Tag Archives: Washington

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.

YouGov/CBS News Abortion Poll Results; A Suspected Outlier in Pennsylvania Senate Race; Montana House Race Closer Than it Should Be

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022

Issues

YouGov/CBS News: Abortion Poll Results — The international polling firm YouGov, surveying for CBS News, released a new issue-oriented poll (Sept. 21-23; 2,253 US registered voters; 1,192 female voters; online), and its purpose was to largely test the abortion issue along with some other subject areas more likely to attract Democratic voters.

Though the abortion issue was highlighted as the central theme of the current poll, and the reported partisan segmentations only included Democrats and Republicans, thus omitting Independents; abortion as a voter turnout driver was still not at the top of the list.

The seven tested issues in common from these two isolated polls were (alphabetically)

  1. Abortion
  2. Climate change
  3. Crime
  4. Economy
  5. Gun policy
  6. Immigration
  7. Inflation

Unexpectedly dropped from The Economist poll list are the issue areas of civil liberties, civil rights, criminal justice reform, education, foreign policy, health care, national security, and taxes/government spending. The most surprising omissions were education and health care, which are included in virtually every issue matrix poll within the entire polling universe.

Though the abortion issue was highlighted as the central theme of the current poll, and the reported partisan segmentations only included Democrats and Republicans thus omitting Independents, abortion as a voter turnout driver was still not at the top of the list.

According to this latest YouGov finding, 59 percent of the respondents rated abortion as “very important” (the other two choices given the respondents were “somewhat important” or “not too/not important”), but this ranked seventh on the list of one dozen tested topics. Again, topping the grouping with an 82 percent “very important” rating was the economy. Here are the results, listed in descending order of importance:

  1. Economy — 82%
  2. Inflation — 76%
  3. Crime — 67%
  4. Voting & election issues — 64%
  5. Immigration — 62%
  6. Gun policy — 61%
  7. Abortion — 59%

While there were many differences between the female and male segments, both rated inflation as “very important” with the same 76 percent rating. The biggest chasm between the two genders was abortion. By an 18-point margin, more women (67 percent) than men (49 percent) rated the issue as “very important.” The other major differences were:

  • Climate change (women: 51% “very important”; men: 37%)
  • January 6th events & investigation (women: 47%; men: 36%)
  • Race (women: 41%; men: 30%)

The best news for Republicans on this poll: the enthusiasm gap still looks to favor them, which is also a key factor in winning lower turnout midterm elections. According to the YouGov/CBS data, Republicans have a five-point lead over Democrats among those saying they will “definitely” vote in the upcoming midterm election, 79-74 percent.

Senate

Pennsylvania: A Suspected Outlier — Several polls have been released regarding the Pennsylvania Senate race during September, and all but one has shown Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) closing on Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D).

The new Marist College poll (Sept. 19-22; 1,242 registered Pennsylvania voters; 1,043 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; live interview & online) sees Fetterman holding a 51-44 percent advantage, but the result appears to be an outlier. Five other pollsters, surveying during the Sept. 6-24 period find the Fetterman advantage to only be slightly more than three percentage points. On the other hand, 23 Pennsylvania Senate surveys have been released since the May primary and Fetterman has been posted to a lead in all.

Washington: Another Outlier — The Trafalgar Group (Sept. 21/-24; 1,091 likely Washington general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) just released data that no other pollster has even remotely found. According to this most recent Trafalgar result data, Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) lead over Republican Tiffany Smiley has dropped to just two percentage points, 49-47 percent. Though Trafalgar has proven itself very accurate in the elections since 2016, this poll appears to be an outlier.

In the most recent surveys conducted during the Sept. 6-15 period from Public Policy Polling and Elway Research, Sen. Murray holds an average lead of 11 percentage points. Still, Smiley’s effort is the strongest we’ve seen from a Washington statewide Republican candidate this century.

House

MT-1: Closer Than it Should Be — While Montana’s new western 1st District seat was drawn as a Republican CD — the FiveThirtyEight data organization projects a R+10 partisan lean — former US representative and ex-US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (R) leads Democratic Monica Tranel by just a 43-41 percent count according to the latter’s internal Impact Research poll (Sept. 14-19; 400 likely MT-1 general election voters; live interview & text).

The result is not particularly surprising considering that Zinke had a close call in the Republican primary, edging former state Sen. Al Olszewski by just a 42-40 percent split. Zinke’s image is his problem, according to the Impact Research survey. His favorability index stands at a poor 39:54 percent positive to negative. Perhaps more troubling, 55 percent of the poll respondents agree that Zinke is “out for himself,” and 50 percent characterize him as “corrupt.” The new MT-1 is a must-win for the Republicans if they are to capture the House majority.

DeSantis Comfortably Ahead in Fla; Conflicting Results in Ga. Senate; McMullin Lead Reversed in Utah

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 23, 2022

Governor

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Florida: DeSantis Comfortably Ahead — We haven’t seen a Florida governor’s poll in weeks that showed enough change to report upon, but yesterday we two were almost simultaneously released. Both largely confirmed that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has a lead beyond the polling margin of error.

Civiqs, polling for the Daily Kos Elections site (Sept. 17-20; 617 likely Florida general election voters; online), posts the governor to a 52-45 percent advantage over former governor and recently resigned Congressman Charlie Crist (D). Suffolk University (Sept. 15-18; 500 likely Florida general election voters; live interview) derived similar results. They project the governor’s lead to be 48-41 percent over Crist.

Senate

Georgia: Conflicting Results — Continuing the seesaw political affair between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and former NFL and University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker (R), we reported yesterday that the new Atlanta Journal-Constitution/University of Georgia poll (Sept. 5-16; 861 likely Georgia general election voters) finds Walker leading Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), 46-44 percent.

Later in the day, YouGov, polling for CBS News (Sept. 14-19; 1,148 registered Georgia voters; online) released their Georgia survey that pushed voters to make a Senate race choice, and found the same two-point margin but in Sen. Warnock’s favor, 51-49 percent. The exhaustive poll asked 72 questions, and while Sen. Warnock is clearly more favorably viewed than Walker, the vote continues to remain virtually even. The University of Georgia and YouGov/CBS News surveys are even more evidence that the Georgia Senate campaign will be decided in a turnout battle.

Utah: McMullin Lead Reversed — It took awhile to rebuff the Impact Research group’s early September poll that posted Independent Evan McMullin to a 48-47 percent lead over two-term Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R), but we now see conflicting looks as to what may be happening in this largely under-the-radar Senate challenge. OnMessage (Sept. 13-15; 700 likely Utah voters; live interview), polling for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), reports Sen. Lee to be holding a 51-34 percent advantage, a major difference from the Impact Research survey of two weeks earlier.

Following OnMessage, Lighthouse Research (Aug. 30-Sept. 13; 509 likely Utah voters), polling for the Utah Debate Commission, sees the senator holding a similar 48-37 percent margin over McMullin. Utah’s strongly Republican voting history suggests that these two latter polls finding Sen. Lee holding a substantial edge are likely more reflective of what will happen on Election Day.

House

WA-3: GOP Rebound — In late August, Expedition Strategies released a survey (Sept. 19-20; 400 likely WA-3 general election voters) that was cause for concern among local southwest Washington GOP activists and supporters. After Republican Joe Kent and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez denied Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) advancement into the general election from the Aug. 2 jungle primary, ES released their survey that gave the Democrat a 47-45 percent lead in the general election.

Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute, (Sept. 19-20; 834 WA-3 voters; live interview & text) now projects Kent to have overtaken Perez with a slight 47-44 percent margin. The WA-3 race is a must-win for the GOP if they are to reclaim the House majority, so this race merits further national attention.

Close Polling in Washington; NH-1 Still Undecided; Survey in NY Shows Gov. Race Tightening

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022

Senate

Washington Sen. Patty Murray (D)

Washington: Despite Jungle Vote, Close Polling — After a strong showing in the Washington jungle primary on Aug. 2 when Sen. Patty Murray (D) placed first with a 52-34 percent spread over veterans’ advocate and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R), a new Trafalgar Group survey finds a surprisingly close general election count. The Trafalgar survey (Aug. 30-Sept. 1; 1,087 likely Washington general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) yields a ballot test with a Murray advantage of only 49-46 percent, the closest result we have seen since the primary.

The only other post-primary survey came from McLaughlin & Associates, like Trafalgar, a Republican pollster (Aug. 15-17; 500 Washington likely general election voters; live interview & text). This ballot test featured a similar, but slightly stronger margin for Sen. Murray. The result broke 49-43 percent, just beyond the polling margin of error.

The McLaughlin poll found the respondents believing the country is on the wrong track by a major 24:68 percent margin, but President Biden’s favorability index was 48:51 percent favorable to unfavorable, one of his better marks in the country. Sen. Murray remains the favorite in this election, but the polling margins are tighter than what one would have predicted based upon Washington voting history and the actual jungle primary results.

House

NH-1: Primary Still Undecided — The University of New Hampshire released their latest Granite State Poll (Aug. 25-29; 1,993 New Hampshire online panel members; 419 NH-1 likely Republican primary voters; online) and, like the Remington Research Group survey concluded eight days earlier, sees a dead heat in the 1st Congressional District’s Republican primary. The UNH survey finds 2020 congressional nominee Matt Mowers holding a slight 26-24 percent edge over former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt with former news reporter Gail Huff Brown, the wife of ex-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), trailing at 16 percent.

The Remington ballot test (Aug. 14-17; 462 NH-1 likely voters; live interview & text) saw a 21-21 percent tie between Mowers and Leavitt with Brown attracting just nine percent support. Clearly, the Sept. 13 primary will feature a very close finish. The winner will then immediately move into a competitive race with second-term Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in a district that has defeated more incumbents than any other seat in the nation since 2004.

NH-2: Clear GOP Primary Leader — The University of New Hampshire’s Granite State Poll also tested the competitive western NH-2 District (Aug. 25-29; 1,993 New Hampshire online panel members; 469 NH-2 likely Republican primary voters; online) and projects that former Hillsborough County treasurer Robert Burns holds a 32-18 percent advantage over Keene Mayor George Hansel. The winner will then advance into a competitive race against five-term Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) in November.

Governor

New York: New Closer Survey — The Trafalgar Group and Insider Advantage teamed to produce a New York gubernatorial survey (Aug. 31-Sept. 1; 1,019 likely New York general election voters; multiple sampling techniques). Their ballot test yielded Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and US Rep. Lee Zeldin’s (R) closest result. The Trafalgar/IA responses posted the governor to a 48-43 percent edge. The most recent previous poll, from Survey USA (Aug. 17-21; 1,200 New York adults; 1,046 registered voters; 715 likely New York governor election voters; online) found a 51-33 percent spread in Gov. Hochul’s favor.

Florida, NY, OK Primaries; Term Limits Polling; Whitmer With Larger Lead

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022

Primaries

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Florida — The Sunshine State voters also will choose their nominees today, and many important intra-party races will be decided.

Gov. DeSantis Well Ahead in Pre-Primary Poll — Florida voters will choose their general election nominees today, and a new Cherry Communications survey (conducted for the Florida Chamber of Commerce; Aug. 4-15; 608 likely Florida general election voters; live interview) projects Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as well positioned for re-election. The CC poll results find the governor leading US Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) 51-43 percent, while his advantage over state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is a similar 50-43 percent. This, in a state where Republicans traditionally under-poll. Crist, the former governor and multi-time statewide candidate who has run, and lost, under the Democratic, Republican, and Independent banners.

After recent polls found Florida Crist falling into an increasingly more competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign with Fried, a new St. Pete Polls survey, on election eve, finds the congressman and former governor now ahead in a landslide. The St. Pete Polls survey (Aug. 20-21; 1,617 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system) projects Rep. Crist to be holding a major 59-30 percent lead, far above any advantage he has recently posted. The Democratic winner will face Gov. DeSantis in November and will face an uphill battle against DeSantis in a campaign that will become a national event.

The Senate nomination contests in both parties, while leading to a competitive general election, are set. Sen. Marco Rubio (R) will be defending his seat against US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), the former Orlando police chief. Recent polling has tightened, but voting history suggests that Sen. Rubio has at least a small lead.

A large number of US House races feature competitive nomination battles beginning in northwestern Florida’s 1st District where controversial Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) is in a serious campaign with former FedEx executive Mark Lombardo. Gaetz’s highly publicized legal trouble is front and center in this race as well as Lombardo charging that the congressman’s national activities and profile have taken his attention away from serving the local district. This is certainly a race to watch, and a Lombardo upset is possible.

Florida gained a new seat in national reapportionment, and the state’s 15th District has been created. The district stretches from Lakeland into Tampa and leans Republican but we can expect some competition in the general election. Both parties feature five-person candidate fields. Polling suggests that former Secretary of State Laurel Lee has the inside track for the Republican nomination over state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa). The leading Democrat appears to be former news anchorman and two-time congressional nominee Alan Cohn.

New York — When the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ordered the congressional districts and state Senate map redrawn, a second primary was scheduled just for these races. The original NY primary was held on June 28. The congressional and state Senate nominees will be finally decided today, and many US House contests are in a competitive mode.

Oklahoma: Close Result on Tap for Tonight in OK-2 — When Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) opted to run for the Senate, his open eastern Oklahoma congressional district drew a crowded 14-candidate Republican field. In the June 28 regular primary for the strongest GOP district in the state (R+55 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization), two candidates advanced into today’s runoff election even though they finished with less than 30 percent of the aggregate primary vote combined.

State Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) topped former state Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-Ada) by just 757 votes to secure the first runoff position. Brecheen then claimed the second slot over former Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee by an even lesser 616-vote margin. In all, the top five candidates finished within 2,892 votes of each other.

Polling finds that the race still remains tight. The wrap-up Sooner Poll (Aug. 11-17; number of likely voter polling respondents undisclosed) projected Rep. Frix holding the lead, but with only a 43-35 percent margin. While Frix apparently enjoys a small edge, this race is still anybody’s game.

Rep. Mullin has enjoyed large leads in his bid for the Senate in post-primary polling up until the latest release. Immediately after the June 28 primary election, where he easily topped former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, 44-18 percent within a field of 12 candidates, Rep. Mullin was seeing average leads of 18 percentage points among three polls conducted from July 25 through Aug. 15.

The latest study, however, from the Sooner Poll, which is an add-on track from their Aug. 11-15 survey that ended on Aug. 17 (322 likely Oklahoma Republican runoff voters), shows the congressman’s statewide advantage at only 53-47 percent over Shannon. Tonight’s special runoff winner will advance into the general election against former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D).

Governor

Michigan: Whitmer With Larger Lead — Countering last week’s published Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) teamed Michigan governor’s study (Aug. 8-14; 1,365 likely Michigan voters; live interview & text) that projected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to be leading online talk show host Tudor Dixon (R) 51-46 percent, Democratic pollster Blueprint Polling (Aug. 15-16; 611 likely Michigan general election voters; live interview) posts the governor to a much larger 51-39 percent advantage.

Ohio: One-Point Lead — Democratic pollster Lake Research (Aug. 4-9; 611 OH likely general election voters; live interview) released their latest survey that finds Gov. Mike DeWine (R) holding only a narrow one-point, 44-43 percent, edge over Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D).

This result is not particularly surprising. First, the Ohio electorate typically polls close and then one candidate significantly pulls away in the campaign’s last two weeks. Second, Gov. DeWine won his Republican primary with only 48.1 percent of the vote opposite three opponents suggesting clear weakness within his party’s base. Additionally, over one-third of DeWine voters say their support for him is “not so strong” or that they are only “leaning” in his direction. Expect the governor to soon use his strong financial advantage to put distance between he and Mayor Whaley.