Tag Archives: Mark Ronchetti

Kelly’s Margin Erodes, Lake Leads in Ariz.; Gov. Lujan Grisham Expands Lead in NM; Candidates Tied in Wisc.

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 31, 2022

Senate

Venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) | Sen. Mark Kelly (D)

Arizona: Sen. Kelly’s Margin Erodes –– The Trafalgar Group, running a series of polls covering several states, released their numbers for the Arizona Senate race. The survey (Aug. 24-27; 1,074 likely Arizona general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) comes to a different conclusion than the other post-primary polls that have averaged a 12-point advantage for Sen. Mark Kelly (D) among registered voters. According to the Trafalgar numbers, Sen. Kelly’s edge over venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) is only 48-44 percent.

Trafalgar often shows better numbers for Republicans, but says their unique and unreleased polling methodology allows them to better capture the entire electorate. Arguably, Trafalgar has often been correct when arriving at different conclusions than seemingly the rest of the polling community.
In 2020 election’s late stage, 21 polls were conducted from 12 different pollsters of the Arizona Senate race from the beginning of October to the election according to the Real Clear Politics polling archive. Those 21 posted Kelly to a mean average 6.7 percent advantage over then-Sen. Martha McSally (R), but he only won by 2.4 percentage points. The Trafalgar Group, in their lone released 2020 Arizona Senate poll, found the two separated by an accurate two percent.

Governor

Arizona: New Poll Pushes Kari Lake to Lead — The Trafalgar Group’s Arizona poll (see Senate race above) also tested the open governor’s race. Two polls conducted after the state’s Aug. 2 primary gave Democrat Katie Hobbs, the Arizona Secretary of State, leads over former news anchor Kari Lake (R) within the polling margin of error range. On the other hand, Trafalgar posts Lake to her first lead of the general election, 47-46 percent. All of the data suggest that this race is in the toss-up realm.

New Mexico: Gov. Lujan Grisham Expands Lead — The New Mexico based Research & Polling, Inc. company has released new data for the competitive Land of Enchantment governor’s race, the first time since mid-June that we’ve seen new numbers for this campaign.

According to the recently completed survey conducted for the Albuquerque Journal newspaper (Aug. 19-25; 518 likely New Mexico general election voters; live interview), Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) leads former television weatherman Mark Ronchetti (R) by a 47-40 percent count. The ballot test spread is beyond this survey’s polling margin of error of 4.3 percentage points, the latter factor high largely due to the low size of the statewide polling sample. The previous published survey, GQR Research’s June 11-17 study also featuring a low sampling universe of 500 likely voters, posted the governor to a 48-44 percent edge.

Wisconsin: Candidates Tied — The new Trafalgar Group survey (Aug. 22-25; 1,091 likely Wisconsin general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects that the Wisconsin governor’s race, always predicted to be tight, has already fallen into a tie. The Trafalgar results see Gov. Tony Evers (D) and businessman Tim Michels (R) each attracting 47 percent of the sample’s respondents. Such a result is not surprising. Wisconsin routinely features very close statewide elections, and the current governor and Senate campaigns will certainly fall within the established Badger State electoral pattern.

Lee Ahead in Utah; Louisiana Redistricting; Tight Gubernatorial Race in New Mexico

By Jim Ellis — June 23, 2022

Senate

Utah Sen. Mike Lee

Utah: Sen. Lee Well Ahead in Latest Survey — Coming on the heels of a Dan Jones & Associates survey (May 24-June4; 810 registered Utah voters) that found Sen. Mike Lee (R) holding only a 41-37 percent lead over Independent Evan McMullin, who has coalesced with the Democrats, a new WPA Intelligence poll puts the senator in much better position. According to the WPA results (June 14-16; 300 likely Utah general election voters) the senator’s lead is 52-33 percent.

Both surveys have issues. The Dan Jones poll has a very long sampling period and is of registered and not likely voters. The WPAi survey has a sampling university of only 300 individuals, which is low for a statewide study in Utah.

Redistricting

Louisiana: Federal Judge to Draw New Black Seat — Federal Judge Shelly Dick, since the legislature did not produce a new congressional map that adds a second black district to the delegation by her imposed June 20 deadline, says she will draw such a map before June 29. Currently, the Louisiana delegation stands at 5R-1D, with the one Democratic seat being majority black and stretching from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. The move will likely add a Democratic district to the delegation and cost the Republicans a seat. Republicans have asked the US Supreme Court to stay Judge Dick’s ruling, but so far the high court has not taken any action.

Governor

New Mexico: A Pair of Polls Predict Tight Gov Contest — A pair of new surveys coming from two different polling organizations simultaneously arrived at virtually the same conclusion — that is, that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and challenger Mark Ronchetti (R) are already in a toss-up campaign.

Public Policy Polling, surveying for the New Mexico Political Report (June 13-14; 642 New Mexico voters; live interview & text), finds Gov. Lujan Grisham topping Ronchetti, a former Albuquerque weatherman who was the 2020 Republican US Senate nominee, by only a 45-42 percent margin. The closeness is confirmed and then some from an internal Public Opinion Strategies poll that the Ronchetti campaign released. According to this study (June 11-14; 600 likely New Mexico general election voters; live interview), Ronchetti holds a tight one-point lead, 46-45 percent. The New Mexico gubernatorial race is quickly becoming a key nationally watched race.

Rep. Budd’s Nomination Secure in NC?
A Close Gov. Race Brewing in NM

By Jim Ellis
May 16, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Dueling General Election Polls — With US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) now substantially ahead in 12 consecutive Republican primary polls from the end of March to present, it appears clear he is going to be nominated on Tuesday. Therefore, attention is already being paid to the formulating general election. Two polls featuring Rep. Budd and consensus Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice, have just been released.

The first, from the Beasley campaign that the Global Strategy Group conducted (April 28-May 4; 800 likely North Carolina general election voters) finds the poll sponsor and Rep. Budd tied at 45 percent. Emerson College also released their survey (May 7-9; 1,000 registered North Carolina voters) that gives Budd a 48-41 percent advantage. We can expect this to be one of the top Senate races in the country come November and will feature a plethora of public polls.

House

NC-1: Dems Have Clear Poll Leader; Republicans Attacking Their Own — The GQR survey research firm ran a poll of the open 1st District Democratic primary (May 6-8; 407 likely NC-1 Democratic primary voters) and find state Sen. Don Davis (D-Snow Hill) leading former state senator and 2020 US Senate candidate Erica Smith, 44-31 percent, as the candidates make their final pitch before Tuesday’s primary election.

The Republican-oriented Congressional Leadership Fund, loosely associated with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), is actively running ads against GOP candidate Sandy Smith, the 2020 CD-1 nominee who held incumbent Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) to a 54-46 percent re-election victory.

The CLF does not indicate support for another candidate, but former Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson appears to be Smith’s strongest competitor. The move is curious in that the ads lay out personal negatives against Smith that could be used against her in the general election should she win the GOP nomination. The new 1st, which the state Supreme Court drafted, is rated D+5, thus suggesting a competitive general election.

Governor

New Mexico: Close Race Brewing — Survey USA polling for KOB-TV in Albuquerque (April 29-May 7; 1,389 likely New Mexico general election voters; interactive voice response system and online) tested the upcoming governor’s race and finds 2020 US Senate Republican nominee and former television weatherman Mark Ronchetti pulling to within the margin of polling error against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D).

The ballot test breaks 47-43 percent in favor of the incumbent. More troubling for Gov. Lujan Grisham, however, is her results against the entire Republican field. Paired individually with each of five candidates, Gov. Lujan Grisham, though leading in every case, fails to reach 50 percent against any of her GOP opponents. The cumulative results portend a highly competitive November race.

Pennsylvania: Senate President Drops Out — Just days before Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, state Senate President Jake Corman has dropped his Republican gubernatorial bid and endorsed fellow contender Lou Barletta, the former congressman and 2020 US Senate nominee. With Corman never able to increase his support from low single digits, his withdrawal is designed to help Barletta overcome the polling lead that state Sen. Doug Mastriano (D-Fayetteville) has established.

Pennsylvania Republican leaders are reportedly nervous that Sen. Mastriano, who was a legislative leader in attempting to determine if there was widespread fraud in the state during the 2020 election, would be unable to defeat Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is the consensus Democratic gubernatorial nominee. It is likely that the Corman-Barletta move will prove too little, too late, however.

States

Texas Attorney General: Paxton Leading Big — A CWS Research poll (May 4-10; 992 likely Texas Republican primary runoff voters; interactive voice response system and text) reports that Attorney General Ken Paxton is substantially ahead of Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The CWS results find AG Paxton holding a whopping 58-31 percent lead as the candidates move toward the state’s May 24 runoff election date. In the primary, Paxton garnered 42.7 percent of the vote, which is obviously short of the majority vote a candidate needs to win the nomination outright. In a field of four candidates, Bush finished second with 22.8 percent.

NM-1: New Vacancy

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 21, 2020 — Late last week, President-Elect Joe Biden announced that he is nominating New Mexico US Rep. Deb Haaland (D-Albuquerque) to be Interior Secretary. Upon confirmation, Rep. Haaland will resign her seat in the House, which will become the body’s third vacancy.

Biden has already chosen Reps. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) to run the White House Office of Public Engagement and become Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, respectively.

Special elections will be held in all three districts and scheduled once the member officially resigns to accept his or her new position. Democrats will be prohibitive favorites in Louisiana and Ohio, but it’s possible the New Mexico seat could become competitive.

Haaland was first elected to what was an open district in 2018 when then-Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) risked the 1st District House seat to wage an ultimately successful campaign for Governor. Grisham was first elected to the House in 2012 in an open seat campaign. She succeeded then-Rep. Martin Heinrich (D), who won a Senate seat in the same election.

Prior to Heinrich’s initial House win in 2008, the 1st District congressional seat, anchored in Albuquerque, had been in Republican hands for 40 consecutive years in the person of Reps. Manuel Lujan, Steve Schiff, and Heather Wilson, consecutively. Though the district has significantly changed politically, it has largely kept its same basic geographic context during the entire aforementioned stretch. Prior to the 1968 election, New Mexico’s representatives were chosen in at-large elections.

Once Haaland, one of the first Native American females to be elected to the House, resigns, Gov. Grisham will schedule a special election. Under New Mexico procedure, the political parties will caucus to choose their nominees, so there will be no primary election. Therefore, it is probable to see a contested convention process for both parties, particularly for the Democrats since their eventual nominee will begin the special election campaign in the favorite’s position.

Continue reading

The Sleeper Race?

By Jim Ellis

Republican candidate Mark Ronchetti (left) and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-Nambe/Santa Fe)

Oct. 5, 2020 — It seems every election cycle features a surprise Senate contest. This year, that campaign may reside in New Mexico.

For months, it’s been a foregone conclusion that Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-Nambe/Santa Fe) would succeed retiring Sen. Tom Udall (D). Recent polling, however, suggests that Republican challenger Mark Ronchetti may have been discounted a bit too early.

The latest polling trends clearly show a narrowing margin. A new Public Opinion Strategies survey for the Ronchetti campaign (Sept. 26-28; 500 registered New Mexico voters; live interview) finds the upstart Republican climbing to within six percentage points of Rep. Lujan, 46-40 percent.

In June, Public Policy Polling (June 12-13; 740 New Mexico voters) projected Lujan holding a predictable 14-point lead, 48-34 percent. At the beginning of September, the Research & Polling firm tested the state (Aug. 26-Sept. 2; 1,123 likely New Mexico voters, live interview) and saw Lujan’s edge slipping a bit to 49-40 percent. In the middle of last month, POS tested the race two weeks before their aforementioned survey and found an almost identical result when compared to their current offering. The mid-September ballot test yielded a 45-39 percent split.

Mark Ronchetti is a former chief meteorologist for the Albuquerque CBS television affiliate in a media market that covers about two-thirds of the state, since it stretches northward to Santa Fe and beyond. Therefore, Ronchetti has significant name identification, though not in relation to politics.

Rep. Lujan won the state’s northern congressional district in 2008, succeeding Udall when he was first elected to the Senate. Prior to his congressional service, the six-term incumbent was a four-year member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

Continue reading