Tag Archives: David McCormick

Consistent Inconsistency

By Jim Ellis — Monday, June 17, 2024

Senate

Arizona senate candidate Kari Lake (R) struggles in race despite Trump’s lead in polls. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

While news stories are prevalent discussing former President Donald Trump’s polling status, which, despite being convicted in his New York trial, shows him leading in most of the swing states, the same cannot be said for most of the Republican senatorial candidates.

Last week, Senate surveys were released in Arizona, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, three key swing states. Marist College conducted the Ohio and Pennsylvania studies, while a Republican/Democratic polling combination, Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D), executed the Arizona project.

The Fabrizio/IR Arizona survey, conducted for AARP (May 28-June 4; 600 likely Arizona voters; live interview & text), projects former President Trump to be holding a 45-37-11-3 percent advantage over President Joe Biden, Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. Yet, the open Senate ballot test before the same sampling universe favors Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) over former news anchor and 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, 48-45 percent, a net 11-point swing from Trump’s lead to Lake’s deficit.

We see a similar pattern in the latest Ohio data. Marist College conducted the Buckeye State poll during the June 3-6 period and communicated with 1,137 registered Ohio voters either through telephone interview or online questionnaire. Here, we see Trump topping President Biden, Kennedy, Stein, and Dr. Cornel West, 48-41-5-1-1 percent. Yet, in the Senate race, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) posts a five point, 50-45 percent edge over Republican nominee Bernie Moreno, or a net 12 points behind Trump’s standing (Trump up 7; Moreno down 5).

Marist’s Pennsylvania findings also follow this similar pattern. The college’s polling administrators conducted the Keystone State survey during the same June 3-6 period as the Ohio study and interviewed either through phone or online contact 1,181 registered Pennsylvania voters. The results found Trump holding a two-point lead over President Biden, 47-45 percent, while Kennedy posted only three percent support, and Stein and Dr. West, one percent apiece. On the Senate question, however, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) tops businessman David McCormick (R), by six percentage points, 52-46 percent, or a net eight points below Trump’s position.

Though we did not see new general election data released in Nevada and Wisconsin during the week, the Trump leading (or close to tied in Wisconsin)/Republican Senate candidate trailing pattern is also consistently present in these two places.

In two other highly competitive races, Michigan and Montana, the Senate races are much closer. The numbers between Trump and the leading Michigan Republican, former Rep. Mike Rogers, are pretty close, with each clearly falling into a toss-up realm. In Montana, while Trump is consistently running well ahead of President Biden, the Senate race between incumbent Sen. Jon Tester (D) and challenger Tim Sheehy (R) is a virtual tie.

Some of the presidential to Senate discrepancy can be explained through incumbency. In Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin the Republican candidates are challenging incumbent Democratic senators, Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Sens. Brown, Casey and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). But, that’s not the case in Arizona where the similar pattern exists even in an open seat race.

The other state with a competitive Senate race, Maryland, is in a different category. Trump is far from leading in the Free State polling, nor will he at any time before the election. Maryland is going to be one of President Biden’s strongest states, and GOP nominee and former Gov. Larry Hogan has a different set of obstacles to overcome if he is to be successful.

With the current Senate map decidedly favoring the Republicans because they must defend only 11 seats as opposed to 23 for the Democrats, the GOP must maximize their win-to-loss ratio in the 2024 elections. Though they are effectively at a 50D-50R break from an electoral standpoint because of what appears as a virtual conversion lock in West Virginia, the Republican leadership must make a concerted effort to assist several of the challengers in defeating their incumbent Democratic opponents.

Getting to 53 or 54 Republican senators is the GOP goal for this election year. They must have such a cushion when they head into the 2026 and ’28 election years when the Senate election maps favor the Democrats.

Therefore, unless the Republican strategists can find a way to break the pattern we’re seeing in most of the competitive race states where their candidates trail while Trump leads, they will fall short of their goal. Monitoring their developing offensive strategy in the coming weeks merits significant attention.

Examining Polling Margin of Error; McCarthy Ally to Challenge Florida Rep. Gaetz; Court Strikes Down New Louisiana Congressional Map; Kennedy Wins NY-26 Special Election; Gov. to Run for Mayor in Delaware

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Senate

Polling Margin of Error: Different Ballot Tests — All polls contain a margin of error, and two sets of surveys in the Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Senate races demonstrates the importance of the spread.

Both CBS News and Emerson College were in the field in both states at relatively the same point in time, but they arrived at significantly different results for the same races. CBS News (conducted by the YouGov polling firm; April 19-25; 1,306 registered Pennsylvania voters; online) found Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) leading businessman David McCormick (R), 46-42 percent. Beginning on April 25, Emerson College also studied the Keystone State Senate race. Their data (April 25-29; 1,000 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) posted Sen. Casey to a much larger 46-39 percent advantage.

Using a margin of error figure of three percentage points, we see that these two polls do fall within the pre-stated specter. Yet, the difference between a four- and seven-point edge on the ballot test is substantial.

We see a similar situation in the latest Wisconsin polling. During the same polling periods, again for both pollsters, we see similar divergent results yet within the polling margin of error. CBS/YouGov (April 19-25; 1,245 likely Wisconsin general election voters; online) finds Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) leading businessman Eric Hovde (R) 48-41 percent, while Emerson (April 25-29; 1,000 registered Wisconsin voters; multiple sampling techniques) again finds a closer race. Their result detects a Baldwin edge of only 46-43 percent. Again, a significant difference, yet within the polling margin of error spread.

House

FL-1: McCarthy Ally to Challenge Rep. Gaetz — At last Friday’s candidate filing deadline, controversial Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Niceville/Pensacola) drew a Republican primary challenger who could enjoy outside support. Retired Navy officer Aaron Dimmock (R) filed his candidacy just before time expired. Reports suggest that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will back Dimmock and raise substantial support money from loyal organizations who want to even the score for McCarthy’s political demise. Rep. Gaetz was the leader of the McCarthy ouster movement.

It remains to be seen how well Dimmock could perform in the Aug. 20 Republican primary. In 2022, Rep. Gaetz easily turned back a well-funded Republican primary challenge from businessman Mark Lombardo who spent just under $800,000 for his campaign. The congressman won renomination over Lombardo with a landslide 70-24 percent victory margin.

Louisiana: Court Strikes Down New Congressional Map — Louisiana plaintiffs challenging the state’s new congressional map that created a second majority minority district that stretched from Baton Rouge to Shreveport received a favorable ruling yesterday from the three-judge federal panel hearing the lawsuit. The decision means the new congressional map is nullified. The judicial panel will now consider replacement maps. The plaintiffs argued the district was drawn only on racial criteria in violation of the US Constitution.

The ruling is likely to help Republicans, and particularly Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) whose GOP favorable 6th District was reconfigured as a majority minority seat designed to elect an African-American Democrat. The secretary of state informed the court that the 2024 districts must be in place by May 15 to allow the election office to properly administer the election. Therefore, a quick remedy decision will soon follow.

NY-26: Tim Kennedy (D) Wins Special Election — As expected, state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) easily scored a special election victory last night to succeed resigned Rep. Brian Higgins (D) in New York’s 26th Congressional District. Kennedy received 75 percent of the vote in the heavily Democratic seat that Republicans basically conceded. The latter party’s candidate, West Seneca Town Supervisor Gary Dickson, reported raising only $35,000 in the pre-election Federal Election Commission disclosure report.

The Kennedy victory means the House party division will move to 217R – 213D with five vacancies (4R – 1D). The 26th District encompasses the Buffalo metropolitan area including parts of Erie and Niagara Counties.

Governor

Delaware: Gov. Carney to Run for Mayor — Two-term Delaware Gov. John Carney (D), who is ineligible under the state’s election law from seeking a third term, instead announced that he will run for mayor of Wilmington. Should Gov. Carney win the open municipal post — he’ll be favored to top City Treasurer Velda Jones-Potter (D) — he would become at least the third governor to later become a mayor.

Gov. Carney would join former Maryland Gov. Ted McKeldin (R) who was elected the state’s chief executive in the 1950s and then return as mayor of Baltimore in the 1960s. Gov. Jerry Brown was elected mayor of Oakland after his first stint as governor of California. He would then return to the governorship and eventually serve 16 non-consecutive years as the state’s chief executive.

RFK Jr.’s VP Choice; Swing State Data; Casey’s Lead Diminishing; Cruz Polls Show Tight Texas Race

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, March 27, 2024

President

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: VP Choice — Yesterday presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I) announced that wealthy entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan, the founder of the ClearAccessIP legal technology company that she later sold, will be his vice presidential running mate. Shanahan is, like Kennedy, an environmental activist. She contributed $4 million to his campaign to help finance the Super Bowl ad that the Kennedy campaign ran to emphasize his family history. In the 2020 presidential race, Shanahan contributed to Democratic candidates Pete Buttigieg and Marianne Williamson.

Kennedy has qualified for the ballot in the state of Wisconsin but may have to re-start his petition drive in Nevada. RFK Jr. is reportedly qualified or in strong position to do so in eight states: Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Utah, and now Wisconsin. He may have problems in Nevada, however. The submitted petitions may be disqualified because Kennedy did not list a vice presidential running mate, which is a requirement under Nevada election law.

Of the eight states in which his name so far will appear, four are critical swing-state battlegrounds. Therefore, the Kennedy candidacy could affect the final result in the highly competitive entities of Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

Morning Consult: Releases Latest Swing State Data — The Morning Consult organization released the latest data on their continuing swing state tracking project. This iteration shows improvement for President Joe Biden as he records a one-point edge in Wisconsin and is tied in Pennsylvania and Michigan. The tracking polls were conducted from October through March, and regularly surveyed at least 437 registered voters from each of the seven tested states.

The sampling universes in the remaining four states, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina, continue to support former President Donald Trump. Unless one of the tied states (Michigan or Pennsylvania) falls Trump’s way, he cannot win a majority in the Electoral College even though he continues to poll ahead in the majority of swing states.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Casey’s Lead Diminishing — Two new polls are suggesting that the Pennsylvania Senate race is getting closer. Susquehanna Research just released a statewide survey completed in early March (Feb. 27-March 5; 450 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview) that projects Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) to be leading former hedge fund CEO David McCormick (R) by a 48-42 percent margin. The result is virtually the same as the firm found in January (Casey leading 46-42 percent), but considerably different than the 12-point Casey advantage they detected in their survey from 10 months ago.

Emerson College, polling for The Hill newspaper (March 10-13; 1,000 registered Pennsylvania voters; multiple sampling techniques), sees an even tighter 52-48 percent margin when the undecided respondents are pushed for an answer.

While the current tendencies appear to give McCormick some momentum, the voter history, and legacy of the Casey family (aside from Sen. Casey winning three US Senate terms, the incumbent’s father, Bob Casey, Sr., served two terms as governor and eight years as attorney general) suggest upending the senator remains a very tall order.

Texas: Cruz’s Zig Zag Polling Pattern — The latest Texas statewide survey finds Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) leading US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) only by a relatively small margin. Marist College (March 18-21; 1,117 registered Texas voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects Sen. Cruz holding a 51-45 percent advantage over Allred. A month ago, the University of Texas found the senator holding a 12-point lead. In January, Emerson College saw Cruz claiming only a two-point edge.

It would not be surprising to see a similar zig-zag pattern continue through the bulk of the election period. Because Sen. Cruz’s favorability numbers tend to be below average for a two-term incumbent, the issue matrix within this campaign cycle, particularly in Texas, will favor the Republican office holder.

Though Rep. Allred is certainly a credible Democratic challenger it is difficult to see Sen. Cruz, or any Lone Star State Republican, losing. With President Biden leading the Democratic ticket and having to defend his energy and border policy stances in a state where his party hasn’t scored a major statewide win since 1994, it increases the difficulty factor for a Democratic upset at all political levels. Therefore, expect to see differing polls throughout the campaign cycle, but the actual election will likely culminate in a Cruz victory margin of at least five percentage points.

Biden Sweeps SC Amid Low Turnout; Sen. Hawley Up 13; Sen. Bob Menendez Can’t Escape Single-Digit Support;
Sen. Bob Casey Jr.’s Strong Showing

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Feb. 5, 2024

President

President Joe Biden

South Carolina: Biden Romps in Dem Primary — President Joe Biden claimed Saturday’s South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, capturing an almost unanimous vote share. Biden recorded a 97 percent support figure over author Marianne Williamson (2.1 percent) and Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips (1.7 percent). Not surprisingly, the president swept all 55 of the state’s national Democratic delegate votes and placed first in each of the Palmetto State’s 46 counties.

Turnout, however, was extremely low with only about 131,000 ballots being cast. The unofficial count represents just 24 percent of the number of voters when compared to the 2020 South Carolina Democratic primary. The president was virtually unopposed in terms of the campaign efforts from Williamson and Phillips; therefore, it is not surprising to see a low participation rate. Still, three-quarters of the past electorate failing to return in 2024 does suggest a lack of enthusiasm for the pending national election.

Next, the candidates move to the Nevada primary on Tuesday where a similar result is expected. Unlike the Republicans, the Democratic primary is a delegate-apportionment event, so all candidates will be on the ballot. On the Republican side, the Nevada delegates will be awarded from the accompanying caucus events scheduled two days later, on Feb. 8. GOP candidate Nikki Haley chose to enter the primary and not the caucus, so former President Donald Trump is virtually assured of a Nevada delegate sweep.

Senate

Missouri: Sen. Hawley Up 13 — Emerson College released the first Missouri polling results of the new year. In the state’s US Senate campaign, the Emerson poll (Jan. 3-28; 1,830 registered Missouri voters; multiple sampling techniques) yields Sen. Josh Hawley (R) a 43-30 percent lead over attorney and Afghan/Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce (D).

In 2022, Kunce ran for the Senate and performed well on the fundraising circuit, raising $5.7 million, but lost the Democratic nomination to philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, who was a late entry into the race. He now returns in better position to win the party nomination and has already almost equaled his 2022 fundraising total but remains a severe underdog to Sen. Hawley in a state where the Biden national campaign is sure to concede.

Therefore, considering Sen. Hawley’s incumbency and the political winds blowing against the Democrats in the Show Me State, this race is not likely to become a battleground Senate contest.

New Jersey: Sen. Menendez Again Languishing in Single Digits — Madison, New Jersey-based Fairleigh Dickinson University went into the field to test the Garden State’s Democratic electorate pertaining to the upcoming US Senate race. The survey (Braun Research conducting; Jan. 21-28; 504 likely New Jersey Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) projects US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) to be opening a double-digit lead over New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy of 32-20 percent, while indicted incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez can outpace little-known labor union official Patricia Campos-Medina by only a single point, as he again polls under 10 percent.

According to the just-released Federal Election Commission year-end campaign finance reports, both Rep. Kim and Murphy held $2.7 million cash-on-hand at the end of 2023. Largely due to funds raised before being indicted, Sen. Menendez has just over $6.1 million in his campaign account.

The New Jersey primary is June 4. At this point, Sen. Menendez maintains that he is running for re-election, but a final decision from him will be likely be made just before the March 25 candidate filing deadline.

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Again Posts Double Digit Lead — Franklin & Marshall College, a regular Pennsylvania pollster, just released their latest statewide research iteration. The survey (Jan. 17-28; 1,006 registered Pennsylvania voters; live interview) sees Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) again posting a sizable lead over former hedge fund CEO David McCormick (R). The ballot test gives Sen. Casey a 12-point advantage, 47-35 percent. This counters Susquehanna Polling & Research’s findings in their Pennsylvania poll, taken partially within the same sampling period, that showed only a four-point separation between the two candidates.

The F&M result is more consistent with other released polls since mid-December. The Bullfinch Group saw a 15-point Casey margin, while Quinnipiac University projected a 10-point split. The Pennsylvania Senate race could become a top-tier contest assuming the presidential race here remains close in polling. In both the presidential and Senate contests, however, the Democratic candidate maintains the edge.

Trump Over 50 Percent in Iowa;
Dead Heats in Arizona & Michigan; Casey Expands Lead in Pennsylvania

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 15, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump

Iowa Caucus Polls: Trump Over 50 Percent; Haley in Second Place — The first votes of the presidential campaign are to be cast tonight. In frigid temperatures, Iowa Republicans will attend their individual precinct caucus meetings to cast the first votes of the 2024 presidential election beginning at 7 p.m. Central time. Because of a schedule change on the Democratic side, only the Republicans are voting tonight. No non-incumbent has ever topped the 50 percent plateau, but polling shows that Trump may well exceed that number in these caucus votes.

Suffolk University released a new Iowa Caucus survey in preparation for today’s vote. This survey (Jan. 6-10; 500 likely Iowa Republican Caucus attenders), as every other Iowa poll has projected, sees former President Donald Trump attracting majority support (54 percent). Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, according to the Suffolk data, has surpassed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for second place with 20 percent as compared to DeSantis’ 13 percent.

In terms of interesting side questions, the sampling universe broke virtually evenly regarding the traits of the candidate they want to support. Three responses dominated the answers. The one most often articulated is the respondent’s desire to support a candidate who can defeat President Joe Biden (27.2 percent). Next, is an individual having strong moral character (25.8 percent), and a close third is a person who “has the right experience” (25.0 percent).

Asked of people who said that Donald Trump was neither their first nor second choice, 45 percent said they would support the former president if he became the party nominee, 16.5 percent said they would vote for Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and 15.3 percent said they would support Biden.

No fewer than five polls have been released since Wednesday, including the survey that is typically regarded as the state’s most accurate — the Selzer & Company poll, routinely conducted for the Des Moines Register newspaper.

The Selzer poll, released late on Saturday night (Jan. 7-12; 705 likely Iowa caucus attenders; live interview) and conducted for the Des Moines Register and NBC News, found Trump below 50 percent but holding at 48 percent support, ahead of Haley, in second place again with 20 percent, and DeSantis in third, posting 18 percent preference. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy trailed in single digits with eight percent. Of the five polls conducted during the final week of campaigning, this is the only one that projects Trump with under 50 percent support.

Senate

Arizona: New Poll Shows Virtual Dead Heat — Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Replace Sinema PAC (Jan. 5-6; 590 registered Arizona voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees a dead heat developing between Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) and former news anchor and 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake. Incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, running on an Independent ballot line, significantly trails.

According to the ballot test data, Rep. Gallego would record a 36-35 percent edge over Lake with Sen. Sinema well behind with a 17 percent support figure. Among the key non-affiliated voting sector, Lake takes the largest share with 31 percent. Sen. Sinema posted 27 percent from this category, while Rep. Gallego trailed with 24 percent. If the race were a two-way contest between Gallego and Lake, the Republican would hold a 46-45 percent edge. This poll again shows that the Arizona Senate race continues as a true wild card campaign.

Michigan: Virtual Ties All Around — The Glengariff Group, a Michigan-based pollster who frequently conducts political surveys for media organizations, tested the Wolverine State electorate for the Detroit News and WDIV-TV Channel 4 (Jan. 2-6; 600 likely Michigan voters) though the partisan division within the polling sample looks to have comparable numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Michigan does not register voters by political party, but it is clear through voter history statistics that the state houses at least a slightly higher number of Democrats than Republicans. Therefore, these results, though weighted to decrease a bias factor, are likely skewed somewhat toward Republicans.

The ballot test results find Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) and three potential Republican opponents all locked into virtual ties. Retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig matches up most favorably with Rep. Slotkin, leading her 38-36 percent. Former Rep. Peter Meijer is tied with Slotkin at 36-36 percent, while former US Rep. Mike Rogers trails her by just one percentage point.

It is likely that the Michigan race will become a top-tier general election Senate campaign irrespective of which Republican candidate claims the party nomination in August.

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Expands Lead — The new Quinnipiac University Pennsylvania poll (Jan. 4-8; 1,680 self-identified registered Pennsylvania voters; 746 Democrats; 651 Republicans; live interview) finds three-term Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) expanding his lead over Republican challenger David McCormick (R) to a full 10-point advantage, 54-43 percent, an improvement of a net four percentage points when compared to the October Q-Poll. Within this survey sample, the split between Democrats and Republicans is almost spot on, with Republicans under-counted by approximately just one percentage point.

The Casey lead is strong in comparison to how President Biden fares. Biden posts a job approval rating of only 40:58 percent as compared to Sen. Casey’s 51:31 percent. The president, however, still leads former President Trump, 49-46 percent in a general election ballot test. The Pennsylvania office holder with the best job approval ratio is Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) who records a 59:23 percent favorability index.

RFK Jr.’s Equal Impact; Casey Maintains Lead in PA; Blake Masters Enters Open Arizona Race; Redistricting Map Struck Down in Georgia; Sarbanes to Retire; North Carolina News

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 30, 2023

President

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

RFK Jr.: Equal Impact Effect — Before Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced his Independent candidacy, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump were generally at parity in national polling, with either contender clinging to a small lead or being deadlocked. We see two new national surveys adding Kennedy to their questionnaire, yet the leader still records the same type of close margins. Dr. Cornel West is included in some polls as another Independent candidate, but it is doubtful that he can qualify for enough state ballots to become a viable factor.

The HarrisX poll (Oct. 16-23; 3,029 US registered voters; online) sees Trump leading Biden and Kennedy, 40-38-18 percent. In what is now an unrealistic head-to-head pairing between Trump and Biden, Trump’s edge is four percentage points.

Suffolk University (Oct. 17-20; 1,000 US registered voters; live interview) sees a similar Biden-Trump-Kennedy 38-37-14 percent split. If the two major party candidates were only running against each other, the Suffolk data finds a 43-41 percent division in President Biden’s favor. Again, with such small margins that don’t greatly change, it appears that Kennedy may be pulling almost equally from both major party candidates.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Maintains Lead — Franklin & Marshall College again surveyed the Keystone State electorate (Oct. 11-22; 873 registered Pennsylvania voters; live interview & online) as they do several times per year, and while this particular sampling period is long the US Senate ballot test results are consistent with other previously published surveys. According to the F&M data, Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) has a 46-39 percent advantage over Republican former hedge fund CEO David McCormick (R). Sen. Casey runs four points ahead of President Biden within the same sampling universe, while McCormick’s support percentage is three points below that of former President Trump.

House

AZ-8: Blake Masters Enters Open Race — As expected when this seat opened, 2022 Republican US Senate nominee Blake Masters announced that he will run for the 8th District seat in the 2024 election. Also in the race is Abe Hamadeh, the Republican attorney general nominee who lost the 2022 statewide race by less than 300 votes. Retiring US Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria), has already endorsed state House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Paradise), but Toma has yet to announce his congressional candidacy.

Masters’ chances of coming through a crowded primary with plurality support are good. The eventual Republican will be a heavy favorite in the general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates AZ-8 as R+22. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 77th most vulnerable district in the Republican Conference.

Georgia: Federal Judge Strikes Down Congressional Map — In a developing story, a federal judge has struck down the Georgia congressional map as a racial gerrymander. The main district in question is Rep. Rich McCormick’s (R-Suwanee) 6th CD. It remains to be seen what steps the state takes. The judge is giving the lawmakers until Dec. 8 to redraw the map.

MD-3: Rep. John Sarbanes (D) to Retire — Nine-term Maryland US Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Baltimore) announced late last week that he will retire from the House after this current Congress ends. In a statement, Sarbanes said, “ … before coming to Congress, I also found great reward in working with nonprofits, volunteering and otherwise contributing to my community. That too is a powerful form of public service. For some time now, I have found myself drawn back to that kind of work — wanting to explore the many opportunities to serve that exist outside of elected office. With that in mind, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2024.”

Sarbanes’ departure will ignite a major Democratic primary for the open seat. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this seat as D+14. President Biden carried the district with a 62-36 percent margin. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks MD-3 as the 79th most vulnerable district in the Democratic Conference. In a presidential election year, this race will be decided in what promises to be a crowded Democratic primary.

NC-14: Rep. Jackson (D) to Run for Attorney General — As expected, Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte), saying a Democrat cannot win the newly drawn 14th District, announced that he will not seek re-election and instead is now a candidate for the open attorney general’s position. In a video showing him as a boxer giving and taking punches, Jackson said he is targeting corrupt politicians, big corporations, and organized crime in his run for the top law enforcement job in the Tar Heel State.

As in the nine other Republican districts on the new congressional map, the new 14th that begins in Charlotte and moves west to encompass all or parts of five other counties, will likely elect the GOP nominee. All indications point to state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland County) as Rep. Jackson’s eventual successor.

North Carolina: Redistricting Passes into Law; Ex-Rep. Walker Will Run — Both the North Carolina House and Senate passed the new congressional and state legislative maps, thus enacting them into law as Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has no veto authority over redistricting legislation. The map favors Republicans in 10 of the state’s 14 districts.

In Rep. Kathy Manning’s (D-Greensboro) new 6th District, which voted for Donald Trump by a 57-41 percent split according to the Daily Kos Elections statisticians, former US representative and 2022 US Senate candidate Mark Walker (R) announced that he will leave the governor’s race and instead run for this new district. For three terms, Walker represented a similar 6th District. He chose not to run in 2020 after a court-drawn map made NC-6 a heavily Democratic seat that Manning was able to claim.

Polls: Trump Up in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin & Michigan

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 16, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump moves ahead of President Joe Biden in three key state polls.

Key States: Trump Emerges in New Polling — Three of the more important states that will largely determine the 2024 presidential outcome reported new polling data late last week. The results are significant. Three polls from two different pollsters projected former President Donald Trump as surprisingly leading in the critical battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Emerson College surveyed voters in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all between the Oct. 1-4 period. MRG Research, polling for the Detroit News (Oct. 2-8; 600 likely Michigan voters), tested the Michigan electorate.

For the first time since he carried each of these states in the 2016 presidential election, these polls show that former President Donald Trump holds a general election edge over President Joe Biden in all three states. EC projects Trump holding leads of 45-36 percent in Pennsylvania and 42-40 percent in Wisconsin. In Michigan, MRG finds Trump posting a 42-35 percent advantage over President Biden.

Reviewing the national Electoral College map, in order to flip the 2020 election results Trump must convert states holding at least 35 electoral votes. The smallest number of in-play states equaling that particular electoral vote number is two: Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Pennsylvania (19).

If Pennsylvania does not come through for Trump, then a combination of Georgia (16), Arizona (11), and Wisconsin (10) voting Republican would also deliver the former president a victory. These examples, of course, presume that all other states vote the same as they did in 2020.

While it is mathematically conceivable for Trump to win the national election without carrying one of the aforementioned Great Lakes states, from a practical context, when considering recent historical voting patterns, it is virtually impossible. Realistically, if Trump is to turnaround the 2020 election outcome, he must carry at least one of these three domains.

That is why this polling release is worth noting.

Recently, we have been seeing issue polling that clearly favored Republicans on most issues, especially key ones such as economy, border security, immigration, and crime. The party’s positive numbers regarding the handling of those issues, however, were not translating into increased votes for Republican presidential candidates on ballot tests within those same surveys. Now, we see the candidate numbers beginning to turn.

The Emerson College Pennsylvania poll (Oct. 1-4; 430 registered Pennsylvania voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects Trump topping Biden by a large nine-point margin, 45-36 percent, well beyond the polling margin of error. Their Wisconsin survey (Oct. 1-4; 532 registered Wisconsin voters; multiple sampling techniques) also posts Trump to a lead, but a much smaller one, 42-40 percent.

Across Lake Michigan, MRG Research tested the Wolverine State electorate (Oct. 2-8; 600 likely Michigan voters) and their ballot test between Biden and Trump showed the the former president leading by a seven-point margin — 42-35 percent.

What is notable is that the Emerson Pennsylvania poll also tested the state’s budding Senate race between three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) and Republican businessman David McCormick. Here, the same polling sample turns back toward the Democrats.

In answering the Senate ballot test question, the respondents recorded a 41-33 percent split for Sen. Casey, a margin again well beyond the polling margin of error. This result is also stronger for Casey than the first publicly released poll of the Pennsylvania Senate contest, that from Quinnipiac University (Sept. 28-Oct. 2; 1,725 registered Pennsylvania voters). In the Q-Poll, Sen. Casey’s lead was 50-44 percent.

The fact that the polling sample would return to the Democratic column for the Senate race gives greater credence to the presidential number and suggests that this survey is no outlier.

In Emerson’s Wisconsin poll, the interviewers asked an interesting question. They queried both the Trump and Biden supporters whether there was anything their candidate could do that would change their vote. The results were almost identical.

A total of 50 percent of the Trump voters and 51 percent of the Biden voters said their support was solid, and nothing that either man might do between now and election day would change their vote. Conversely, 24 percent of Trump voters and 23 percent of Biden supporters suggested they could change their minds based upon their chosen candidate’s actions.

These responses tell us that both men have equally fervent support, but also gives each plenty of prospects with whom to potentially convince. We can expect Wisconsin to remain in toss-up mode all the way through the final vote.

These surveys mark the first time in this election cycle that Trump has posted such leads in these three critical battleground states. With still more than one year remaining until votes are cast much will happen to change how people will perceive the candidates, thus influencing their vote. For now, the present topsy-turvy political atmosphere seems to be favoring former President Trump.