Category Archives: Primary

Florida, NY, OK Primaries; Term Limits Polling; Whitmer With Larger Lead

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022

Primaries

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Florida — The Sunshine State voters also will choose their nominees today, and many important intra-party races will be decided.

Gov. DeSantis Well Ahead in Pre-Primary Poll — Florida voters will choose their general election nominees today, and a new Cherry Communications survey (conducted for the Florida Chamber of Commerce; Aug. 4-15; 608 likely Florida general election voters; live interview) projects Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as well positioned for re-election. The CC poll results find the governor leading US Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) 51-43 percent, while his advantage over state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is a similar 50-43 percent. This, in a state where Republicans traditionally under-poll. Crist, the former governor and multi-time statewide candidate who has run, and lost, under the Democratic, Republican, and Independent banners.

After recent polls found Florida Crist falling into an increasingly more competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign with Fried, a new St. Pete Polls survey, on election eve, finds the congressman and former governor now ahead in a landslide. The St. Pete Polls survey (Aug. 20-21; 1,617 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system) projects Rep. Crist to be holding a major 59-30 percent lead, far above any advantage he has recently posted. The Democratic winner will face Gov. DeSantis in November and will face an uphill battle against DeSantis in a campaign that will become a national event.

The Senate nomination contests in both parties, while leading to a competitive general election, are set. Sen. Marco Rubio (R) will be defending his seat against US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), the former Orlando police chief. Recent polling has tightened, but voting history suggests that Sen. Rubio has at least a small lead.

A large number of US House races feature competitive nomination battles beginning in northwestern Florida’s 1st District where controversial Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) is in a serious campaign with former FedEx executive Mark Lombardo. Gaetz’s highly publicized legal trouble is front and center in this race as well as Lombardo charging that the congressman’s national activities and profile have taken his attention away from serving the local district. This is certainly a race to watch, and a Lombardo upset is possible.

Florida gained a new seat in national reapportionment, and the state’s 15th District has been created. The district stretches from Lakeland into Tampa and leans Republican but we can expect some competition in the general election. Both parties feature five-person candidate fields. Polling suggests that former Secretary of State Laurel Lee has the inside track for the Republican nomination over state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa). The leading Democrat appears to be former news anchorman and two-time congressional nominee Alan Cohn.

New York — When the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ordered the congressional districts and state Senate map redrawn, a second primary was scheduled just for these races. The original NY primary was held on June 28. The congressional and state Senate nominees will be finally decided today, and many US House contests are in a competitive mode.

Oklahoma: Close Result on Tap for Tonight in OK-2 — When Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) opted to run for the Senate, his open eastern Oklahoma congressional district drew a crowded 14-candidate Republican field. In the June 28 regular primary for the strongest GOP district in the state (R+55 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization), two candidates advanced into today’s runoff election even though they finished with less than 30 percent of the aggregate primary vote combined.

State Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) topped former state Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-Ada) by just 757 votes to secure the first runoff position. Brecheen then claimed the second slot over former Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee by an even lesser 616-vote margin. In all, the top five candidates finished within 2,892 votes of each other.

Polling finds that the race still remains tight. The wrap-up Sooner Poll (Aug. 11-17; number of likely voter polling respondents undisclosed) projected Rep. Frix holding the lead, but with only a 43-35 percent margin. While Frix apparently enjoys a small edge, this race is still anybody’s game.

Rep. Mullin has enjoyed large leads in his bid for the Senate in post-primary polling up until the latest release. Immediately after the June 28 primary election, where he easily topped former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, 44-18 percent within a field of 12 candidates, Rep. Mullin was seeing average leads of 18 percentage points among three polls conducted from July 25 through Aug. 15.

The latest study, however, from the Sooner Poll, which is an add-on track from their Aug. 11-15 survey that ended on Aug. 17 (322 likely Oklahoma Republican runoff voters), shows the congressman’s statewide advantage at only 53-47 percent over Shannon. Tonight’s special runoff winner will advance into the general election against former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D).

Governor

Michigan: Whitmer With Larger Lead — Countering last week’s published Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) teamed Michigan governor’s study (Aug. 8-14; 1,365 likely Michigan voters; live interview & text) that projected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to be leading online talk show host Tudor Dixon (R) 51-46 percent, Democratic pollster Blueprint Polling (Aug. 15-16; 611 likely Michigan general election voters; live interview) posts the governor to a much larger 51-39 percent advantage.

Ohio: One-Point Lead — Democratic pollster Lake Research (Aug. 4-9; 611 OH likely general election voters; live interview) released their latest survey that finds Gov. Mike DeWine (R) holding only a narrow one-point, 44-43 percent, edge over Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D).

This result is not particularly surprising. First, the Ohio electorate typically polls close and then one candidate significantly pulls away in the campaign’s last two weeks. Second, Gov. DeWine won his Republican primary with only 48.1 percent of the vote opposite three opponents suggesting clear weakness within his party’s base. Additionally, over one-third of DeWine voters say their support for him is “not so strong” or that they are only “leaning” in his direction. Expect the governor to soon use his strong financial advantage to put distance between he and Mayor Whaley.

Sen. Kelly Expands Lead in Arizona; Tied Again in North Carolina; Whitmer Holds Lead in Wisconsin

Venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) | Sen. Mark Kelly (D)


By Jim Ellis — August 22, 2022

Senate

Arizona: Sen. Kelly Expands Lead — Fox News, as part of their recent polling series, tested the Grand Canyon State electorate (Aug. 8-12; 1,012 registered Arizona voters; live interview) and found Sen. Mark Kelly (D) topping new Republican nominee and venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) with a 50-42 percent advantage. This is one of the first general election polls released since the state’s Aug. 2 statewide primary.

North Carolina: Candidates Again Tied — The Cygnal polling organization, surveying for the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation (Aug. 13-15; 615 likely North Carolina general election voters; live interview & text), projects that former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) and US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) are now tied at 42 percent apiece. Beasley had led in the last two polls, conducted during the last week of July and first week in August. Republicans, however, typically under-poll in North Carolina, a state that almost always features razor-thin elections.

Wisconsin: Nothing New — The latest Fox News poll (Aug. 8-12; 1,006 registered Wisconsin voters; live interview) finds Sen. Ron Johnson (R) trailing Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) by a 50-46 percent count, but this particular incumbent being behind in an election poll is standard operating procedure. According to the Real Clear Politics polling archive, 30 polls were conducted in the 2016 election, and Johnson trailed in 29 of the surveys that multiple pollsters conducted. In the end, Sen. Johnson defeated former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) by three percentage points.

Governor

Arizona: Lake Within Range — Fox News also tested the governor’s race in their new statewide Arizona poll (see Arizona Senate above). While the ballot test gives Sen. Mark Kelly (D) a rather large lead, the same respondent sample projects the governor’s contest as being much closer. The gubernatorial ballot test finds Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) leading former news anchor Kari Lake (R), 47-44 percent.

Michigan: Tudor Coming into Range — The Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) team again collaborated on a new statewide survey for AARP, this time in Michigan. The study (Aug. 8-14; 1,365 likely Michigan voters; live interview & text) finds Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) holding only a 51-46 percent edge over online talk show host Tudor Dixon (R) in the governor’s general election.

Neither Gov. Whitmer nor Dixon have a strong image. The governor’s personal favorability index is 50:48 percent positive to negative, while her job approval is 51:47 percent. Dixon falls into a slightly upside-down realm at 38:41 percent. A whopping 71 percent of respondents believe the US is on the wrong track while 55 percent also perceive the state of Michigan to be headed in the wrong direction.

Wisconsin: Already Close — The Fox News Wisconsin poll (see Wisconsin Senate above) also shows a tight race for governor. Gov. Tony Evers (D) holds a 49-46 percent edge, already within the polling margin of error, over new Republican gubernatorial nominee Tim Michels. It appears that both the Wisconsin governor and Senate race are becoming as hot as originally expected.

Conflicting Polls in Florida; Vance Rebounds in Ohio; Fetterman Bounces Back With Big Lead in PA

By Jim Ellis — August 19, 2022

Senate

Rubio | Demmings

Florida: Conflicting Polls — A pair of polls was recently released, and each shows a different leader. The University of North Florida released their survey (Aug. 8-12; 1,624 registered Florida voters; online) and surprisingly found Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) leading incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R) by a 48-44 percent clip, the first time any poll had shown a result such as this since early May. In six polls since that time, Sen. Rubio had led in four with two dead heat ties.

Simultaneously, the Center Street PAC surveyed the Florida electorate (Aug. 12-14; 610 likely Florida voters) and found a completely different result. This poll projects Sen. Rubio to a 52-41 percent likely voter advantage, and a smaller 46-39 percent edge among the larger pool of 996 Florida registered voters. These two polls, conducted within the same relative time frame, show the volatility in the current race, which is typical for Florida election polling. Republican votes are also usually slightly under-counted in Sunshine State polls, as well.

Ohio: Vance Rebounds to Lead — After seeing a series of six statewide polls that projected Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) to be holding a small lead over author J.D. Vance (R), the new Emerson College survey sees a GOP rebound. The Emerson poll (Aug. 15-16; 925 likely Ohio general election voters) finds Vance reversing the field to claim a three-point 45-42 percent edge.

The results are to be expected. Rep. Ryan developed a lead when spending $7 million-plus on early advertising with no counter from Vance or Republican outside groups. Now beginning to promote their message, we see a new survey reflecting Vance in a better position. Typically, the Ohio electorate polls close until the final weeks when one candidate pulls away, usually the Republican, and wins the race going away.

Pennsylvania: Fetterman Returns With Big Lead — Still recovering from a major stroke suffered right before the May 17 Pennsylvania primary, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman returned to the campaign trail late last week. This week, a new poll shows him expanding his lead over Dr. Mehmet Oz (R). Public Opinion Strategies released the results of their new August survey conducted for the Pittsburgh Works Together organization (Aug. 7-10; 600 registered Pennsylvania voters; live interview) that posts Fetterman to a 52-36 percent lead over Dr. Oz. This 16-point spread represents the largest polling margin of this campaign.

House

VA-7: Rep. Spanberger Holding Edge — RMG Research, conducting their series of polls around the country for US Term Limits (July 31-Aug. 6; 400 likely VA-7 voters) finds two-term Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) leading Prince William County Supervisor Vesli Vega (R) by a 46-41 percent margin, suggesting we will see a highly competitive campaign effort from both sides throughout the remaining part of the general election cycle. Though upside-down in job approval in the 7th CD, President Biden’s ratio is better than in most places, 48:51 percent positive to negative. The Biden factor should be less of a drain on Rep. Spanberger than it may prove on certain Democratic candidates in other places.

Governor

Pennsylvania: Shapiro Up, Too — The aforementioned Public Opinion Strategies survey (see Pennsylvania Senate above) also tested the open Pennsylvania governor’s race. The ballot test on this contest favors Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro over Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) by a strong 51-37 percent margin, slightly less than the Senate Democratic spread, but more than enough to secure a comfortable victory.

Florida House Primary Polls; Succeeding the Late Rep. Walorski

By Jim Ellis — August 18, 2022

House

Florida: Series of House Primary Polls — Late primary polling was released in several Florida US House districts in anticipation of the Aug. 23 statewide primary election.

In the newly created open 4th Congressional District seat in Jacksonville, St. Pete Polls (Aug. 4; 312 FL-4 registered Republican voters; interactive voice response system) state Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville), with the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), has a huge lead over his main opponent, Erick Aguilar (R). The ballot test finds Sen. Bean holding a whopping 59-16 percent advantage. Aguilar got into trouble in the race when intimating in fundraising appeals that Gov. DeSantis supported him. The governor then made his preference clear, which sent the Aguilar campaign on a downward spiral.

St. Pete Polls also conducted a very small sample survey of the state’s 7th District, which now includes part of the Orlando area and stretches to the Atlantic Ocean through Volusia County. Though the poll (Aug. 5; 205 FL-7 likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) is far below the typical sample-size standard for a congressional district, the results were consistent with other earlier polls. This one found Iraq/Afghan War veteran Cory Mills, who attracted national attention when organizing flights into Afghanistan to rescue people when the Taliban was over-running the country, leading state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills) 23-22 percent. Though the race features eight Republican candidates, the primary battle appears to be winnowing down to Mills and Sabatini. The Republican primary winner will be favored in the general election.

The open St. Petersburg-anchored 13th District is also featuring a close contest. An American Viewpoint survey (July 24-27; 400 FL-13 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds attorney Kevin Hayslett coming close to 2020 GOP nominee Anna Paulina Luna, who carries former President Trump’s endorsement. The AV results found Luna leading Hayslett, 36-34 percent. Reports suggest that a more recent Hayslett internal poll drew a similar conclusion. The Republican winner will oppose former Defense Department official Eric Lynn who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The post-redistricting 13th now favors a Republican in the general election.

St. Pete Polls also conducted a small-sample survey of the state’s new 15th District race, the seat Florida gained in national reapportionment. The poll (Aug. 1; 275 FL-15 likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) is another survey too small to be considered highly reliable, but the result shows such an overwhelming spread as to be reliable. The St. Pete ballot test finds former Secretary of State Laurel Lee leading state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa), and retired Navy Capt. Kevin McGovern, 44-16-11-5 percent respectively. Though the general election will be competitive, St. Pete Polls has not surveyed the Democratic primary here.

Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Miramar) won the special Democratic primary by just five votes over former Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach), but little polling has been conducted of the regular election re-match. The most recent survey, from RMG Research, came in early June and found the new congresswoman topping Holness, 45-21 percent. Still, this is a race to watch on Aug. 23. The Democratic winner will secure the seat in November.

IN-2: Defeated AG Announces for House Seat — Former Attorney General Curtis Hill (R), who was rejected in the Republican renomination process after sexual impropriety claims became public, is in the congressional candidate mix to succeed the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R). After the claims became public, Hill was suspended from practicing law for a 30-day period, which was enough to force his resignation from office.

To replace Walorski on the ballot for both the special election to fill her unexpired term and the regular election, the 2nd District Republican committee will meet on Aug. 20 to select a new nominee. Also requesting consideration for the nomination are state Rep. Curtis Nisly (R-Elkhart County); former state Rep. Christy Stutzman, wife of former US Rep. Marlin Stutzman; businessman Rudolph Yakym, a former Walorski finance director who has the congresswoman’s widowed husband’s endorsement; and attorney Tiernan Kane.

The Democrats are expected to nominate their 2022 congressional nominee, educator Paul Steury, who won the May 3 primary. Republicans are favored to hold the seat, which the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+26.

Alaska: Peltola, Palin Advance; Murkowski, Tshibaka to General; Wyoming Rep. Cheney Loses Big

By Jim Ellis — August 17, 2022

Primary Results

Former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the Alaska special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district.

Alaska: Peltola, Palin Advance; Murkowski, Tshibaka to General — With just under 70 percent of the voting tabulated, and as expected by consolidating the smaller Democratic vote, former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district left vacant when veteran Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) passed away in March.

Former governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R) holds a 5,266 vote lead over Nick Begich III (R) for the all-important second place position. Under Alaska’s new voting procedure, ballots postmarked yesterday have until Aug. 31 to reach the county clerk’s office and be tabulated. The extra time is important for the outlying rural areas to be included.

Second position is so important because the third-place finisher in this electoral situation, at this point that being Begich, will be eliminated and the Ranked Choice Voting process will begin. If Begich is eliminated, the ballots listing him as the first choice will be found and the second choice votes from only these ballots will be added to the process. The eventual winner will immediately be sworn into the House. All three of the aforementioned candidates also advanced into the regular general election.

Alaska republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka

Turning to the US Senate race, incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), running for a fourth full term, is first at this point in the counting process with 43.7 percent of the vote among 19 jungle primary candidates, and just ahead of former Alaska Director of Administration Kelly Tshibaka (R), who former President Trump long ago endorsed. Tshibaka’s current vote percentage is 40.4. It appears Democrat Patricia Chesbro (6.2 percent) is well-positioned to take a distant third place; vying for the fourth and final position are Republicans Buzz Kelley and Pat Nolin.

In the governor’s race, incumbent Mike Dunleavy (R) looks to have secured first position with 41.7 percent of the jungle primary vote among 10 candidates. Also clinching general election ballot slots are former state Rep. Les Gara (D) with 22.0 percent of the vote, and ex-Gov. Bill Walker (I) who so far has posted a close 21.9 percent. The final general election qualifying position appears undecided between two Republicans, Charlie Pierce and Christopher Kurka.

At-Large Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R)

Wyoming: As Expected, Rep. Cheney Loses Big — Early in the counting process, it was clear that At-Large Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) would lose her US House seat to attorney Harriet Hageman, the candidate former President Donald Trump supported early.

The vote count was a landslide in favor of Hageman — 66-29 percent — who ran a measured campaign. Her theme was concentrating on serving the constituency while highlighting that Rep. Cheney used the position to fulfill her own political goals.

Incumbent Sen. Cheney carried only her home county of Teton, which houses the cities of Jackson and Jackson Hole, and southeastern Albany County; Hagman topped the vote totals in the state’s other 21 counties. Republican turnout overwhelmed that of the Democrats, 170,409 to just 7,233 ballots cast, suggesting that a large number of the latter party’s members did what Cheney asked them to do and crossed over to vote for her in the Republican primary.

The GOP turnout was up 58.7 percent compared to 2020, while Democratic participation was down 30.7 percent, providing more evidence that a significant number of Democrats voted in the Republican primary. Two years ago, Cheney won a contested Republican primary with 73.5 percent of the vote, and scored a 68.6 percent win in the general election.

Hageman will now face the new Democratic nominee, Native American community activist Lynette Grey Bull, the 2020 party standard bearer against Cheney. Hageman now becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the general election.

Senate

New Hampshire: Candidate Staked to Big Lead — St. Anselm’s College released the results of their quarterly poll of Granite State voters, this one taken a month before the state’s late primary election. This New Hampshire sampling universe (Aug. 9-11; 1,898 registered New Hamshire voters; 900 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; live interview), as have those from two other St. Anselm’s 2022 polls, sees President Biden with an upside-down job approval rating. Biden registers 42:57 percent favorable to unfavorable status.

Republicans hold a three-point lead on the generic party vote questions, and 68 percent of the respondents believe the country is on the wrong track versus just 21 percent who believe America is headed in the right direction. Democrats have a clear advantage on the abortion issue by a 49-23 percent margin.

In the Senate GOP primary, retired general and 2020 Senate candidate Don Bolduc holds a significant 32-16-4-4 percent advantage over state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, and investor Bruce Fenton, respectively.

House

NH-1: 2020 Nominee Mowers Leading in New Poll — The co/efficient survey research firm tested the upcoming Sept. 13 Republican congressional field in the state’s swing 1st District. New Hampshire’s eastern CD has defeated more incumbents than any seat in the country since the 2004 election.

In the Republican primary where candidates hope to challenge Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in the general election, the survey (Aug. 13-14; 829 likely NH-1 Republican primary voters; live interview & text) projects 2020 nominee Matt Mowers to be leading the field with 31 percent support. Former Trump White House media aide Karoline Leavitt 16 percent, state Rep. Tim Baxter (R-Portsmouth) nine percent, and former news reporter and wife of ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R), Gail Huff Brown, at eight percent preference. This district electorate will once again witness a highly competitive general election.