Category Archives: Senate

Wisconsin Shock Poll

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 12, 2016 — Last week, we reported on both parties canceling their Wisconsin Senate race media buys leading all to deduce that challenger Russ Feingold (D) has an insurmountable lead for incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R) to overcome. Since Johnson has not been ahead in any survey for almost two years and has come within five points of ex-Sen. Feingold only a handful of times during that period, Wisconsin has climbed to the top of the Democratic conversion list.

Now, however, a new Loras College (Dubuque, IA) poll (Oct. 4-5; 500 likely Wisconsin voters) finds Sen. Johnson surprisingly rebounding to a 45-40 percent lead.

Though the result is not compatible with any other available data, the sampling group members’ attitudes and answers on other questions do blend in with previously reported results. The study appears weighted properly for voting patterns, (37 percent Democrat; 32 percent Republican) and demographics, while the presidential numbers track with all other surveys.

When asked whether the sampling group would support Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Libertarian Gary Johnson, or Green Party candidate Jill Stein for President, 43 percent of the Loras College respondents said Clinton, 35 percent Trump, and 8 percent Johnson, while Stein recorded 2 percent.

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Four Races Appear Done

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 5, 2016 — The two political parties continue to make financial decisions with regard to Senate race funding. More became public at the beginning of this week, as both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) canceled major ad buys in several states, again telling us how the respective party organization leaders believe several key campaigns will end on Nov. 8th.

In two instances, according to the Daily Kos Elections page, the DSCC reduced media buys in states where their candidates are challengers. Most of the time, such a move would suggest that prospects are yielding favorable conclusions for the Republican incumbents. In Wisconsin and Illinois, however, the opposite appears true.

The moves suggest that leadership in both parties believes that former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) will unseat GOP Sen. Ron Johnson. Last week the DSCC released a major part of their final electronic media reservation ironically saying that Feingold is secure because he continues to hold an uncontested polling lead.

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Follow the Money

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 4, 2016 — The Wesleyan Media Project released their campaign advertising study for the 2016 election cycle and, focusing on their Senate data that Kantar Media/CMAG compiled, the information gives us strong clues as to which races are the most important to each party. The report also provides clues as to which media campaigns and strategies are working and those that are lacking.

The study tracked ads run in 20 states featuring Senate general election campaigns, from a high of 18,265 ads aired (Pennsylvania) to a low of 18 (Kansas). The tested period spanned from Aug. 19 to Sept. 15. In the 20 states, an aggregate of 104,522 ads aired in the various markets. Those backing Republican candidates or opposing Democratic contenders accounted for approximately 53 percent of the total study period buy.

Though Pennsylvanians have seen the greatest number of Senate ads, the most money spent during the period was in New Hampshire ($16.9 million). This is because the overwhelming number of ads purchased was in the expensive Boston media market.

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Out of Control Polls

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 3, 2016 — There likely has not been a Senate race polled more extensively than the North Carolina contest between Sen. Richard Burr (R) and former state Rep. Deborah Ross (D), but this week’s survey set literally defies explanation.

According to three different polls, Sen. Burr has opened a wide lead over Ross, or the reverse is evident, or possibly the third scenario, resulting in the two becoming virtually tied, is actually the accurate alternative.

Based upon new Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research survey numbers (Sept. 10-19; 400 likely North Carolina voters as part of a 1,600 person sample from four states), Sen. Burr now leads the contest by an extraordinary 16 points, 46-30 percent. Keep in mind, this is no planted Republican poll. GQR is a Democratic firm that released an August poll actually projecting Ross as the race leader.

During the same time frame, Republican pollster Gravis Marketing, in a poll we covered earlier in the week (Sept. 23; 624 likely North Carolina voters), surprisingly gave Democrat Ross her largest advantage of the election cycle, 48-39 percent. Also during the same polling period, High Point University Research Center (Sept. 17-22; 404 likely North Carolina voters) sees the senator and Ross in virtually a tied situation, with Burr leading only 45-43 percent.

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The Outliers

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 29, 2016 — Early on debate day, Gravis Marketing made news with the release of their Minnesota poll. But their companion effort in North Carolina is equally noteworthy. Both illustrate trends inconsistent with all other pollsters, meaning the studies may be blazing new territory and they are simply wrong.

The Minnesota survey (Sept. 23; 906 likely Minnesota voters) surprisingly finds Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tied at 43 percent apiece with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson pulling four percentage points. Considering that Minnesota last went Republican in a presidential race 44 years ago (1972; Nixon vs. McGovern), and before then when Dwight Eisenhower was president, it would be hard to conceive of Trump taking the state. Not even Ronald Reagan could win here back in 1984, meaning that Minnesota is the only state that opposed Reagan in both of his elections. (The District of Columbia also opposed Reagan twice, but DC is obviously not a state.) Therefore, a place with such a strong Democratic history is unlikely to switch in 2016.

In contrast, Survey USA for KSTP television in St. Paul reported the results from its Sept. 16-20 poll (625 likely Minnesota voters). Their data produced a 46-39-6 percent Clinton advantage, which is more consistent with previous polls and historical voting trends.

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