Jan. 27, 2016 — Now less than a week before the Iowa Caucuses, five new polls of the Democratic presidential contest, all conducted within the same time period, arrive at very different conclusions. Three of the surveys find Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-D/VT) leading former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while two arrive at the opposite result.
All five polls — from CNN, the Emerson College Polling Society, CBS/YouGov, Fox News, and the American Research Group (ARG) — studied the Iowa Democratic electorate from Jan. 15-24. The sampling universes ranged from 258 likely Democratic Caucus attenders to 490 projected participants.
The Emerson College Polling Society, which is a group of students from Emerson College in Massachusetts who have established such a record of accuracy that the American Association of Public Opinion Research has granted them membership, employs the smallest sample size at 258 self-identified Democratic voters, while CBS/YouGov’s 490-person polling universe was the largest.
Jan. 26, 2016 — For the third time, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering a potential Independent run for president.
The New York Times is reporting that Bloomberg has hired a team of political consultants to begin examining his ability to qualify for the ballot as an Independent candidate in all 50 states. Doing so is no easy feat –- the major parties constructed and passed laws at the state level that effectively limit easy ballot qualification to the Democrats and Republicans -– and the Times reports the advisors are telling Bloomberg that he would have to launch his effort no later than March if he is to have any chance of attaining national ballot placement.
The same reports suggest that Bloomberg would be willing to spend as much as $1 billion of his personal fortune – his personal wealth is estimated to be in the $41 billion range – on a national campaign. But, can even a well-funded Independent have any chance of winning the presidency? Probably not.
We turn back to 1992, the last time an Independent attracted any significant vote. Then, businessman Ross Perot, running on the Reform Party ticket, captured 19 percent of the popular vote nationally, the best third party candidate showing since Teddy Roosevelt tallied 27 percent as the Progressive Party nominee in 1912.
Jan. 22, 2016 — Florida Atlantic University yesterday released a Sunshine State poll that finds Rep. David Jolly (R-FL-13) opening up a large lead in the open Republican Senate primary, but the results breed skepticism.
The survey, taken during the Jan. 15-18 period of 1,108 Florida voters appears methodologically sound. The sample size is reasonable, though 345 Republican primary voters used for the Senate sample is a bit small for a state the size of Florida. The geographical division is cast evenly among the northern, central, and southern regions, which is constant. Yet, the ballot test results are way out line with anything previously published.
In several earlier polls, with no candidate having strong statewide name identification, Rep. Jolly, his congressional colleague Ron DeSantis (R-FL-6), and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera all fell below 20 percent, and were within just a few points of each other.
Jan. 6, 2016 — Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Seattle), who would turn 80 years of age at the beginning of the next Congress, announced yesterday that he will not seek a 15th term later this year. McDermott becomes the 34th House member not to run for re-election, and the 14th Democrat to voluntarily end his or her service as a federal Representative. Fourteen of the retiring members are instead running for the Senate.
The congressman leaves the downtown Seattle 7th district — which contains most of Seattle city proper along with the Vashon Island community sitting in the Puget Sound — that will assuredly elect a Democrat in his place. President Obama scored a huge 79 percent victory here in 2012, and the 7th proves itself to be one of the nation’s most liberal districts.
We can expect a very crowded Aug. 2 Democratic primary, one featuring a large number of elected officials. With no run-off system in Washington, the winning candidate will be able to claim the party nomination, which is tantamount to victory in November, with a low number of votes.
Dec. 22, 2015 — South Carolina is an important early primary state and may have an even greater role than usual in setting the tone for the 2016 Republican race. Two December polls surveyed the Palmetto State Republican electorate, but the data snapshot does not provide us with a true indication of delegate apportionment and this latter point, from a nationwide perspective, is determinative regarding who wins the GOP presidential nomination.
With current polling suggesting that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) may place first in the Iowa Caucus and Donald Trump well positioned to top the field in the New Hampshire primary, scoring a big delegate haul in South Carolina will give one of the candidates a clear momentum boost heading into the eleven-state Super Tuesday contests scheduled for March 1.
It’s the South Carolina delegate apportionment system that renders the latest state polls inconclusive. Under Republican Party rules, the state uses a Winner-Take-All by congressional district option, and then awards a large chunk of the at-large delegates to the statewide winner. The polling misses a key point because it does not segment the responses into the state’s seven congressional districts. This is largely because the individual district sample sizes would be too small to produce reliable results.