Category Archives: Presidential campaign

Warren Ahead in Iowa & Wisconsin

By Jim Ellis

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Aug. 19, 2019 — The Change Research organization, which has previously conducted simultaneous multi-state polling within the same sampling period, just repeated their process. This time, the firm surveyed likely Democratic voters in both Iowa and Wisconsin over the Aug. 9-11 period and found Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren topping the field in both states.

As we know, the Iowa Caucus, with only 41 first-ballot delegate votes, is an important trend-setting state because of being placed first on the national voting calendar. In 2016, after her campaign was selling Hillary Clinton as the “inevitable nominee,” she barely won the first vote in Iowa, which arguably began a downward spiral for her campaign. Though Clinton obviously won the party nomination, the long fight with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) politically weakened her for the general election campaign.

According to the Change Iowa data (621 likely Iowa Democratic Caucus participants through online communication), Sen. Warren would lead Sen. Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), 28-17-17-13-8 percent, respectively. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who needs to make a major play in her neighboring state, still only shows two percent support, tying her with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), billionaire Tom Steyer, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, but behind the three percent score of both Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX).

Biden may have a similar problem to that of Clinton, and it could prove to be a major stumbling block. As the presumptive national front-runner, under-performing in Iowa would show clear vulnerability. Traveling the following week to Sens. Warren and Sanders’ New England backyard for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary after sustaining an Iowa loss would strengthen the two local candidates and possibly cause Biden to again fall.

This scenario would be quite damaging to the former vice president. Because his momentum would significantly slow, re-starting for the succeeding Nevada Caucus becomes very difficult and he would need a boost here before heading to the South Carolina primary and the southern states-dominated Super Tuesday. Currently, Biden is polling very strongly throughout the south, but faltering early could quickly change that dynamic.

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The September Debate:
Who’s In and Who’s Out

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 16, 2019 — It appears the Democratic National Committee’s move to increase the presidential debate qualifications in order to decrease the number of participants is working.

With the first two debates featuring 20 candidates over a two-night process, party leaders obviously wanted to cull the field in order to attract a large viewership and host a more serious single forum. Thus, the debate qualifications were doubled in order to ensure that only the most competitive candidates would be included in the succeeding candidate events.

Originally, in order to earn a debate podium, the contenders had to recruit 65,000 donors or score at least one percent support within a series of designated polls. For the third debate scheduled over two days — Sept. 12-13 from Houston — the minimum qualification standards were doubled. Now, the candidates must prove they have at least 130,000 donors, 400 of whom come from at least 20 states, and receive two percent support on four of eight designated polls during the period of June 28 and Aug. 28.

At this point, nine candidates have already officially qualified for the September forum and three more have clinched one of the two platforms. Most of the nine were expected to earn their debate positions, but there is at least one major surprise, and some believe two minor ones.

The next debate will feature no fewer than the
following candidates (alphabetically listed):
• Former Vice President Joe Biden
• Sen. Cory Booker (NJ)
• Mayor Pete Buttigieg
• Sen. Kamala Harris (CA)
• Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN)
• Ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX)
• Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT)
• Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA)
• Businessman Andrew Yang

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Polling Series: New Pattern Emerges

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 14, 2019 — The HarrisX polling firm just completed conducting three rolling national Democratic presidential primary polls, and while they confirm other data finding former Vice President Joe Biden leading the race, he does so only in the low 30s. This is a number range far below what he needs to win a first-ballot nomination. The data does, however, reveal a new contender consistently placing second.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

HarrisX conducted the survey trio from Aug. 7-12 that covered the periods of Aug. 7-10, 8-11, and 9-12. The sample sizes were substantial and almost identical in size, ranging from 1,346-1,350.

The HarrisX findings when compared with other recent polling yield a first-place finish for Biden. The three studies post him to a pair of 30 percent finishes and one 31 percent showing.

But, perhaps the more interesting placement comes in examining who finished second. In contrast with the conclusions of other national polls that show Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) placing definitively in second place, the HarrisX series finds Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) returning to that position.

The three polls project a consistent Biden-Sanders-Warren finish, with the leader scoring close to a 2:1 margin over his closest rival.

The research trifecta produced the following results:

Aug. 9-12; 1,346 registered or self-identified US Democratic voters
Biden 30%
Sanders 16%
Warren 10%
Harris 6%
Buttigieg 5%
O’Rourke 4%

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Projected Democrat Delegate Count

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 12, 2019 — Several polls in key states have been released in early August, so it is a good time to again review the Democratic presidential delegate count estimate based upon the available data.

Projected delegate counts based on polling in nine key states of Democratic candidates jockeying for their party’s nomination for president in 2020.

We see new polls from Iowa, New Hampshire, California, Texas, North Carolina, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Adding the numbers from Nevada and South Carolina — important because this pair is part of the momentum setting First Four — we can gain a decent, though not wholly accurate, picture of where the race would stand if delegate apportionment were based upon these polling totals.

The most current surveys come from North Carolina, Iowa, and Pennsylvania all conducted between July 29 and Aug. 5.

In chronological order, based upon the latest studies, we begin with the Tar Heel State. Survey USA polled the North Carolina Democratic electorate (Aug. 1-5; 534 likely North Carolina Democratic primary voters) and find former Vice President Joe Biden leading his opponents by 21 points. He would post 36 percent as compared to Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) scoring 15 and 13 percent, respectively. All others fall to single digits.

Accounting for some of the lower-tier candidates eventually dropping out before voting begins, it is likely that the three listed above would exceed the 15 percent threshold to qualify for delegates. If so, Biden would capture approximately 62 delegates, Sen. Sanders would earn 26, and Sen. Warren, 22.

Monmouth University conducted a new Iowa poll (Aug. 1-4; 401 likely Iowa Democratic caucus participants) and found much different results than when we last visited this electorate through the Change Research data in July. Those results projected the top five candidates qualifying for delegate apportionment, but Monmouth sees things quite differently.

According to their latest numbers, it is only Biden and Sen. Warren who would exceed the 15 percent threshold and qualify for delegates, polling at 28 and 19 percent respectively. Therefore, Iowa’s 41 first ballot delegates would split 24 for Biden and 17 for Warren.

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Hickenlooper: Heading Out and In?

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper – running for Senate after all? (Photo Moritz Hager)

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 6, 2019 — Some politicos are saying that former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is poised to end his failed presidential campaign and return home to challenge Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). The speculation is largely coming because new Hickenlooper for Senate campaign domain names were just registered in the past few days. That, and in an interview Sunday on satellite radio, Hickenlooper said he would “be a fool” to continue running for president if he couldn’t see improvement in the polls.

Democratic leaders had long attempted to recruit Hickenlooper into the Senate race, but he steadfastly refused to be swayed from becoming a presidential candidate. He went further than rejecting the idea of running statewide in 2020 when he even expressed some disdain for the Senate as a political body. Hickenlooper seemingly ruled out serving in the Senate saying in February that, “I’m not cut out to be a senator,” and that, “Senators don’t build teams. Senators sit and debate in small groups…”

In his absence, no less than 14 Colorado Democrats have come forward to seek the party nomination to oppose Sen. Gardner, who began the 2020 cycle as arguably the most vulnerable Republican incumbent because his state is moving decidedly leftward. Ten months later, however, Sen. Gardner’s re-election chances appear stronger.

Of the 14 active candidates, six have electoral experience and seven have served in either elective, appointed, or political party positions. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold leads the group, and former state House Speaker and statewide candidate Andrew Romanoff, ex-state House Majority Leader Alice Madden, former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston, state Sen. Angela Williams (D-Denver), ex-US Ambassador Dan Baer, and former Boulder County Democratic chair Ellen Burnes follow.

It is unclear just how many from this group, if any, would step aside for Hickenlooper, who is certainly a weakened political figure considering his national performance and given that he previously has said he doesn’t want the federal office. Therefore, it is conceivable that he will have to face what could be a difficult Democratic primary, and then Sen. Gardner, who is widely regarded as the best campaigner in the Republican candidate stable. According to the latest Federal Election Commission disclosure report, Sen. Gardner’s campaign account possessed just under $5 million at the June 30 deadline.

Though money will be no object for either Sen. Gardner or the eventual Democratic nominee, Colorado voting history is a major factor. The state has been trending much more Democratic since the turn of the century, and President Trump only recorded 43 percent of the vote in his loss here to Hillary Clinton. Prior to that, the last Republican to carry Colorado was George W. Bush in 2004.

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Seven State Polls

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 2, 2019 — In the latter half of July, several different pollsters conducted Democratic presidential primary polls in seven important primary states. In Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, California, Texas, Michigan, and Illinois — all states whose voters will cast primary ballots on or before March 17 — contain an aggregate 1,012 first-ballot delegates.

The seven polls give us an idea as to how Democratic primary participants in the corresponding states would vote if their presidential nomination elections had been in mid to late July. Additionally, we make delegate dispersion projections from the polling data to the qualified candidates and attempt to determine whether any one individual could garner the 50 percent delegate support necessary to claim a first ballot victory.

The Firehouse/Optimus organization polled in Iowa (July 23-25; 630 likely Iowa Democratic caucus voters), New Hampshire (July 23-25; 587 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters), and South Carolina (July 23-25; 554 registered South Carolina voters). The Public Policy Institute of California surveyed the Golden State Democratic primary (July 14-23; 766 likely California Democratic primary voters). The University of Texas at Tyler (July 24-27; 554 registered Texas voters), Climate Nexus (July 14-17; 324 likely Michigan Democratic primary voters), and Victory Research (July 26-29; 1,200 likely Illinois Democratic primary voters) tested the Texas, Michigan, and Illinois electorates.

For the purposes of this exercise, let us assume that all of these surveys accurately depict how the Democratic electorates in each of these states would vote. Let us further assume that the congressional district delegate apportionment directly corresponds to the at-large state vote.

Doing so allows us to make delegate apportionment estimates for each of these states with the understanding that the conclusions are not precise. They do, however, give us an idea as to how the delegate dispersion might break. Understanding that several of the polled minor candidates will not be on the ballot when actual voting occurs allows us to project additional votes going to the close finishers, those at 13-14% in these polls. Doing so likely boosts them to the 15 percent threshold that party rules mandate as a qualification requirement for delegate votes.

The aggregate total of 1,012 delegates from these seven states represents just under 27 percent of the entire first ballot universe at the Democratic National Convention, so the combined tested states are significant in terms of the number of delegates they possess and their voting schedule position.

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Biden Rebounding Across the Nation

Former vice president, Joe Biden

By Jim Ellis

July 25, 2019 — Former Vice President Joe Biden is re-establishing his pre-debate lead in the Democratic presidential race according to a new Morning Consult political survey.

The poll (July 15-21; 17,285 likely Democratic primary voters from an online pool of 5,000 US registered voters), part of a regular ongoing Morning Consult research series, finds Biden registering 33 percent preference. Following with double-digit support are Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) at 18-14-13 percent, respectively. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who led all of the Democratic candidates in second quarter fundraising with $24 million obtained during the three-month period, posted only five percent support in placing fifth.

Though we see more support for both Warren and Harris than was present in pre-debate polling, the remainder of the field appears to be reverting to their support levels detected prior to the first Democratic presidential forum held in Miami at the end of June.

Results such as those found in this MC study still suggest the pressure is squarely on the former vice president to deliver an improved performance at his next debate scheduled for July 31 from Detroit. While it was clear his support dipped after the last debate, it will now become imperative for him to command the stage in order to re-establish long-lasting confidence from his political base.

The post-debate slippage indicated that much of Biden’s voter base can be described as vacillating, thus identifying a point of weakness. The upcoming national debate will give him the opportunity of cementing his early lead.

With Biden again pitted against Sen. Harris, and this time with Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) joining him as part of the 10 candidates appearing on stage, his key opponents make up a formidable presence who will likely seize more than their allotted share of speaking time. Fighting for time could become problematic for Biden, especially if he becomes a joint target as the evening proceeds.

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