Category Archives: Senate

Single Digit Difference in Washington Senate Race; Similarly Tight Races in Nevada House Races; NY Gov. Candidates in Close Battle, Too

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022

Senate

Washington Senate race challenger Tiffany Smiley (R)

Washington: Tight Single Digits Confirmed — We now see two separate polling firms coming to the conclusion that the Washington Senate race, always on the periphery of competitiveness, is closing in challenger Tiffany Smiley’s (R) favor.

The Trafalgar Group poll (Oct. 25-28; 1,207 likely Washington general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) released their results finding Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) lead over Smiley dropping to a bare 49-48 percent. Insider Advantage, in their one-day flash poll on Oct. 31 (550 likely Washington general election voters) sees a very similar 48-46 percent split. The IA polling analysis suggests a post-televised debate surge of independent voters to Smiley accounts for the status change.

House

FL-4: Senate President Pro Tem Cruising in Congressional Race — The Republican-drawn congressional map created a new open seat in the Jacksonville area that is poised to elect a new Republican member. A just-released University of Northern Florida survey (Oct. 20-27; 413 likely FL-4 general election voters) suggests that the draw will remain true. The poll finds state Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) leading businesswoman LaShonda Holloway (D) by a double-digit margin, 50-38 percent. Bean was an easy winner in the Republican primary and should have little problem adding this seat to the GOP column next week.

Nevada: Underlying House Numbers Looking Good for GOP — We’ve seen a plethora of polling for the Nevada statewide races, and most numbers during the last month has shown the Republican candidates either tied or slightly ahead with the Democratic incumbents below 50 percent. But, we’ve seen very little data concerning the three competitive Las Vegas congressional districts.

Emerson College just released their polling results in the three districts from surveys taken during the Oct. 26-29 period, sampling between 480 to 530 likely voters. In the 1st District, Republican Mark Robertson (R) has a commanding 54-42 percent lead over incumbent Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) — a very surprising result. At the time of the legislature passing redistricting, however, Titus warned that the new 1st District draw would endanger her.

In the new 3rd, Republican April Becker has a smaller, but substantial, 52-47 percent lead over two-term Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas). In the slightly more Democratic 4th CD, incumbent Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) claims a slight 51-48 percent edge over Republican businessman Sam Peters.

New Hampshire: Two Latest Polls Flip Races — The latest two polls in New Hampshire’s pair of congressional districts see flipped results in both races. Last week, we reported on the co/efficient research organization’s surveys over the Oct. 25-26 period that saw Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) leading Republican Karoline Leavitt in the 1st District race, 48-44 percent, while they found GOP challenger Robert Burns edging Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord), 44-43 percent, in the 2nd District race.

St. Anselm College, a regular New Hampshire polling entity, released the results of their set of Oct. 28-29 surveys earlier this week, and they produce opposite results. In the 1st District, St. A’s sees Leavitt pulling ahead of Rep. Pappas in the district that has defeated more incumbents than any seat in the country since 2004, by a surprising 51-45 percent count. In District 2, St. Anselm posts Rep. Kuster to a 50-42 percent advantage over Burns. Once again, we see different pollsters arriving at differing results for the same races. Compiling the data suggests that both of these swing races are too close to call.

Governor

New York: Seriously Tight — US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) has now clearly made the governor’s race into a tight contest according to a pair of polling firms, although a third disagrees. Three more polls were released testing his candidacy against that of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), and two of the results find a virtual tie.

KA Consulting (Oct. 27-29; 501 likely New York voters; live interview) finds Gov. Hochul’s lead to be only 46-45 percent, while the Trafalgar Group (Oct. 27-31; 1,198 likely New York voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Rep. Zeldin actually pulling into a lead by just under one full percentage point. Conversely, Emerson College’s results (Oct. 28-31; 1,000 likely New York voters; multiple sampling techniques) claims that Gov. Hochul maintains a lead well beyond the polling margin of error at 52-44 percent. We will see which firms are closer to the end result in less than a week.

Poll Posts Walker to Small Lead; Grassley Maintains Double-Digit Lead; Tight Polls in FL-13, NM-2

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia: University of Georgia Posts Walker to Small Lead — The University of Georgia, polling for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, one of the more accurate of Peach State pollsters (Oct. 16-27; 1,022 likely Georgia general election voters; live interview), now becomes the sixth of the most recent seven survey research entities to project Republican Herschel Walker as having a slight lead over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D). The result means the contest is a dead heat with Walker up only 46-45 percent.

With the early vote reports favoring an increased Democratic performance based upon the party’s 2020 performance and Republicans not doing as well at this point, suggests that, first, we will have a very close finish, and second, the chance of advancing into another post-election runoff election could well occur since it is possible that neither candidate reaches the 50 percent mark. Under Georgia election law, candidates must exceed 50 percent to claim victory. Therefore, we could see a runoff election between the two major party candidates occur on Dec. 6 with Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver eliminated.

Iowa: Sen. Grassley Maintaining Double-Digit Lead — In the closing days of this Iowa Senate race, 89-year-old incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) is looking much stronger after two separate polls suggested the race had closed to within three percentage points. The new Cygnal firm’s Hawkeye State poll (Oct. 26-27; likely Iowa general election voters) projects the senator to be holding a 54-43 percent advantage over retired Navy Adm. Mike Franken (D).

Grassley’s favorability index, however, is down to 49.9 – 43.5 percent favorable to unfavorable. The pollsters find the generic question breaks +14 for Republicans. Though this is down from their previous poll, such a rating is substantial and should prove favorable for the GOP up and down the ticket next Tuesday night.

House

FL-13: Tight Poll in GOP Must-Win — The vacant 13th Congressional District in Pinellas County has been viewed as a must-win for the GOP if they are to score big on election night. Until he resigned to concentrate on his statewide race, ex-representative and former governor, Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), represented the district. After redistricting, this seat became much more Republican — R+12 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization.

A St. Pete Polls survey (Oct. 26-27; 509 likely FL-13 general election voters; interactive voice response system) sees Republican Anna Paulina Luna only slightly ahead of former Defense Department official Eric Lynn (D), however. This will be yet another race to closely monitor on election night.

NM-2: A Virtual Tie — The Democratic redistricting operation made New Mexico’s southern congressional district as favorable as possible for the party’s 2022 nominee, but polling continually shows this race will go down to the wire. While Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez (D) leads in surveys, his margin is only two percentage points, 47-45 percent, over freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) according to the latest Research & Polling company survey (Oct. 20-27; 410 likely NM-2 general election voters; live interview).

Since the poll has an error factor of 4.8 percent, this race can clearly go either way. This is the fourth poll released regarding this race since July. All show a margin for Vasquez of two points or less.

Governor

Georgia: Kemp Up Well Beyond Margin of Error — The aforementioned University of Georgia poll for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (see Georgia Senate above) also tested the state’s competitive governor’s race. Here, incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has led former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) in polling throughout the election cycle. The UGA poll is consistent with this common finding.

Again, running far ahead of Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker, Gov. Kemp posts a 51-44 percent advantage, well beyond the polling margin of error for such a statewide poll. The question becomes whether Kemp’s strong partisan run will be enough to develop a turnout model that helps Walker across the finish line, as well.

Bolduc Pulls Into Tie in NH; Conflicting Senate Polls in Ohio;
PA Polls Show Dr. Oz Ahead

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022

Senate

Retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R)

New Hampshire: Bolduc Pulls Into Tie — The co/efficient firm tested the New Hampshire electorate (Oct. 25-26; 1,098 likely New Hampshire general election voters; live interview & text) and sees retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc coming all the way back to even in what was believed to be his long-shot chance against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D). With Republican leaders coming within a percentage point of denying him the party nomination, Gen. Bolduc has successfully rebounded to competitive status in the short time since the Sept. 13 primary. The co/efficient ballot test finds both candidates pulling 46 percent preference.

Though the reported vote totals are customarily low in New Hampshire, only 21,089 recorded votes so far according to the Target Smart data organization representing 16.5 percent of the number voting early in 2020, Republicans are up 4.7 percent over their previous performance while Democrats are down .7 percent.

Ohio: Conflicting Five Point Leads — Two polling entities, surveying within the same time period, arrive at diametrically different results. In fact, both project the Ohio Senate candidate they see as the leader to a five-point advantage. Center Street PAC (Oct. 24-26; 508 likely Ohio general election voters) posts the race in Rep. Tim Ryan’s (D-Warren/ Youngstown) favor with a 47-42 percent margin. The Cygnal polling firm (Oct. 22-26; 1,817 likely Ohio general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) comes to a wholly different conclusion: Republican J.D. Vance leading 49-44 percent.

The preponderance of October polling is more consistent with Cygnal’s findings. In the last 16 surveys, Vance has led in 11 of the ballot tests, Rep. Ryan in three, and in two the candidates were tied. So far, however, early voting favors the Democrats. Based upon their 2020 performance, the Democratic participation is up 3.5 percentage points while the Republicans are down 4.4 points.

Pennsylvania: Confirming Polls — At the end of last week, Insider Advantage became the first to publish a survey after the Pennsylvania Senate debate and projected the Republican nominee, Dr. Mehmet Oz, to be holding a 48-45 percent edge. Now, we see two more pollsters coming to similar conclusions.

The Wick Insights research firm tested the PA electorate (Oct. 26-27; 1,000 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; online) and sees a 48-46 percent Dr. Oz lead. The co/efficient firm was also in the field (Oct. 26-28; 1,716 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; live interview & text) and likewise found a 48-45 percent Oz edge over Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D).

The latter poll found both Senate candidates saddled with upside-down favorability indexes. Dr. Oz, as he has for most of the election cycle, records a higher negative than positive ratio, 37:46 percent. Fetterman now joins Dr. Oz in negative territory with an index of 43:49 percent.

House

NH-1: Rep. Pappas’ Advantage — The 1st District of New Hampshire has seen more incumbents lose since 2004 than any CD in the country. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester), however, is working on bucking that trend. Running for a third term, the co/efficient New Hampshire poll (Oct. 25-29; 525 likely NH-1 general election voters; live interview & text) projects the congressman to a four-point 48-44 percent lead over former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt (R).

NH-2: Upset Possibility — As part of their statewide survey, co/efficient also tested the state’s 2nd CD, which covers New Hampshire’s western sector. This sub-poll (Oct. 25-26; 573 likely NH-2 general election voters; live interview & text) finds challenger Robert Burns (R), the former Hillsborough County (Manchester) treasurer, edging five-term Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton), 44-43 percent.

Though this is the more Democratic seat of the state’s two districts – the FiveThirtyEight organization rates NH-2 as D+2 and NH-1 as R+1 – the 2nd CD may give the Republicans their better opportunity of claiming an upset on election night.

Post-Debate Poll Shows Oz Lead

By Jim Ellis; Monday, Oct. 31, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania Senate Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, the television doctor

Dr. Oz Ahead in Post-Debate PA Poll — The first poll conducted after the highly publicized Pennsylvania Senate debate was just released, and it reveals a lead change.

It is possible that the Pennsylvania race could well determine the next Senate majority. A Republican open seat from a politically marginal state, either major party candidate has a chance to win here next month. It is reasonable to assume, with so many other races around the country polling tight but largely in favor of the incumbent party in all but one of the other respective campaigns, that the path to the Senate majority runs through Pennsylvania.

To review, Dr. Mehmet Oz won the Republican primary back in May but it took election officials nearly a month to determine that he had defeated former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 950 votes from the 1.346 million ballots that were cast in the statewide GOP primary.

Democrats have well-known problems here, too. Just three days before the primary election, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the leading Democratic senatorial candidate who would go onto win a landslide intra-party victory over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh), suffered a serious stroke. He has yet to fully recover, and this debate marked the first time he would face Dr. Oz in a one-on-one format.

To facilitate Fetterman’s rehabilitation from the stroke, both campaigns agreed that the debate administrators, Nextar Media Group, would install a closed caption system where the Democratic nominee could read what was being asked of him. Immediately after the debate, the Fetterman communications director complained that the system was not working properly, which, he said, explained the lieutenant governor’s halting and sometimes rambling answers.

The Nextar spokesman retorted that the system worked properly, and that Fetterman only participated in one of the two rehearsals they offered him. He said Fetterman attending both sessions would have allowed him to better master the system.

The Insider Advantage firm tested the Keystone State electorate a day after the Pennsylvania US Senate debate. The IA poll (Oct. 25; 750 likely Pennsylvania general election voters) projects the Republican nominee, Dr. Oz, to a 48-45 percent edge, and is only the third survey during the entire election cycle that shows him topping Fetterman. A total of 39 polls have been conducted of this Senate race since the May 17 primary from 28 different survey research firms.

A total of 83 percent of the Insider Advantage poll respondents said they saw all or part of the debate either live or in post-debate news coverage. While this post-debate poll slightly favors the Republican candidate, early vote totals portend a Democratic advantage.

According to the Target Smart data organization early vote analysis, 713,029 people have already cast their ballot in the Pennsylvania election. This number represents 49.3 percent of the total early votes cast in 2020 and just over 10 percent of the total Pennsylvania presidential election vote. Compared to the 2018 midterm, the current early vote number represents just over 14 percent of the total vote figure from that comparable election.

At this point, 73.0 percent of the Pennsylvanians voting early are registered Democrats as compared to just 23.3 percent who identify as Republican. A total of 3.6 percent of the 2022 early votes come from non-affiliated voters.

Though the numbers overwhelmingly favor the Democrats, the pattern is similar to that of 2020, which yielded a close general election result. With about half of the early vote cycle remaining, Democrats have so far increased 7.5 percent from their 2020 early vote performance, while Republicans are down 3.9 percentage points. Obviously, these numbers are a positive sign for Democrats.

It is likely, however, that the partisan gap closes to more closely align with the 2020 end total since Republicans not only vote in commanding numbers on election day, but they also tend to vote late in the early voting cycle.

Expect to see several more post-debate polls released very shortly. It is clear that the Pennsylvania race has moved into a toss-up status; hence, the closing days of this campaign are likely to be determinative.

House

PA-12: The Name Game — State Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) has a unique problem. Though running in a strongly Democratic open congressional seat that includes downtown Pittsburgh, her Republican opponent’s name is the same as the long-time retiring Democratic Congressman, Mike Doyle.

Lee is running ads clearly explaining that her opponent is not the retiring congressman. Her approach is likely to work since the new 12th District is strongly Democratic. The fact that she has to advertise to warn about mistaken identity, however, tells us that Lee’s internal data is showing that the name confusion is causing her political problems.

Early Votes: Key Senate States

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

Early Voting Statistics — The Target Smart data organization continues to update early voting statistics from around the country, and we see several situations for both parties where the early vote totals in what should be more favorable states are showing a greater surge for the opposing party.

Of the key Senate races, we see four states where Republicans are either the incumbent party or should have a more favorable early vote performance, but Democrats are gaining the early edge: Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In four others, the GOP is performing better in places that are typically better for Democrats or where they have the incumbent candidate: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire.

Before delving into these key states, let’s take an updated look at Target Smart’s national report. Through Wednesday, Oct. 26, a total of 12,751,622 individuals have cast early votes in the 42 reporting states that employ an early voting procedure or are accepting and reporting mailed absentee ballots. At this point, 52.2 percent of the returned ballots come from Democrats, 37.9 percent from Republicans, and 9.9 percent from non-affiliated or independent voters.

Such a partisan pattern is consistent with previous years. Democrats tend to use early voting in a more prevalent manner than Republicans, with the GOP then dominating election day turnout. In comparison to the partisan complexion seen in 2020, so far, Democrats are up one full percentage point in the national early voting turnout while Republicans are down .4 percent. The non-affiliated total is down .6 percent.

These numbers are changing day by day, and now just about half-way through the early voting calendar, we can expect to see many differences occurring within the next week. The grand early vote total so far represents 31.1 percent of the aggregate number of people who voted early in the 2020 election.

Of the four states where Democrats have at least a preliminary advantage in early voting, the most significant are Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania — In the Keystone State, more than 683,000 people already have cast ballots. In 2020, a total of 1.179 million voted early according to Target Smart, so the 2022 number is a large sample. In 2020, just over 17 percent of the total electorate voted early.

Here, the Democrats have a wide advantage. A total of 73.4 percent of the recorded early vote are registered Democrats versus just 23.0 percent who are Republicans. These numbers represent a 6.3 percent increase in Democratic performance based upon 2020, while Republicans are down 2.8 percent.

Wisconsin — A little more than 302,000 people already have voted. Here, 39.9 percent of the early voters are Democrats, an improvement of 3.8 percentage points based upon their 2020 performance rate. Republicans are down a whopping 11.8 percentage points.

Iowa — Fewer than 100,000 people already have voted. Of those, 58.7 percent are registered Democrats, an improvement of 7.8 percentage points over the party’s 2020 performance. Republicans are just about even with their 2020 mark, down just half a percentage point.

Ohio — Numbers here also favor the Democrats. More than 529,000 people already have voted, which represents about 30 percent of the total early votes in 2020. A total of 44.2 percent of this year’s early voters are Democrats versus 40.3 percent who are Republican. This translates into a 3.0 percentage improvement for Democrats over their 2020 number, and a decline of 3.9 points for Republicans.

Republicans, however, are outperforming Democrats in another set of key Senate states.

Arizona — More than 530,000 people already have cast their 2022 midterm election ballot. This so far represents just over 50 percent of the number who voted early two years ago. Here, 48.0 percent of the voters are Republican, and 47.0 percent Democratic. These numbers represent a 2.6 percent increase for Republicans and a 1.2 percent decrease for Democrats.

Colorado — Surprising numbers are being seen here. In a state that has been moving decidedly toward the Democrats, it is the Republicans who have so far greatly increased their early voting participation rate.

Some 266,000 people have voted early this year in the Centennial State. This number represents just under a quarter of the number who voted early in 2022. A total of 49.3 percent of this year’s early voters are Democrats, down 4.4 points from two years ago. For Republicans, 43.2 percent of the early voters are their registrants. This represents a GOP increase of 5.8 percentage points from their 2020 performance.

Nevada — Home of another key Senate race, the GOP has an early vote growth advantage in the Silver State. At this point, Target Smart records slightly more than 142,000 early votes, meaning just over 32 percent of the 2020 aggregate early number. The breakdown is 50.8 percent for Democrats and 42.7 percent for Republicans. This means Democrats are down about .3 percent from their 2020 participation rate, while Republicans are up just under two full percentage points. Nevada elections are always tight, so even small fluctuations like these can mean a great deal.

New Hampshire — Our final state in this report; though the early totals are small, about 21,000 voters, which represents only about 16.5 percent of the 2020 early aggregate, the trends are significant. A total of 54.0 percent of the new early voters are Democratic, down .7 percent from 2020, while the Republican total has grown 4.7 percentage points.

While none of these numbers are indicative of the final vote totals in any of the eight states, the early totals have given us previous clues as to which party has the momentum and enthusiasm in a particular place. We will continue to monitor these and other important states through the early voting process.