attending the local meetings. Sen. Hatch himself was partially responsible for the turnout increase as he implemented an aggressive program to encourage his supporters to attend for purposes of sending Hatch voters to the state convention.

It is likely that the senator’s main opponent is former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist. Other notable candidates among the nine are state Rep. Chris Herrod and radio talk show host Tim Aalders, the latter of whom enjoys some Tea Party support. The most likely scenario is the delegates providing enough challenger votes to other candidates thus denying Hatch the 60 percent mark, meaning a primary will ensue. In a statewide election format, the senator will have a strong advantage both in terms of name familiarity, obviously, and campaign resources.

Utah House Races

UT-2: Eleven candidates are vying for the GOP nomination in the 2nd Congressional District. This seat is partially represented by Democrat Jim Matheson (about 40 percent of the new 2nd contains current UT-2 population), but he decided to run in the new District 4. Therefore, it is possible the convention could be choosing a new congressman Saturday as the eventual Republican nominee is virtually assured of winning in November. Among the top candidates here are former state House Speaker David Clark, conservative activist Cherilyn Eagar, businessman Bob Fuehr, author Chris Stewart, and retired trucking executive Howard Wallack. Three of these candidates (and all five are at parity at least in terms of fundraising) will be eliminated Saturday.

UT-4: In the reapportionment-created 4th District, a new poll shows Rep. Matheson to be highly vulnerable. Mason-Dixon Polling & Research conducted a survey April 9-11 of 625 registered voters in the district. They found the congressman leading state Rep. Carl Wimmer (R) by only a razor-thin 46-45 percent margin. Against Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love (R), possibly the most interesting candidate in the race because a young African-American conservative Republican could quickly develop a national following if elected, Matheson leads only 46-42 percent. The third pairing, with state Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R), gives the incumbent a 47-41 percent advantage. A Republican primary is a possibility as all three of the polled candidates appear to have political strength. It is clear the eventual winner will be in strong position to challenge Matheson in what promises to be a competitive general election. Matheson has won a highly Republican-leaning 2nd District throughout the previous decade; it is, in fact, now the most Republican seat in the nation to have Democratic representation. But the new 4th District is comprised of a constituency two-thirds of whom are new to him. Legislative Republicans drew the congressional map to produce a 4R-0D delegation. We shall soon see if that is achieved.