Tag Archives: Gov. Chris Sununu

Skewed Polling Questions in Florida? Internal GOP Battle Brewing in NH

By Jim Ellis — June 9, 2022

Senate

Sen. Marco Rubio (R) | Rep. Val Demings (D)

Florida: New Poll, Similar Result — The Florida Senate race will be an expensive fight – each candidate had already raised over $30 million before the end of March – but polling continues to suggest that incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R) holds relatively small but consistent margins over US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando). Public Policy Polling released a new survey for Giffords PAC, a group supporting Rep. Demings (May 26-27; 655 registered Florida voters; interactive voice response system), that finds Sen. Rubio holding a 47-41 percent advantage. This is consistent with other polling.

The pollsters then asked a series of gun control questions designed to push the respondent toward Demings. Even after the barrage of inflammatory questions, Sen. Rubio still held a 44-42 percent edge.

Washington: New Poll, Similar Result — Public Policy Polling, conducting another in a series of their polls for the Northwest Progressive Institute (June 1-2; 1,039 registered Washington voters; live interview & text), again finds Sen. Patty Murray (D) leading the 2022 general election contest over Republican Tiffany Smiley but without her usual overwhelming majority. The new results post the senator to a 50-41 percent lead, which is consistent with their previous polls conducted earlier in the year. Sen. Murray is the clear favorite to win a sixth term, but we can expect to see an unusually competitive general election in one of the Democrats’ most reliable political states.

House

NH-2: Internal Battle Brewing — With New Hampshire redistricting finally complete, and both of the state’s congressional districts remaining in the competitive mode, an ideological Republican primary is forming to challenge Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton). At the end of last week, Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns, who defines himself as a “staunch conservative” announced his congressional campaign for the GOP nomination. He will challenge the party establishment’s candidate, Keene Mayor George Hansel, who holds Gov. Chris Sununu’s endorsement and is a self-described “pro-choice Republican.”

Though Rep. Kuster could be vulnerable in this D+2 western state CD, the state primary isn’t until Sept. 13. Therefore, this budding Republican primary challenge will go on for quite some time, thus allowing the congresswoman to build a further advantage in a shortened general election campaign.

NY-23: Rep. Chris Jacobs Decides to Retire — Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park), who was just elected to his first full term in 2020, announced that he is now abandoning plans to run in the new post-redistricting 23rd District largely due to fallout over his position on the gun control issue and related impending legislation. This opens a safely Republican and vacant 23rd District and completely changes both the regular election primary and the upcoming special election both concurrently scheduled for Aug. 23.

Now it appears the special election will be the determining factor. Before Rep. Jacobs’ retirement decision, he had announced for the new 23rd CD but would not participate in the special election after incumbent Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) resigned. The reason: Jacobs is still serving out the final term in District 27. The 27th CD was eliminated in redistricting because New York lost a congressional seat in national reapportionment.

The political parties choose special election nominees in New York without a special primary election, so it appears the 10 Republican County chairmen whose entities comprise the current 23rd CD will likely be determining who wins the succeeding special election, and therefore the new regular general election as well.

Greitens Making a MO Comback? No Candidate Reaches 10 Percent in NY

By Jim Ellis — May 31, 2022

Senate

Ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R)

Missouri: Greitens Back Up — The Trafalgar Group joined the firms who have tested the Missouri Republican primary and just released their survey results (May 16-18; 1,065 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; live interview; text; online). They find scandal-tainted resigned Gov. Eric Greitens returning to first place, this time with 26 percent. In this poll, US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) is a close second with 23 percent, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt with 19 percent. US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield) leads the also-ran tier with nine percent. The candidates have bounced around in various polls, but no one reaches the 30 percent mark. Expect someone to break from the pack before the Aug. 2 statewide primary election.

House

NY-10: No one Reaches 10 Percent — Emerson College just released a poll for this primary. Though the results are inconclusive because no one reaches even eight percent support, the survey (May 24-25; 500 likely Democratic NY-10 primary voters; combination response online and by text) reveals two important points.

First, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) is already just as competitive as everyone else in the new Brooklyn/Lower Manhattan CD. In fact, he leads the group, but with only seven percent support followed by former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio with six percent, and all others with five percent or less. A total of 77 percent of the respondents said they are undecided. Second, de Blasio’s poor showing at six percent with total name identification is far worse than his upside-down job approval rating would have suggested. This tells us that the former mayor begins with only a small constituency in this district, and will likely have a difficult time expanding his base.

NY-12: Maloney Tops Nadler — The aforementioned Emerson College Poll (May 24-25; 500 likely NY-10 Democratic primary voters; combination online and text) continues in the adjoining 12th CD that features a paired incumbents battle between New York City veteran Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler. The survey finds Maloney, who like Nadler was first elected to the House in 1992, leading her opponent with a 31-21 percent support margin. Four other minor Democratic primary candidates score between only one and six percent preference. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the new NY-12, D+68, so the Democratic primary winner on Aug. 23 will win the general election in November.

Redistricting

New Hampshire: Process Heading to Court — The New Hampshire legislature adjourned Sine Die but passed another congressional redistricting map and again sent it to Gov. Chris Sununu (R), who, once more, says he will veto the bill. The governor’s promised action means the redistricting process will move to the state Supreme Court. The justices had previously said they will adopt a “least change” map, meaning both seats will lean toward the Democrats. Republicans were fighting to make the swing 1st District more Republican while conceding the 2nd District to incumbent Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton). Gov. Sununu said he wanted both districts to be competitive. The move will likely cost the Republicans a seat, thus handing Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) a new district that he can again win.

Hassan Improves; NH Voters Sour

By Jim Ellis

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan (D)

Jan. 24, 2022 — The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, NH just completed one of their regular statewide political surveys, and while Sen. Maggie Hassan’s (D) standing has improved since their last poll, the sample participants’ underlying attitude numbers are among the most negative in the country.

In what might be the quintessential political swing state since the turn of the century, these early results spell bad news for Democrats less than 11 months from the midterm elections. In a state that Joe Biden carried with a seven-point margin in 2020, the congressional generic number now favors Republicans in a 46-40 percent clip.

St. Anselm’s poll conducted over the Jan. 11-12 period surveyed online 1,215 registered Granite State voters. Led by a Right Track-Wrong Track (direction US is headed) response ratio of a hideous 16:74 percent, only Gov. Chris Sununu (R) finds himself in a favorable realm (53:44 percent), but even his positive index has dropped a net 36 points from his rating a year ago when compared with the Institute’s February 2021 survey.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D) job approval of 48:48 percent is the next best of the office holders tested. President Biden records a 41:58 percent positive to negative ratio. Former President Donald Trump, however, is not in much better shape with a personal approval score of 43:55 percent.

Though Sen. Hassan’s job approval has dropped to 45:51 percent, her standing against potential Republican opponents has improved. This is the first published statewide poll conducted since Gov. Sununu announced that he would not challenge her. Therefore, the GOP is left with potential 2022 candidates of much lesser standing. In earlier polling paired against Gov. Sununu, Hassan consistently trailed.

Retired army general and 2020 US Senate candidate Don Bolduc fares best among the tested Republicans, but still trailing Sen. Hassan, 43-36 percent. She tops recent Senate campaign entries Chuck Morse, the Granite State Senate president, 41-27 percent, and former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, 42-24 percent. On the other hand, the Senator not exceeding 43 percent against candidates largely unfamiliar to the respondent universe – 33 percent have not heard of Bolduc, 47 percent couldn’t identify Morse, and Smith was unknown to 59 percent — still must be considered weak.

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Sans Sununu, New Hampshire Republican Candidates Still in Favorable Position

By Jim Ellis

US Senate candidate Corky Messner (R) | Photo by Amanda Blundo, Corky for Senate Campaign

Dec. 6, 2021 — A new Tarrance Group poll of the New Hampshire general electorate conducted for potential US Senate candidate Corky Messner (R) shows the Republicans in a favorable position to challenge Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) even without Gov. Chris Sununu (R) as her opponent.

The survey (Nov. 14-17; 500 likely 2022 New Hampshire general election voters, live interview) finds Messner lagging only two points behind the first-term senator, 47-45 percent. This type of ballot test result shows a weaker standing for the Republican nominee than when Gov. Sununu was paired with Hassan — in virtually every poll during the past year, the governor was leading — but a lesser known candidate’s support figure lying within the polling margin of error is certainly a positive sign for Republican chances.

Digging deeper into the poll, we find positives for both candidates. Sen. Hassan’s job approval rating is in positive territory at 50:45 percent, with a personal favorability index of 48:44 percent. Though her numbers are not stellar, considering the generic question (would you vote for a Republican or Democrat for US Senate) actually favored the GOP by a 45-42 percent count, her standing is at least stable within the context of what, for her, is an adverse political climate. Typically, the Democrats almost always lead on the generic question.

Perhaps the biggest positive for Messner from this data revolves around a ballot test within the cell group of respondents who are familiar with both candidates. This is a particularly large cell, since 74 percent of the sample participants expressed knowledge of both contenders. In looking at the ballot test figures within just this group, Messner forges into the lead, 50-43 percent.

Assuming the electorate at large would also behave in such a manner upon gaining adequate familiarity with both candidates, such a finding would be highly significant and reinforces the analysis that New Hampshire remains the Republicans’ strongest conversion opportunity.

Messner has not yet announced for the Senate, only saying he is considering becoming a candidate. He was the party’s 2020 Senate nominee, losing to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), 57-41 percent, with the senator outspending Messner, $17 million to $7 million.

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Sununu Won’t Take Senate Plunge

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) will not run for the Senate.

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 11, 2021 — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) held a long awaited news conference this week to announce his political plans for 2022. The governor had been the Republicans’ top recruitment prospect to challenge vulnerable Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, but the three-term state chief executive has chosen to eschew a tough Senate challenge and will instead run for a fourth gubernatorial term.

Though Sununu, like his father before him, has been elected three times as governor, he is still only in his fifth year of service. New Hampshire and Vermont are the only states that have two-year gubernatorial terms. In fact, for a 146-year period, no one had served more than one term as the state’s top office holder. The only governor in New Hampshire history to serve four terms is Democrat John Lynch, who was in office from 2005-2013.

Gov. Sununu’s decision certainly changes the New Hampshire political landscape and will cause potential candidates to begin assessing their chances both in a Senate race against Hassan and as a gubernatorial contender opposite Sununu. Attention now may turn to two-term US Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester).

The Republicans, with trifecta control of the New Hampshire political system in that they hold the governor’s office and have majorities in both houses of the legislature, are looking to change the marginal 1st Congressional District, the seat that has defeated more incumbents than any CD in the country since 2004, into a Republican domain. Doing so would concede the politically marginal 2nd District to incumbent Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord).

Pappas, aware that a significant change in his district could make him an underdog for re-election, was likely headed into an open governor’s race if Sununu decided to run for Senate. Now that he would have to take on a popular incumbent, his next political move may be less clear.

Turning back to the Senate picture, incumbent Hassan still remains as the most vulnerable Democrat seeking re-election in 2022; so where do Republicans go now? Looking at the crowded 1st District race, two contenders stand out as potential statewide candidates.

Gail Huff Brown, a long time New England television news reporter, is the wife of former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, and she has already announced her congressional candidacy. Former Sen. Brown, himself, would also be a possibility since he has already run for the Senate once in New Hampshire. Matt Mowers is the 2020 1st District nominee who held Rep. Pappas to a 51-46 percent re-election victory. He, too, is an announced congressional candidate but it appears possible that at least one of the aforementioned could instead enter the Senate race.

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