Tag Archives: Nikki Fried

Alaska Candidates Settle to Three; Conflicting Polls in IL-15; Economy Polls as Highest Concern in MN

By Jim Ellis — June 24, 2022

House

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

AK-AL: Now Top Three — Officials from the Alaska Division of Elections, grappling with the new top-four qualifying system, have changed their initial ruling after finalist Al Gross (I/D), announced earlier this week that he was ending his campaign. Division officials initially were leaning toward placing the fifth-place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney, into the group of four finalists, but they have since reversed themselves.

The final ruling does not add a replacement for Dr. Gross, meaning that only former Gov. Sarah Palin, businessman Nick Begich III (R), and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) will advance into the special general election scheduled for Aug. 16. Sweeney followed up with an announcement that she will not challenge the Elections Division’s ruling.

IL-15: Conflicting Polls — The next in a series of paired incumbent elections is scheduled in Illinois when two sets of paired incumbents will square off in the June 28 primary election. In the downstate Republican primary, Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) and Mary Miller (R-Oakland) are battling for the new gerrymandered 15th District, one of only three Land of Lincoln seats that will likely send a Republican to the House. This week, we see two polls released with conflicting conclusions.

The Victory Geek firm, polling for the Illinoize political blog (June 15-19; 515 IL-15 respondents; interactive voice response system), finds Rep. Davis leading Rep. Miller, 38-35 percent. When forcing the undecideds to make a choice, the full universe breaks for Davis, 51-49 percent. The bad news for him is when voters are informed that former President Trump has endorsed Miller, the preference factor switches to 47-39 percent in Miller’s favor.

The Miller campaign also released their internal Cygnal firm survey conducted during the same time period (June 18-19; 420 likely IL-15 Republican primary voters; peer-to-peer text) that gave the congresswoman a 45-40 percent edge over Davis. The other paired incumbent election features a Chicago suburban Democratic pairing between Reps. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) and Marie Newman (D-La Grange).

MN-1 Special: Virtual Tie — An Expedition Strategies survey of the MN-1 special election (June 6-9; 400 likely MN-1 special election voters; live interview) scheduled for Aug. 9 finds the two party nominees, former Republican state Rep. Brad Finstad and ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeff Ettinger (D) falling into a virtual tie. The ballot test gives Finstad a 48-47 percent edge in a district that is no stranger to close elections. The winning percentage in the past three congressional elections was 48.6 percent, 50.1 percent, and 50.3 percent in 2020, 2018, and 2016. The seat is in special election because incumbent Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) passed away in February.

In terms of what the survey respondents perceive as the most important issue, the “economy and cost of living” registered 27 percent, “guns” was second with a 12 percent mention, and “election integrity” was third with 10 percent. Interestingly, the healthcare issue, which now includes COVID, registered as the most important issue from only six percent of the respondents. Ettinger scored a 53-40 percent advantage on preferring a candidate with experience running a business as compared to Finstad’s career in government and rural policy making.

NY-19 Special: Republican Molinaro Launched to Big Led — A Triton Polling & Research survey conducted for the Freedom Council USA (June 16-20; 505 current NY-19 registered voters; interactive voice response system) finds Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) leading Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan (D) by a large 52-38 percent clip in the special election race to replace resigned US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D). The congressman left the House to accept his appointment as lieutenant governor.

A Molinaro victory would mean another special election GOP conversion of a Democratic seat as we saw in Texas on June 14 when Republican Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez and two minor candidates to win the seat from which Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) resigned. If the GOP is successful in NY-19, and holds their other 2022 special elections in AK-AL, MN-1, NE-1, and NY-23, the conference will increase to 215 members, just three away from majority status.

TX-28: Rep. Cuellar Officially Wins — The tight Democratic primary and runoff campaign featuring veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and attorney and 2020 congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros has finally come to an official end. The Texas Secretary of State has reported the final results of the runoff recount. Counting the ballots again actually increased Cuellar’s lead by eight votes. The final counts shows a 22,901 to 22,612 margin in favor of Rep. Cuellar, a spread of 289 votes, or 50.3 percent of the runoff electorate.

Rep. Cuellar now advances into a general election against former Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) staff member Cassy Garcia. This could become a competitive general election in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+7. Though Garcia will have the ability to run a credible campaign, Rep. Cuellar is now viewed as the favorite to win a 10th term.

Governor

Florida: Crist Rebounds With Substantial Lead — A surprising poll released earlier in June (Global Strategy Group; June 8-13; 600 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview) found state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried pulling to within a 38-34 percent margin against US representative and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg). Now, a new St. Pete Polls survey (June 16-17; 1,007 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system) posts Crist back to a more substantial lead, 49-24 percent. The Florida primary is scheduled for Aug. 23. The Democratic winner will then challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

California Counting Continues;
New Candidates in FL-10 (Including Ex-Con); Dem Gov. Candidate Battle in FL

By Jim Ellis — June 20, 2022

House

California: Counting Continues, More Known — According to the California Secretary of State, at the close of business Friday, a total of 1,080,064 ballots throughout the 58 counties have been received after the June 7 primary election but still not counted and/or verified. With more than 5,000,000 votes statewide now counted, more information is known about congressional match-ups for the fall campaign.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Republican nursery business owner John Duarte appearing to clinch first position in the new open 13th District. He topped state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), 34-31 percent. Perhaps more significantly, the aggregate Republican vote topped the total Democratic figure, 51.9 – 48.1 percent. Though President Biden won in this new district with a 54-43 percent margin, this district has the potential of becoming highly competitive in 2022.

In other races, Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) has not pulled away from third place finisher Chris Mathys (R) in the new 22nd District. State Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) leads the field with 44 percent while the congressman trails well behind for the second qualifying position with just 26.3 percent, while Mathys is close behind at 22.5 percent. The aggregate vote total is very low, with only 37,201 ballots counted. The positive news for Republicans here is that the aggregate partisan totals favor their candidates, 56-44 percent.

In the open southern California 37th District, state Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D) commands 43.9 percent of the vote, and she will advance to the general election. Her likely opponent in what will be a double-Democratic general election is former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry.

FL-10: Ex-Reps. Brown and Grayson Enter Field — Former Democratic US House members Corinne Brown, recently released from prison after being convicted of tax fraud, and Alan Grayson, who left a long-shot US Senate bid, both announced their candidacies for the open Orlando-anchored 10th District, the seat that Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) is relinquishing to run her own Senate race.

Seven other Democrats, including state Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Orlando) and Bitcoin investor Jeff Boone, are already in the race making the Aug. 23 party primary a more interesting campaign. Both Brown and Grayson represented parts of Orlando during their careers, Brown in the 4th CD that stretched from Jacksonville to the city and Grayson who held the 9th District that captures the southern part of Orlando and then went into the central part of the state.

Governor

Florida: Democratic Primary Poll Shows Closing Race — In a surprising new poll, the Global Strategy Group released a survey for Florida state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (June 8-13; 600 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) and the ballot test indicated the race between she and US representative and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) has closed to just three points, 34-31 percent. This is a much different result than similar polls taken in April and May. Those studies, from St. Pete Polls and Sachs Media Group, projected Crist to hold leads of 15 and 33 percent respectively. Therefore, it is possible the GSG poll is an outlier. The winner of the Aug. 23 Democratic gubernatorial primary challenges Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in November.

Texas: New Poll Produces Different Conclusion — Earlier this week, we reported upon Democratic pollster Blueprint Polling releasing their survey of the Texas electorate (June 8-10; 603 likely Texas general election voters) posting Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to a huge 56-37 percent advantage over former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso).

On the heels of the Blueprint poll, Quinnipiac University, in their most recent Lone Star State survey (June 9-13; 1,257 registered Texas voters; live interview), found a much different result. The Q-Poll sees Gov. Abbott’s lead over O’Rourke closing to just 48-43 percent, with the governor possessing an upside-down job approval rating of 46:48 percent favorable to unfavorable. More data will be required to see which of these two pollsters, surveying basically during the same sampling period, is the more accurate. Gov. Abbott is seeking a third four-year term.

Ohio Republican Turnout Dominates

By JIM ELLIS
May 5, 2022


Primaries

Turnout: Republicans Dominate in Ohio — Primary turnout can often be a harbinger of what happens in a general election. In the Buckeye State, Republicans claimed the turnout war in impressive fashion even when considering the Democratic contests were not particularly competitive. Compared to the 2018 midterm election, Republican turnout was up 28 percent, with over 1 million voting. Conversely, Democrat participation was down 26 percent from the last midterm with an aggregate turnout total of just over 510,000 voters, literally half of the GOP figure.

These results are close to the stats from Texas’ early March primary. Republican turnout there was up 26.6 percent, while Democratic participation grew only 3.6 percent. There were no contested statewide contests to measure the Indiana turnout. So far, the political enthusiasm gap is pointing toward the Republicans.

OH-11: Loss Could Mean a Presidential Run — Former Ohio state senator and 2020 Bernie Sanders for President national co-chair Nina Turner, who lost a 66-34 percent landslide Democratic primary election to Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) on Tuesday, is reportedly considering entering the 2024 presidential campaign. To say the least, Turner would enter the presidential nomination battle as a major underdog.

Senate

North Carolina: Two More See Budd Leading — A pair of new polls, one of which was conducted for the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, echo the findings of all other surveys released since March 22. That is, Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) is topping former Gov. Pat McCrory, US Rep. Mark Walker, and author Marjorie Eastman.

In the NC Chamber poll, conducted through Atlantic Polling Strategies (April 25-28; released May 4; 534 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters; live interview and online), Rep. Budd is holding a 45-21-9-3 percent advantage. Meredith College (April 25-27; 1,225 adults; 588 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters; online) posts the Budd margin at 33-26-7-3 percent in the same order as above. The North Carolina primary is May 17. Rep. Budd has now led in eight consecutive published polls.

Governor

Florida: Rep. Crist Increases Primary Lead — A new St. Pete Polls survey (May 2-3; 1,859 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; online) projects that US congressman and former Gov. Charlie Crist holds a dominating lead in the Democratic primary. The ballot test result finds Crist capturing 52 percent of the Democratic preference vote, way ahead of state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s 19 percent and state Sen. Annette Taddeo’s (D-Miami) five percent support. Interestingly, Taddeo was Crist’s lieutenant governor running mate when the pair lost to then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2014. The winner of the Aug. 23 Democratic primary will then challenge incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the general election.

New York: Gov. Hochul’s Comfortable Lead — A new Emerson College poll (May 1-3; 1,000 likely New York voters, 444 likely New York Democratic primary voters; combination interactive voice response system, text, and online) sees Gov. Kathy Hochul leading her Democratic primary opponents, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, by a 45-12-7 percent count.

More interesting, however, is the general election survey that includes former Gov. Andrew Cuomo running as an Independent. In this scenario, 33 percent would support a generic Democratic candidate, 33 percent a generic Republican candidate, while 16 percent would vote for Cuomo. There is no indication at this point, however, that the resigned governor will enter the race.

Florida Polling – What to Expect

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 20, 2021 — Two pollsters released Florida ballot test data yesterday, and the combined results are a likely prelude of what we can expect from the vast multitude of survey research firms that will be testing the Sen. Marco Rubio – Rep. Val Demings general election campaign in the coming year.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R)

Susquehanna Polling & Research (Aug. 4-10; 700 registered Florida voters, live interview) posted their survey result, which found Sen. Rubio topping Rep. Demings by a relatively substantial 50-39 percent clip.

This was immediately countered by a St. Pete Polls survey conducted later in the month (Aug. 16-17; 2,068 registered Florida voters, online) that sees the race already dropping into a virtual dead heat, with Sen. Rubio only holding a two-point edge, 48-46 percent.

Florida polling history suggests we will see this type of divergent pattern among pollsters probably until the next election. In Sen. Rubio’s 2016 re-election race, for example, where he defeated then-Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) with an eight-point victory spread (52-44 percent), most of the pollsters were forecasting a much closer finish.

During the period from Oct. 25 through election day 2016, 11 polls were released covering the Rubio-Murphy race according to the Real Clear Politics polling archives, and while all but one correctly predicted Sen. Rubio would win re-election, only five were within the correct final margin range. The others were forecasting a very close Rubio win of between a virtual tie and four percentage points.

Looking at the Biden-Trump 2020 Florida aggregate research studies tells a similar tale. Again, beginning with polling occurring from Oct. 25 through the election, 19 Florida presidential ballot test polls were published. Only six of the 19 correctly predicted a Trump Florida victory and all of those were close to the final margin of 3.3 percentage points. One of the pollsters who called this race almost exactly was Susquehanna Polling & Research. St. Pete Polls missed, wrongly projecting a close Biden win.

Looking at the FiveThirtyEight statistical organization’s polling firms rating chart, Susquehanna and St. Pete Polls are at parity. Susquehanna rates as the 92nd firm of the top 100, while St. Pete finishes three slots behind them at number 95. Both receive an accuracy letter grade of B+.

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Early Senate 2022 Previews:
Florida & North Carolina

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 14, 2021 — Regardless of how many in-cycle Senate seats – there are 34 in the 2022 election cycle – come into political play, we can count on seeing Florida and North Carolina once again hosting crucial battleground campaigns.

Florida is always consistent in their close vote totals, particularly when remembering the 2000 presidential campaign — and pollsters, while typically forecasting tight finishes, have often missed the outcomes. In fact, the cumulative polling community has predicted close Democratic victories in the last four key statewide elections: two presidential (2016 & 2020), one senatorial (2018), one gubernatorial (2018), and been wrong on each occasion.

Since 2016, inclusive, Florida has hosted eight statewide races with Republicans winning seven. Yet, their average cumulative vote percentage for these eight victorious campaigns was just 50.7 percent, with the high point being 52.0 percent (Sen. Marco Rubio-R, 2016). Democrats recorded the low winning total: 50.04 percent — 6,753 votes from 8,059,155 votes cast; agriculture commissioner, 2018; winner Nikki Fried (D) vs. Matt Caldwell (R). The aggregate average among the statewide contests in these three most recent election years is 50.7 – 47.9 percent in the GOP’s favor.

With this background, Sen. Rubio will presumably seek a third term next year against what will surely be a highly competitive Democratic opponent. At this point, most of the speculation surrounds two Democratic House members, neither of whom has closed the door on either running for the Senate or challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as he seeks a second term.

Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-Winter Park) and Val Demings (D-Orlando) are the two most prominently mentioned prospective contenders, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see one run for Senate and the other for governor. It is less likely that we would see a primary developing between the pair in one of the races.

Other names being floated are Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), who is always mentioned as a potential statewide candidate because he previously served both as attorney general and governor and lost two other statewide campaigns. Other potential contenders are Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) and former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Miami). The state’s lone Democratic office holder, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, is more often associated with running for governor as opposed to the Senate contest.

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