Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Sen. Cruz in Potentially Competitive Re-Election Bid; Senate Challenge in New Mexico; Rep. Susie Lee Draws Opponent in Nevada; Redistricting Developments in Wisconsin

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 29, 2024

Senate

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Texas: Tight New Poll — Emerson College just released the results of their latest Texas statewide survey (Jan. 13-15; 1,315 registered Texas voters; interactive voice response system & online) that finds Sen. Ted Cruz (R) heading into a potentially competitive general election. The ballot test found the senator leading US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) by a slight 42-40 percent margin, and holding only a one-point, 41-40 percent split over state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio). Simultaneously, former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden 49-41 percent.

The poll is not particularly surprising in that Sen. Cruz’s personal favorability numbers have never been particularly good. However, there are a number of things that favor Sen. Cruz: the presidential election turnout model, Trump beating Biden in the state, the Biden energy policies being detrimental to Texas, and the southern border controversy — all play politically to Sen. Cruz’s favor. Therefore, despite the likelihood that we will see many close Texas Senate polls between now and the November election, the actual votes will favor Sen. Cruz winning re-election by a relatively comfortable margin.

New Mexico: Republicans Making Move to Challenge Sen. Heinrich — In order to expand what is a favorable Republican US Senate map, a prominent member of the GOP announced her candidacy. Nella Domenici, a former hedge fund CEO and daughter of the late six-term Sen. Pete Domenici (R), is the latest Republican to declare for the seat. Last week, former Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales switched parties to enter the GOP Senate primary. The eventual winner of the June 4 Republican primary will challenge two-term incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich (D).

The senator is favored for re-election, but Republicans improving among Hispanics could make this a competitive contest. New Mexico’s Hispanics register 50.2 percent of the state population universe according to the latest US Census report. The last time Republicans won a New Mexico statewide race was in 2014 when then-Gov. Susanna Martinez was re-elected. An August Public Policy Polling survey showed President Biden topping former President Trump 49-41 percent, suggesting the state could become competitive in the national election.

House

NV-3: GOP Ex-State Treasurer Announces for House — Earlier this month, Republicans lost their top congressional recruit in state Assemblywoman Heidi Kasama (R-Las Vegas), who instead of running for the House will seek re-election to what could become a tight Nevada Assembly. Kasama was clearly the top contender for the GOP nomination in a seat that is the most winnable for a Republican (FiveThirtyEight data organization rating: D+2) of the three Las Vegas competitive districts.

Now, former State Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R) is coming to the forefront to announce his congressional candidacy. While winning a statewide position in 2014, Schwartz has not fared well since, losing landslide races in his attempts to be elected governor, lieutenant governor, and a previous run for the 3rd Congressional District. It is likely the Republicans will have to recruit a stronger candidate against Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) if they are to move this race into the top tier.

Wisconsin: Congressional District Lines Challenged — A citizens group that famed Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias represents filed suit before the Wisconsin state Supreme Court arguing that the panel’s rejection of the state Senate and Assembly maps compels them to reconsider striking down the state’s congressional map.

According to the Daily Kos Elections site’s legal analysts, the legislature’s maps were returned for a re-draw because the court rejected the “least change” (from the previous map) practice that the legislature relied upon to draw the 2021 maps. The Elias group’s lawsuit maintains that the congressional map was also drawn under the “least change” practice, and therefore should be redrawn.

So far, however, the court has not taken action against the congressional map and time is running out. The secretary of state has informed the court that unless new maps are enacted into law by March 15, they will not be able to convert the electoral system in time for the 2024 election.

Redistricting Roundup

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 8, 2024

Putting together the redistricting puzzle

Several states have been conducting a second round of redistricting, and four have completed the process. Therefore, the group has new maps in place for the 2024 election cycle. Below is a redistricting recap:

Completed States

Alabama: The US Supreme Court rather surprisingly sided with the Democratic plaintiffs to force a redraw of the Alabama congressional map under the reasoning that a second majority minority seat could be drawn. The new map results in a pairing of Republican Congressmen Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) and Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) in a southern Alabama district that stretches from Mississippi to Georgia along the Gulf Coast and Florida border.

The Republican primary election, scheduled for March 5, will decide who represents this district likely for the remainder of the decade. Rep. Carl represents 59 percent of the new district while Rep. Moore overlaps with 41 percent of the new AL-1 territory. Since Carl and Moore are the only Republican candidates, no runoff election will be necessary.

As a result of the reconfiguration, a new Montgomery/Mobile-anchored 2nd District was designed to elect an African American. A total of 13 Democrats and eight Republicans are running for the new seat. Expect runoff elections to occur for both parties. The runoff election date is April 2. Democrats are expected to gain a net of one seat under the new court ordered map.

Georgia: The new Georgia congressional plan was completed and received court approval during the Christmas break. The court previously ruled that the plan should be drawn to create another majority minority district. The legislature and governor complied with the ruling in that they converted a racial coalition district into a majority minority seat. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) is moving from her current 7th District that lies east of Atlanta back to a more western suburban seat that is closer to the district from which she was originally elected. She should have little trouble winning the new 6th District.

Conversely, current 6th District Congressman Rich McCormick (R-Suwanee) will run in the new 7th CD that is Republican favorable. Therefore, expect no change in the 9R-5D Georgia delegation party division.

New Mexico: Republicans challenged the 3D-0R congressional map as an “excessive gerrymander,” but lost at the district court level. The New Mexico state Supreme Court then rejected the Republican appeal. Therefore, the current map will stand for the 2024 election, and likely throughout the decade.

The state’s 2nd District, while designed to elect a Democrat, is competitive and we can expect to see another tight election contest between freshman Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-Las Cruces) and former US Rep. Yvette Herrell (R). The 2022 race between the two ended with Vasquez unseating then-Rep. Herrell by less than one percentage point.

North Carolina: Republicans scored a big victory here, as the new map will yield the GOP a net three-seat gain. With Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) not seeking re-election, the Democrats are conceding the new 6th District without even fielding a candidate. Six Republicans are vying for the party nomination including former US Rep. Mark Walker and High Point Mayor Jay Wagner.

Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Cary) foregoing re-election in the new 13th District to run for the Senate in 2026 means the Republicans are a sure bet to convert this seat, too. A total of 14 Republicans have qualified for the ballot in this district.

The new 14th CD is another seat primed to go Republican. Democratic incumbent Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) is running for Attorney General, meaning state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland County) is becoming the prohibitive favorite to win this district.

The most competitive general election appears to be forming in the state’s 1st District where Democratic freshman Don Davis (D-Snow Hill/Rocky Mount) faces more Republican terrain in his new district. Former congressional nominee Sandy Smith and retired Army Col. Laurie Buckhout are vying for the party nomination. The Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians calculate a new 50.9D – 47.7R partisan lean, meaning the seat now only leans Democratic. Under the previous map, the 1st District partisan lean was factored as 54.1D – 44.4R.

States in Progress

Florida: The Florida congressional map was declared illegal at the district level, but the state Appellate Court overturned the ruling. Therefore, it is likely the current map will stand at least for the 2024 election cycle.

Louisiana: Like Alabama, Louisiana was under court order to redraw their map for purposes of creating another majority minority congressional seat. The court has given the legislature and its new governor, Republican Jeff Landry, until the end of this month to submit a new plan. It is likely that the two most affected Republicans will be Reps. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) and Julia Letlow (R-Start). It is probable that Democrats will gain one seat in the Baton Rouge area once the final plan is completed and adopted.

New York: The New York congressional map has been returned to the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission for a redraw. The new map will require approval from the state legislature. This is the “wild card” plan for the 2024 election cycle. Most believe Democrats will make big gains, and the current map favors the party, yet their candidates could not deliver what was expected in 2022. Should some of the districts be made more Democratic, other marginal seats in the adjacent areas could become more Republican.

The areas most likely to be affected are Long Island, Brooklyn/Manhattan, the Hudson Valley, and the upstate area in and around Syracuse. Expect Democratic gains once the process is complete, but it is difficult to project just how many.

South Carolina: The US Supreme Court has heard oral arguments on a lawsuit challenging the 1st District (Rep. Nancy Mace-R) as a racial gerrymander. The high court ruling is pending. A decision for the plaintiffs could mean the loss of one Republican seat. Rejecting their claim would mean the current 6R-1D delegation map will likely stand throughout the remainder of the decade.

Wisconsin: During the Christmas break, the state Supreme Court ordered a redraw of the state Senate and Assembly boundaries but did not rule on the congressional map. Most expect the court to order a federal reconfiguration as well, but time is growing short. The Secretary of State has informed the court that new maps will have to be in place before March 15 in order to conduct 2024 elections. A new congressional map would likely mean a net gain of at least one seat for the Democrats.

Trump Sweeping Biden in Swing States; Malinowski Searches for NJ Senate Support; GOP Puts Forth Interesting NY-3 Candidate; NC-13 Rep. Wiley Nickel Out; Longtime Pol Jumps Into NJ Race

Former President Donald Trump up in polling.

By Jim Ellis, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023

President

Bloomberg/Morning Consult Polls: Trump Sweeping Biden in Swing States — Bloomberg News and Morning Consult partnered for a swing state polling series in the domains that will likely decide the 2024 presidential election: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Individual surveys were conducted in each state during the Nov. 27 through Dec. 6 period. Sample sizes ranged from 451 registered voters to 801 such individuals depending upon the state’s population size. All included Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the questionnaire along with Independent Cornel West and likely Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

Trump led in all seven polls both when the ballot test included the minor candidates and when he and President Joe Biden were isolated. Trump’s margins (with the minor party candidates) were: Arizona (+4), Georgia (+7), Michigan (+4), Nevada (+5), North Carolina (+9), Pennsylvania (+1), and Wisconsin (+6).

To win the election, Trump would need to hold North Carolina, and carry Georgia plus one or two of the other aforementioned states. Trump’s smallest configuration to yield a victory of 270 electoral votes — and this assumes he holds all the other states he won in 2020 — would include Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Senate

New Jersey: Ex-Rep. Malinowski Interviews for Party Senate Endorsements — Former US Rep. Tom Malinowski (D), who served two terms in the House before his re-election defeat in 2022 and who is now an unannounced US Senate candidate, conducted interviews with the Union County municipal Democratic Party chairmen seeking their endorsement for his potential statewide bid. Malinowski represented most of Union County in the US House. New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) already are in the primary race, challenging indicted Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

Malinowski would have to overcome long odds in order to win the party nomination, and it is no foregone conclusion that he will actually enter the race. Despite calls for his resignation, Menendez is not leaving the Senate, nor has he ruled out running for re-election. Polls, however, suggest he would badly lose the Democratic primary.

House

NY-3: Local Republicans Nominate Mazi Melesa Pilip — The Nassau and Queens County Republican Party chairmen have nominated Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip, an Ethiopian-born former member of the Israeli military, as their special election congressional nominee. She will oppose the Democratic nominee, former Congressman Tom Suozzi in the Feb. 13 special election to serve the balance of expelled Rep. George Santos’ (R) term.

Interestingly, Pilip is reportedly still a registered Democrat even though she is an elected Republican and will now be the GOP congressional nominee. She is an interesting choice that will likely draw more attention to what is likely to become a competitive special election.

NC-13: Rep. Wiley Nickel Won’t Seek Re-Election, Will Return in 2026 — In an admission that he would not be successful running for re-election in North Carolina’s newly configured 13th Congressional District, Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Cary) announced late last week that he would end his career in the US House after one term. Rather, he will return to elective politics in 2026 and challenge Sen. Thom Tillis (R). In that year, Sen. Tillis, assuming he seeks re-election, will be on the ballot for a third term.

The new 13th District begins in the Dunn area south of Raleigh in Harnett County. The seat then moves northward around Raleigh on the east side of Wake County and stretches to the Virginia border. The 2022 state Supreme Court drew a 13th District that shared part of Wake County, annexing the city of Cary, and then moved south of the capital city to include Johnston County and parts of Hartnett and Wayne Counties.

The partisan lean for new Congressional District 13, according to the Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians, is 56.6R – 41.2D. Under the map to which Rep. Nickel was elected, the 13th CD held a much different 49.5D – 48.1R partisan lean.

Also leaving the North Carolina congressional delegation are Reps. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) and Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte), who like Rep. Nickel face difficult re-election odds on the new Tar Heel State congressional map. Jackson is running for the open state attorney general’s position and will probably face his colleague in the adjoining congressional district, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte), in the statewide race.

Governor

New Jersey: Defeated State Senate President Launches ’25 Gov Campaign — Former New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D), who served in the legislature for 20 years before his shocking upset defeat in the 2021 election, announced that he will enter the open 2025 gubernatorial campaign. Sweeney presided over the state Senate as its president for a 14-year period.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is ineligible to seek a third term and as in Virginia, where another odd-numbered gubernatorial position will be open, candidates are already announcing for their respective offices long before even the 2024 election transpires.

Announcing for the 2025 gubernatorial race before Sweeney was Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. Both US Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wycoff) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) are reported to be testing the waters to also run for governor. For the Republicans, former state legislator Jack Ciattarelli — immediately after his close 2021 loss to Gov. Murphy — already announced that he would return for another gubernatorial bid in 2025.

Trouble for Biden in Swing States; Incumbents Reign in 2023 Elections; Former Michigan Rep. Announces for Senate; What the Amo RI-1 Win Means

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023

President

President Joe Biden is in trouble in swing states. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Siena College/NYT Poll: Trouble for Biden in Swing States — Siena College and the New York Times teamed up on recent polls in six key swing states all conducted during the Oct. 22 to Nov. 3 period. The six states are: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The tested Republicans against President Joe Biden were former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. In all instances, with the exception of Trump in Wisconsin, the named Republican would poll ahead of President Biden, thus unseating him if the election were today.

Of the three Republicans, Haley performs the strongest against the Biden. Her best number, +14, comes among Wisconsin likely voters. Trump’s best state is Nevada (+11); DeSantis tops President Biden by five percentage points among Arizona registered voters; Biden’s best showing comes against Trump in Wisconsin (+2).

The Democrats certainly have time to right their political ship, and if Trump is convicted in any of his criminal cases, that might get adjudicated before the election, and the tables could quickly turn. This campaign will prove the most unique of presidential elections.

Election 2023

Déjà Vu: Incumbents Reign — The 2023 odd-numbered year elections are now in the books, and, as we saw on Election Night, the results are very similar to what occurred a year earlier in the 2022 midterm elections.

Most of the political pundits are calling this election year a victory for Democrats despite having an unpopular president in office, while others cite the abortion issue as a continuing turnout driver, which also benefits Democrats. Both statements are true, but perhaps the more definitive underlying pattern is that the incumbents, just as they did in 2022, again reign supreme.

In 2022, 55 of the 56 US senators and governors who ran for re-election won. In the US House elections, 98.1 percent of incumbents who ran for re-election were successful. On Election Night, we saw two more incumbent governors win again.

Governors Andy Beshear (D) and Tate Reeves (R) in Kentucky and Mississippi, respectively, were re-elected with similar five percentage point margins. Polling in the two states suggested a closer result for both incumbents, but each was favored to win.

The Virginia situation is a bit different. Largely due to new court-imposed redistricting maps that radically changed the complexion of most districts, voters elected Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature. It is inconsistent to rate the Virginia results as incumbent-oriented because we saw roughly one-third of all districts run without incumbents, and most of those office holders who did seek re-election found themselves in new districts vastly different from the one in which they were originally elected.

Democrats will now have at least 21 of 40 seats in the Virginia state Senate and 52 of 100 in the House of Delegates. The party division margin differences yield no change in the Senate, while Democrats converted at least four seats in the House.

While it’s difficult to overlay an incumbent victory matrix across the Old Dominion legislative elections, it is not unusual to see a state that has become reliably Democratic over the past two decades to again vote for that party’s candidates in the 2023 elections. Therefore, the fact that the state’s favored party over the course of time again performed better is consistent with the incumbent voting pattern seen elsewhere.

The abnormal facet of the incumbent-oriented elections we have witnessed in 2022 and now 2023 is that the issue polls consistently show voters certainly believing the country is headed down the wrong track, with similar feelings regarding most states. The state right direction/wrong track questions, however, are not as intensely negative as at the national level.

Yet, despite the recorded discontent, voters return to their respective polling places and almost unanimously re-elect the incumbents. This again suggests that the Republican campaign message machine needs an overhaul. It is clear that their campaign themes and approaches are not driving enough voters to support the GOP candidates in the most hotly contested races.

Once numbers become finalized, we can better understand the results. Because the 2023 vote tabulations verified the pattern set in 2022, it is likely this precursor favors incumbents at large, and more specifically the Democrats, to have another positive election year in 2024 despite what today’s issue polls may currently be projecting.

Senate

Michigan: Ex-Rep. Meijer Announces — Former one-term Congressman Peter Meijer (R), who was defeated for renomination in 2022, announced Monday that he will join the open Michigan US Senate field. The move had been expected for weeks, but is a curious one, nonetheless. It is hard to see a victory path for Rep. Meijer since he couldn’t get enough conservative support to defeat his ’22 GOP challenger, John Gibbs. Gibbs would then go onto lose the general election to now freshman Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-Grand Rapids).

The top Republican contenders for the party’s Senate nomination are former US Rep. Mike Rogers and retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig. It is possible that Meijer’s entry could actually help Rogers, since Craig and Meijer will likely both appeal to the more centrist element of the Republican voter base. If so, this will help Rogers unite the conservatives behind his candidacy and propel him to the nomination. Whoever wins the Republican primary will almost assuredly face Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) in the general election.

The open Michigan race is likely to be close, but Democrats will have at least a slight edge in the general election. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after serving what will be four full terms once the current congressional session concludes at the beginning of 2025.

House

RI-1: Gabe Amo (D) Wins Special Election — Former Biden and Obama White House aide Gabe Amo virtually assured himself of succeeding resigned Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) when he won the Sept. 5 special Democratic primary. Amo easily defeated Republican Gerry Leonard Tuesday in the special general election. Upon winning the seat, Amo now will be sworn in to the House and serve the balance of the current term.

Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District is solidly Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+32. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 64.9D – 33.1R. President Biden carried the seat with a 64-35 percent victory margin in 2020. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 99th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference — pretty secure. Therefore, there was little doubt as to which candidate would win the special election.

The Amo victory will bring the Democrats back to their full 213-member compliment in the House. The next special election, in UT-2, will be held on Nov. 21. Republican Celeste Maloy is favored to hold resigned Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R-Farmington) seat. Should she win, the House will be restored to its post-regular election division of 222R-213D.

Polling Projects Electoral College Win for Trump; California Senate Jockeying; New Jerseyans Want Menendez Out; New Candidate in MN-2; GOP Candidate Emerges in NC

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 23, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump

Trump’s Numbers: Polling Finds 291 Electoral Votes — According to a series of concurrently conducted independent polls, former President Donald Trump today would lead in enough states to provide him with 291 electoral votes, or 21 more than required to unseat President Joe Biden. Morning Consult, polling for Bloomberg News in various targeted states, projects Trump to leads in Arizona (+4), Georgia (+5), North Carolina (+4), Pennsylvania (+1), and Wisconsin (+2).

Last week, Emerson College also found Trump holding an advantage in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Simultaneously, the Marketing Resource Group saw Trump running seven points ahead in Michigan, but the more current Morning Consult/Bloomberg data shows the two candidates tied before the Wolverine State electorate. It is these aforementioned states that will make the difference nationally.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., now running as an Independent candidate, was not tested in the MC/Bloomberg survey series.

Senate

California: Sen. Butler Out; LA Anchorwoman I — Appointed California Sen. Laphonza Butler (D) announced yesterday that she will not run for a full term next year. Despite having more than a year in office after replacing the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), the early March 5 all-party jungle primary allowed her little time to begin competing against Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Katie Porter (D-Irvine), Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and former baseball great Steve Garvey (R), all of whom have a major head start in fundraising and campaign organization.

Los Angeles news anchor Christina Pascucci (D), on the other hand, became a late entry into the crowded US Senate contest, but said she is getting into the race “ … because I have to fight for what I believe is possible for California and for this country.” Pascucci describes herself as a “moderate Democrat.”

New Jersey: Constituents Favor Menendez Resignation — A newly released Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of the Garden State electorate (Aug. 6-14; 813 New Jersey adults; live interview & text) finds that 70 percent of the respondents, including 71 percent of Democrats, believe that indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) should resign his seat even without him having a chance to defend himself in court.

So far, Sen. Menendez has been adamant about not resigning over the federal charges that accuse he, his wife, and several associates of engaging in bribery. While the senator is not forced to leave office, polls such as this clearly suggest that he will be a severe underdog in a June Democratic primary race against US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and potentially several others.

House

MN-2: New Republican Candidate — The GOP leadership is making another attempt to unseat Minnesota US Rep. Angie Craig (D-Prior Lake), but this time it is likely they will have a new standard bearer. Former federal prosecutor Joe Teirab announced his congressional candidacy late last week. In the past two elections, Rep. Craig has defeated military veteran Tyler Kistner but with an average vote percentage of only 49.5 percent. Republicans hope a fresh face will be able to get the extra support to top the three term House incumbent.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates MN-2 as D+1, while the Daily Kos Elections site ranks the southeast Minnesota congressional district as the 14th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.

Governor

North Carolina: New Republican Candidate Emerges — Attorney Bill Graham (R), who says he will invest at least $5 million of his own money into his statewide race, announced his candidacy for the state’s open governor’s position. Many in the Republican establishment doubt that the early front runner, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, can win a protracted campaign, which is sure to feature a barrage of attack ads portraying him as an extremist.

The leading Democratic nominee is Attorney General Josh Stein, but he only won the 2020 re-election campaign with 50.1 percent of the vote. Therefore, the Republicans will be competitive in the governor’s race regardless of who they nominate. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

The Kennedy Factor

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023

President

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

RFK Jr.: Independent Impact — Since Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced that his presidential candidacy would move to the Independent line and away from the Democratic primary, it has been an exercise to predict which states his candidacy might detract from either President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump.

Though Kennedy is stating he will try to win the race as an Independent, the chances of him doing so are slim. Ross Perot, on the Reform Party ballot line in 1992, was the last minor party candidate who was significant in a modern-era presidential race. Perot received 18.9 percent of the national popular vote but won no states, meaning zero electoral votes. Bill Clinton won the 1992 election with 43.0 percent nationally and 370 electoral votes.

The last minor party candidate to secure electoral votes was at the time former Alabama Gov. George Wallace running on the American Independent Party line, back in 1968. He carried five states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi) for a total of 46 electoral votes. Richard Nixon won the ‘68 election with 43.4 percent of the popular vote and 301 electoral votes.

Assuming Kennedy also fails to win a state, there are certain places where his candidacy could still affect the outcome. This means capturing enough votes to tip a state from one of the major party candidates to the other. Using the 1992 race as a model for 2024 because of the minor candidate factor, overlaid with current voting trends, it appears that six states could be in the “Kennedy tip” category.

Such includes four from Biden to Trump; one from Trump to Biden; and one Trump “gettable” state to Biden. Thus, the Kennedy influence could be enough to slightly tip the national general election to Trump or into the House of Representatives to break a tie.

The four states that could flip to Trump are Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire. In 1992, former President George H.W. Bush carried Arizona, and to win this election Trump is virtually forced to also reverse his fortune from 2020 and carry the Grand Canyon State. In ’92, Bush won the state with a two-point margin over Clinton, while Perot attracted 23.8 percent. While the ’92 race occurred decades ago, the in-play states still exhibit the potential to provide a large number of votes to a minor party or Independent candidate, especially one with universal name identification.

Georgia is a state that must go to Trump if he is to have any chance of winning the general election. In 1992, Clinton carried the Peach State by less than one percentage point, while Perot garnered 13.3 percent of the vote.

Clinton carried the Silver State of Nevada with a three-point margin while Perot’s vote total was 26.2 percent. Should Kennedy also finish within the Perot vote total realm, it is reasonable to believe that more than a net three percentage point margin would come from President Biden’s total, which would likely be enough for Trump to win Nevada and add six electoral votes to his total.

New Hampshire, rated as one of the nation’s states with the greatest swing potential, also falls into the Kennedy tip category. Clinton defeated President Bush here by 1.3 percentage points in ’92, with a 22.6 percent vote factor for Perot. Again, if Kennedy were able obtain well over 20 percent in New Hampshire, a New England state with a strong history of supporting his family, that could tip the state’s four electoral votes to Trump. Only two points more from Kennedy’s aggregate would have to come from Biden’s total for Trump to win the state.

Alaska, however, with its Ranked Choice Voting system, could be a state that Kennedy’s presence could tip to Biden. The Ranked Choice Voting system has played to the Democrats’ favor here, and it may so again should the Kennedy factor be high enough to force the race leader below the 50 percent mark in order to jump-start the ranking procedure.

Finally, Wisconsin will be a major state in the ’24 election. In 1992, it also demonstrated a higher than average vote for Perot (21.5 percent). Clinton carried Wisconsin with a 4.3 v percentictory margin. These totals suggest that if Kennedy finished in the same realm as Perot in the Badger State, that would likely help President Biden.

The above scenario, assuming all other states voted as they did in the 2020 presidential race, would actually create an electoral college tie. Adding Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire and giving up Alaska would give both candidates 269 electoral votes, meaning the election would be decided in the House of Representatives.

Kennedy’s performance in these and several other states could well change the trajectory of the entire presidential race and becomes just one more unique factor in this so far unpredictable campaign.

Polls: Trump Up in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin & Michigan

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 16, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump moves ahead of President Joe Biden in three key state polls.

Key States: Trump Emerges in New Polling — Three of the more important states that will largely determine the 2024 presidential outcome reported new polling data late last week. The results are significant. Three polls from two different pollsters projected former President Donald Trump as surprisingly leading in the critical battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Emerson College surveyed voters in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all between the Oct. 1-4 period. MRG Research, polling for the Detroit News (Oct. 2-8; 600 likely Michigan voters), tested the Michigan electorate.

For the first time since he carried each of these states in the 2016 presidential election, these polls show that former President Donald Trump holds a general election edge over President Joe Biden in all three states. EC projects Trump holding leads of 45-36 percent in Pennsylvania and 42-40 percent in Wisconsin. In Michigan, MRG finds Trump posting a 42-35 percent advantage over President Biden.

Reviewing the national Electoral College map, in order to flip the 2020 election results Trump must convert states holding at least 35 electoral votes. The smallest number of in-play states equaling that particular electoral vote number is two: Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Pennsylvania (19).

If Pennsylvania does not come through for Trump, then a combination of Georgia (16), Arizona (11), and Wisconsin (10) voting Republican would also deliver the former president a victory. These examples, of course, presume that all other states vote the same as they did in 2020.

While it is mathematically conceivable for Trump to win the national election without carrying one of the aforementioned Great Lakes states, from a practical context, when considering recent historical voting patterns, it is virtually impossible. Realistically, if Trump is to turnaround the 2020 election outcome, he must carry at least one of these three domains.

That is why this polling release is worth noting.

Recently, we have been seeing issue polling that clearly favored Republicans on most issues, especially key ones such as economy, border security, immigration, and crime. The party’s positive numbers regarding the handling of those issues, however, were not translating into increased votes for Republican presidential candidates on ballot tests within those same surveys. Now, we see the candidate numbers beginning to turn.

The Emerson College Pennsylvania poll (Oct. 1-4; 430 registered Pennsylvania voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects Trump topping Biden by a large nine-point margin, 45-36 percent, well beyond the polling margin of error. Their Wisconsin survey (Oct. 1-4; 532 registered Wisconsin voters; multiple sampling techniques) also posts Trump to a lead, but a much smaller one, 42-40 percent.

Across Lake Michigan, MRG Research tested the Wolverine State electorate (Oct. 2-8; 600 likely Michigan voters) and their ballot test between Biden and Trump showed the the former president leading by a seven-point margin — 42-35 percent.

What is notable is that the Emerson Pennsylvania poll also tested the state’s budding Senate race between three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) and Republican businessman David McCormick. Here, the same polling sample turns back toward the Democrats.

In answering the Senate ballot test question, the respondents recorded a 41-33 percent split for Sen. Casey, a margin again well beyond the polling margin of error. This result is also stronger for Casey than the first publicly released poll of the Pennsylvania Senate contest, that from Quinnipiac University (Sept. 28-Oct. 2; 1,725 registered Pennsylvania voters). In the Q-Poll, Sen. Casey’s lead was 50-44 percent.

The fact that the polling sample would return to the Democratic column for the Senate race gives greater credence to the presidential number and suggests that this survey is no outlier.

In Emerson’s Wisconsin poll, the interviewers asked an interesting question. They queried both the Trump and Biden supporters whether there was anything their candidate could do that would change their vote. The results were almost identical.

A total of 50 percent of the Trump voters and 51 percent of the Biden voters said their support was solid, and nothing that either man might do between now and election day would change their vote. Conversely, 24 percent of Trump voters and 23 percent of Biden supporters suggested they could change their minds based upon their chosen candidate’s actions.

These responses tell us that both men have equally fervent support, but also gives each plenty of prospects with whom to potentially convince. We can expect Wisconsin to remain in toss-up mode all the way through the final vote.

These surveys mark the first time in this election cycle that Trump has posted such leads in these three critical battleground states. With still more than one year remaining until votes are cast much will happen to change how people will perceive the candidates, thus influencing their vote. For now, the present topsy-turvy political atmosphere seems to be favoring former President Trump.