Tag Archives: FL-13

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.

Examining the Role of the RCV System in Alaska’s Special Election; Rep. Crist Resigns in Fla.; Indiana “Shock” Poll

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 2, 2022

House

Sarah Palin (R)

AK-AL: Sarah Palin Loses Special Election — The headline here is that former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin fell to Democrat Mary Peltola in the at-large Alaska special election, and the first full usage of the state’s new Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system was fully in play. Yesterday we reported the results; today we’ll delve into the RCV system that delivered those results.

At the end of the final counting, which was when the Aug. 16 deadline to accept ballots in the primary election expired, 60 percent of voters chose a Republican candidate. However, the RCV system yielded a Democratic victor. Therefore, in a system that is designed to create a majority candidate, in this case the RCV system produced a minority vote share winner.

The finalists from the jungle primary election began with Peltola, who recorded 40.2 percent of the vote. Palin secured 31.3 percent, and Nick Begich III (R) captured 28.5 percent. Begich III is the grandson of former Democratic US Rep. Nick Begich, Sr. (D), and the nephew of former US senator and ex-Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D). In finishing third, Begich was eliminated from further competition, and his first-place votes were located and then allocated to the remaining two candidates via the voters’ ranking.

Former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) winner of the Alaska special election race.

As we predicted, based upon the experiences of other states and cities that have used the RCV system, a large number of votes were disqualified, or “exhausted” to use the Alaska vernacular.

Of the 192,158 individuals who participated in the special election and/or regular primary, a total of 3,401 ballots were listed as “blank,” meaning the individuals voted in the election but bypassed the special congressional contest. Another 342 ballots were categorized as “overvotes.” This terminology suggests the owners of such ballots voted incorrectly. Typically, it means the individual, presumably inadvertently, voted more than once for the same candidate, thus disqualifying the ballot.

The categories that likely cost Palin the election, despite the large majority voting for a Republican candidate, came in RCV’s Round 2. In that round, a total of 11,222 Begich voters did not properly manage the RCV system on their ballots, which was to rank the three candidates in the order of the individual voter’s preference.

Lawyers who challenged the RCV system in other places around the country warned that their experience showed a large number of disqualified, or “exhausted,” ballots would be present here, which certainly proved to be the case.

This latter number added to the initial overvotes, meant a total of 11,269 Begich first-place voters saw their ballot disqualified, more than twice the number of votes (5,219) that comprised Palin’s deficit against Peltola’s final victory total. Adding this number to those who chose to bypass the special congressional race meant that 14,965 individuals who voted in this election failed to have their ballot count in the RCV process.

The second category leading to Palin’s demise were the 15,445 individuals who voted for Begich on the first ballot, but decided to support Peltola with their second choice. This is a much higher number than our pre-election estimate projection, and are chiefly responsible for the ex-governor failing to win the general election.

A possible reason that some of these voters chose Peltola is that the Begich name identification comes from the current candidate’s family predecessors mentioned above who were, and are, affiliated with the Democrats. It is possible that the multiple confusion factors present in this race also extended to Begich’s name, with many traditional Democratic voters still thinking he is a member of their party and not noticing his Republican label on the ballot.

Also adding to the confusion factor was the RCV system being used only in this special general election that was run concurrently with the regular state primary. In all other races on Aug. 16, voters were simply choosing one candidate to advance into the general election, where four jungle primary candidates from each race would do so. Therefore, the almost 15,000 ballots being disqualified before the end of the RCV special election process suggests a large amount of confusion within the electorate.

With the same three finalists again advancing into the regular election from the regular congressional primary, which was also held on the same day (Aug. 16), thus producing one more confusion factor, we could see a rerun of the RCV results in the November election. If either Palin or Begich were to withdraw from the regular general election, however, Peltola’s fate would then likely be sealed, since the Republican vote would then presumably overwhelm the number of her Democratic preference ballots.

While the intrigue associated with this one race has now been resolved, new questions will immediately begin to unfold for the impending general election. For now, however, Mary Peltola will be sworn in as the House of Representatives’ newest member.

FL-13: Rep. Crist Resigns — Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) resigned his Pinellas County-anchored US House seat Wednesday in order to fully concentrate on his gubernatorial campaign. Crist won the statewide Democratic primary on Aug. 23 and will face Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the general election. Another member of the Florida congressional delegation, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), who announced in February that he would leave Congress to become the CEO of the American Jewish Committee, will reportedly officially resign on Oct. 1.

With the Crist and Deutch resignations, the Democrats will be down to 220 seats in the House even after adding New York Rep. Pat Ryan (D-Poughkeepsie) after his special election victory certification and the Alaska at-large seat where Democrat Mary Peltola was declared the special election winner. It is unclear if Gov. DeSantis will call a special election to fill the Florida vacancies or just leave them vacant until the new term begins in January.

Senate

Indiana: Shock Poll — Hoosier State Democratic US Senate nominee Tom McDermott’s campaign released the results of their recently conducted Change Research poll (Aug. 20-24; 2,111 likely Indiana general election voters; online), which posted Sen. Todd Young (R) to only a 45-42 percent lead. The Indiana Senate race had been considered non-competitive. The Young campaign responded with criticism over the online methodology and weighting system that Change Research employs. Expect the Young campaign to quickly counter this data with a poll release of their own.

Governor

South Carolina: Gov. McMaster Leading in Consecutive Polls — In a race that had not been polled during the general election period to-date, two new surveys were released on consecutive days. Yesterday, we reported that Gov. Henry McMaster (R) led in The Trafalgar Group survey (Aug. 25-28; 1,071 likely South Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) by a 51-43 percent margin over former Congressman Joe Cunningham, who won the Democratic nomination back in the June primary.

The next day’s polling release featured a survey from the Democratic firm, Blueprint Polling (Aug. 24-25; 721 likely South Carolina general election voters; live interview), that actually posted McMaster to a larger lead than the Trafalgar result, 50-39 percent.

Flip-Flopping Polls in Arizona; Fetterman Builds Lead in PA;
A Changing Race in FL-13

By Jim Ellis — August 1, 2022

Senate

Venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) — up … and down in Arizona

Arizona: More Flip-Flopping Polls — The Arizona Republican primary culminates on Tuesday, and we see another pair of closing polls projecting different leaders. The Trafalgar Group and Battleground Connect were in the field simultaneously but they see different outcomes. Trafalgar (July 25-27; 1,071 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; multiple sample-gathering tactics) finds venture capitalist Blake Masters leading businessman Jim Lamon and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, 35-27-15 percent, with the remaining candidates polling at less than 10 percent support.

BC (July 26-27; 800 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; live interview), however, forecasts Lamon as forging a small lead, 30-28-16 percent, over Masters and Brnovich. While it appears the race is becoming a two-way affair between Masters and Lamon, the final result will almost certainly come down to the two men being separated by just a handful of votes.

Pennsylvania: Fetterman Continues to Increase Lead — Fox News was polling the Pennsylvania races (July 22-26; 908 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; live interview), and in the Senate race confirms what other pollsters are seeing. That is, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), despite being absent from the campaign trail as he recovers from a stroke, continues to build a lead over Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee. The Fox numbers post Fetterman to a 47-36 percent margin, his largest advantage of any polling result to date.

Dr. Oz’s biggest problem continues to be his personal image. This Pennsylvania polling sample rated him as 35:55 percent favorable to unfavorable. This compares to Fetterman’s 49:34 percent positive image.

House

FL-13: A Changing Race — A new Florida Republican congressional poll suggests a contender is poised to usurp the race leader as we move within a month of the Florida primary. American Viewpoint, polling for the Kevin Hayslett campaign (July 24-27; 400 likely FL-13 primary voters; live interview) sees their client, who is a Pinellas County attorney, pulling to within two percentage points of race leader Anna Paulina Luna, 36-34 percent, with attorney and 2020 candidate Amanda Makki (R) dropping back to nine percent.

Since the AV last surveyed the district in late June, Hayslett has improved from trailing in a 42-19 percent margin to his current two-point deficit. It appears that Hayslett is the one having the upward momentum as the candidates enter the home stretch prior to the Aug. 23 primary election.

MI-3: Democratic Ploy Backfiring — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has been attempting to influence Republican primaries by attacking certain contenders as being too conservative, knowing that such a message would help move Republican primary base voters to the candidate Democrats believe as being the weakest.

Rep. Peter Meijer’s (R-Grand Rapids) campaign, however, responded in-kind. Launching his own message and highlighting the DCCC ad indicating that former Housing & Urban Development official John Gibbs is too conservative, Rep. Mejier’s ad attacks Gibbs as “Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked candidate.” The Michigan primary is Tuesday. The winner will face Democrat Hillary Scholten who is unopposed for her party’s nomination.

The House Opens – Part I

By Jim Ellis

May 7, 2021 — With the number of House open and vacant seats continuing to grow, today we open a two-part series to update the status of each and begin to project where the most competitive incumbent-less districts might lie in 2022.

Adding the most recent retirement announcements or declarations for a different office, we see 16 districts that will introduce freshman members from their next election, eight from the Democratic side and an equal number of Republican seats. Of the 16, five are vacant and in special election cycles.

Today, we look at the Democratic open seats and tomorrow, the Republicans. The eight Democratic seats come from six states with another potential candidacy announcement coming shortly, at least based upon reading the Florida political tea leaves in association with this week’s gubernatorial race declaration from Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL).

Three of the five vacancies are on the Democratic side and will be filled in elections conducted from June 1 through Jan. 11 of next year. The other five Democratic openings result from retirement decisions (3) and members seeking a different office (2) with an additional open seat announcement apparently coming imminently in Florida as all indications suggest that Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) will soon announce her gubernatorial bid.


AZ-2 – Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick – retirement

Rep. Kirkpatrick had represented the 1st District for three non-consecutive terms beginning in 2009. She then ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2016 and returned in 2018 with a victory in the 2nd District. She was re-elected in 2020 with 55 percent of the vote. In March, Kirkpatrick announced that she would retire at the conclusion of the current Congress.

The reapportionment picture drastically changes the 2nd District political outlook. Originally, Arizona was projected to gain a seat, but did not once the official population figures were announced. Therefore, the Tucson anchored CD-2, expected to significantly change, is likely to remain closer to its current configuration.

If so, then the re-draw process will likely keep the 2nd in the Democratic column. The two leading early contenders to replace Rep. Kirkpatrick are state representative and surgeon Randy Friese (D-Tucson) and state Sen. Kirsten Engel (D-Tucson).

• President Biden carried the 2nd with a 54-44 percent margin.


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New Frontline Program Incumbents

By Jim Ellis

March 9, 2017 — In February, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced the first round of its Patriot Program, the system where GOP House members help raise funds to support those in the most politically marginal districts. Now, the Democrats have countered.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s leadership has included 19 incumbents in their Frontline Program’s first wave, an usually large number.

Of the 19, 10 should be considered truly vulnerable top-tier targets. They are:

• Tom O’Halleran – AZ-1 – 50.7% win percentage – Trump district
• Stephanie Murphy – FL-7 – 51.5%
• Charlie Crist – FL-13 – 51.9%
• Brad Schneider – IL-10 – 52.6%
• David Loebsack – IA-2 – 53.7% – Trump district
• Rick Nolan – MN-8 – 50.2% – Trump district
• Josh Gottheimer – NJ-5 – 51.1% – Trump district
• Carol Shea-Porter – NH-1 – 44.3% – Trump district
• Jacky Rosen – NV-3 – 47.2% – Trump district
• Sean Patrick Maloney – NY-18 – 50.8% – Trump district

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