Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Congress Convenes Tomorrow with 93 New Members; Early Reapportionment Projections

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 2, 2023

Congress

Montana’s Ryan Zinke (R-Whitehall) returns to the House.

New Members: Congress Convenes Tomorrow with 93 New Members — The 118th Congress is sworn into office tomorrow and like all others, this new assemblage is a unique group.

In the House, we see 85 freshmen members coming to Washington, including the dozen who won special elections during the session just ended. Additionally, one former member, Montana’s Ryan Zinke (R-Whitehall) who also served in the Trump Administration as Interior Secretary, returns to the House.

The Senate, exclusively due to retirements along with one appointed member, California Sen. Alex Padilla (D) seeking a full term, will only welcome eight new freshmen since all incumbents seeking re-election were victorious.

Of the 85 new House members, 46 are Republicans while 39 are members of the Democratic Party. Just over one-third of the incoming group will be serving in their first elected position, a total of 31. Conversely, 37 of the House freshmen have previously been elected to their respective state legislatures. The remaining 17 held other elected positions, typically at the local level as county or city officials.

In the Senate, only two of the eight incoming members have never before served in an elective office: Alabama’s Katie Britt (R) and J.D. Vance (R) of Ohio.

States

Reapportionment: Early Projections — Apparently, it is not too early to begin discussing which states may gain and lose representation in the 2030 census. The first concrete projections have been publicized based upon the country’s current growth trends since the 2020 census was completed.

No real surprises were among the first cut, as eight seats are projected to change states. In the 2020 census, only seven seats changed states. The early estimates suggest that Texas will again be the big gainer, with an additional three seats. This would increase the nation’s second largest population state to 41 seats, if the early guesstimates prove accurate. Florida could gain two seats, with Idaho, Utah, and Washington each gaining one seat.

The losing states would again be familiar, as Illinois and New York could be on a path to lose two seats apiece. Pennsylvania would again be slated to lose one. The new losing states would be Connecticut, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, all possibly losing one of their current districts. None of these projections are firm, and much will happen to change the national and regional growth rates in the coming eight years.

Electoral College — Left Coast, Right Coast; Republicans Choose Nominee in VA-4; North Carolina Supreme Court Rejects Map

Electoral College Votes Per State, 2022 — blue moving more left, red moving more right


By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022

President

Electoral College: West Moving Left, East Moving Right — The researchers at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics have completed a study regarding the country’s ideological shift during the past 20-plus years. Tracking all 50 states’ presidential votes from the 2000-2020 elections, we first see all of the western states now voting Democratic in greater percentages with the exception of Wyoming. The biggest shifts came in Alaska, California, Colorado, and Utah, though two of those four states still regularly produce at least smaller majority or plurality Republican victories.

Conversely, the south and east have trended more Republican with the strongest swings generally occurring in central south with only Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia becoming more Democratic. Mid-Atlantic states such as New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have moved decidedly more Republican, though two of these four continue to regularly deliver clear Democratic majorities. Remaining constant in their voting pattern during this entire 20-year span are Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and South Carolina.

House

VA-4: Republicans Choose Special Election Nominee — Republicans re-nominated their 2020 and 2022 candidate in the Saturday, Dec. 17 “firehouse primary” through Ranked Choice Voting. The local 4th District Republican Party leadership did not release the actual results, only to say that pastor and US Navy veteran Leon Benjamin had defeated former Mecklenburg School Board member Dale Sturdifen, and non-profit advocacy organization director Derrick Hollie. Benjamin now advances to the Feb. 21 special general election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond). He will again be a decided underdog in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+30.

The Democratic firehouse primary will be held today. Four candidates filed to run: state Sens. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and Joseph Morrisey (D-Richmond), former state Delegate Joseph Preston, and businessman Tavorise Marks. While the special election will be held in late February, Gov. Glenn Younkin’s (R) call required the parties to choose nominees by Dec. 23.

In another development, Colette McEachin, the late congressman’s widow, announced her endorsement of Sen. McClellan, joining most of the Virginia Democratic establishment who has already done so.

States

North Carolina: NC Supreme Court Tosses State Senate Map — The North Carolina state Supreme Court, with the 4-3 Democratic majority on the cusp of expiring, rejected the NC Senate map on a partisan vote as a partisan gerrymander. But, the action is likely to be short-lived and adds fuel to the speculation that the new legislature will re-draw all of the state’s redistricting maps after commencement. Doing so may well render moot the partisan gerrymandering case that the US Supreme Court recently heard.

Under North Carolina legislative procedure, the governor has no veto power over redistricting legislation, so whatever the legislature passes will become law. Because of the current court’s farewell action, the state Senate map must be re-configured. Since Republicans gained two seats on the state Supreme Court in the November election and will have a 5-2 majority beginning in January, the likelihood of not only the Senate map being redrawn but also the state House and congressional delegation plans is greater. The latter two maps are court-drawn interim placeholders, which the legislature can replace at any time.

Former Indiana Gov Considering Senate Run; Repubs Search for Senate Challenger in PA

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022

Senate

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R)

Indiana: Former Governor Making Moves — After going through a very quiet 2022 election, the Indiana political scene is fast becoming a focal point of the early 2024 election cycle. Reports from the state surfaced late last week that former Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who has ruled out a run for his former job, is making moves to assess his chances in an open US Senate race. Sen. Mike Braun (R) won’t seek re-election in order to mount his own campaign in the open governor’s race. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is ineligible to seek a third term, but has not wholly closed the door on entering the Senate race.

The Republican nominee, to be chosen in an early May 2024 primary, will be the heavy favorite to win both the open Senate and governor’s positions. Therefore, much attention will be paid to the GOP primary as it continues to evolve over what will now be a long period.

Pennsylvania: Republicans Searching for Challenger Candidate — The Pennsylvania Republican Party is planning to make a major run against Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) in 2024 and are already searching for a strong challenger. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who came within 900 votes of winning the 2022 Republican primary, is certainly a possible option, but the latest reports suggest that state Treasurer Stacy Garrity would be an attractive potential Senate candidate. We can expect a competitive GOP primary to develop, and yet another hard-fought general election in two years here not only for President, but also again for a critically important US Senate seat.

States

Pennsylvania House: Majority Depends Upon Deceased Representative — The 203-member Pennsylvania House is facing a dilemma. The Democrats scored a one-seat majority in the election and, on paper, have a 102-101 edge. Unfortunately, veteran Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Penn Hills), passed away just before the election; he represented that 102nd vote. Running against a Green Party candidate, DeLuca was re-elected with 85 percent of the vote even though he had already passed away.

Additionally, Pennsylvania law allows candidates to simultaneously run for more than one office in the same election. This means two more Democratic House vacancies have occurred. State Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) resigned her state House seat because she was elected to Congress. State Rep. Austin Davis (D-McKeesport) left the House to assume his new position as lieutenant governor.

A further problem at the state house is that the Speaker of the House sets the special election calendar to fill vacancies in the chamber and not the governor. Therefore, the legislators are embroiled in a dispute over whether or not these special elections can even legally be called since no official Speaker has been elected. Republicans have rejected the Democratic Leader’s special election schedule and Democrats opposed the outgoing GOP Speaker’s special election plan even though both had placed the elections on the same day.

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.

Close in Colorado; Dead Heats in Ariz., PA; Herrell Pulling Away in NM; Oregon Upset in the Making?

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Nov. 4, 2022

Senate

Republican Colorado Senate challenger Joe O’Dea (R)

Colorado: Closest Reported Poll — The Colorado Senate race, like the Washington contest, has always been on the periphery of competitiveness, and now we see the closest poll between Sen. Michael Bennet (D) and construction company owner Joe O’Dea (R). The Trafalgar Group (Oct. 30-Nov. 1; 1,084 likely Colorado general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) new poll breaks only 48-46 percent in favor of the incumbent. This is the first time we’ve seen a survey that finds the candidates this close. The other most recent studies give the senator leads of between eight and 14 percentage points.

Polling: Critical Senate Races in Dead Heats — The Civiqs polling firm, surveying for the Daily Kos Elections website (Oct. 29-Nov. 2; 859 likely Arizona general election voters; online) sees Arizona Republican Blake Masters coming back all the way to an even standing versus Sen. Mark Kelly (D), and with the momentum on his side. The Civiqs numbers see a flat 49-49 percent flat tie between the two men while the early voting numbers and the governor’s race looks to slightly favor the Republicans.

Another post-debate poll in Pennsylvania was released yesterday. In the sixth of eight surveys produced since the Oct. 25 meeting between Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), the former man has either taken a slight lead or the two are tied. The latest, from Susquehanna Polling & Research (Oct. 28-Nov. 1; 700 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; live interview) sees Dr. Oz leading Fetterman, 48-47 percent.

House

NM-2: Poll Shows Rep. Herrell Pulling Away — The few polls we’ve seen in the gerrymandered new 2nd Congressional District has found freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) slightly trailing Las Cruces City Councilman Gil Vasquez (D) in the newly constructed southern New Mexico district designed to elect a Democrat. The new Emerson College survey (Oct. 25-28; 302 likely NM-2 general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Rep. Herrell pulling away to a slight double-digit lead over Vasquez, however. This latest ballot test gives the congresswoman a significantly wide 54-44 percent advantage.

Governor

Oregon: Independent Still Throwing Race to Republican — The latest Oregon gubernatorial poll, this one from Nelson Research (Oct. 31-Nov. 2; 577 likely Oregon general election voters), sees former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) holding a three-point, 44-41 percent, edge over ex-state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D). Independent candidate Betsy Johnson, who appeared for a long while had a legitimate to win, has dropped back to only six percent support. This latter number, however, still appears enough to toss the election Drazan’s way. Of those who have early voted, according to Nelson Research, Drazan holds a one-point lead. A Republican win here would be a major upset in this most liberal of states.

Wisconsin: Dead Heat Headed into Election Day — While polling suggests that Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has a slight lead heading into Tuesday’s vote, the gubernatorial race between Gov. Tony Evers (D) and GOP businessman Tim Michels appears to be a dead heat. Frequent Wisconsin pollster Marquette Law School released their pre-election survey (Oct. 24-Nov. 1; 802 registered Wisconsin voters; 679 likely Wisconsin voters) the two candidates are tied at 48 percent, while Michels holds a slight 45-44 percent edge among those registered. Michels, however, has held a slight lead in the previously published five mid to late October polls.

Bolduc Pulls Into Tie in NH; Conflicting Senate Polls in Ohio;
PA Polls Show Dr. Oz Ahead

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022

Senate

Retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R)

New Hampshire: Bolduc Pulls Into Tie — The co/efficient firm tested the New Hampshire electorate (Oct. 25-26; 1,098 likely New Hampshire general election voters; live interview & text) and sees retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc coming all the way back to even in what was believed to be his long-shot chance against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D). With Republican leaders coming within a percentage point of denying him the party nomination, Gen. Bolduc has successfully rebounded to competitive status in the short time since the Sept. 13 primary. The co/efficient ballot test finds both candidates pulling 46 percent preference.

Though the reported vote totals are customarily low in New Hampshire, only 21,089 recorded votes so far according to the Target Smart data organization representing 16.5 percent of the number voting early in 2020, Republicans are up 4.7 percent over their previous performance while Democrats are down .7 percent.

Ohio: Conflicting Five Point Leads — Two polling entities, surveying within the same time period, arrive at diametrically different results. In fact, both project the Ohio Senate candidate they see as the leader to a five-point advantage. Center Street PAC (Oct. 24-26; 508 likely Ohio general election voters) posts the race in Rep. Tim Ryan’s (D-Warren/ Youngstown) favor with a 47-42 percent margin. The Cygnal polling firm (Oct. 22-26; 1,817 likely Ohio general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) comes to a wholly different conclusion: Republican J.D. Vance leading 49-44 percent.

The preponderance of October polling is more consistent with Cygnal’s findings. In the last 16 surveys, Vance has led in 11 of the ballot tests, Rep. Ryan in three, and in two the candidates were tied. So far, however, early voting favors the Democrats. Based upon their 2020 performance, the Democratic participation is up 3.5 percentage points while the Republicans are down 4.4 points.

Pennsylvania: Confirming Polls — At the end of last week, Insider Advantage became the first to publish a survey after the Pennsylvania Senate debate and projected the Republican nominee, Dr. Mehmet Oz, to be holding a 48-45 percent edge. Now, we see two more pollsters coming to similar conclusions.

The Wick Insights research firm tested the PA electorate (Oct. 26-27; 1,000 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; online) and sees a 48-46 percent Dr. Oz lead. The co/efficient firm was also in the field (Oct. 26-28; 1,716 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; live interview & text) and likewise found a 48-45 percent Oz edge over Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D).

The latter poll found both Senate candidates saddled with upside-down favorability indexes. Dr. Oz, as he has for most of the election cycle, records a higher negative than positive ratio, 37:46 percent. Fetterman now joins Dr. Oz in negative territory with an index of 43:49 percent.

House

NH-1: Rep. Pappas’ Advantage — The 1st District of New Hampshire has seen more incumbents lose since 2004 than any CD in the country. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester), however, is working on bucking that trend. Running for a third term, the co/efficient New Hampshire poll (Oct. 25-29; 525 likely NH-1 general election voters; live interview & text) projects the congressman to a four-point 48-44 percent lead over former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt (R).

NH-2: Upset Possibility — As part of their statewide survey, co/efficient also tested the state’s 2nd CD, which covers New Hampshire’s western sector. This sub-poll (Oct. 25-26; 573 likely NH-2 general election voters; live interview & text) finds challenger Robert Burns (R), the former Hillsborough County (Manchester) treasurer, edging five-term Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton), 44-43 percent.

Though this is the more Democratic seat of the state’s two districts – the FiveThirtyEight organization rates NH-2 as D+2 and NH-1 as R+1 – the 2nd CD may give the Republicans their better opportunity of claiming an upset on election night.

Post-Debate Poll Shows Oz Lead

By Jim Ellis; Monday, Oct. 31, 2022

Senate

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

Dr. Oz Ahead in Post-Debate PA Poll — The first poll conducted after the highly publicized Pennsylvania Senate debate was just released, and it reveals a lead change.

It is possible that the Pennsylvania race could well determine the next Senate majority. A Republican open seat from a politically marginal state, either major party candidate has a chance to win here next month. It is reasonable to assume, with so many other races around the country polling tight but largely in favor of the incumbent party in all but one of the other respective campaigns, that the path to the Senate majority runs through Pennsylvania.

To review, Dr. Mehmet Oz won the Republican primary back in May but it took election officials nearly a month to determine that he had defeated former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 950 votes from the 1.346 million ballots that were cast in the statewide GOP primary.

Democrats have well-known problems here, too. Just three days before the primary election, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the leading Democratic senatorial candidate who would go onto win a landslide intra-party victory over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh), suffered a serious stroke. He has yet to fully recover, and this debate marked the first time he would face Dr. Oz in a one-on-one format.

To facilitate Fetterman’s rehabilitation from the stroke, both campaigns agreed that the debate administrators, Nextar Media Group, would install a closed caption system where the Democratic nominee could read what was being asked of him. Immediately after the debate, the Fetterman communications director complained that the system was not working properly, which, he said, explained the lieutenant governor’s halting and sometimes rambling answers.

The Nextar spokesman retorted that the system worked properly, and that Fetterman only participated in one of the two rehearsals they offered him. He said Fetterman attending both sessions would have allowed him to better master the system.

The Insider Advantage firm tested the Keystone State electorate a day after the Pennsylvania US Senate debate. The IA poll (Oct. 25; 750 likely Pennsylvania general election voters) projects the Republican nominee, Dr. Oz, to a 48-45 percent edge, and is only the third survey during the entire election cycle that shows him topping Fetterman. A total of 39 polls have been conducted of this Senate race since the May 17 primary from 28 different survey research firms.

A total of 83 percent of the Insider Advantage poll respondents said they saw all or part of the debate either live or in post-debate news coverage. While this post-debate poll slightly favors the Republican candidate, early vote totals portend a Democratic advantage.

According to the Target Smart data organization early vote analysis, 713,029 people have already cast their ballot in the Pennsylvania election. This number represents 49.3 percent of the total early votes cast in 2020 and just over 10 percent of the total Pennsylvania presidential election vote. Compared to the 2018 midterm, the current early vote number represents just over 14 percent of the total vote figure from that comparable election.

At this point, 73.0 percent of the Pennsylvanians voting early are registered Democrats as compared to just 23.3 percent who identify as Republican. A total of 3.6 percent of the 2022 early votes come from non-affiliated voters.

Though the numbers overwhelmingly favor the Democrats, the pattern is similar to that of 2020, which yielded a close general election result. With about half of the early vote cycle remaining, Democrats have so far increased 7.5 percent from their 2020 early vote performance, while Republicans are down 3.9 percentage points. Obviously, these numbers are a positive sign for Democrats.

It is likely, however, that the partisan gap closes to more closely align with the 2020 end total since Republicans not only vote in commanding numbers on election day, but they also tend to vote late in the early voting cycle.

Expect to see several more post-debate polls released very shortly. It is clear that the Pennsylvania race has moved into a toss-up status; hence, the closing days of this campaign are likely to be determinative.

House

PA-12: The Name Game — State Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) has a unique problem. Though running in a strongly Democratic open congressional seat that includes downtown Pittsburgh, her Republican opponent’s name is the same as the long-time retiring Democratic Congressman, Mike Doyle.

Lee is running ads clearly explaining that her opponent is not the retiring congressman. Her approach is likely to work since the new 12th District is strongly Democratic. The fact that she has to advertise to warn about mistaken identity, however, tells us that Lee’s internal data is showing that the name confusion is causing her political problems.