Tag Archives: New York

Race Roundup: Closing Trends — Volatile and/or Interesting Races to Watch on Election Day

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2020

With Election Day upon us, we have come to the end of the 2022 cycle; while strategists from both parties are either confidently or reluctantly predicting a Republican victory, not all of the numbers suggest a Red Wave outcome.

Polling generally suggests a good trend for Republicans, but the margin spread is certainly not overwhelming, and under what should be present if this were to become a wave election.

The Biden favorability index is an upside-down 44:53 percent favorable to unfavorable, which is commensurate with Donald Trump’s numbers prior to the 2018 midterm election.

Overall, it does appear that Republicans are well positioned to claim the House majority. The professional and media pollster range is wide and runs from a Republican +14 to +48 seats, but even the low-end prediction would deliver the majority. It is reasonable to believe that the Republican gain factor will be under 30, but this lower number range would still project a comfortable House majority in the new Congress.

The Senate is a flat toss-up with so many races, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all polling within a small single-digit margin. Therefore, predicting the eventual outcome has a high difficulty factor. One point that is predictable, though: count on many of these races going into political overtime. This means it could take days if not more than a week to report a final tally on an inordinate number of close races.

With that said, let’s look at the competitive/volatile/interesting races to watch this Election Day:

Senate

Georgia — The Peach State features one of the top US Senate races, and one of only four Republican major conversion targets. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), who won the special election runoff in 2021, is now running for a full six-year term. His opponent is former University of Georgia and professional football star Herschel Walker (R), and the two will continue to battle until the last vote is counted. Georgia has a majority vote rule, so if neither Sen. Warnock nor Walker reaches 50 percent, the two will advance to a post-election runoff on Dec. 6.

Ohio — The Senate race dominates the Buckeye State political landscape as US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) and author J.D. Vance (R) battle to the last day of this election cycle. Vance has led in most polls, 15 of the last 19 with two ties, but the Democrats appear to be performing slightly better in early voting. Vance has to be rated at least a soft favorite to win today. Ohio is a must-win for the GOP.

Helping Vance is a strong Gov. Mike DeWine (R) at the top of the ticket who is poised to win a landslide victory. Keeping the DeWine coalition consistent for Vance will be a boost that could well propel him to the victory.

Pennsylvania — Possibly the most publicized Senate race in the country, the open contest between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and television’s Dr. Mehmet Oz (R), could well decide the Senate majority. Many believe that the party carrying Pennsylvania punches their majority ticket. Dr. Oz now leads in most polls after the two met in a highly publicized debate on Oct. 25. Early voting patterns, however, appear to favor the Democrats. Remembering that the Republican primary took about a month to decide because the result was so close, it wouldn’t be surprising to see something similar occur for the general election.

Arizona — The Grand Canyon State is one of the hottest political domains in the country. A now toss-up Senate race featuring Sen. Mark Kelly (D) and venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) suggests that this contest will end with a very tight result. Sen. Kelly has a slight lead in polling, but Republicans have the edge in early voting. The governor’s race is also close, but late polls suggest that Republican Kari Lake has late momentum in her race opposite Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

Utah — The US Senate race is dominating the Utah political talk as Sen. Mike Lee (R) is on the ballot for a third term, but this time he faces a strong Independent opponent in former presidential candidate (2016) Evan McMullin. Democrats decided not to file their own candidate so they could coalesce behind McMullin and give Sen. Lee a serious challenge. The strategy has worked, as polling shows this race falling into the single-digits. Chances are still good that Sen. Lee pulls away, but this contest has evolved into much more of a serious battle than once believed. Look for a close result.

Nevada — Tough races from the top of the ballot to the bottom face Silver State voters, and the Senate race may yield the Republicans their top conversion opportunity. Polling between former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) has been nip and tuck. With an improved standing among Hispanics, who now are 31 percent of the state’s population, an upset here is possible. Additionally, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak is in a toss-up race with Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R), and this seat could flip, too. Also, in the House races, the new redistricting plan drew three lean Democratic seats in Las Vegas. To gain the majority, Republicans will need to score at least one win here.

Washington — Republicans recruited a strong candidate in former nurse and veterans’ activist Tiffany Smiley. She has become a very good fundraiser and has polled close to veteran Sen. Patty Murray (D). Though Smiley has put forth a strong effort, it will likely not be enough in a strongly Democratic state like Washington. Though she may do well, a close loss is likely on the political horizon for Smiley as opposed to losing big.

Iowa — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) leads a very busy Iowa ballot. The senator, seeking an eighth term at the age of 89, is in a closer battle than he usually finds, this time against retired Navy Adm. Michael Franken (D). Late polling suggests that Sen. Grassley will still win a comfortable, but not overwhelming victory, meaning he is likely to win in the 50s instead of his customary 60s. Conversely, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) looks to be cruising to re-election and is expected to easily win a second full term.

North Carolina — The Senate race tops the Tar Heel State ballot this year, and we see another typically tight North Carolina race concluding. US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) looks to have a slight edge over former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D). Early voting is about even between the two parties in terms of past performance, so this is another race that comes down to the wire.

New Hampshire — In what is arguably the most prevalent swing state in the country, the Granite State ballot is filled with competitive races. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) looks set to win a fourth two-year term, but the state’s US Senate race is one of the country’s hottest. Though retired Gen. Don Bolduc (R) was virtually left for politically dead after winning the Sept. 13 primary by a percentage point, he has battled back into competitive status against one-term incumbent and former governor, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D). This race is now in upset alert status.

House

Alaska — The Last Frontier was the host of an interesting special at-large US House election that saw the new Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system produce state Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) as the replacement for the late Rep. Don Young (R), even though Republican candidates received an aggregate 60 percent of the vote.

Now, however, it appears Rep. Peltola will win a full term regardless of whether she faces former Gov. Sarah Palin or businessman Nick Begich III, whose late grandfather and uncle served in the House and Senate, respectively, as Democrats. It is further possible that Peltola will win without even being forced into an RCV round because she may garner majority support on the initial vote.

Conversely, Sen. Lisa Murkowski could be forced into a RCV runoff with former State Administration Director Kelly Tshibaka in what would be a double-Republican race. This is a competitive contest, though the Republicans will retain the seat regardless of the outcome.

Iowa — In the state’s four congressional districts, three are highly competitive. In new District 1, freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion/Cedar Rapids) is favored for a second term against state Sen. Liz Mathis (D-Hiawatha). Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa), who was a six-vote winner in 2020, looks to be favored over state Rep. Christina Bohannan (D-Iowa City) by more than her previous victory margin, but this contest will still be close in a historically competitive southeastern Iowa district.

The 3rd District battle may be the most competitive within this trio of races. Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) is running for a third term having never achieved majority support. State Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) is one of the Republicans’ better challenge candidates, and certainly has a strong chance of unseating the congresswoman. This race will draw national attention on election night.

Ohio — In the House races, veteran Cincinnati Rep. Steve Chabot (R) has a much more difficult district (D+3 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization) than his previous seat. Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman (D) is the Democratic nominee. Rep. Chabot will need a strong turnout model to record another victory in his long 26-year congressional career.

Though veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), the dean of the Democratic conference with 40 years of congressional service, fared poorly in redistricting as her seat went from D+16 to R+6, the Republicans nominating January 6th participant J.D. Majewski has helped paved the path for the congresswoman’s re-election.

The new 13th District, located southeast of Cleveland and anchored in Akron, features a tight contest between Republican attorney Madison Gesiotto Gilbert and Democratic state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). In a seat rated R+2, this contest is anybody’s game.

Arizona — Four competitive seats are on tap in the House delegation. Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) face a tough first-time candidate in businessman Jevin Hodge (D) from a new 1st District that is much less Republican than his current 6th CD, a place in which his 2020 re-election percentage did not exceed 52.

Republican Eli Crane, in a new district that is heavily Republican, is favored to unseat Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona). Restauranteur Kelly Cooper (R) is challenging Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) in a new 4th CD that is now only slightly Democratic. While the congressman is favored, Cooper is a formidable challenger. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) retiring leaves the new 6th CD as a toss-up battleground between former Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive Juan Ciscomani (R) and ex-state Senator Kirsten Engel (D).

Oregon — Reapportionment delivered a new seat to Oregon, which was placed in the area between Salem and Portland. The primary saw Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) lose to newcomer Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who is a former local official in Santa Clara County, Calif. Polling suggests that businesswoman and former local mayor, Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R), has a chance to score an upset win. Competition is also strong in the new 6th District and in the adjacent seat from which veteran Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) is retiring.

New Hampshire — The Granite State’s two congressional districts are also highly competitive. Two-term Rep. Chris Pappas’ (D-Manchester) 1st District has defeated more incumbents since 2004 than any seat in the country. Polling has generally posted him ahead of former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt (R), but nothing is ever certain in such a volatile political domain.

Rep. Annie Kuster’s (D-Hopkinton/Concord) western state 2nd District is more Democratic than the eastern 1st, but this seat too can record close elections. If what some predict is a coming red wave truly develops, both Democratic incumbents could be unseated.

Governor

Georgia — The governor’s race is also intense, which features a re-match between now-Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D). Polling suggests that Gov. Kemp will win re-election with a larger vote than the small margin he garnered in 2018, which resulted in his claiming the governorship through a one-point plus win. Though polling is generally looking good for the Republicans here, Democrats are so far exceeding their 2020 early vote performance.

Florida — Florida voters are navigating through a very busy ballot that the governor’s race headlines. Incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) appears likely to earn a comfortable, low double-digit victory over former governor and resigned congressman, Charlie Crist (D). The late-cycle polling, early voting matrix, and turnout model looks to favor Republicans, which will allow Sen. Marco Rubio (R) to turn back a strong challenge from US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando).

Michigan — Inconsistent polling suggests at least a semi-competitive governor’s race featuring incumbent Gretchen Whitmer (D) and challenger Tudor Dixon (R), an online radio personality. Early voting reports are heavily Democratic, which could be an indication of an impending Whitmer victory.

Oregon — The Beaver State is one of the 2022 political hotbeds. With an open governor’s race where a strong independent might flip the race to the Republican nominee in a plurality finish, Oregon is certainly a state to watch from the Pacific zone. Sen. Ron Wyden (D) faces only perennial opposition as he is on the ballot for a fifth full term.

New York — This is a close race, and incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who ascended to the office when then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was forced to resign, finds herself in a much more difficult campaign against GOP US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) than she originally anticipated. Polling is now showing that the governor’s race is a potential toss-up. Still, the overwhelming Democratic margin in New York City should be enough to deliver Hochul a close victory at the very least.

Texas — Polling suggests a relatively close race between Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and former congressman and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (D). Texas Republicans typically are under-counted in polling, so it is likely that Gov. Abbott will score a stronger victory than currently projected.

Wisconsin — The Badger State is a major political battleground as close races for Gov. Tony Evers (D) and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, are nip and tuck. Both are considered toss-ups, though polling now slightly favors Sen. Johnson in his re-election contest.

Single Digit Difference in Washington Senate Race; Similarly Tight Races in Nevada House Races; NY Gov. Candidates in Close Battle, Too

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022

Senate

Washington Senate race challenger Tiffany Smiley (R)

Washington: Tight Single Digits Confirmed — We now see two separate polling firms coming to the conclusion that the Washington Senate race, always on the periphery of competitiveness, is closing in challenger Tiffany Smiley’s (R) favor.

The Trafalgar Group poll (Oct. 25-28; 1,207 likely Washington general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) released their results finding Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) lead over Smiley dropping to a bare 49-48 percent. Insider Advantage, in their one-day flash poll on Oct. 31 (550 likely Washington general election voters) sees a very similar 48-46 percent split. The IA polling analysis suggests a post-televised debate surge of independent voters to Smiley accounts for the status change.

House

FL-4: Senate President Pro Tem Cruising in Congressional Race — The Republican-drawn congressional map created a new open seat in the Jacksonville area that is poised to elect a new Republican member. A just-released University of Northern Florida survey (Oct. 20-27; 413 likely FL-4 general election voters) suggests that the draw will remain true. The poll finds state Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) leading businesswoman LaShonda Holloway (D) by a double-digit margin, 50-38 percent. Bean was an easy winner in the Republican primary and should have little problem adding this seat to the GOP column next week.

Nevada: Underlying House Numbers Looking Good for GOP — We’ve seen a plethora of polling for the Nevada statewide races, and most numbers during the last month has shown the Republican candidates either tied or slightly ahead with the Democratic incumbents below 50 percent. But, we’ve seen very little data concerning the three competitive Las Vegas congressional districts.

Emerson College just released their polling results in the three districts from surveys taken during the Oct. 26-29 period, sampling between 480 to 530 likely voters. In the 1st District, Republican Mark Robertson (R) has a commanding 54-42 percent lead over incumbent Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) — a very surprising result. At the time of the legislature passing redistricting, however, Titus warned that the new 1st District draw would endanger her.

In the new 3rd, Republican April Becker has a smaller, but substantial, 52-47 percent lead over two-term Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas). In the slightly more Democratic 4th CD, incumbent Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) claims a slight 51-48 percent edge over Republican businessman Sam Peters.

New Hampshire: Two Latest Polls Flip Races — The latest two polls in New Hampshire’s pair of congressional districts see flipped results in both races. Last week, we reported on the co/efficient research organization’s surveys over the Oct. 25-26 period that saw Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) leading Republican Karoline Leavitt in the 1st District race, 48-44 percent, while they found GOP challenger Robert Burns edging Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord), 44-43 percent, in the 2nd District race.

St. Anselm College, a regular New Hampshire polling entity, released the results of their set of Oct. 28-29 surveys earlier this week, and they produce opposite results. In the 1st District, St. A’s sees Leavitt pulling ahead of Rep. Pappas in the district that has defeated more incumbents than any seat in the country since 2004, by a surprising 51-45 percent count. In District 2, St. Anselm posts Rep. Kuster to a 50-42 percent advantage over Burns. Once again, we see different pollsters arriving at differing results for the same races. Compiling the data suggests that both of these swing races are too close to call.

Governor

New York: Seriously Tight — US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) has now clearly made the governor’s race into a tight contest according to a pair of polling firms, although a third disagrees. Three more polls were released testing his candidacy against that of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), and two of the results find a virtual tie.

KA Consulting (Oct. 27-29; 501 likely New York voters; live interview) finds Gov. Hochul’s lead to be only 46-45 percent, while the Trafalgar Group (Oct. 27-31; 1,198 likely New York voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Rep. Zeldin actually pulling into a lead by just under one full percentage point. Conversely, Emerson College’s results (Oct. 28-31; 1,000 likely New York voters; multiple sampling techniques) claims that Gov. Hochul maintains a lead well beyond the polling margin of error at 52-44 percent. We will see which firms are closer to the end result in less than a week.

First Early Vote Report; NY Judge Nixes Pre-Election Absentee Ballot Counting, Zeldin Gains Momentum; Grassley’s Lead More Comfortable

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022

Voting

Target Smart: First Early Vote Report — The Target Smart data organization has released their first major report highlighting the earliest of early voting figures (through Oct. 19). Though the pre-election ballot casting cycle still has multiple days remaining for the 45 states that employ some form of an early voting procedure, we already see turnout figures very similar to the 2020 partisan voting pattern.

In the Senate battleground states, Target Smart has recorded over 2.7 million ballots already cast. This is just under one-third the number of people who voted early in these states back in 2020 and already a half-million more than the total early votes cast in the 2018 midterm.

At this point, it appears that the partisan early vote complexion nationally and in the battleground states is similar to what we saw unfold in 2020. Therefore, if Republicans are headed for a significant bump in this midterm turnout, it is not yet evident from the preliminary early voting reports.

New York: Judge Strikes Down Absentee Ballot Pre-Election Counting — New York is already one of the slowest ballot counting states, and a judicial ruling rendered on Friday will likely lead to an even slower count. The legislature and governor had enacted a law that allowed election officials to count the received absentee ballots before the election with the caveat that no results were released. The judicial ruling struck down this new law, saying such a process is unconstitutional under New York law. Therefore, we can count on not receiving final returns until some six weeks post-election day.

Senate

Iowa: Sen. Grassley’s More Comfortable Lead — On the heels of the Des Moines Register/ Selzer & Company poll (Oct. 9-12; 620 likely Iowa voters) that found Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) holding only a three-point lead over retired Navy Adm. Michael Franken (D), The Tarrance Group followed with their own study. This poll (Oct. 15-19; 600 likely Iowa general election voters; live interview) restores the senator to a double-digit lead, 53-42 percent. Still, this is a competitive contest and a race to watch in this election cycle’s final days.

Washington: Big Conflict — Once again, we see two polling firms testing at exactly the same time in the same Senate race (Oct. 19-20) but arriving at radically different conclusions. Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute (782 likely Washington voters; live interview & text) sees Sen. Patty Murray (D) topping Republican Tiffany Smiley, 52-42 percent, which is consistent with most other surveys and the Aug. 2 jungle primary vote (Murray 54-Smiley 32 percent). Conversely, the co/efficient firm (1,181 likely Washington voters; live interview & text) sees only a three-point margin between the two candidates, 48-45 percent, in the senator’s favor.

Survey USA was also in the field during the similar period (Oct. 14-19; 589 likely Washington voters; online) and they split the difference between PPP and co/efficient. S-USA returned a 49-41 percent Murray advantage. Though this race has several times touched upon competitiveness, the jungle primary and Washington voter history again suggests an impending victory for Sen. Murray.

Governor

New York: Rep. Zeldin Takes Lead — The last week has brought new data regarding the New York governor’s race. Several pollsters are suggesting that US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) is gaining momentum against Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). The co/efficient firm (Oct. 18-19; 1,056 likely New York general election voters; live interview & text) reports their ballot test showing, for the first time, Rep. Zeldin taking a one-point, 46-45 percent, lead.

The five previously released October polls saw Rep. Zeldin trailing by 8 (Marist College), 6 (Schoen Cooperman Research), 11 (Siena College), 4 (Quinnipiac University), and 6 points (Survey USA). Now, co/efficient takes him to a one-point edge. It appears that the New York governor’s race is heading toward an interesting conclusion.

Oz Closing the Gap in PA; MN-2 a Bellweather for House Majority; Split Georgia Vote May Be Developing; Zeldin Closes in on Hochul in NY

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania Senate Republican candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, the television doctor

Pennsylvania: Oz Closing the Gap — The AARP polling series that Republican pollster Fabrizio Ward and the Democratic data firm Impact Research jointly conduct again tested the Pennsylvania electorate. Their new poll (Oct. 4-12; 1,400 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; live interview & text) projects Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) as having only a 48-46 percent lead over Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, the television doctor. Previously, the AARP poll June poll found Fetterman holding a larger six-point advantage.

Within the same period, The Trafalgar Group also ran a Pennsylvania survey (Oct. 8-11; 1,078 PA likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) and arrived at a virtually identical 47-45 percent split. It is becoming clear, with early voting already underway, that this critical Senate race is going down to the wire, just as we saw back in May when the state Republican primary ended in a razor-thin result. In fact, from the last 10 polls released of this race, seven of the 10 found Fetterman leading by four percentage points or less.

House

MN-2: Close Again — In a surprise 2020 finish, Republican challenger Tyler Kistner, a military veteran who hadn’t gotten much national attention, lost only a battle to Rep. Angie Craig (D-Eagan) by only two points — 48-46 percent. It appears the two are headed for another razor-thin finish this year in their re-match campaign. A just-released Survey USA poll (Oct. 15-16; 586 likely MN-2 general election voters; automated telephone & online) projects Craig to be holding a slim 46-45 percent lead over Kistner in a polling result wholly consistent with this electorate’s voting history.

Both Minnesota’s southern sector districts — the 1st and 2nd — are important toward determining the new House majority. The GOP would conceivably be on a majority track by winning one of the state’s two southern swing seats. Should their candidates win both, a big Republican night could be in the making. If the Democrats win both, such a performance would suggest that the party would have a legitimate chance of holding their slim majority.

Governor

Georgia: Disconnect with Senate Race — Two more polls were released that find Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leading former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D), and running substantially ahead of Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker. The juxtaposition makes these races interesting to watch.

Insider Advantage (Oct. 16; 550 likely Georgia general election voters) gives Gov. Kemp a 50-43 percent lead over Abrams, but also sees Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock posting a 46-43 percent edge over Walker. Similarly, while Landmark Communications (Oct. 15-17; 500 likely Georgia general election voters) projects Gov. Kemp’s lead at 51-45 percent, the firm derives a 46-46 percent tie between Warnock and Walker. Therefore, we continually see a relatively substantial single-digit swing in Sen. Warnock’s favor when comparing the gubernatorial results from consistent polling samples. This suggests we could see a split decision from these major Georgia statewide races.

New York: More Data Finding Tightening Race — Quinnipiac University has joined the group of pollsters projecting the New York governor’s race between Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), on the ballot for the first time in her own right after ascending to the position when former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned, and US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) as a close race. The Q-Poll (Oct. 12-16; 1,617 likely New York general election voters; live interview) sees the spread between Gov. Hochul and Rep. Zeldin dropping to 50-46 percent.

Four of the past seven polls see the contest falling between two and six percentage points, which represents a notable improvement for Rep. Zeldin. With New York early voting not beginning until Oct. 29, this race’s patterns still have a significant period in which to firm.

Iowa Race Tightens; Blumenthal Lead Drops; DCCC Chairman Trails in Race; Conflicting Gov. Whitmer Results; Rep. Zeldin Closing on NY Gov. Hochul

By Jim Ellis — Oct. 18 2022

Senate

Iowa’s seven-term US Sen. Chuck Grassley (R)

Iowa: Race Tightens — The Des Moines Register Poll that Selzer & Company conducts (Oct. 9-12; 620 likely Iowa general election voters) has routinely been viewed as the most consistently accurate survey of the Iowa electorate. Therefore, the numbers just released over the weekend posting Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) to only a three-point, 46-43 percent, lead over retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken (D) is being taken seriously. Perhaps the most troubling sign for Sen. Grassley is that Franken leads 46-35 percent among self-described independent respondents.

The Iowa electorate can swing wildly, but in the most recent elections it has been going the Republicans’ way. Since most of the comparable data found Sen. Grassley holding low double-digit leads, the Selzer poll is a surprise. More attention will be paid to this race if confirming data soon surfaces.

Connecticut: Blumenthal Lead Drops to Five Points — A just-released Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey (Oct. 10-13; 1,200 likely Connecticut general election voters; live interview & text) finds Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) leading his Republican opponent, former Trump appointee Leora Levy (R), by only a 49-44 percent margin. Though this race has been on the edge of competitiveness for a considerable period, it is highly unlikely that the end result will yield a Republican upset. While Sen. Blumenthal’s victory margin might be less than in years past, he will still comfortably win re-election next month.

House

NY-17: DCCC Chairman Trails in Own Race — McLaughlin & Associates released a new internal study for the Mike Lawler for Congress campaign (Oct. 2-14; 400 likely NY-17 general election voters; live interview & text) that again shows the Republican state assemblyman leading veteran New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring).

This survey posts Lawler to a 52-46 percent advantage. McLaughlin polls from July and September also saw Lawler holding a significant lead. No Democratic poll was released to counter the numbers, but the Maloney campaign spokeswoman responded to the New York Post story about the survey release, saying that the Lawler polling figures are “skewed.”

Governor

Michigan: Major Polling Conflict — We see a pair of polls presenting opposite looks to the Michigan Governor’s race. The Epic-MRA organization, an entity that frequently surveys the Michigan electorate (Oct. 6-12; 600 likely Michigan general election voters; live interview) posts Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to an 11-point, 49-38 percent edge, including leaners, over online talk show personality Tudor Dixon (R). But, Insider Advantage (Oct. 12; 550 likely Michigan general election voters) sees a completely different result, placing Dixon and the governor into a flat 44-44 percent tie. Most other polling has produced similar numbers to Epic-MRA, so this is another situation that bears watching if confirming data to the Insider Advantage results soon surface.

New York: Four Polls Showing Increased Competition — Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has been running consistently ahead of US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island), but now we see four consecutive polls finding the Republican deficit falling between two and eight percentage points.

In chronological order, Schoen Cooperman Research (Oct. 8-12; 824 likely New York general election voters) sees only a 50-44 percent split between Gov. Hochul, who ascended to her position when Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned, and Congressman Zeldin. Marist College (Oct. 3-6; 900 likely voters) posts a similar 52-44 percent split. The Trafalgar Group (Sept. 30-Oct. 3; 1,087 likely voters) sees the closest spread, 45-43 percent. Finally, McLaughlin & Associates (Sept. 21-25; 800 likely voters) recorded a 51-45 percent result in late September.

This is another race on the edge of competitiveness that will likely soon draw more attention. Early voting in New York does not begin until Oct. 29, so more time exists for this potentially fluid electorate to gel.

Double Republican Race Brewing in Louisiana; Zeldin Closing Within Two Points in NY; Major Race Change in OR

By Jim Ellis — Oct. 12, 2022

House

Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette)

LA-3: Double Republican Race Brewing — We haven’t focused much on the Louisiana races this year largely because the state’s primary election runs concurrently with the general election. Using the jungle primary format, candidates can win outright in the one election if they command majority support. If all contenders fall below the 50 percent marker in a particular race, the top two finishers advance to a December runoff, this year scheduled for Dec. 10.

Former Rep. Charles Boustany (R), Rep. Clay Higgins’ (R-Lafayette) GOP predecessor in the 3rd District seat, on Monday endorsed another Republican in the jungle format, prosecutor Holden Hoggatt. The move suggests we could see a late developing double-Republican race in Cajun Country, though Rep. Higgins, a former police captain who came to fame for his tough law enforcement videos, largely has become a folk hero in southern Louisiana and will be difficult to dislodge. Rep. Higgins has averaged 62 percent of the vote in his two re-election campaigns, winning both contests outright.

NY-22: Countering Data — Last week, Siena College, partnering with Spectrum News, released a survey (Sept. 22-28; 453 likely NY-22 general election voters) that pushed Republican Brandon Williams to a five-point, 45-40 percent, edge over former intelligence agency analyst Francis Conole (D).

The Conole campaign released countering data on Monday, but their Global Strategy Group survey was commissioned considerably earlier (Sept. 15-19; 400 likely NY-22 general election voters) than the Siena College poll and only showed a slight 43-42 percent edge for the Democratic nominee. Thus, releasing a dated study with the candidate having such a small advantage suggests that the Siena data is likely a more realistic depiction of the current political situation. The new Syracuse-anchored NY-22 is a politically marginal open seat from which Republican Rep. John Katko is retiring.

Governor

New York: Zeldin Closing Within Two Points — The Trafalgar Group released a new Empire State survey that finds US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) trailing Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) by only a 45-43 percent margin, the closest of any NY gubernatorial poll during this election cycle. The study was conducted over the Sept. 30–Oct. 3 period and surveyed 1,087 likely general election voters through multiple sampling techniques. Earlier, the McLaughlin & Associates firm (Sept. 21-25; 800 likely New York general election voters) found a 51-45 percent spread.

Siena College, polling in the period before the aforementioned (Sept. 16-25; 655 likely New York general election voters) projected a much larger Hochul lead, 54-37 percent. It will be interesting to see if this latest trend proves to be an anomaly or the beginning of a directional change within the general election contest.

Nebraska: Closer Than Expected — The open Nebraska governor’s race has not attracted much attention in the general election cycle, but a new Data Targeting poll projects the race between University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen (R) and state Sen. Carol Blood (D-Bellevue) is closer than most observers might have expected. The DT survey (Sept. 29-28; 1,340 likely Nebraska general election voters; interactive voice response system & text) shows Pillen holding a 48-41 percent advantage over Sen. Blood. It is likely the ultimate spread will favor the Republican nominee to a greater degree, but this first glimpse into the race suggests that both campaigns will pick up the pace as we move closer to election day. Early voting in the Cornhusker State began yesterday.

Oregon: Major Race Change — Independent Betsy Johnson’s largest contributor is Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who has given the former state legislator’s gubernatorial campaign over $3.7 million. Now, however, Knight is changing allegiance. He announced plans to contribute $1 million to Republican Catherine Drazan’s campaign. The change is likely due to recent surveys finding Drazan taking a small lead over Democratic former state House Speaker Tina Kotek, with Johnson beginning to lag well behind.

The most recent survey, from Emerson College (Sept. 29-Oct. 1; 796 likely Oregon general election voters; multiple sampling techniques), sees Drazan topping Kotek and Johnson, 36-34-19 percent, respectively. Additionally, Drazan has developed a small lead in the six most recent surveys from five different polling firms.

House Updates – Including Gerrymandering: AL, CO, NM, NJ & NY

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022

House

Alabama redistricting map

Redistricting: Supreme Court Hears Alabama Case — In one of the first cases on the US Supreme Court’s new term docket, oral arguments were heard for the Alabama racial gerrymandering redistricting case, which could result in a landmark ruling relating to future interpretation of the Voting Rights Act.

The state of Alabama is arguing its reasons for keeping the state’s congressional map, which features one strong majority minority district. The US government is arguing that a second minority seat can be drawn. The presentations consumed more time than usual for Supreme Court oral arguments, and now it is up to the nine justices to craft a definitive ruling, which will be released sometime before June next year.

In November, the high court will hear oral arguments on the North Carolina redistricting case, which will lead to a definitive ruling pertaining to judicial power over the constitutional authority of state legislatures.

CO-3: Rep. Boebert’s Slight Lead — Despite representing a relatively safely Republican western slope 3rd Congressional District, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) looks to have a competitive race on her hands as we begin the campaign cycle’s final weeks. Colorado-based Keating Research conducted a poll for the Adam Frisch (D) campaign (Sept. 28-Oct. 2; 500 likely CO-3 voters; live interview & text). The ballot test results found Rep. Boebert’s lead shrinking to 47-45 percent, down from Keating’s 49-42 percent spread detected in its July survey.

Expect to see countering numbers from either the Boebert campaign or the National Republican Congressional Committee to soon be released.

NM-2: Gerrymandered District Yields Dem a Slight Edge — The Global Strategy Group, polling for the Gabe Vasquez (D) campaign, tested the NM-2 electorate to determine the state of the race featuring freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) and Vasquez, a Las Cruces City councilman. The GSG survey (Sept. 20-26; 500 likely NM-2 voters; live interview) sees Vasquez pulling ahead of Rep. Herrell, 45-43 percent.

The result is not particularly surprising in that the Democratic legislature and governor crafted the new 2nd CD to flip. Before redistricting, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated the seat, R+14. Post-redistricting, we see a D+4 categorization. This district will still yield a close finish, and voter turnout will tell the ultimate tale.

NJ-7: Rep. Malinowski Internal Poll Shows Dead Heat — The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research organization conducted a congressional poll for two-term Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill), who is again in a tight battle with former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R). In 2020, Kean held Rep. Malinowski to a 51-49 percent re-election win in a district that was more Democratic than the new 7th. The GQR survey (Sept. 20-26; 500 likely NJ-7 general election voters) sees both candidates now attracting 48 percent of the vote. The Democratic pollster, however, also detects a partisan generic party label split of 50-45 percent favoring the Republicans. NJ-7 is a key Republican conversion opportunity seat.

NY-22: Republican Breaks Ahead — The Syracuse-anchored 22nd District is open in the 2022 election cycle because Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse), one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump, is not seeking a fifth term. Ironically, the court-drawn map actually makes this district two points more Republican than the seat the Rep. Katko consistently won.

Siena College conducted an independent poll for the Spectrum News Service (Sept. 25-28; 453 likely NY-22 general election voters) and sees Republican technology company executive Brandon Williams jumping out to a five point, 45-40 percent, advantage over former intelligence agency analyst Francis Conole (D).

With the respondents believing the country is on the wrong track by a 25:63 percent margin, it is not particularly surprising to also see Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) falling behind Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) in this Upstate District. NY-22 is a must-win for the GOP in November.