By Jim Ellis
July 14, 2016 — Five states have just reported key post 4th of July US Senate polls. From California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, and Nevada, new independent data was recorded for very important statewide races.
There is no suspense over which party will win the open Golden State Senate seat. In California’s top-two jungle primary system, Democrats qualified two candidates to advance to the general election for the first time in state history. Either Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) or Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA-46) will replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) next year.
The California Field poll (June 8- July 2; 956 registered voters) was reported just after the July 4th break, and though it features a very long sampling period, the Senate results are not particularly surprising. Harris, who placed first in the jungle primary with 40 percent of the vote leads the first general election poll with 39 percent as compared to Rep. Sanchez’s 24 percent.
Harris, the more well known of the two having been elected to statewide office, leads among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. If Sanchez is to win, she must to develop a coalition of Southern California voters, Hispanics, and Republicans in order to overtake San Francisco’s Ms. Harris. The Attorney General’s early lead in Los Angeles County is 41-29 percent, while its 36-22 percent in the southern counties outside of LA.
Harper Polling (July 7-9; 500 registered Colorado voters) tested the new Centennial State Senate race between incumbent Michael Bennet (D) and challenger Darryl Glenn (R), an El Paso County Commissioner. This situation represents the Republicans’ worst candidate recruitment result in the country, to the point where they are virtually conceding to Sen. Bennet what could be a competitive race.
The first Harper poll suggests a closer race than most observers would have guessed, however. According to this smaller polling sample, Sen. Bennet has only a 46-40 percent lead over Commissioner Glenn. The generic ballot test found 45 percent of respondents saying they would vote for a Democrat while 43 percent indicated they would choose a Republican. This is an obviously close number for a race the GOP appears to be conceding.
The resource count is heavily in Bennet’s column, and likely dictates the final result. In the pre-primary disclosure report, Bennet showed over $11 million in receipts, as compared to Glenn having just under $157,000.
JMC Analytics (July 9-10; 700 likely Florida voters via automated response system) found Sen. Marco Rubio (R) polling well, but the sample appears to skew Republican. The support for such a statement relates to the respondent sample’s Hispanic component. While the Florida population features a 24.5 percent Hispanic demographic, this particular cell group reports only an eight percent total. Though Hispanic turnout is usually lower than other racial and ethnic groups, including only one-third of the actual demographic total compromises the data to a certain degree. Therefore, we can assume that the Republican candidates fare several points better here than is actually the case.
Considering this background, Sen. Rubio leads Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18) 40-33 percent, while maintaining a similar 41-33 percent margin over Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL-9). Turning to the presidential race, the JMC data projects Donald Trump to be holding a 47-42 percent edge over Hillary Clinton, which is certainly the most optimistic spread the GOP campaign has seen in this most critical of states.
Monmouth University questioned the Hawkeye State electorate (July 8-11; 401 registered Iowa voters) and found Sen. Charles Grassley (R) again opening up a significant lead over former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D). Earlier polling was beginning to suggest a closing between the two candidates, but this result portends otherwise. According to the results, Sen. Grassley maintains a 52-42 percent advantage over Judge. This is a significant improvement over the late June Public Policy Polling survey that projected a 46-39 percent Grassley lead.
The same sample found Trump leading Clinton, Libertarian Gary Johnson, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, 44-42-6-1 percent. Though the polling sample is small, the results appear reasonable and likely reflective of where the electorate actually stands.
Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D) open seat could become the most important of all the 2016 Senate campaigns. If the GOP could convert this state, it is probable that they would hold the majority.
Monmouth University (July 7-10; 408 Nevada residents likely to vote in November) finds Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV-3) slightly leading former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D), 42-40 percent. The findings are consistent with previous Nevada polls, as almost all have shown Heck to have an advantage of varying degrees.
This ballot test is good news for the Republican, particularly when compared to how the same Nevada polling sample views the presidential race. When queried, Clinton outpaces Trump, 45-41 percent.
The aggregate survey results point to close statewide races in the Silver State, suggesting that both the presidential and US Senate campaign are likely to end in tight fashion.