Tag Archives: Tiffany Smiley

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.

Intriguing “Real Clear” Projections Show the GOP Winning the Senate

To see this map and the data behind it, visit Real Clear Politics (RCP).

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022

Senate

How Republicans Look to Claim Senate Majority — The Real Clear Politics (RCP) data group released their updated US Senate projections, and their formula suggests that Republicans will claim a surprising 53-47 majority.

Such a projection seems to cut against most of the data we currently see, and, in at least three cases, their win projection is opposite of what their own current Real Clear Politics formula shows.

The crux of their predictions lies in a field entitled “Polls Underestimated,” which factors in an average under-poll for one party or the other. In the 10 Senate races they isolated, Republicans are the under-polled party in most but not all of the targeted campaigns.

Utah, Alaska, Iowa, Washington — The two competitive Senate races not included were first, Utah, where they list Sen. Mike Lee (R) as a “likely” winner, though polling generally shows his race with Independent Evan McMullin falling to within single digits. The second is Alaska, which is excluded because the contest is evolving into a race between two Republicans; hence, the seat is not a factor in determining the overall Senate majority. Also, the race between Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) and retired Navy Adm. Michael Franken (D) is also not included, but Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) battle against Republican Tiffany Smiley in Washington is added.

As mentioned above, in three of the races the RCP prognosticators are expecting a turnaround since their own current data is suggesting an opposite result.

Nevada — The RCP current polling projection in the Silver State suggests that Republican former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt holds a slight 0.8 percent lead over Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D). Here, RCP estimates that Democrats under-poll in Nevada by one percentage point. This should leave Sen. Cortez Masto with a 0.2 percent edge, but the table shows Laxalt holding such a lead. This appears to be an error. In any event, their final prediction shows a Laxalt victory, which is reasonable.

Arizona — A state away, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) currently holds an RCP polling lead of 2.5 percentage points over Republican opponent Blake Masters. A Republican under-poll of 1.6 is factored from results during the last three election cycles, which reduces the senator’s advantage to 0.9 percent. In 2020, a total of 21 polls were conducted of the Kelly-Martha McSally Senate race, and Kelly’s average margin was 6.6 points, yet he won only 51-49 percent. Therefore, concluding a Republican under-poll exists in Arizona is reasonable. In this situation, while their model finds Sen. Kelly leading today, RCP predicts a Republican victory for venture capitalist Masters.

Georgia — The other conclusion that is perhaps inconsistent is their prediction for the Georgia Senate race. Showing Republican Herschel Walker with a 1.1 percentage point edge after an under-poll factor of 1.4 is added to the Republican column leads the RCP final prediction that Walker and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) would be forced into a post-election runoff on Dec. 6. Yet, in the overall count, Georgia is counted in the Republican column. Though not stated, RCP must be predicting that Walker would win the runoff election.

Under Georgia law, as we will remember from 2020, a candidate must receive majority support to win the general election. On the ballot with Sen. Warnock and Walker is Georgia Libertarian Party chairman Chase Oliver. If Warnock and Walker split the vote to where both candidates post in the neighborhood of the 48-49 percent number, then a few points going to Oliver could send the two major party nominees into a Dec. 6 secondary election with Oliver being eliminated from the mix. Thus, we will see more even intrigue on election night coming from the Peach State.

Pennsylvania — RCP is also predicting victory for two candidates who their model suggests are currently behind but who flip after adding the under-poll factor. In Pennsylvania, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is running ahead by 1.3 percentage points according to the current RCP survey average. Adding a 3.9 percent Republican under-poll to the aggregate gives Dr. Mehmet Oz a 2.6 percent adjusted lead. RCP predicts a Dr. Oz victory on Nov. 8.

New Hampshire — The race between Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) and retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R) has tightened. The RCP average sees a Hassan lead of 3.6 percent but adding a large 5.4 New Hampshire Republican under-poll actually gives Gen. Bolduc a 1.8 percent edge. Still, RCP predicts a Hassan Democratic victory on Election Day.

Other Wins — Finally, the Real Clear Politics data team predicts Republicans to win the Senate races in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin, with Democrats holding Washington.

Added up, these numbers result in a 53-47 Republican majority. Possible? Yes. Likely? No.

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.

Conflicting Polls in AZ; Rare Polling in OK; A Polling Conflict in WA;
Noem Struggling in SD?

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022

Senate

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

Conflicting Polls — We have two examples of pollsters surveying the same race within the equivalent time realm and reporting wholly conflicting results. In Arizona, the Big Data Poll (polling for the CD Media site; Oct. 2-5; 970 likely Arizona general election voters; text & oversampling) sees a virtual dead heat, 46-45 percent, result between Sen. Mark Kelly (D) and challenger Blake Masters (R). Conversely, OH Predictive Insights (Oct. 4-6; 674 likely Arizona general election voters) finds a 46-33 percent split in the senator’s favor with Libertarian Marc Victor posting 15 percent. The OH data is certainly outside the overall polling pattern, and no other entity has found the Libertarian candidate drawing such a high preference number.

Oklahoma: Rare Senate Polls — The Sooner Poll that was released earlier in the week and gave Democrat Hoy Hofmeister a surprising 47-43 percent lead over Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) on Tuesday publicized numbers in both US Senate races — both the regular election featuring Sen. James Lankford (R) and the special election to replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R). The poll is flawed in that only 301 respondents comprise the entire statewide sample, but the Senate results appear reasonable, nonetheless.

In the regular election, Sen. Lankford holds a 52-40 percent lead over high tech businessman Madison Horn (D) and US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) tops former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D), 51-42 percent. Both Sen. Lankford and Rep. Mullin are heavy favorites to win in November.

We also see conflict in the Washington Senate race. The Senate Opportunity Fund (Oct. 4; 600 likely Washington general election voters; mechanized) released their survey that gives Sen. Patty Murray (D) only a 46-42 percent edge over Republican Tiffany Smiley. Emerson College (Sept. 21-Oct. 1; 782 likely Washington general election voters; multiple sampling techniques), over a slightly earlier time frame, posted the senator to a 51-40 percent lead. The latter Emerson poll is closer to this race’s polling average.

House

RI-2: Republican Fung Leads in Fourth Poll — Though the Ocean State’s western congressional district is heavily Democratic – D+17 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization – the fourth consecutive survey, this one coming from Suffolk University for the Boston Globe (Oct. 1-4; 422 likely RI-2 general election voters; live interview), confirms that Republican Allan Fung holds the lead over Democratic state Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The Suffolk results post Fung, the former mayor of Cranston and a two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee, to an eight point, 45-37 percent, lead, well beyond the polling margin of error.

Just four polls, from May to the present, have been released of the race, but Fung has led in all with margins between six and 15 percentage points. Despite the Democratic voting history here, Fung looks to be positioning himself to score a major political upset.

Governor

South Dakota: Gov. Noem’s Small Lead — South Dakota State University is releasing a series of political polls, but there is scant information accompanying the ballot test numbers. University polls can often be suspect, and this one without survey dates or sample sizes may fall into such a category. The ballot test finds Gov. Kristi Noem (R) leading state House Minority Leader Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls) by only a 46-42 percent count.

The same unidentified sample, however, also posts Sen. John Thune (R) to a 53-28 percent advantage over Democratic attorney Brian Bengs, which sounds like a reasonable result and provides the gubernatorial ballot test more credibility. Therefore, the South Dakota governor’s race may be another worth watching as we enter the campaigns’ closing weeks. In 2018, Noem, then the state’s at-large congresswoman, scored a 51-48 percent win over then-state Sen. Billie Sutton (D).

All About Arizona Arithmetic …

(A Katie Hobbs ad that seems to test what could be her campaign’s change in direction.)

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 30, 2022

Governor

Former news anchor and current gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R)

Arizona: Beneath the Surface — A strange turn of events coming from Arizona leads us to question some of the most recent polling and whether or not there could be a conservative backlash forming. This would explain why the Democratic gubernatorial nominee is clearly moving to the ideological right with her campaign strategy.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs won the open Democratic nomination for governor with over 73 percent of the vote in early August. Former television news anchor Kari Lake (R) is her opponent, and many believed Hobbs would sweep past the latter once Donald Trump’s strong support for Lake became the central campaign issue. For the Aug. 2 primary, Lake enjoyed strong support from the former president, which helped her score a close 47-44 percent Republican primary victory over University of Arizona Regent Karin Taylor Robson.

The general election, however, has become much more competitive than many expected. Lake is running neck-and-neck with Hobbs. Lake is basically taking a Glenn Youngkin-style approach to Trump in the general election — that is, graciously accepting his endorsement but continuing to campaign individually for the office sought without making Trump a campaign factor. In the most recent polling, seven released surveys since Sept. 6, both candidates lead in three of the research studies and are tied in another.

In the three polls favoring Democrat Hobbs, her lead is one point in each survey. Of the three where Republican Lake holds an edge, her margin is four points in two of the three. During this same time-frame — Sept. 6th to the present — nine polls have been conducted and Sen. Mark Kelly (D) holds the lead over Republican Blake Masters in all with an average spread of just under six percentage points in the accompanying statewide campaign.

Seeing these Senate campaign numbers would suggest that Hobbs would feel comfortable remaining close to her Democratic base, figuring that the Kelly campaign would take the lead in driving the party turnout. Not so, when looking at her most recent ad (above).

The new Hobbs ad basically adopts Republican themes, and not the current Democratic approach. She doesn’t mention abortion, unusual for a Democratic candidate these days since the party has clearly adopted a national single-issue strategy surrounding the issue. The party candidates across the board continue along this campaign path because the strategists believe that emphasizing the pro-choice position above all else is the way toward energizing the casual Democratic voter, i.e., those who only vote in presidential elections.

Instead, Hobbs is talking about implementing a tax cut for over 800,000 Arizona families and ending the sales tax on baby formula, school supplies, and medicines. Moving to the right while Sen. Kelly has a discernible advantage over Masters even while being attacked for his liberal voting record is a surprising development.

It appears the Hobbs campaign team may have uncovered patterns and trends in their research that leads them to conclude Republicans are in considerably better political shape than the current polls suggest. The primary turnout is one clue. Some 235,000 more Republicans than Democrats voted in the 2022 Arizona primaries, thus suggesting a possible precursor to a strong election night this November.

Such a closing surge would also be consistent with the Arizona vote in the 2020 election. Then, Sen. Kelly led by an average of just under seven points through the month of October, but only defeated then-Sen. Martha McSally (R) by just two percentage points.

In the presidential campaign, Joe Biden led then-President Trump by an average of 2.5 percentage points over the final 22 polls conducted in the state, but only managed to carry the state by 10,457 votes of almost 3.4 million votes cast — or just .3 of one percent.

The Hobbs move to the right is unorthodox, but if successful will prove a Democratic candidate can win when “cutting across the grain.”

Oregon: Republican Drazan Takes Lead — A just-released DHM Research survey (Sept. 23-24; 600 likely Oregon general election voters) finds former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) taking a one-point lead over former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D), with strong Independent candidate Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic state legislator, dropping well back.

The gubernatorial ballot test gives Drazan a 32-31-18 percent edge over her two opponents. When the pollsters asked a second question just centered around the three top contenders, the ballot test actually strengthened Drazan slightly, to a 35-33-21 percent margin. The last time a Republican was elected Oregon’s governor came in 1982. In terms of the state’s status perception, just 25 percent said that the Beaver State is headed in the right direction while 62 percent replied that Oregon is on the wrong track.

Senate

Arizona: Sen. Kelly Expands Advantage — After several mid-September polls found Republican US Senate challenger Blake Masters pulling to within the polling margin of error against Sen. Mark Kelly (D), two new surveys see the two-year incumbent pulling back ahead by a more substantial margin.

Suffolk University’s (Sept. 21-25; 500 likely Arizona voters; live interview) latest study reports a seven-point spread in the senator’s favor, 49-42 percent. Marist College’s new likely voter survey (Sept. 19-22; 1,076 likely Arizona voters; live interview, text & online) found a slightly smaller Kelly lead, 50-45 percent. The Arizona race continues to be one to watch, especially considering the late GOP surge that occurred here in 2020.

Washington: Another Outlier — Yesterday, we reported on The Trafalgar Group’s new September poll that posted Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) to a 49-47 percent lead over Republican Tiffany Smiley and suggested the poll may be an outlier, since no other firm found such a close division between the two major candidates.

Now we see Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling quickly countering with a new survey of their own (Sept. 27-28; 770 Washington voters). The PPP response gives Sen. Murray a much stronger 52-40 percent advantage. In the Aug. 2 Washington jungle primary, Sen. Murray outpaced Smiley, 52-34 percent.