Tag Archives: Gov. Chris Sununu

Laxalt Leads in Four Consecutive Nevada Senate Surveys; Many Polls, Many Results in Arizona; Hassan in New Hampshire Senate Driver’s Seat

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Sept. 26, 2022

Senate

Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, current Republican Senate candidate

Nevada: Four in a Row — As the plethora of polls keep coming, we now see Republican Adam Laxalt taking a small lead over Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) in four consecutive surveys. From Sept. 8-20, Emerson College, Data for Progress (D), The Trafalgar Group (R), and Insider Advantage (R) posted leads for Laxalt at one to four percentage points.

Unlike Arizona polls (see next item) that find inconsistent margin results for Sen. Mark Kelly, these four pollsters all arrive at basically the same conclusion. Additionally, the senator fails to break a highwater mark of 46 percent in any of the surveys, a bad sign for any incumbent.

Arizona: Many Polls, Many Results — During the period of Sept. 6-19, six different pollsters tested the Arizona Senate race, and the results were wide ranging. All six agree that Sen. Mark Kelly (D) has a lead over venture capitalist Blake Masters (R), but the advantage span moves all the way from one to 12 points.

Three of the research entities — Emerson College, The Trafalgar Group (R), and Data for Progress (D) — find the Kelly margin at two points (Emerson) or one (Trafalgar; DfP). Another, Insider Advantage (R), pegs the Kelly lead at six points. Fabrizio Lee (R) / Impact Research (D) for AARP, posts the senator to an eight-point edge. Finally, Arizona-based OH Predictive Insights sees the largest Kelly margin, 47-35 percent. With such a diverse polling result universe, it is difficult to accurately depict this race’s true status.

New Hampshire: Sen. Hassan in Driver’s Seat — It appears that Gov. Chris Sununu (R) and various Republican strategists and consultants were correct to forecast that retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R) would not be a strong opponent against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) in the November election. Three polls have now been released since the state’s Sept. 13 primary election — from Emerson College, the American Research Group, and the University of New Hampshire. The surveys were conducted within the Sept. 14-19 period. All three pollsters find Sen. Hassan leading the race with margins between 8 and 13 percentage points.

House

FL-2: Closer Than Expected — When the Florida redistricting map was adopted, most agreed the incumbent getting the worst draw was three-term Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee), who saw his Tallahassee to Jacksonville 5th District split into several parts. Left with tough choices, Rep. Lawson chose to seek re-election against Republican incumbent Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) in the new 2nd District.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this seat that stretches from Tallahassee to the Emerald Coast as R+17. The Dave’s Redistricting App data group calculates the partisan lean as 54.5R – 43.8D.

A new David Binder Research (D) poll (Sept. 14-18; 600 likely FL-2 general election voters; live interview & online) finds Rep. Dunn holding only a 49-43 percent lead, however, which is a closer result than one would expect from a district with such strong Republican base numbers.

Governor

Nevada: Sheriff Lombardo Gaining Momentum — Three polling firms have tested the tight Nevada governor’s race between incumbent Democrat Steve Sisolak and Republican challenger Joe Lombardo, the Clark County sheriff. Emerson College, Data for Progress (D), and The Trafalgar Group (R), all see a race falling within the margin of error.

While Trafalgar finds Lombardo holding a three-point lead, the other two research entities see the candidates at even strength. Like Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) as covered above (see Nevada Senate above), Gov. Sisolak is far short of attracting majority support. In these three polls conducted within the Sept. 8-20 period, the governor fails to break the 45 percent support level.

Gen. Bolduc Leads;
Gov. McKee Survives

By Jim Ellis — Sept. 14, 2022

The Final Primaries

Retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R)

New Hampshire — The last major US Senate primary is close to concluding as retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc, despite being wildly outspent, appears to have turned back state Senate President Chuck Morse’s late race momentum and is staked to a one-point, 37-36 percent lead (1,270 votes) in the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary with 85 percent of the expected vote counted.

Though the margin is tight, it is most likely that Gen. Bolduc will advance into a shortened general election cycle against incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan (D).

A great deal of controversy surrounded this primary, particularly a verbal sparring battle between Gen. Bolduc and Gov. Chris Sununu (R). Both had unflattering things to say about the other, and now it will be interesting if we see a quick healing between the two. No doubt Democrats will use the governor’s words against Bolduc. Even before the votes were tabulated, however, Gov. Sununu was sending more conciliatory signals and stressing the importance of Republicans uniting to defeat Sen. Hassan, whom he says, “nobody likes.”

Though Bolduc was viewed as the weakest general election candidate in the field of six, head-to-head test polling didn’t show him any further behind Sen. Hassan than those, such as Sen. Morse, who were viewed as the better options to become the Republican standard bearer.

The Republican leadership will now have a difficult decision about how to proceed. Do they invest heavily in this race to back a candidate who they believe is weak even though Sen. Hassan appears vulnerable in a state that could easily swing Republican, or to do they cut their losses early and transfer the funds to another place where their chances for victory might be brighter? It will be interesting to see what they decide.
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Final Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022

We have finally reached the end of primary season, as voters in three northeastern states will cast their nomination ballots today. Once these votes are counted, all of the stand-alone primary states will have nominated their general election candidates. At that point only Louisiana, which holds its qualification election concurrently with the general, will remain in primary mode.

Each of the states holding their primaries are in the east, with New England’s New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the schedule along with Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic region.

New Hampshire — The most noteworthy primary is the New Hampshire Republican Senate race, complete with its share of controversy. Polling leader Don Bolduc, a retired Army General who ran unsuccessfully in 2020 (failing to prevail in the Republican primary in order to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen), and Gov. Chris Sununu (R) have been in a public war of words. Gen. Bolduc accused the governor of being a “communist sympathizer” and that his family’s business supports terrorism. The governor retorted that Bolduc is a “conspiracy theory type” who is not “a serious candidate.”

Many in the Republican Party, including Gov. Sununu, believe that Gen. Bolduc will not be a strong enough nominee against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) even though polling shows that she is vulnerable. The governor has endorsed state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), who seems to be the only viable competitor who could deny Bolduc the nomination among the 10 others on the ballot.

The latest available Senate poll, this from the University of New Hampshire (Aug. 25-29; 892 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online), found Gen. Bolduc leading Sen. Morse, 43-22 percent. Since this poll was conducted, however, some $4 million has been spent attempting to deny Bolduc the nomination, and Democratic organizations have come from the outside to help him win the primary since they, too, believe that he would be easiest for Sen. Hassan to beat.

The retired General is at an extreme financial disadvantage, so he has little ability to promote himself. This race will draw the most attention tonight.

New Hampshire’s two congressional districts also feature competitive Republican primaries. Both seats will be hotly contested in the general election because Reps. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) and Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) are clear Republican targets.

Another crowded ten-person Republican 1st District primary appears to be coming down to a battle among 2020 nominee Matt Mowers, who held Rep. Pappas to a 51-46 percent re-election victory before an electorate that has defeated more incumbents than any other in the nation, former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt, and ex-television news reporter Gail Huff Brown, wife of former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R). Polling suggests that Mowers has the slight edge heading into election day.

In the western 2nd District, the Republican race is a two-way battle between former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns and Keene Mayor George Hansel. Should Burns win the GOP nomination, and polling suggests he will, his challenge opposite Rep. Kuster will be formidable.

Rhode Island — The most notable race on the Rhode Island card is the Democratic primary for governor. Dan McKee assumed the governorship when incumbent Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to accept her appointment as US Commerce Secretary.

The new governor, running for a first full term in his own right, has four Democratic challengers, and a close outcome in tomorrow’s primary is expected. McKee’s four opponents are Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, businesswoman Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and physician Luis Daniel Munoz. It appears the race is winnowing to a battle between Gov. McKee and Gorbea. Today’s winner becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election.

Delaware — With no governor or senator on the ballot this year, the Delaware primary is basically a non-event. At-large Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington) is unopposed in the Democratic primary, and educator/actor Lee Murphy is the only candidate on the Republican side. The general election will not be competitive, since Rep. Blunt Rochester is a lock for re-election.

Palin Loses in Alaska; Walker Leads in Second Poll in Georgia, Kemp Holds Edge; Gen. Bolduc Again Leading in NH; Gov. McMaster’s SC Quest

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022

House

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

AK-AL: Sarah Palin Loses Special Election — Former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin fell to Democrat Mary Peltola in the at-large Alaska special election, which marked the first full usage of the state’s new Ranked Choice Voting system.
At the end of the final counting, 60 percent of voters chose a Republican candidate, but the RCV system yielded a Democratic victor. Therefore, in a system that is designed to create a majority candidate, in this case it produced a minority vote share winner.

The finalists were Peltola, who recorded 40.2 percent of the vote; Palin, who secured 31.3 percent, and Nick Begich III (R), the grandson of former Democratic US Rep. Nick Begich, and the nephew of former US senator and ex-Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D), who captured 28.5 percent. Finishing third, Begich was eliminated from further competition, and his first-place votes were located and then distributed to the other candidates via the voters’ ranking. In the end, Peltola defeated Palin by a 5,219 votes; another 14,965 ballots were disqualified in the Ranked Choice Voting process.

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker[/caption]Georgia: Walker Leading in Second Poll — Previously, an early August Phillips Academy poll projected Republican Herschel Walker to be holding a slight 45-44 percent lead over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) after trailing in seven of eight July surveys. Emerson College released the result of their most recent Georgia survey Tuesday (Aug. 28-29; 600 likely Georgia general election voters; interactive voice response system, text, and online), which found Walker posting an almost identical 46-44 percent edge, again providing more evidence that this race is a long way from being over.

New Hampshire: Gen. Bolduc Again Leading — In mid-August, when St. Anselm College released a survey showing retired Army general and 2020 US Senate Republican candidate Don Bolduc developing a substantial lead for the Sept. 13 GOP Senate primary, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) went public in an attempt to negate his advantage. Many believe, including Gov. Sununu, that Gen. Bolduc would lose to Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) in November. Previously, Gen. Bolduc had accused Gov. Sununu of being “a Chinese communist sympathizer,” among other comments that created bad blood between the two men.

The University of New Hampshire (Aug. 25-29; 892 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online) reported the results of their new statewide survey. According to the UNH Granite State Poll, Gen. Bolduc continues to lead state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) by over 20 points, 43-22 percent, with three other candidates languishing in low single digits.

Georgia: Kemp Again Holds Advantage — The aforementioned Emerson College survey (see Georgia Senate above) also tested the Peach State governor’s race between incumbent Brian Kemp (R) and challenger Stacey Abrams (D) who returns for a re-match from their close 2018 contest. The Emerson results give Gov. Kemp a 48-44 percent edge, which appears as a consistent margin routinely found in eleven of 12 July-August polls in which the incumbent held an edge. The lone outlier poll, a Research Affiliates study that concluded on Aug. 1, found the two candidates tied at 47 percent apiece.

South Carolina: Gov. McMaster Leading in Re-election Poll — Gov. Henry McMaster (R) succeeded then-Gov. Nikki Haley (R) when she resigned her office in 2017 to become US Ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster would then win a full term in 2018, and now seeks re-election. Because of the state’s former one and now two-term limit, winning re-election this year and serving most of the next term would make McMaster the longest-serving governor in state history.

The Trafalgar Group, as part of their nationwide polling series (Aug. 25-28; 1,071 likely South Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) tested the Palmetto State electorate and sees Gov. McMaster jumping out to a 51-43 percent lead over former Congressman Joe Cunningham, who won the Democratic nomination back in the June primary. Four years ago, Gov. McMaster was re-elected with a 54-46 percent margin.

Greitens Feeling Political Damage in MO; NE-2 Race Narrows; Democratic NH Gubernatorial Candidate Trails by 10 Points in Recent Poll

By Jim Ellis — July 13, 2022

Senate

Ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R)

Missouri: Greitens Takes Hit in New Poll — The Tarrance Group just released a statewide Missouri Senate poll that shows former Gov. Eric Greitens (R) is finally absorbing some political damage from his opponents attacks, his own controversial ads about hunting “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only), and domestic and child abuse claims from his ex-wife.

The Tarrance survey (July 5-7; 600 likely Missouri Republican primary voters) now forecasts Attorney General Eric Schmitt with the primary lead at 28 percent, with US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) close behind at 24 percent. Greitens drops back to just 16 percent support with an upside-down favorability index within the Republican sampling universe at 39:49 percent favorable to unfavorable.

Former President Donald Trump announced that he has ruled out endorsing Rep. Hartzler, and is considering backing either Schmitt or Greitens, though the latest developments suggest endorsing Greitens is becoming unlikely.

House

NE-2: Vargas’ Edge Narrows — According to a new GBAO internal survey for the Tony Vargas for Congress campaign (June 27-30; 500 NE-2 likely general election voters), Democratic state Sen. Vargas holds a 48-47 percent edge over US Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha). While the internal poll is good news for Vargas, his standing has actually weakened since Change Research released a pre-primary poll in May that posted him to a slight 42-39 percent lead over the three-term incumbent.

The NE-2 battle will be a race to watch in the fall as Rep. Bacon may be one of the few Republican House incumbents forced into a strongly competitive race.

Governor

New Hampshire: Dem Internal Poll Cuts Sununu’s Margin — State Sen. Tom Sherman (D-Seacoast Region), who is unopposed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, released his campaign’s internal Public Policy Polling survey (July 1-6; 601 registered New Hampshire voters) that finds the physician/legislator trailing three-term Gov. Chris Sununu (R) by a 43-33 percent margin, the closest result we have seen to date. Abortion push questions were used in the survey and Manchester Union Leader newspaper reports this total is the result after such questions were asked.

The latest non-partisan survey was released in April from the University of New Hampshire. Their findings projected the governor to a 55-29 percent advantage over Dr. Sherman. While it is likely Sherman has cut that particular margin, the 10-point deficit found in the new PPP survey is likely unrealistic.

Oregon: Another Danger Sign for Kotek — Two internal Oregon gubernatorial campaign polls have been released in the past few days, and the emerging story line suggests that the client polls are favoring their own candidate’s positioning as the individual most likely to upend former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D). The missed point, however, is that Kotek, as the Democratic nominee in this bluest of states, does not even break 33 percent support.

Republican nominee Christine Drazan, the former state House Minority Leader, released her Cygnal survey (June 28-30; 600 likely Oregon general election voters; online & text) that posts her to a one-point, 32-31 percent lead over Kotek, with ex-state Sen. Betsy Johnson (I) trailing at 24 percent support. The result counters an earlier Johnson campaign poll (GS Strategy Group; June 23-29; 600 likely Oregon general election voters; live interview) that found Kotek leading Johnson and Drazan, 33-30-23 percent.

Analyses are pointing out the difference in standing between Drazan and Johnson, but both surveys agree that Kotek is woefully under-performing. While Johnson is now running as an Independent, she previously served in the legislature as a Democrat.