Tag Archives: Gov. Terry Branstad

Iowa: Questioning the Polls

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 19, 2020 — Every political observer remembers that the cumulative polling community incorrectly predicted the Great Lakes states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the 2016 Trump-Clinton presidential race, but further research finds additional significant misses in succeeding elections.

Political research reveals that two of those campaigns came in Iowa during the 2016 presidential race and the hotly contested governor’s race two years later. Today, we look at the Hawkeye State numbers with the goal of potentially ascertaining if there is a common polling pattern or consistent error factor.

In October, four polls have been released for the 2020 contest from a like number of different pollsters, two from left of center organizations while the other two are independent entities. The research organizations are Data for Progress, Civiqs for the Daily Kos Elections webpage, YouGov, and Quinnipiac University. Each has conducted one October Iowa survey.

In the presidential race, the polls yield former vice president Joe Biden an average lead of just over one percentage point. The cumulative ballot test mode then finds Des Moines real estate executive Theresa Greenfield (D) topping Sen. Joni Ernst (R) with a margin of four percentage points.

How do these numbers compare to recent polling vs. results electoral history, and is there an inherent Republican under-poll present?

In 2016, the Real Clear Politics polling average from Nov. 1-4 found then-candidate Donald Trump leading former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a mean average of three percentage points derived from three polls and three different polling firms. On Election Day, Nov. 4, 2016, Trump carried the state by a much larger 9.5-point margin.

Overall, 26 Iowa polls were released during the 2016 election cycle, with Trump recording a cumulative average lead of under half of one percentage point. According to the Real Clear Politics polling archives, 12 firms combined to reach the grand total, including Public Policy Polling (5 surveys), NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College (5), Loras College (3), Quinnipiac University (3), Emerson College (2), and Selzer & Company for the Des Moines Register (2). The widest spread came from Loras College (Clinton plus-14) at the end of June. The Selzer & Company for the Des Moines Register poll produced the most accurate finding, Trump plus-7, at the very end of the election cycle (Nov. 1-4, 2016).

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Looking at the Governors’ Races

2018-gubernatorial-elections

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 25, 2018 — Earlier this month, we set the stage for the Senate and House campaigns. Today, we look at another important election platform, that of the nation’s governors. Though these races will elect people who will obviously determine future individual state policy, most of the 2018 gubernatorial winners will carry redistricting veto power in 2021. Therefore, these elections also carry national implications.

Of the 36 governors’ campaigns, 17 will be open races mostly due to state term limit laws. While the Democrats must protect the preponderance of US Senate seats this year, the opposite situation exists in the governors’ races. Here, Republicans must defend 26 state houses, 13 of which are open seats.

Of the 13 GOP incumbents seeking re-election, three are actually running for governor for the first time. Govs. Kay Ivey (R-Alabama), Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa), and Henry McMaster (R-South Carolina) were all lieutenant governors who ascended to their current position because the person elected in 2014 is no longer in office.

Alabama’s Gov. Robert Bentley (R) was forced to resign as part of a plea bargain arrangement over campaign finance violations. The other two state chief executives, Terry Branstad (IA) and Nikki Haley (SC), accepted positions in the Trump Administration. At this point in the election cycle, all three unelected governors are favored to win a full term.

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CA-34: The Battle Begins; Iowa Governor

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 9, 2016 — Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) has yet to resign his seat after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) officially appointed him to replace Senator-Elect Kamala Harris (D) as California’s Attorney General, but already a crowded field to replace him is forming.

The 34th is a heavily Democratic district that features a 64.1 percent Hispanic population, and will almost assuredly evolve into a run-off between two Democrats.

Immediately upon Rep. Becerra being tabbed as the appointment, former state Assembly Speaker John Perez (D) declared his congressional candidacy. His action has hardly scared anyone away, however. State Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D) then announced his candidacy, as did labor union activist Wendy Carillo (D). Also in the running is former Los Angeles City Council aide Sarah Hernandez (D), who claims she has put together more than $100,000 for a congressional run.

Hernandez’s former boss is LA City Councilman Jose Huizar (D). Already a poll has been fielded testing potential special election candidates. Public Policy Polling surveyed just after the Becerra appointment announcement (Dec. 1-2; 369 CA-34 registered voters), and found Huizar leading the pack of purported candidates with 22 percent of the vote. Huizar, however, says he will not become a congressional candidate.

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Challengers Chances in Virginia’s Tuesday Primary; Quiet in South Carolina; First Iowa Numbers

Tomorrow’s Virginia primary is decision day for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Republican primary challenge. Conservative college professor David Brat has raised over $200,000 with minimal outside support for his effort to dislodge the sitting incumbent, but he is very likely to meet the same fate as the others who have challenged the national Republican leaders.

Earlier in the primary season, senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY; 60 percent of the vote) and John Cornyn (R-TX; 59 percent) were renominated against challengers from the right, as was House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH-8; 69 percent).

Rep. Cantor is outspending Brat by more than a 20:1 ratio, and has taken a surprisingly active and negative track in this campaign. His strategy is an interesting one in that he is attempting to deflect a hard right offensive by portraying Brat as being insufficiently conservative. Naturally, Brat makes the same argument against Cantor.  Continue reading >

King Won’t Run for Senate; SC-1

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4)

Via Twitter, as seems to be today’s norm for declining to run for political office, Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4) announced yesterday that he will not seek Iowa’s open Senate seat next year.

“I will not run for Senate in 2014. A Senate race takes me out of urgent battles in Congress that can’t wait until 2015,” King tweeted. “Many thanks to all.” Obviously, the message is an indication that he will continue his congressional service in the House, and is at least a tacit indication that he will seek re-election.

The move is likely a politically intelligent one for the congressman, even though he was virtually assured of the Republican nomination. Polling was explicit that the conservative King was the top choice of Iowa GOP primary voters. But, it was also obvious that he was fighting major head winds in the general election, and not just from Democrats.

Prior to Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) announcement earlier in the year that he would not seek re-election in 2014, former George W. Bush political chief Karl Rove announced the formation of his Conservative Victory Project, which is designed to unite the Republicans around a winnable general election candidate. It was made painfully clear upon Sen. Harkin’s announcement that Rove does not believe King can win statewide, leading to him making public overtures for Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) to run.
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