Category Archives: Presidential campaign

Democratic National Convention Shaping Up to be Historic

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 8, 2019 — At this point, Democratic presidential primary patterns are beginning to reveal themselves.

The February First Four states are becoming a hodgepodge of political strength with both Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and/or Bernie Sanders (I-VT) potentially stealing Iowa and New Hampshire away from national front-runner Joe Biden. That means the former vice president may have his back up against the proverbial wall when the campaign streams into Nevada, the third voting state whose caucus participants will convene on Feb. 22. He may well need a victory there, before getting to South Carolina and his southern states political oasis.

As the new Fox News South Carolina Democratic primary poll shows (Sept. 29-Oct. 2; 803 likely South Carolina Democratic primary voters), Biden’s lead is very strong in the Palmetto State at 41-12-10 percent over Sens. Warren and Sanders, respectively. These numbers are commensurate with his standing in other recently polled southern domains.

But new data coming from delegate-rich states that are not frequently polled give us a further perspective about just how the nomination drama might unfold.

Four new state surveys were released at the end of last week with clear separation only detected in Arizona. Data coming from California and Ohio show dead heats among the three major candidates. Additionally, the latest Wisconsin poll gives Biden only a small lead.

The first three states in this group will vote in March, on Super Tuesday (March 3, California), March 10 (Ohio), and March 17 (Arizona). The fourth state’s electorate, Wisconsin, will cast their ballots on April 7.

Change Research (Oct. 27-28; 396 likely Arizona Democratic primary voters) finds that Arizona is polling as one of the ex-vice president’s weakest states and the only one that shows a relatively competitive four-way race. The Change results finds Sen. Warren claiming a significant lead with 35 percent support, ahead of Sen. Sanders’ 19 percent, Biden’s 15 percent, with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg making a viable appearance with 13 percent preference.

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Underestimating Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 3, 2019 — One of the major political campaign stories of the week is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) releasing his third quarter financial receipts, which exceeded $25.2 million for the previous 12-week period. The only other candidate to publicize his most recent financial information at this point in time is Mayor Pete Buttigieg who reports raising $19 million for the quarter.

While these numbers are high and continue to demonstrate strong, broad-based support, we still do not know the amounts that former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will soon announce and are required to report by the Oct. 15 deadline.

Buttigieg makes the argument that this is his second consecutive outstanding quarter, which puts him at more than $51 million raised for the campaign. It appears Buttigieg has handled his money well, meaning he has adequate funding to compete in all of the early states. This is particularly true for Iowa, which hosts the first nominating on Feb. 3, and is of the utmost importance to his political survival in this national campaign.

But the Sanders campaign is our point of focus. Though his effort has been relatively quiet in the early going, the Sanders operation has concentrated upon and successfully secured their ground operation. This will prove a strong move once the actual voting begins.

In the 2016 campaign Sanders consistently under-polled. He was not predicted to do particularly well in Iowa, for example. Remember, in that contest Sanders fought Hillary Clinton to a virtual tie, forcing her to win a series of coin flips in selected precincts thus enabling her to declare a very slight statewide victory. For all intents and purposes, the Sanders performance created a virtual tie with Clinton and began to transform the contest into a one-on-one battle.

After Iowa, Sanders rolled into his New England backyard and the New Hampshire primary. Here we must recall that he garnered 60 percent of the vote against Hillary Clinton, a landslide victory that dashed her inevitable nominee strategy.

When the candidates advanced to Nevada, the race cemented as a two-person contest. Though Sanders lost the Sliver State caucus, controversy arose when the Independent senator’s campaign claimed that the Democratic National Committee had changed the rules to disallow some of the Sanders’ outlying precinct delegates from casting their ballots.
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Qualifying Already Underway
For Upcoming Presidential Debates

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 1, 2019 — The Democratic National Committee had barely announced the new qualification requirements for the November and December presidential debates when three candidates immediately proved they met the polling requirement and several others reached the halfway point.

Not that there was any doubt that former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would be in the late year forums, but they have already clinched their podiums.

CNN, one of the sanctioned pollsters that the DNC recognizes for determining candidate support, released two studies in states whose electorates will vote in February. The surveys that SSRS, the CNN regular polling firm partner, conducted tested the electorates in both Nevada and South Carolina.

The new party rules require candidates to now earn three percent support, up from two percent, in four sanctioned surveys either nationally or within the first four voting states, those that party rules allow to hold their nominating event in February (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina). Another option allows a candidate to meet the polling requirement if he or she receives five percent in two of the first four voting states.

The CNN/SSRS Nevada poll (Sept. 22-26; 324 likely Nevada Democratic caucus attenders) is sanctioned even though the sample size is small. That being the case, the results find that the three top contenders lie in a statistical tie. Biden and Sen. Sanders each post 22 percent support, while Sen. Warren trails only by four points at 18 percent.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is next with five percent, a rather poor showing considering that Nevada is adjacent to her home state of California, but one that would alone give her one-half of the polling qualification requirement. She would need to reach five percent in just one other poll in a First Four state to meet the polling requirement in order to earn a debate podium spot in November and December.

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Warren Surges in California

By Jim Ellis

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Sept. 25, 2019 — The Capitol Weekly firm in California has been tracking the Golden State electorate monthly since April, and their September data shows a significant change from August. Now, it is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) eclipsing former Vice President Joe Biden for the lead and coming all the way from last place in the original track to post an unweighted 33.1 percent support factor in September.

Biden, on the other hand, began with an unweighted 20.4 percent preference from a universe of over 5,000 individuals from which selected respondents were polled in April. This was the best score among the candidates at the time, but the former vice president and veteran senator began to seesaw through the succeeding months after rising to a high of 29.6 percent in May. Gradually he began dropping to his September level of 18.0 percent, now well behind Sen. Warren and less than one point ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The September weighted numbers from the 599 most likely Democratic primary voters find Sen. Warren leading with 29 percent, Sen. Sanders moving into second with 21 percent, Biden with 18 percent, and home-state Sen. Kamala Harris dropping to just 11 percent from her high of 20.6 percent in July.

The California vote is critically important to winning the nomination because the state possesses 416 first-ballot delegates at the Democratic National Convention. Texas has the second-largest delegation with 228 first-ballot delegates, thus providing a measure of California’s prominence within the Democratic nomination process. Under the weighted percentages, Sens. Warren, Sanders, and Biden would be the only candidates to qualify for delegate apportionment because they would exceed the minimum 15 percent threshold.

The underlying questions asked of September’s weighted respondents reveal an even more stark difference between Warren and Biden. It is here where we see a fundamental shifting of strength between the two, with her on the ascent and him falling back.

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Warren Overtakes Biden in Iowa Poll

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 24, 2019 — Des Moines-based Selzer & Company, largely regarded as the most accurate pollster of the Iowa electorate, just released their latest data for the Des Moines Register newspaper (Sept. 14-18; 602 likely Iowa Democratic Caucus attenders) and it contains significant positive news for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren

On the ballot test, Selzer finds that Warren has eclipsed former Vice President Joe Biden, leading him 22-20 percent with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) following with support factors of 11, nine, and six percent, respectively. But the data goes deeper than projecting who simply leads the ballot test.

The Selzer pollsters also asked the individuals’ second choice if for some reason their original chosen candidate was no longer in the race. Combining the results provides us a further gauge into Warren’s underlying strength as defined in this particular poll.

Selzer projects Warren scoring 42 percent support on the combined first and second choice ballot test response. This is 12 points better than Biden’s 30 percent, and doubles Sen. Sanders’ combined figure of 21 percent. Mayor Buttigieg and Sen. Harris follow with 18 and 12 percent, respectively.

The large percentage going to Warren and, perhaps more significantly, the margin between she and Biden, and Warren and Sanders, suggests a greater underlying electoral strength than any of the other candidates within this Iowa respondent group. In a limited participation caucus meeting nominating event, depth of support is highly likely to be the winning difference.

It is clear that Biden is attempting to establish himself as the national front runner for the party nomination and Iowa is very important toward such an end. As the leading national candidate, losing the first event could send a campaign into a downward spiral because the first set of high campaign expectations was not met.

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