Category Archives: Presidential campaign

Michigan Presidential Primaries Today; Surprising Maine Poll; Michigan GOP Candidate Leading; NY Legislature Rejects Redistricting Map

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024

President

Michigan: Presidential Primaries Today — The presidential nomination process moves to Michigan today, and Wolverine State voters of both parties will cast delegate apportioning votes. It is clear that President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will win their respective primaries, and by large majorities.

Michigan presidential Primaries underway today; is former President Donald Trump besting President Joe Biden in a new Maine poll?

The Emerson College survey (Feb. 20-24; 1,000 registered Michigan voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Biden posting a whopping 75-5 percent lead over US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN). A total of nine percent report planning to vote for the Uncommitted Slate, the move that Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) was encouraging Michigan voters to take in order to protest the Biden’s pro-Israel policy. On the Republican side, Trump records a 69-20 percent lead over former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Both men are already in the “presumptive nominee” sphere.

Maine: Shock Poll; Trump Leads in General — A very surprising general election poll in Maine was released from the Pan Atlantic Research organization in Portland, Maine. The poll (Feb. 6-14; 836 Maine adults; 791 Maine likely voters; online) finds former President Trump topping President Biden in what was previously a state largely unattainable for Republican presidential candidates. The numbers find Trump leading the Biden 38-32 percent with 21 percent saying they would vote for another candidate. The “other candidates” were not identified, but it is reasonable to assume that most of these New Englanders choosing to support a candidate other than Biden or Trump would be headed to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Trump is carrying the state largely on the back of his large 20-point lead in the 2nd Congressional District. He would trail Biden in the Democratic 1st CD by eight points. Because Maine’s congressional districts carry their own electoral votes, the results suggest Trump would get three electoral votes from the state and Biden, one.

Of course, these surprising results can easily change but things will have to significantly improve for President Biden before such happens. According to this data, the Biden’s favorability index in Maine is 38:61 percent favorable to unfavorable, meaning the campaign’s task of improving his image is a difficult one.

Senate

Michigan: New GOP Poll Posts Ex-Rep. Rogers to Primary Lead — A regular Michigan pollster, MRG Research, surveyed the state’s Republican electorate and becomes the first poll in the field since retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R) withdrew from the Senate race. The study (Feb. 19-22; 600 likely Michigan primary voters) finds former US Rep. Mike Rogers opening a large 23-7 percent Republican primary lead over ex-Rep. Peter Meijer.

Another former congressman, Libertarian Justin Amash, is reportedly considering entering the GOP race but has yet to do so. The Michigan state primary is not scheduled until Aug. 6. The eventual Republican Senate nominee will very likely face US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) in the general election. The congresswoman is the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination.

House

New York: Legislature Rejects Redistricting Map — Yesterday, both chambers of the New York state legislature rejected the Citizens Redistricting Commission congressional plan that made few changes to the court-imposed map of 2022. It is clear that the Democratic legislature wants to draw a political footprint more favorable for their party but will do so under what will be an almost guaranteed partisan gerrymandering lawsuit.

The state Senate then passed a bill attempting to limit where such a lawsuit could be filed, listing the most populous and Democratic counties in the state. Republicans claim that such a maneuver will be ruled unconstitutional.

While the Democrats may have won this latest New York redistricting round, the fight is a long way from culmination.

Trump Projected to Win Electoral College; California Primary Poll Jockeying; Texas Senate Race Numbers; NJ-8 Dueling Dem Polls

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump

Decision Desk HQ: Projects Trump at 312 EVs — The Decision Desk HQ, in association with The Hill newspaper, has forecast a new 50-state electoral vote projection. All swing states are averaged based upon data from at least five recent polls. The new estimates give former President Donald Trump his largest-ever Electoral College vote lead, 312-226.

The key swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are all landing in the Trump camp according to DDHQ. To win the 2024 election, Trump needs to convert states that equal 35 electoral votes. According to this projection, Trump is improving his stance by 80 electoral votes when compared with his 2020 performance.

Senate

California: Primary Battle Over Second Place — Emerson College surveyed the California electorate in a partnership with The Hill newspaper and the Inside California Politics blog (Feb. 16-18; 1,000 registered California voters; 935 likely jungle primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) again found US Rep. Adam Schiff (D) leading the open US Senate field, this time with 28 percent of the vote. In second place, and for the first time with a sizable advantage over the third-place finisher, is former baseball great Steve Garvey (R) with 22 percent. Following are Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) with 16 percent and nine percent, respectively.

The poll has a number of positive points for Garvey. Aside from the Emerson/Hill data suggesting he secures a general election slot, he does well with older voters. He registers a 33 percent preference total from those over 70 years of age, which is typically the highest turnout sector, and scores in second position with who voters believe would best handle the crime, homelessness, war in Israel, and immigration issues, while rating only three points below who would best handle abortion.

Additionally, the third-place finisher, Rep. Porter, does best with the youth vote, but this segment has the poorest participation history.

The California jungle primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5. The top two finishers regardless of political party affiliation or percentage attained will advance to the general election. Sen. Laphonza Butler (D), who Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) appointed to replace the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), is not running for a full term.

Texas: Rep. Allred Establishes Strong Primary Lead, Cruz Likewise in General — YouGov, polling for the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin (Feb. 2-12; 1,313 registered Texas voters; 1,200 likely Texas primary voters; online), tested the Lone Star State electorate for the coming March 5 primary election, and found US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas), who has been using his resource advantage to advertise heavily, exceeding the 50 percent threshold within the Democratic primary segment. According to the YouGov results, Allred records a 52 percent preference figure as compared to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez’s (D-San Antonio) 14 percent.

Former Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez and state Rep. Carl Sherman (D-Dallas) register support figures of only five and two percent.

Within the general election sample, however, the tables turn. Here, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) records his best polling stance of the current campaign, with a 46-32 percent margin over Rep. Allred. The Daily Kos Elections site analysts criticized the poll because the questionnaire did not assign a party label with each candidate. They reason that Allred would have received better support had such been the case.

Two points of disagreement: first, the primary question was asked before the general election question, thus the voters were already told that Allred was a Democrat. Second, it is more likely that Sen. Cruz, who has not been overly popular in the state, would have actually benefited more with party labels since Texas has been a solid state for the GOP since the early 1990s.

House

NJ-8: Dueling Internal Dem Primary Polls — Last week, Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City) released the results of his internal TargetSmart survey that posted him to a relatively strong 46-22 percent advantage over Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla in their quest for the Democratic nomination. On Wednesday, the Bhalla campaign countered with their own poll, this one from GQR Research another highly rated polling firm. This data (released Feb. 20; 403 likely NJ-8 Democratic primary voters) finds a much different ballot test, with the incumbent leading only 44-41 percent.

These polls, seemingly both well conducted, are far apart in how they view the race. This will be another of the most interesting primary contests to watch during our current election cycle.

Tlaib Calling for Protest Vote; Potentially Strong Senate Candidate Files in Wisconsin; Lesko to Retire, But Not From Politics; Close Governor Race in Washington

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024

President

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) is calling for a protest vote in Michigan’s Democratic primary.

Michigan: Rep. Tlaib Calling for Protest Vote — The Michigan presidential primary is scheduled for next Tuesday, and controversial US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) is calling for pro-Palestinian voters to “support Gaza” by voting for the “Uncommitted Slate” in the Democratic primary. While this tactic may gain some votes within the large Muslim community in the Detroit area, it will not deter President Joe Biden from securing all of Michigan’s Democratic delegates. He is on track to mathematically clinch the nomination on the first convention ballot when the March 19 primaries conclude.

Senate

Wisconsin: Republican Candidate Files with FEC — Banking and real estate investor Eric Hovde, who ran for the Senate in the 2012 Republican primary, has filed a 2024 US Senate campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission. Wisconsin is the last potentially competitive state where Republicans do not have a strong candidate. The national Republican leadership hopes Hovde will be viable enough to keep this state in play for November. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is seeking a third term.

In 2012, Hovde lost the Republican primary to former four-term Gov. Tommy Thompson on a 34-30 percent count. Thompson would then lose to then-US Rep. Baldwin, 51-46 percent, in what proved to be the senator’s first statewide victory. Wisconsin elections are always close, so this will be yet another race to watch as the election cycle proceeds.

Maricopa County, Arizona: Retiring Congresswoman to Run for Local Office — GOP Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) may be retiring from Congress, but not from elective politics. Lesko announced that she will run this year for an open seat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. The incumbent, Republican Clint Hickman who was re-elected four years ago with almost 59 percent of the vote, is retiring. Former President Donald Trump carried the 4th Supervisorial District with 57 percent over President Joe Biden in 2020. Each of the five county supervisors represent just over 900,000 people, just slightly larger than the size of a congressional district.

In recent election years several California US House members, then-Reps. Janice Hahn (D-Los Angeles), Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-San Bernardino), and Paul Cook (R-San Bernardino) also left the US House to run for a county board position. Reps. Hahn and Cook were successfully elected. Former Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D) is also a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, but she was elected after serving as US Labor Secretary in the Obama Administration.

Governor

Washington: Another Close Governor Race Survey — Once again, we see more survey data predicting a tight open seat campaign, this time in the Washington governor’s race. Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute sees Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) and former US representative and King County Sheriff Dave Reichert (R) advancing into the general election from the Aug. 6 jungle primary. Ferguson and Reichert recorded a respective 35-27-9 percent showing over Richland School Board member Semi Bird in the primary polling.

Though a previous PPP poll posted Reichert to a small lead, this sampling universe sees Ferguson inching ahead. The ballot test result favored the Democratic attorney general within the polling margin of error, 46-44 percent.

Manchin Declines Presidential Run; Tester Up in Latest Montana Poll; Texas Polls Bouncing About;
NC Governor’s Race a Dead Heat; Nevada Redistricting Push Fails

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024

President

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D)

Sen. Joe Manchin: No Presidential Run — After testing the political waters for a minor party presidential run, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) over the weekend announced that he will not be pursuing a national candidacy. While not said, it is clear that the task of obtaining ballot position in enough states to be competitive proved daunting, and at this point in the cycle very unlikely to be achieved. Without a party label, it is extremely difficult, as even Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is finding, to qualify fully for the national campaign.

Senate

Montana: Tester Up in Latest Senate Poll — Survey USA, polling for the NonStop Local organization (Feb. 12-15; 700 North Carolina adults; 612 registered North Carolina voters; 549 likely voters) tested the Montana electorate shortly after Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) announced his short-lived Senate campaign. The results provided good news for Sen. Jon Tester (D), who faces the political winds in his face this year. Against both aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy and Rosendale, Sen. Tester posted identical 49-40 percent leads. Earlier surveys found a much closer ballot test.

Rep. Rosendale’s abrupt exit from the Senate race virtually clears the GOP field for Sheehy, who already has the entire Republican state and national establishment backing his campaign. The Montana race is a top-tier GOP challenge contest and one of the states likely to determine which party will claim the Senate majority in the next Congress.

Texas: Senate Polls Bouncing Around — We’re already seeing very predictable Texas Senate polling. Recent polls have shown a tight race between Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas). It is expected that the various ballot tests will show a close contest all the way to election day, at which point Sen. Cruz will pull away and post a 5-plus point victory. Additionally, while Rep. Allred has been very successful on the fundraising front, he still must navigate through a contested Democratic primary that has a good chance of advancing into a runoff election.

The National Public Affairs Republican polling firm (Feb. 6-8; 807 likely Texas voters; live interview & text) is the latest to survey the Texas electorate. While the data produces a three point Republican advantage on the generic congressional question and former President Donald Trump tops President Joe Biden at 42-35 percent, the Senate race between Cruz and Allred finds the two tied at 44 percent apiece. Previously, we saw chronological polls giving Cruz a nine-point (YouGov), two-point (Emerson College), and six-point (YouGov) lead.

Governor

North Carolina: Open Gov Race a Dead Heat — Of the eleven 2024 gubernatorial campaigns on the ballot, the North Carolina contest is clearly the most competitive. With Gov. Roy Cooper (D) ineligible to seek a third term, it appears that Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) and Attorney General Josh Stein (D) are headed to the general election.

East Carolina University just completed a poll of the state (Feb. 9-12; 1,207 registered North Carolina voters; Interactive Voice Response system) and posts Robinson to a 53-13-7 percent lead over attorney and former prosecutor Bill Graham and state Treasurer Dale Folwell in the Republican primary. On the Democratic side, AG Stein records a similarly strong 57-7 percent margin over retired state Supreme Court Judge Mike Morgan.

Turning to the general election, this polling universe yields a 41-41 percent tie between the two men. North Carolina typically features tight statewide races, and this open governor’s race appears to be consistent with such voter history.

States

Nevada: Redistricting Ballot Prop Rejected — Proponents of creating a redistricting commission were dealt a major setback at the end of last week. Two measures that would begin the process to remove redistricting power from the legislature and governor and create a citizens’ commission to draw maps can’t appear on the ballot this year according to a Nevada state court ruling. The ruling cited the Nevada statue stating ballot initiatives must demonstrate that adopting the measure will pay for itself. The redistricting commission proposition lacked such proof.

In Nevada, ballot measures must pass in consecutive elections in order to be adopted. Therefore, it appears this support group will have to wait until 2026 and 2028 to attempt qualifying the proposition since the latest court ruling will likely prohibit the supporters from obtaining the 102,362 valid petition signatures required for ballot qualification in this election year.

Trump Expands Huge Lead in Primary States; Craig Suspends Senate Campaign; Primary Averted in NJ-9

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump

South Carolina: Trump Expands Huge Lead — The international survey research firm YouGov, polling for CBS News (Feb. 5-10; 1,483 registered South Carolina voters; 1,001 likely South Carolina Republican presidential primary voters; online) finds former President Donald Trump expanding his previous ballot test lead over former UN ambassador and ex-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as the candidates move toward the Feb. 24 Palmetto State GOP primary. Trump secured 65 percent of the poll respondents’ support versus 30 percent for Haley.

Trump does much better as to who would perform better on all associated issue questions with the exception of which candidate is most likable. In terms of committed support, 87 percent of the individuals who say they support Trump report that their vote is firm. A total of 78 percent of Haley voters say the same about their support. A convincing Trump South Carolina victory in her home state will effectively end the Haley campaign.

Upcoming Primaries: Trump Way Ahead — The Morning Consult firm released the results of polls they conducted through key states with primaries on March 5, 12, and 19. The ballot tests are overwhelming in favor of former President Trump. In Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Ohio, Trump registers between 75 percent (Arizona) and 85 percent (Florida) of the Republican respondents. Haley posts support percentages only between 14 percent (Florida) and 20 percent (Illinois).

Senate

Michigan: Craig Suspends Senate Campaign — For the second election in as many cycles, retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R) has ended a political campaign before the candidate filing process even concludes. Craig announced that he is suspending his statewide US Senate campaign but may instead turn to what could be an open Detroit mayoral race in 2025.

With Craig departing the Senate race, former Congressman Mike Rogers (R) looks to be in good shape. Also in the GOP race is ex-US Rep. Peter Meijer, while another former congressman, Republican-turned-Libertarian Justin Amash, remains a potential entrant. The Michigan candidate filing deadline is April 23 in association with the Aug. 6 primary. US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) is a prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination.

House

NJ-9: Primary Averted — State Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Paterson) ended her primary challenge to veteran Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) after all three of the county Democratic Party organizations that comprise the 9th District voted to slate the 14-term incumbent. Therefore, Rep. Pascrell, who is 87 years old, will be a lock for the Democratic nomination and should again breeze to re-election in November.

New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District is anchored in Paterson and Passaic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+17. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NJ-9 as the 84th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.

Hogan & Rosendale for Senate;
Montana Rep. Gallagher to Retire;
Final Nevada Primary, Caucus Results

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Feb. 12, 2024

Candidate announcements and a surprise retirement made Friday a very interesting political day even outside of the presidential-level happenings.

Maryland

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R)

Candidate Filing Closed — Maryland 2024 candidate filing closed on Friday and, after saying he would not run for Senate, former two-term Gov. Larry Hogan (R) unexpectedly agreed to seek the GOP nomination. Despite leaving office with the highest approval rating of any Maryland governor after eight years, Hogan will still be in an underdog position for the general election in heavily Democratic Maryland during a presidential year.

The Democratic nominee will be either US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) or Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. The May 14 primary will likely produce a close result. Trone, the founder of the Total Beverage chain store, has already spent $23 million on his Senate campaign through the end of 2023, all but $427,000 from his own pocket.

Knowing that she cannot match his virtually unlimited personal war chest, Alsobrooks had raised just over $5 million for her campaign, and had more than $3 million in her campaign treasury at the end of 2023. She will obviously stockpile as much money as she can for the final month in hopes of coming close to parity with Trone in late campaign advertising.

The latest released internal polling from the Trone campaign (Hickman Analytics; Jan. 18-24; 1,500 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters) finds the congressman leading Alsobrooks 45-34 percent. The poll shows his ads are working, since Hickman’s November survey (Nov. 27-30; 1,000 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters) staked Trone to a 41-34 percent advantage.

Considering her support within the African American community and its strength in the Democratic primary, particularly in her home county of Prince George’s and Baltimore, this primary campaign is far from over regardless of Trone’s insurmountable financial edge.

For Hogan, despite winning two terms as governor, his task to win a federal election in Maryland is daunting. The last Republican to win a Senate race here was then-two term incumbent Charles Mathias back in 1980.

Hogan, an avowed “Never Trumper,” has clearly distanced himself from the former president, but that will be of only marginal assistance. Donald Trump is extremely unpopular in Maryland, and Hogan will be forced to share a ballot with him in November. Therefore, Trump as the Republican presidential nominee will negatively affect the GOP general election turnout model.

Though Hogan will run a competitive race and certainly do better than any Republican at least since Michael Steele pulled to within the 54-44 percent margin that first elected current Sen.Ben Cardin (D) in 2006, the eventual Democratic nominee must still be rated as the favorite to win in November.

Montana

Rosendale to Run — In a move that has been anticipated for well over a year, US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) announced on Friday that he will run for the Senate later this year.

Immediately after the announcement, former President Donald Trump endorsed Rosendale’s Republican primary opponent, aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, as have Gov. Greg Gianforte (R), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), and Montana US Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Whitefish). In 2018, Rep. Rosendale, then the state auditor, challenged Sen. Jon Tester (D) and lost 50-47 percent.

Campaigning for a different office is nothing new for Rosendale. Since 2010, he has run for state House of Representatives, state Senate, US House (at-large), state auditor, US Senate, US House (at-large), and US House (District 2), and won five of the seven campaigns. His move into the Senate race opens the 2nd District to what will be a crowded Republican primary.
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It’s a Trump Sweep in Nevada; Williamson Ends Her Campaign;
Close Special Election Poll in NY-3;
WA-5’s McMorris Rodgers to Retire

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Feb. 9, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump sweeps in Nevada.

Nevada Caucus: A Trump Sweep — Former President Donald Trump, as expected, won almost unanimous support last night at the Nevada Republican Caucuses where the state’s 26 delegates are apportioned. Trump will be awarded all of the state’s national convention delegates. Reports of high turnout around the state are numerous. A complete report will be forthcoming when the final results are formally released.

Marianne Williamson: Draws Campaign to a Close — After placing behind the “None of These Candidates” ballot line in the Nevada primary, Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson suspended her national campaign reducing the field to President Joe Biden and US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN). With the president recording a mean average of 93 percent in the last two primaries, it is already a foregone conclusion that Biden will clinch the Democratic nomination no matter how long Phillips remains an active candidate.

House

NY-3: Another Close Special Election Poll — Siena College, conducting a congressional poll for the Newsday publication (Feb. 3-6; 694 likely NY-3 voters) finds a tight special election race to replace expelled US Rep. George Santos (R).

The ballot test gives former US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) a 48-44 percent edge over Republican Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip. A second survey, from Emerson College (Feb. 4-5; 742 likely NY-3 voters; multiple sampling techniques), reported a similar result: Suozzi leading 52-48 percent when respondents were pushed for a choice between the two candidates. Previously, Emerson conducted a survey in mid-January (Jan. 13-15; 975 registered NY-3 voters; multiple sampling techniques) again finding Suozzi holding a similarly small 45-42 percent edge.

All of this data suggests that the Feb. 13 special election contest is within the polling margin of error and will come down to a turnout battle between the Democratic and Republican teams. The survey research suggests the race is close enough that the side doing a better job getting their voters to cast a ballot will claim the seat in the special election.

WA-5: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) to Retire — Another House member has joined the retirement list. Ten-term Washington US Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane), the House Energy & Commerce Committee chair, announced yesterday that she will not seek re-election later this year. In a long statement that thanks and extolls the virtues of her eastern Washington constituents, McMorris Rodgers formally announced her political intentions.

The open seat count now returns to 47, accounting for Rep. McMorris Rodgers retiring and Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) changing her mind about not seeking re-election. Within the group, 24 Democrats are not seeking another term in the House, and the Republican number now grows to 22. The new Alabama redistricting plan creates an open seat that begins in Montgomery and stretches to Mobile.

The 5th District of Washington occupies the furthermost eastern part of the state from Canada to Oregon and is anchored in the city of Spokane. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates WA-5 as R+17. In the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump won the district by a 53-43 percent margin. The Daily Kos Elections site statisticians rank the district as the 56th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. We can expect a crowded jungle primary in August leading to a general election where the Republican candidate should be favored.