Tag Archives: presidential debate

Polls Say Biden Better Than Others vs. Trump, But Biden Losing in Solid Dem California District; Split Poll in Wisconsin; Dead Heat in AZ-1

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, July 11, 2024


Trump vs. Biden – how the candidates match up.

National Polls: Biden, Better Than Others — Emerson College, after releasing their swing state results two days ago, publicized their latest national data (July 7-8; 1,370 registered US voters; multiple sampling techniques) that tested former President Donald Trump against President Joe Biden, and then individually opposite other supposed potential replacement presidential nominees.

Paired with President Biden in the head-to-head ballot test, Trump posts a 46-43 percent advantage. If Vice President Kamala Harris were the party nominee, Trump would lead by a much larger 49-43 percent. Opposite California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Trump advantage is 48-40 percent, and it extends to 48-38 percent if Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) were his opponent.

Once again, we see further evidence that despite the negative talk surrounding President Biden since the CNN presidential debate, he still appears to be the Democrats’ strongest option.

Rep. Mark Takano: Biden Losing in His District — Reports are circulating that California Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) is quoting from a poll of his CA-39 district that apparently shows President Biden losing among the congressman’s constituents. Assuming the accuracy of the poll, this would be a significant data point. President Biden carried the district 62.0 – 35.8 percent in 2020, and Rep. Takano won re-election here in 2022 with 57.7 percent of the vote in the post-redistricting 39th District.

CA-39 sits wholly within Riverside County and contains the city of Riverside. It is a largely minority district. The Voting Age Population figure for Hispanics is 58.5 percent as compared to 22.4 percent for non-Hispanic Whites. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+23. The Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians calculate a 61.6D – 36.4R partisan lean based upon vote history. The Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank CA-39 as the 111th-safest seat in the country. Though national polling doesn’t suggest that the president is in dire political straights, a poll such as this in a safe Democratic congressional district may.


Wisconsin: Another Split Poll — Again, we see the familiar pattern from a survey where former President Trump is leading in a state as is the Democratic Senate candidate. A Republican polling firm and a Democratic survey research operation again combined efforts to conduct a Wisconsin poll for the AARP organization (Fabrizio Ward & Impact Research; June 28-July 2; 1,052 likely Wisconsin voters; live interview & text). They found former President Trump leading President Biden by a 44-38 percent margin. (The CNN presidential debate was June 27.) When moving to the Senate race, however, it is the Democratic candidate, incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who leads by a similar margin, 50-45 percent.

This pattern of Trump running well ahead of the Republican Senate candidate is present in several other states. This could be due to the voters being more familiar with the incumbent Democrat, or potentially the participants deliberately splitting their ticket so as not to give Trump too much power.

It will be interesting to watch what the Republican strategists do to break this syndrome, and whether their approach will work. For the GOP to maximize their opportunities on a favorable national Senate map, they must secure multiple conversion seats in order to protect themselves against favorable Democratic maps in the 2026 and 2028 election cycles.


AZ-1: Dead Heat Dem Primary — Arizona’s 1st Congressional District will feature a very tight contest between Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) and whomever the Democrats nominate from their crowded Aug. 6 primary election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the 1st CD as R+7, but the Daily Kos Elections statisticians project the seat as the 18th most vulnerable in the Republican Conference. President Biden won here in 2020 by a narrow 50.1 – 48.6 percent margin.

A recent Noble Predictive Insights survey of the 1st District likely Democratic primary voters (June 25-27; 420 respondents; text) see ballot test results that place almost all of the candidates in position to win the upcoming party primary. The eventual winner will move into a toss-up general election campaign against Rep. Schweikert who won re-election two years ago with only a 50.4 – 49.6 percent margin against businessman Jevin Hodge. Hodge chose not to seek a rematch despite his strong showing in the 2022 campaign.

Former Arizona Democratic Party chairman Andrei Cherni and ex-state representative and physician Amish Shah are tied for first place with just 16 percent of the vote apiece according to the Noble poll. Following closely with 14 percent is former news anchor Marlene Galan Woods, the widow of late Attorney General Grant Woods (D). Investment banker Conor O’Callaghan then trails with eight percent support. A full 35 percent say they are undecided. Therefore, this primary will become a political shootout in the closing weeks.

RFK Jr. Out for Debate / Nevada Ballot? New Mexico at Play in Presidential / Senate Contests? Senate Polls Series Released

By Jim Ellis — Monday, June 24, 2024


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Debate Decisions: Kennedy Out; Stein Files Complaint — CNN, the host of the June 27 presidential debate, announced that Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Green Party nominee Jill Stein have not qualified for the national forum. The main criteria of reaching 15 percent support in a series of major polls was not met by either candidate. Kennedy believes he still should be included and will attempt to qualify for the second debate to be scheduled for later in the year.

For her part, Stein is filing a complaint against CNN with the Federal Election Commission, following Kennedy’s own complaint, disputing the debate criteria as a violation of her rights as a candidate for federal office.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Nevada Ballot Status in Jeopardy — The Nevada Democratic Party is reportedly preparing to file a lawsuit in Nevada state court arguing that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I) should be removed from the state’s general election ballot. Their argument is that Kennedy does not qualify under Nevada law as an Independent because he remains a registered Democrat. It remains to be seen if this lawsuit will gain legs.


New Mexico: Sen. Heinrich Leads by 7 in New Poll — Public Policy Polling went into the field to test the New Mexico electorate (June 13-14; 555 registered New Mexico voters; live interview & text) and projects two-term Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) to hold a seven-point lead over Republican Nella Domenici, 47-40 percent.

Signs are increasing that New Mexico could become more competitive both in the presidential and senatorial contests. With the state’s plurality Hispanic population and the GOP performing better within that demographic, it appears possible for Republicans to record improved numbers in New Mexico’s general election. While it would not now be particularly surprising to see closer election results in November, Republicans are still a long way from winning either at the presidential or senatorial level in the Land of Enchantment.

Emerson College: Releases Series of Senate Polls — The Emerson College polling unit, in conjunction with The Hill newspaper, conducted a series of polls in six Democratic Senate states and released the data late last week. The six domains are Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In each place, the pollsters surveyed 1,000 registered voters during the June 13-18 period.

While testing the Senate races in the five most competitive states, excluding Minnesota, Emerson also asked the presidential ballot test question. In all five situations, within the same polling samples that produced Democratic leaders in each Senate campaign, former President Donald Trump simultaneously posted an advantage. Thus, we are already seeing the seeds of an unusually large degree of ticket splitting beginning to develop.

According to the Emerson numbers, Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) leads 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R), 45-41 percent. Looking at their Michigan results, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) tops former Congressman Mike Rogers (R), 43-39 percent. In Nevada, Sen. Jackie Rosen (D) enjoys the largest lead of any key swing state; she tops Afghan War veteran Sam Brown, 50-38 percent. Moving east, the Emerson numbers show Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) a 47-41 percent edge; and, Sen. Tammy Balwin (D-WI), while still leading, sees her margin over Republican Eric Hovde drop to just 46-44 percent.

In addition to Republicans converting the open West Virginia seat, they would have to turnaround one of the aforementioned races, or score a victory in three tight race states that Emerson College didn’t survey, Maryland, Montana, or Ohio, in order to secure an outright majority.

A Centennial Swing

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 28, 2016 — Even before the first presidential debate was complete, we began seeing some political movement particularly in one critical battleground state.

In the 21st Century, the states of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada have been traditionally regarded as the swing battleground pool in the presidential race. In the last two elections, all but North Carolina voted Democratic. Such a pattern was continuing to take hold in Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada, though the 2013-14 elections did show Republican gain. Most of this particular shift, however, was attributable to voter turnout patterns instead of any ideological shift toward the GOP.

Now in the presidential general election, the political tide is beginning to turn in several of these states. Colorado, a place that had clearly been trending Democratic in the previous few elections and appeared poised to easily vote for Hillary Clinton earlier in the cycle is now exhibiting signs that Donald Trump is at least in position to contend for the Centennial State’s nine electoral votes.

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Perry Out in GOP Debate

Aug. 5, 2015 —  Fox News’ dubious way of choosing their 10 presidential debate participants for this Thursday’s event has reached its predictable ending.  One candidate was rejected on the basis of just a few responses from an averaged set of small-sample polls.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has apparently secured the tenth and final debate spot, edging former Texas Gov. Rick Perry by what appears to be an imaginary percentage point at most.  Kasich joins Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul, Dr. Ben Carson, and Gov. Chris Christie on the Fox debate dais.

Also failing to make the cut are Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore.

The huge Republican field puts Fox and the other media outlets sponsoring debates in a difficult situation because the logistics of managing a 17-candidate forum are quite unwieldy.

Choosing to divide by an averaged set of national polls, many with samples comprised of less than 300 people, is not an equitable way of deciding which contenders are invited.  A series of smaller debates, with participants selected in random order would have been a fairer way to bring equal exposure to the candidates.

LaHood Scores in Illinois;
The Fox News Dubious Debate Plan

July 9, 2015 — As expected, Illinois state Sen. Darin LaHood (R) cruised to an easy special election primary victory Tuesday in the vacant Peoria-anchored congressional district. Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R) March resignation created the vacancy, which is the only unrepresented seat in the entire US House.

LaHood, whose father, Ray LaHood, represented the seat for 14 years before becoming President Obama’s Transportation Secretary, topped 69 percent of the vote against two weak GOP opponents who spent less than $50,000 combined on their campaigns. Democrats officially nominated educator Rob Mellon, an Army Reserve officer who lost his party’s congressional primary in 2014.

LaHood will easily defeat Mellon, but must wait until Sept. 10 for the next vote in what is an unusually long special election cycle. His eventual victory will bring the House party division back to 247R-188D, the spread generated on Election Night 2014.
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The Debate Game

May 27, 2015 — With yet another Republican ready to announce his presidential campaign tomorrow, last week’s declaration from two media sources saying they are going to limit the number of televised debate participants to 10 will soon ignite a firestorm of protest. It is probable that the question surrounding who is and is not invited to participate will probably create more intense political fireworks than the formal debates themselves.

It’s clear that Fox News and CNN want to have manageable television programs, hence the arbitrary limits placed upon who can attend. The fact that they want to base their exclusion on inexact national polls, using a mathematical formula that no pollster would deem legitimate (averaging diverse surveys), in order to produce an imaginary top 10 will certainly lead to extensive discussion and dissent, and possibly even legal challenges.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki is set to become the next official presidential candidate, and he would likely be one of the people excluded from the televised debates, assuming his effort does not catch fire between now and summer. Pataki is a three-term governor of New York, one of only three Republicans to hold this position since the early 1920s. The other two are Nelson Rockefeller, who would later become vice president, and Thomas E. Dewey, winner of the 1948 Republican presidential nomination but loser to President Harry Truman (D) in what was one of the more memorable campaigns of the 20th Century.
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Campaign 2012 Officially Begins

Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party co-hosted a candidates’ debate last night at the Peace Center in Greenville, S.C., that surprisingly served as the official kick-off event for the 2012 presidential campaign. Though it was somewhat of a non-event because the candidates most pundits would describe as being first-tier were not in attendance, the so-called second-tier group did nothing to discourage their supporters and actually managed to motivate the audience on several occasions.

Of the five participants, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX-14) repeatedly brought the crowd to cheers, particularly so when he answered a question about heroine legalization by saying ” … how many people here would do heroin if it was legal? I bet no one would, so why do we need the government to protect us?” The others who participated in the debate were businessman Herman Cain, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, ex-U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

No one bungled a question but none of the participants particularly distinguished themselves either, with the exception of Dr. Paul on several questions and Mr. Cain in the final minutes of the debate. It is also probable that the eventual Republican presidential nominee was not part of this forum, but it is difficult to project just who that Republican winner will actually be, since all of the candidates are closely bunched. Polling shows no clear front-runner or individual capturing more than 20 percent support. Therefore, this may be the most wide-open campaign we have seen in the modern campaign era.

All of the contenders seemed to understand the key fundamental in contrasting themselves with Pres. Barack Obama, especially in light of the Osama bin Laden assassination. All of the candidates gave Obama due praise for his handling of the bin Laden mission, but then quickly pivoted to what they believe are the president’s shortcomings in his managing of the domestic agenda.

Though it is clear Mr. Obama has scored major political points for his action overseas and probably wouldn’t be defeated by anyone if the election were tomorrow, we don’t have to go too far back in history to prompt our memories and recall that foreign affairs victories are often short-lived and quickly crumble in significance when compared to the state of the domestic economy.

Two clear examples of this phenomenon occurred in 1945 and 1992:
• Winston Churchill, whose British Conservative Party was turned out of office in landslide proportions after successfully declaring a clear and stunning victory in World War II just a scant two months earlier.
• George H.W. Bush, who enjoyed 90% approval ratings after successfully guiding America in the Gulf War, only to lose his re-election just 10 months later, capturing a mere 37.5 percent of the national popular vote.

These results clearly show us that economics fundamentally trump foreign affairs.

For the Republicans to get back into the game against the president they will have to focus on the economy as the sole issue of the campaign and drive home their messages about the national deficit and debt, high food and gas prices, and the lack of job creation. It appeared that the five Republicans participating in last night’s debate fully understood this principle, but they and the other candidates have a very long way to go in a short time if the 2012 election is to become legitimately competitive anytime soon.
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