Tag Archives: Gov. Steve Sisolak

Fetterman Leads Oz in PA;
Beasley Takes a Lead Over Budd in NC;
Sisolak Edges Lombardo in NV

By Jim Ellis — June 17, 2022

Senate

Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

Pennsylvania: Recuperating Fetterman Leads Oz — A new Suffolk University survey looks to be the first poll taken after the marathon Republican primary finally settled for Dr. Mehmet Oz by a total of 951 votes of 1.345 million ballots cast. The Suffolk poll (June 10-13; 500 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview) produces interesting and mixed results. On the ballot test, Democratic nominee John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, leads Dr. Oz 46-37 percent, but a full 50 percent of the respondents said they want their vote “to change the direction President Biden is leading the nation.”

While President Biden has an upside-down job approval rating — 39:54 percent favorable to unfavorable, Dr. Oz surprisingly records an equivalently bad 28:50 percent ratio. On the other hand, Fetterman, at home recovering from a stroke suffered from a blood clot to the heart, records a positive 45:27 percent favorability index.

North Carolina: Beasley Up in New Study — Survey USA, polling for WRAL-TV in Raleigh (June 8-12; 650 likely North Carolina voters; online) found former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley taking a 44-40 percent lead over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). It is probable that we can expect to see close polls like this all the way through the general election.

Turning back to the 2020 NC Senate campaign, and just in the month of October during the Sen. Thom Tillis (R) vs. Cal Cunningham (D) campaign, 28 surveys were publicly released and the Democratic nominee led in all but four studies. Sen. Tillis would go onto win re-election with a 49-47 percent margin, suggesting that North Carolina aggregate polling contained a slight structural Republican undercount.

Governor

Nevada: Sheriff Lombardo Tips Gov. Sisolak — On Tuesday, Clark County Republican Sheriff Joe Lombardo scored a 38-28-13-8 percent Republican primary win over retired professional boxer Joey Gilbert, ex-US Sen. Dean Heller, and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee to set the general election card. Lombardo will oppose Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in November.

Sheriff Lombardo, with a plurality of 37.8 percent of the vote within a field of 15 candidates, including former US Sen. Dean Heller who placed third in the primary vote, captured the party nomination for the state’s top post. This will be a battleground contest in November.

WPA Intelligence, polling for the Club for Growth organization just before the Nevada primary but released a day after (June 4-6; 502 likely Nevada voters; live interview) projects Lombardo taking a one-point, 48-47 percent, edge over rival Sisolak. The poll appears to undercount the non-affiliated voters, which is the largest of the party division segments.

How emphasizing both major parties changes the ballot test is unknown, but with the Lombardo-Sisolak question breaking virtually even, it is clear that this race begins as a toss-up.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Closely Trails — The aforementioned Suffolk University poll (see Senate section above), while finding Republican nominee Mehmet Oz trailing Lt. Gov. John Fetterman well outside the polling margin of error, sees state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) trailing Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) by only a 44-40 percent margin.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s job approval is a very poor 38:60 percent favorable to unfavorable. And, by a 29:54 percent ratio, the respondents believe Pennsylvania is on the wrong track. Though Sen. Mastriano is viewed by many as being extreme, the sour taste voters apparently have for the current gubernatorial administration and their poor perception of how the state is performing economically is putting the new Republican nominee in competitive position despite whatever perceived negative baggage he might be carrying.

House

NV-4: Peters Projected as Primary Winner — Insurance agency owner and Army veteran Sam Peters has been projected the winner of the 4th District Republican primary, with a 48-41 percent victory spread over Nevada state Assemblywoman Annie Black (R-Mesquite).

Peters now advances to challenge incumbent Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) in a seat that rates D+5, but is staged to be competitive in 2022. The 4th stretches from northern Clark County into the central part of the state. Horsford was unopposed for re-nomination.

In the state’s other three congressional races, 1st District incumbent Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) will face financial planner Mark Robertson who placed first in a field of eight Republican candidates that included former US Rep. Cresent Hardy.

In the northern Nevada 2nd CD, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Carson City) was re-nominated with 54.5 percent of the vote against perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian (32.7 percent) and three others. In the general election, Rep. Amodei will face Democrat Elizabeth Krause. The congressman becomes a heavy favorite for re-election.

In competitive District 3, another of the Clark County seats, Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) was easily re-nominated and will face Republican attorney April Becker who captured two-thirds of the Republican vote.

Considering these results and that it appears more Republicans voted in this primary than Democrats (about one-third of the vote is still unaccounted for), Nevada will be one of the key battleground states in the nation’s 2022 midterm election.

Laxalt, Lombardo, Looking Good in NV; Palin Should Be A Lock in AK

By Jim Ellis — June 14 2022

Senate

Former Attorney General Adam Laxalt leads among likely Nevada GOP primary voters.

Nevada: Laxalt Holding Comfortable Lead — As we move into the Nevada nomination vote today, OH Predictive Insights released a final pre-primary survey of the Senate Republican candidate field. The poll results (June 6-7; 525 likely Nevada GOP primary voters; live interview & text) show former Attorney General Adam Laxalt leading disabled Afghan War veteran Sam Brown by a 48-34 percent count. Laxalt has led the entire race, and his advantage margin, though not as robust as one might have expected, should well be enough to carry the party favorite to victory tomorrow night. The new Republican nominee will then face Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) in the general election.

Ohio: Rep. Ryan Leads in New Survey — After the May 3 primary, Suffolk University was first in the field (May 22-23; 500 likely Ohio voters) and found Republican J.D. Vance leading US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) by a slight 42-39 percent spread. Now, a new study from Democratic pollster Grow Progress (conducted for the Innovation Ohio organization; May 30-June 3; 2,018 registered Ohio voters; online) finds Rep. Ryan holding a 44-41 percent edge. The Ohio electorate typically polls close and these surveys indicate that such a pattern continues in 2022. We can expect toss-up survey research results to continue well into October. At that point, a victory trend will develop for one candidate or the other.

House

AK-AL: Palin First of 48; Four Advance — Alaska held its first election under the state’s new top-four jungle primary format and though just over half of the votes are counted, it appears clear that former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R) will finish first. The special election is held because veteran Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) unexpectedly passed away in March.

At this writing, Palin has recorded 29.8 percent of the vote within the huge field of 48 candidates. Republican Party-endorsed candidate, Nick Begich III, is second with 19.3 percent, followed by Dr. Al Gross (12.5 percent), the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee who is running under the Non-Partisan label in this election. Democratic former state Rep. Mary Peltola, from the tribal Bethel region, appears in the best position to secure the fourth and final run-off position with her 7.5 percent vote total. She leads the fifth-place finisher, former US Interior Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Tara Sweeney (R), by just over two percentage points.

Twenty-five of the 48 candidates, including all top four finishers, also filed for the regular election. Six individuals, none of whom appear to be a major contender, filed only for the regular term. The jungle primary process for that election then begins again in a separate vote, also on Aug. 16.

NY-23: Republicans Choose Nominee — While New York Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy will likely be the NY-23 party nominee for the regular election, the group of local county chairmen who have the power to choose the special election nominee have selected Steuben County Republican Party chairman Joe Sempolinski as the party standard bearer for the Aug. 23 special election to replace resigned Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning).

Democrats have tabbed retired Air Force officer Max Della Pia for both the special election in the current 23rd CD and for the new 23rd in the regular election. According to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, the new NY-23 rates as R+23, so Langworthy is the clear long-term favorite. Sempolinski will not be a candidate in the regular election.

Governor

Michigan: James Craig to Run As Write-In Candidate — Former Detroit Police chief James Craig, who was disqualified from the ballot because of submitting a lack of valid petition signatures, said on Friday that he would launch a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination. With half the GOP field rejected for the same reason, the race against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has radically turned.

Nevada: Sheriff Lombardo Leads with Plurality Support — The aforementioned OH Predictive Insights poll (see Senate section above) also tested the GOP race for governor. Today’s primary winner will then challenge Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.

The OH poll results project Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo leading attorney and former professional boxer Joey Gilbert, ex-US senator and representative, Dean Heller, and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee by a 34-21-10-10 percent margin. Nevada has no runoff law, so the top vote-getter — most likely Sheriff Lombardo — will claim the Republican nomination.

Cortez Masto Rebounds in New Poll

By Jim Ellis

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

Feb. 4, 2022 — Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D), who trailed in the most recent published statewide poll (Trafalgar Group; Nov. 24-29; 1,034 likely Nevada general election voters; Adam Laxalt (R) 44 percent, Cortez Masto (D) 41 percent) has rebounded to regain the lead according to a new OH Predictive Insights survey, but warning signs persist for the first-term incumbent.

The OHPI poll commissioned for the Nevada Independent news site (Jan. 19-26; 755 likely Nevada registered voters, online) finds Sen. Cortez Masto topping former state Attorney General Laxalt (R) in a general election ballot test by a 44-35 percent margin. While the spread is relatively strong in her favor, posting a 44 percent support number is low for any incumbent.

For example, the same poll tested Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, and found his preference figure reaching 52 percent if Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo were his Republican opponent, and 54 percent if former US Sen. Dean Heller were to become the Republican gubernatorial nominee. Because OHPI forced preference answers, meaning no recorded undecided responses for the governor’s ballot test, the Sisolak support numbers are high. It is unlikely, however, that a traditional preference question would find him dropping to the senator’s current support level.

The OHPI pollster isolated Sen. Cortez Masto’s most significant problem as her being tied to President Biden’s low approval ratings. According to this study, the president only posts a 41:53 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval index, and 33 percent, which is the poll’s top issue response, said that the economy and jobs are most important to them. Isolating Biden’s score on his handling of the economy, the president’s disapproval rose to 55 percent, darkening the political climate for the senator even further.

Laxalt’s low support number (35 percent) is likely due to him recording only a 76 percent preference factor among Republicans. This is likely due to the fact that challenger Sam Brown, a businessman and disabled Afghan War veteran, is becoming a significant contender for the Republican nomination.

Though the GOP sample segment is low in the OHPI survey – only 230 respondents and well below the 300 that becomes statistically significant in a state the size of Nevada – we still see only 37 percent of the Republican base supporting Laxalt while 14 percent names Brown as their preferred candidate. This means that 49 percent of those Republicans polled say they are undecided about whom to support in the GOP Senate primary. Despite having a short sample, the results suggest that Laxalt still has work to do in securing the nomination.

Another changing element that could affect this race, but in a heretofore unknown way, are the party registration changes occurring throughout 2021. Comparing the partisan breakdown in the state from January of 2021 through December of last year, both the Democrats and Republicans lost patrons. Democratic registration dropped 2.9 percent, while Republicans were down 2.5 percent. This meant that those registering Non-Partisan and “Other” were up substantially.

Continue reading

The “Fail Up” Senate Candidates

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 16, 2021 — There is an interesting phenomenon developing in the 2022 US Senate races, and that is the number of currently leading primary nomination candidates who have lost their last race. No less than five current US Senate contenders, all topping the latest polling, were defeated the last time they were on the ballot, some even in political campaigns for offices with less prominence.

In recent election years, we’ve seen a number of candidates lose a race and then attempt to “fail up” in the next campaign year. Most of the time, the same result occurs. The seemingly lone exception to the rule is Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff (D), who lost a special election for the US House in 2017 only to run for the Senate in 2020 and be elected.

Turning to 2022 and the unusually high number of such “fail up” candidates allows us to see if this pattern can reverse itself, or if the vast majority of these contenders will again find themselves on the short end of the vote totals when their election cycle ends either in the nomination contest or general election.

The 2022 “fail up” Senate candidates are Abby Finkenauer (D) in Iowa, Adam Laxalt (R) from Nevada, Pat McCrory (R) and Cheri Beasley (D) in North Carolina, and Pennsylvania’s Sean Parnell (R). Dr. Al Gross, who lost the 2020 Senate race in Alaska is a possibility to enter the 2022 race in the Last Frontier, but so far has not announced his candidacy.

Finkenauer, a Democrat, is a former state representative and congresswoman from Dubuque, Iowa. She was elected to the House in 2018, only to lose her seat after one term, 50-47 percent, to current US Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion/Cedar Rapids).

Finkenauer is leading in early polling for the Senate Democratic nomination as she and retired Navy admiral and defeated 2020 US Senate candidate Mike Franken battle to challenge venerable Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) who has won seven US Senate elections. Early polling finds Finkenauer trailing by close to 20 points.

Laxalt was elected Nevada’s attorney general in 2014, but with only 46 percent of the vote in a place where his party swept all of the statewide offices in that election year with his being the lowest victory percentage. Laxalt then entered the open 2018 governor’s race but lost to current incumbent Steve Sisolak (D), 49-45 percent. The latest polling (September) finds him trailing Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) by five points in a Mellman Group survey but holding a two-point lead in a study from WPA Intelligence.

North Carolina actually features candidates in both parties leading in nomination polling after losing their last race. McCrory is the former governor who lost his 2016 re-election campaign, even while Donald Trump and seven other Republicans were winning their statewide elections.

Continue reading

New Tight Nevada Polling

By Jim Ellis

Former Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)

Oct. 6, 2021 — The Nevada Independent online news site commissioned a September Mellman Group statewide poll (Sept. 15-22; 600 likely Nevada voters, live interview) just as former US Sen. Dean Heller (R) was announcing that he will join the Republican field vying to challenge Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). The results and analysis were released Monday.

The pollsters also tested the US Senate race between first-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R). Both the gubernatorial and the US Senate contest returned close general election projections.

Nevada has featured close elections in the previous decade leading up to the 2022 voting cycle. Of the 18 statewide electoral contests between and including 2012 and 2020, Democrats have averaged 49.0 percent of the vote and Republicans’ 45.2 percent. In eight of the 18 campaigns, the winner recorded only plurality support.

During the time span, Democrats won 10 statewide races and Republicans won eight, but the GOP has scored only one victory since 2016. Therefore, it is not surprising to again see close polling data, and we can expect similar results throughout the campaign cycle.

According to the Mellman data, Gov. Sisolak would lead ex-Sen. Heller, 46-43 percent, but the small margin tightens even further if Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo were to win the Republican nomination. In the Sisolak-Lombardo pairing, the governor edges the sheriff by half a percentage point, 44.9 – 44.4 percent.

In the Republican primary, asked of only those who said they plan to vote in that contest though the sample number was not released, Heller led Sheriff Lombardo, 31-23 percent, with former professional boxer Joey Gilbert and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee trailing with 11 and three percent, respectively.

On the positive side for Gov. Sisolak, his favorability index is only slightly upside-down at 46:48 percent, despite his handling of the COVID-19 virus getting a heavy 38:59 percent negative rating. He leads in all-important Clark County by 10 and seven points against Heller and Lombardo, respectively.

The governor saw a negative reading coming from Washoe County (Reno), however, which tends to act as a bellwether of the Nevada vote and an entity that Sisolak carried in 2018 against then-Attorney General Laxalt. The Mellman poll posted Heller to an eight-point lead over Sisolak in Washoe, while Sheriff Lombardo enjoyed a six-point edge.

Continue reading