Category Archives: Presidential campaign

2024 Presidential Polls Already Emerging; CNN Exit Polling Numbers; Senate Election Turnout Stats; Sen. Kennedy Planning to Run for Gov?

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022

President

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

New Polling: Already Testing for 2024 — The House of Representatives isn’t even decided yet, and already we see a series of polls testing newly re-elected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) pitted against former President Donald Trump. The WPA Intelligence polling series finds the Florida governor opening up big Republican primary leads against Trump in several important nomination states: Iowa (+11), New Hampshire (+15), Texas (+11), Georgia (+20), and of course, Florida (+20). Count on presidential fever going non-stop for the next two years.

Voting

Exit Polling: CNN Releases Results — Though exit polling has not proven particularly accurate in past elections, looking at the results of the organization’s data still has value. A quick glance at the CNN data brings forth a couple of key observations. First, the Independent vote, which polling suggested through most of the election cycle was moving toward the Republicans, came back to the Democrats at election time. Self-described moderates were breaking Democratic, 56-41 percent. Those describing themselves as Independents voted Democratic in a 49-47 percent split. Within the cell segment, Independent women moved toward the Democrats in a 54-42 percent clip.

On the other end of the spectrum, Republicans actually were making their marks with minority voters, at least according to this data. Republicans were able to attract 39 percent of the Hispanic vote, 40 percent among Asians, and 13 percent with black voters. All of these numbers are an improvement from immediate past elections.

Additionally, while all men break toward the Republicans 56-42 percent, all women prefer the Democrats, 53-45 percent. Still, CNN measures that the national vote went Republican in a 51.3 – 46.7 percent swing even though Democrats held the Senate majority and it appears House control will come down to a minimum number of seats.

Senate

Senate States: Key Turnout Stats — Now that we are seeing closer to final turnout numbers in many places, we have derived some interesting participation statistics from the most competitive US Senate states.

In Georgia, the turnout may fall just short of the 4.0 million voters who cast ballots in 2018. The Nevada turnout, projected to just exceed the 1 million mark, will be an approximate four percent increase over 2018. In Wisconsin, once the final turnout report is released will likely show the same relative participation rate as recorded in 2018.

The Pennsylvania turnout looks to be up five percent from 2018. Florida, where Sen. Marco Rubio won an impressive 58-41 percent victory over US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), who was clearly one of the strongest Democratic candidates in the nation, looks to be six percent under 2018’s total. In Iowa and Ohio, where Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) won an eighth term and Republican J.D. Vance held the open seat over US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown), turnout appears to be down just under nine percent when compared to the 2018 participation rate in both states.

Governor

Louisiana: Sen. Kennedy Releases Poll — Armed with a fresh six years in the Senate with his 62 percent re-election vote against nine opponents, Sen. John Kennedy (R) is now admitting he is considering a run for governor next year when incumbent John Bel Edwards (D) will be ineligible to seek a third term. He then released a Torchlight Strategies poll (Nov. 9-12; 800 likely 2023 Louisiana jungle primary voters; live interview & text) that posted him to a 22-18-13-7-6 percent lead over state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D), attorney general and former Congressman Jeff Landry (R), Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R), and fellow US Sen. Bill Cassidy (R), respectively.

Pew’s Post-Election Findings

By Jim Ellis

The candidates in action at the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio: President Donald Trump (left) and former vice president Joe Biden.

July 8, 2021 — The Pew Research Center conducted a post-election poll and spent seven months developing their conclusions. On the last day of June, they publicized their report.

The study, conducted just after the November election (Nov. 7-12; 11,818 individuals through groups of screened panelists, online) was exhaustive.

Quoting the methodology description, “noncitizens and those who refused the citizenship question (N=450), voters who refused to answer the vote choice question (N=84) and panelists who declined to provide their names and thus could not be matched to a voter record (N=139) were removed, leaving 11,145 panelists for analysis.” Of this latter number, 9,668 respondents were validated as voters, meaning the research team verified with a local election office that the particular individual had in fact voted.

The basic voter segmentation conclusions were speculated upon in most media sectors during the early post-election period, but this research validates and expands upon the discovered patterns. Largely, President Biden received a significant boost from suburban voters, which proved the major difference in his increasing Democratic popular vote performance.

Despite losing the popular vote by a substantial margin, former President Trump surprisingly improved his standing with several groups such as Hispanics, Asians, black men, young voters, and women, but not to the degree necessary to counter Biden’s strength with suburban voters.

For example, among suburban voters, according to the Pew research, Biden recorded 54 percent support as compared to Hillary Clinton’s 45 percent in the 2016 election. Conversely, Trump only carried white voters 51-47 percent in the most current election, a major reduction from the 54-38 percent spread he posted four years earlier.

While Trump declined in the suburbs, his performance among rural voters was even stronger than his 2016 benchmark. In 2020, Trump’s percentage among rural voters rose to 65 percent from his 59 percent previous showing. Additionally, rural female voters largely account for his overall increase among women as he moved from 39 percent in ’16 to 44 percent in 2020.

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Where DeSantis Stands

By Jim Ellis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

June 29, 2021 — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been a hot political property of late, and no less than three political pollsters were in the field during late June to test his popularity in several scenarios.

Two of the firms, Echelon Insights and McLaughlin & Associates, tested Gov. DeSantis nationally in anticipation of a possible presidential run in 2024, while the Political Matrix/Listener Group surveyed the more timely Sunshine State 2022 governor’s race.

From the interactive voice response system poll released late last week, Political Matrix/Listener Group, on June 21, surveyed a total of 716 Florida likely voters who have a gubernatorial preference. They found DeSantis faring well against both announced Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

If US representative and former governor, Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), were his 2022 general election Democratic opponent, Gov. DeSantis would hold a 55-45 percent advantage. Opposite state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D), Florida’s only Democratic statewide elected office holder, the DeSantis margin would expand to a huge 61-39 percent spread; this, in a state where Republicans consistently perform a few points better than polling numbers typically predict.

The other two survey research firms tested Gov. DeSantis against a large number of commonly viewed ’24 GOP presidential prospects. Echelon Insights (June 18-22; 1,001 registered US voters, online from representative sample of registered voters) finds the governor topping the field of 19 named potential candidates within the 386 Republican primary voters segment with a 21 percent support figure, which is seven points higher than the former vice president, Mike Pence.

Donald Trump, Jr. posted seven percent, one point ahead of ex-UN Ambassador and former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who both followed with six percent apiece. This group of five are the only potential contenders exceeding five percent preference. Former president, Donald Trump, was not included in the Echelon Republican nomination ballot test.

McLaughlin and Associates (June 16-20; 1,000 likely US voters, 444 GOP likely presidential primary voters) tested a two-tiered national GOP primary vote, one with former President Trump and one without.

If Trump does not run in 2024, McLaughlin, like Echelon, finds Gov. DeSantis to be the leading early candidate. In the field sans the ex-president, Gov. DeSantis places first with 24 percent followed by ex-VP Pence who attracts 19 percent, while Donald Trump, Jr. places third with 15 percent. Sen. Cruz (six percent) is the only other potential candidate who tops five percent of the vote.

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New Pollster Ratings

By Jim Ellis

March 30, 2021 — The FiveThirtyEight statistical organization released their latest political pollsters’ accuracy ranking chart toward the end of last week — a study that included 592 survey research firms.

Grades from A+ to C/D were assigned to the firms based upon four criteria:

  1. Their 2020 election cycle precision
  2. The predictive category that suggests how successful the firm will be in the future
  3. The number of polls analyzed in this most recent cyccle, and
  4. hat the FiveThirtyEight team terms as the company’s “mean-reverted bias” factor.

Four polling entities earned the top A+ rating. They are:

  • the Iowa-based Selzer & Company
  • ABC News/Washington Post
  • Siena College/New York Times
  • IDB/TIPP

Another six received A ratings:

  • Survey USA
  • Landmark Communications
  • Research & Polling
  • AtlasIntel
  • Monmouth University
  • Marist College
  • Fox News

Seven more posted A- rankings:

  • The Trafalgar Group
  • Public Opinion Strategies
  • CBS News/New York Times
  • Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy
  • Public Policy Polling
  • Emerson College
  • Quinnipiac University

On the other end of the spectrum, 18 firms were at the bottom of the list but a dozen from this group conducted less than 10 surveys. Of those featuring more than 10 polls, the lowest ranked of the group were Nielsen Brothers Polling, the Humphrey Institute, FM3 Research, Opinion Research Associates, McLaughlin & Associates, and Brown University.

Selzer & Company has long been recognized as one of the country’s better pollsters based upon its strong record predicting the Iowa Caucus presidential results and other races most often from the Hawkeye State.

In 2020, 12 of 19 published polls projected Iowa Democrat Theresa Greenfield as leading Sen. Joni Ernst (R). Approaching Election Day, only two pollsters posted the incumbent ahead four or more percentage points: Selzer & Company and Insider Advantage. Sen. Ernst’s final victory margin was 6.6 percentage points. The IA firm came closest to the end result (Ernst, plus-6; actual, 6.6 percent). Surveying for the Des Moines Register newspaper, Selzer & Company again landed within the accuracy realm (Ernst plus-4).

The ratings also included the polling firms’ partisan bias factor. The bias swing in favor of one party or the other ranged from 4.7 points toward the Democrats (Survey Monkey) to a 3.1 sway for Republicans (MRG Research). The overwhelming majority of pollsters with the highest bias rating favored the Democrats. Of the 28 firms that registered a 2.0 or greater partisan bias factor, 26 favored Democratic candidates.

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Analyzing the 2020 Turnout Increase

By Jim Ellis

March 29, 2021 — As we know, election year 2020 produced the largest voter participation level in history, including a substantial increase from the last presidential turnout in 2016. Now that all states have reported finalized election numbers, we know that a total of 158,507,137 individuals cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election, a number that shattered even the highest pre-election turnout predictions.

The figure also represents a 15.9 percent turnout increase when compared with 2016, which, at that time also set a record for raw number voter participation. Attempting to explain the large jump, the proponents of the election system overhaul legislative package in Congress, HR-1/S.1, credit the rise to the heightened use of early and mail voting, and therefore want to make permanent most of the court ordered COVID-19 pandemic response procedural changes. Digging deeper, however, we find that there are other factors present that help explain the voting uptick.

While all but five states (Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi, Missouri, and New Hampshire) employed some form of early voting, another five conducted their elections only through the mail. The usual all-mail states of Colorado, Oregon, and Washington were joined by Hawaii and Utah according to the Ballotpedia election statistics organization that regularly publishes related data.

All five of these latter states saw turnout growth rates that exceeded the national average, including the state posting the highest increase, the Aloha State of Hawaii, which saw a whopping 32.5 percent rise in voting.

As stated earlier, the national average turnout increase when comparing the 2020 figures with 2016 is 15.9 percent. Eighteen states saw an increase greater than the national mean average, while 32 states and the District of Columbia fell below that number. All 51 entities, however, reported an upsurge in voting from 2016. The median average calculated to an increase of 12.8 percent.

Let’s concentrate on the 10 states with the highest increase from 2016. They are:

STATE        PERCENT INCREASE
Hawaii 32.5%
Arizona 31.6%
Utah 31.5%
Texas 26.2%
Idaho 25.8%
Nevada 24.9%
California 23.4%
Washington 23.2%
Tennessee 21.8%
Georgia 21.5%

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Biden-Trump Swings in 2020

By Jim Ellis

March 9, 2021 — The Daily Kos Elections website completed their analysis of the congressional districts that changed the most when comparing the 2020 presidential vote performance to that of 2016. The list is divided into the top 25 districts from two categories, those that swung the most to Joe Biden from Hillary Clinton and the seats where Donald Trump improved to the greatest degree when compared to his 2016 showing.

Perhaps the more interesting chart is the Trump improvement calculations, because every one of the top 25 D to R swing districts has a substantial minority population, particularly Hispanic. In fact, in these 25 CDs, the average Hispanic population figure is 59.8 percent, and we see a mean average improvement swing of 12.3 percent for Trump in 2020 with a median of 11.5 percent when compared with his 2016 standing in these districts.

DISTRICT | WINNER  |   HOUSE 2020 % | PRES. 2020 % | HOUSE WINNER | HISPANIC %
FL-26 Trump   52-47 52-47 Gimenez 68.6
FL-25 Trump   61-38 Unopposed Diaz-Balart 75.8
TX-34 Biden   52-47 55-42 Vela 83.7
FL-27 Biden   51-48 51-49 Salazar 70.4
FL-24 Biden   75-24 76-20 Wilson 37.0
TX-28 Biden   52-47 58-39 Cuellar 77.4
NY-15 Biden   86-13 89-11 Torres, R. 66.1
TX-15 Biden   50-49 50-48 Gonzalez 81.2
CA-51 Biden   67-31 69-32 Vargas 70.1
CA-40 Biden   77-21 73-27 Roybal-Allard 87.6
TX-29 Biden   66-33 71-27 Garcia 77.1
NY-7 Biden   82-17 85-14 Velazquez 41.8
CA-44 Biden   78-19 68-32* Barragan 70.0
CA-29 Biden   74-24 57-43* Cardenas 68.7
NY-14 Biden   73-26 72-27 Ocasio-Cortez 49.1
NY-13 Biden   88-11 91-8 Espaillat 54.5
CA-19 Biden   70-28 72-28 Lofgren 40.8
FL-23 Biden   58-41 58-42 Wasserman-Schultz 35.5
CA-34 Biden   81-17 53-47* Gomez, J. 64.3
TX-9 Biden   76-23 75-22 Green, A. 38.5
NY-6 Biden   62-37 68-32 Meng 19.2
CA-35 Biden   65-33 69-31 Torres, N. 70.0
CA-46 Biden   64-33 69-31 Correa 66.4
NJ-8 Biden   73-26 74-25 Sires 54.4
PA-2 Biden   70-29 72-28 Boyle 27.9

* Faced another Democrat in general election
• Avg. Swing 12.3 | Median 11.5 | Average Hispanic percent: 59.8%


Biden Swing

Obviously, President Biden still won all but two of these districts, and the vast majority with overwhelming percentages. Even so, the fact that so many of the Hispanic districts were giving former President Trump a double-digit vote total increase is significant, nonetheless. This could be a positive 2020 presidential campaign after-effect upon which the Republican Party can build.

As you will see similarly in the districts below that swung significantly to Biden, only one of the Trump improvement seats performed differently at the House level when compared to that same electorate’s presidential vote. The one CD of the 25 swings that voted Biden for president and a Republican for House was Florida’s 27th District as Maria Elvira Salazar (R) upset incumbent Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Miami).

Of the districts that showed the most significant gain for Trump we look to South Texas. This contrasts greatly with the vote changes in North Texas. As we can see, ex-President Trump showed significant improvement in all of the Texas-Mexican border districts.

The district with the sharpest Trump swing was Florida’s 26th District, with a 21.9 percent factor. The lowest of the 25 were New Jersey’s 8th and Pennsylvania’s 2nd CDs, both with a 7.0 percentage improvement for the Republican former president.

The chart immediately below shows the top 25 districts that produced the sharpest swing for the race winner, President Biden. Remember, the 2016 Democratic number was that of Hillary Clinton.
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Florida Poll Boosts DeSantis

By Jim Ellis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) at the recent CPAC.

March 3, 2021 — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is quickly becoming a national talking point with regard to the 2024 presidential campaign, but he first must further prove himself with a 2022 re-election victory in the always politically close Sunshine State.

Over the weekend at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Gov. DeSantis was clearly the choice of the conservative base as a potential heir-apparent to former President Donald Trump.

In the future presidential straw poll, former President Trump placed first among the several thousand individuals who participated. He took 55 percent of the first-place ranked choice votes. Gov. DeSantis was a clear second pick, however, with 24 percent. Without Trump in the field, it was Gov. DeSantis running away with the lead, capturing 43 percent with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem a distant 11 percent second-place finisher. Donald Trump, Jr. followed with eight percent support.

Just after CPAC, Mason-Dixon Polling & Research released the findings from their Florida poll conducted during the Feb. 24-28 period. The organization surveyed 625 registered Sunshine State voters through a live interview process.

According to the M-D results, Gov. DeSantis’ job approval rating has improved to 53:42 percent favorable to unfavorable, a net 15-point gain from his standing in the July 2020 M-D survey that found him saddled with an upside-down ratio of 45:49 percent.

The job approval ratings are a precursor to his ballot test standing opposite a prospective Democratic gubernatorial nominee, of whom the two leading choices appear to be State Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Commissioner Nikki Fried and US Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) who may make his third run for governor.

From 2007-11, Crist was governor of the state, but served as a Republican. He switched parties after a failed run for the US Senate as an Independent, and won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2014, but lost to then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the general election.

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