Election Insights
Election Insights is a political analysis publication of the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC). BIPAC is an independent, bipartisan organization, that is supported by several hundred of the nation’s leading businesses and trade associations.  The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of our organization.


August 10, 2018
Ohio 12 Special Election and August 7 Primary Highlight Week
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Primary Results: key August 7 nomination findings
  • New Mexico: ex-Gov. Gary Johnson possible Senate Libertarian nominee
  • FL-9: ex-Rep. Alan Grayson (D) within competitive range of freshman Rep. Darren Soto (D) in August 28 Democratic Primary
  • FL-27: former HHS Secretary and University of Miami President Donna Shalala (D) lead receding - leading a group of 5 Democratic candidates with 26% of the vote 
  • Florida Gov.: Rep. Ron DeSantis & ex-Rep. Gwen Graham pulling well ahead in primaries
  • Georgia, Maine & Rhode Island:  polls show dead heat in Governor's races
  • Maryland Gov.: former NAACP president Ben Jealous (D) releases poll

Primary Results

The August 7th primaries featured several key nomination races.

Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) appears to have defeated Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor (D) in the central Ohio special congressional election by a scant 50.1% of the vote, meaning a 1,754 unofficial vote margin. Mr. Balderson will take the seat once the vote is officially certified. Approximately 3,300 provisional ballots remain to be counted, and absentee ballots postmarked Election Day could still be a factor. It is likely the Balderson margin will hold, and then the two candidates will return to again do battle in the general election since both won the Ohio regular primary back in May.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach are still locked in a virtual tie for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Mr. Kobach leads by just 91 votes statewide with several thousand provisional ballots remaining to be counted. Remaining are between 8,000 and 10,000 provisional and absentee ballots, with more post-election ballots likely on the way. Election officials were scheduled to accept absentee ballots postmarked on Election Day through close of business today. Not all of the uncounted ballots are for the Republican primary, so it is difficult to say just how many votes remain in political overtime. The eventual winner will face new Democratic nominee Laura Kelly, a Topeka state Senator, and credible Independent candidate Greg Orman in the general election.

The open Kansas 2nd District produced nominees for what will likely be a toss-up general election. Former state House Minority Leader and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis was unopposed in the Democratic primary. The Republican winner is defense contractor and Afghan War veteran Steve Watkins, who placed first in a field of seven candidates with just 26.2% of the vote. He defeated three state Senators, a state Representative, and a former state House Speaker. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Topeka) is retiring.

In the 3rd District, Democrat Sharice Davids, a former White House Fellow and Mixed Martial Arts professional, defeated Bernie Sanders' backed attorney Brent Welder and four others, including 2016 nominee Jay Sidie who finished dead last. Ms. Davids advances to face four-term Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park) in the general election.

Michigan Republicans chose retired Army Ranger and manufacturing company owner John James, who earned President Trump's endorsement, over venture capitalist Sandy Pensler, 55-45%. He now faces three-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). The incumbent begins the general election as a strong favorite for re-election.

In addition to nominating candidates for the open Detroit-area 13th Congressional District seat in the coming Congress, choosing someone to fill the current vacancy for the remaining portion of the term was also virtually decided last Tuesday night. The unusual saga ended with two different people winning the regular election Democratic nomination, which is tantamount to victory in November, and the special election party nod. Former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib won the regular Democratic primary, which makes it a certainty that she will represent the 13th District in the next Congress. But, Detroit City Council president Brenda Jones won the Democratic special election primary. Therefore, when the special general is held on November 6th, she will undoubtedly be elected, but for only the two-month term.

It will likely be a few more days before we know who advances into the general election against Republican Dino Rossi from Washington's 8th District. Physician Kim Shrier (D) and attorney Jason Rittereiser (D) are locked in a tight battle for second place. In the jungle primary format, the top two finishers advance to the general election. Because Washington uses an all-mail voting system and allows ballots to be postmarked on Election Day, it can take many days to count all of the ballots. Regardless of the final primary result, this will be a close general election battle.

Senate

New Mexico: Just days after the New Mexico Libertarian Party officially asked former Republican Governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson to assume the party's US Senate nomination after the man who won the June 5th primary, Aubrey Dunn, withdrew, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) released his internal polling numbers. Mr. Johnson says he is considering whether to accept and may take several days before rendering a decision.

Seeing Johnson's potential move, Sen. Heinrich then quickly released his GBA Strategies survey (8/1-5; 800 NM likely voters) that suggests the former Governor entering the race would virtually seal the incumbent's re-election. According to the poll results, Sen. Heinrich would register 47% support if Republican Mick Rich and Mr. Johnson were both on the ballot opposing him. In this configuration, Rich would score 29%, and Johnson 22%. Therefore, even though Sen. Heinrich would likely drop below 50%, the split vote would make him a lock for re-election.

House

FL-9: A new Survey USA poll conducted for Spectrum News 13 in Kissimmee (released 8/9/18; 875 FL-9 registered voters) finds freshman Rep. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee) leading former Rep. Alan Grayson by a relatively slim 45-38% margin as the two move toward the August 28th Democratic primary. Rep. Grayson represented the 9th District since its creation before the 2012 election. He left in 2016 to unsuccessfully enter the Democratic Senatorial primary. Mr. Grayson fell to then-Rep. Patrick Murphy, who would lose the subsequent general election to Sen. Marco Rubio (R). Rep. Soto, a former multi-term state legislator, is running in his first congressional re-election campaign. He defeated three other Democrats, including Mr. Grayson's wife, in the 2016 Democratic primary, and then easily carried the general election.

FL-27: Former Health & Human Services Secretary and University of Miami President Donna Shalala's open congressional Democratic primary lead is receding according to one of her opponents who has released his own survey data. Non-profit organization executive Matt Haggman's RABA Research poll (8/2-5; 433 FL-27 likely Democratic primary voters) found Ms. Shalala leading the crowded group of five candidates with only 26% of the vote. Mr. Haggman was second at 16%, followed by state Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami), who posted 15% and Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez who trails with 11%. Therefore, it appears this race is tightening as the candidates head toward the August 28th Florida primary.   Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami) is retiring.

NY-27: News was released earlier in the week that Upstate New York Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence/Batavia) is now under federal indictment for securities fraud. Therefore, how might this effect the political situation in the 27th Congressional District? Rep. Collins has already said he will stay on the ballot. Currently, he is facing Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray who will appear on the Democratic, Working Families, and Women's Equality Party ballot lines. Rep. Collins is on the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party lines. A third candidate, businessman Larry Piegza, is representing the Reform Party.

At this point, the race does not look competitive. Mr. McMurray has raised only $133,000 for the campaign, with $81,772 in the bank according to the June 30th Federal Election Commission financial disclosure report. Until the indictment, the seat was rated as safe Republican. Should Mr. Collins decide not to continue the campaign, the various party county chairmen would convene to choose a new nominee. In the 2016 election, President Trump carried NY-27 by 25 percentage points, 60-35%. Obviously, this situation will further develop.

Governor

Florida: The Florida Republican Governor's campaign has been an interesting one because of the juxtaposition between the two main candidates. Early, it appeared that Agriculture Commissioner and former US Congressman Adam Putnam was the clear favorite, but now US Rep. Ron DeSantis, (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach) is putting his campaign into overdrive. Thus, the race's transformation appears complete as the two candidates draw ever nearer to the August 28th Florida primary election. A new North Star Opinion Research poll (8/5-7; 600 FL likely GOP primary voters) sees DeSantis' lead now approaching landslide proportion, 50-30%.

Last week, gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham released her Anzalone Liszt Grove Research Democratic primary poll that projected her building a strong 33-17-13-10-3% lead over Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, billionaire Jeff Greene, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and businessman Chris King. This week, Mayor Levine released his Public Policy Polling survey (8/5-6; 572 FL likely Democratic primary voters) that finds a considerably closer race. According to the PPP results, Ms. Graham continues to lead, but with a much closer 26-22-16-13-4% margin over Levine, Greene, Gillum, and King, respectively. The race is open because term-limited Gov. Rick Scott (R) is running for the Senate.

Georgia: Two national polling firms tested the Georgia electorate soon before or right after the July 24th Republican run-off election, and both find a 46-44% split between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp. But, each pollster sees a different leader. Survey USA, polling for WXIA television in Atlanta (7/15-19; 1,199 GA likely voters), found Mr. Kemp with the 46-44% advantage. Gravis Marketing, just releasing their new survey (7/27-29; 650 GA likely voters), projects Ms. Abrams to be holding the same margin and finding. Obviously, this general election contest is beginning on an even footing.

Maine: Suffolk University tested the Maine electorate now that the open general election contest between Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills and Republican businessman Shawn Moody is well underway. The poll (8/2-6; 500 ME likely voters) finds the two candidates deadlocked at 39% apiece. President Trump's job approval rating in Maine, according to this survey, is 41:54% positive to negative. In the general election, Hillary Clinton carried the state, 46-43%.

Maryland: Former NAACP president Ben Jealous, the Maryland Democratic nominee for Governor, just released the results of his Garin Hart Yang Research poll taken in mid-July (7/10-14; 601 MD likely general election voters) that finds him trailing Gov. Larry Hogan (R), 49-40%.

While nine points is a significant deficit, such a marginal can still be overcome, hence the belated effort to stem the building tide against the Jealous gubernatorial effort.

Rhode Island: In 2014, then-state Treasurer Gina Raimondo (D) won a tight 41-36-21% victory over Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) and Independent Bob Healey to become Rhode Island's governor. A new WPRI 12 News/Roger Williams University survey (7/28-31; 407 RI likely general election voters) finds the Governor leading Mr. Fung by only a 39-37% margin for the 2018 re-match. Therefore, despite Rhode Island's strong Democratic voting history, the 2018 Governor's race again looks to be highly competitive.


August 3, 2018
Tennessee Primary and Upcoming Ohio 12 Special Election Kicks Off Active August Campaign Schedule
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Arizona:  Rep. Martha McSally (R) leads field in GOP Senate primary; Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) would lead McSally in a general Senate general contest 48-44% in latest polling
  • Texas:  new numbers find Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in re-election battle with Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D)
  • IL-6:  Rep. Peter Roskam (R) ahead 7 points over opponent Sean Casteel (D), 44-37%
  • MI-13:  John Conyers III out again - does not qualify to run as an Independent
  • OH-12:  new tight August 7 special election poll shows close race between state Senator Troy Balderson (R) and Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor (D); Balderson with slim polling lead
  • Hawaii:  Gov. David Ige (D) rebounds from a 29-point deficit and now leads Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) in gubernatorial primary, 43-34% in latest polling
  • Tennessee:  businessman Bill Lee (R) and former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) win respective primaries for Governor

Senate

Arizona:  Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights for the local Phoenix ABC15 television news released a new Arizona Senate survey (7/23-25; 600 AZ likely general election voters; an additional 576 likely Republican primary voters) just as the candidates enter the last month of primary campaigning. According to OHPI, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) would lead Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) 48-44%, if the general election were in the current period and if the Tucson Congresswoman wins the Republican nomination on August 28th. In their last public offering of this race, published in April, the research organization projected Rep. Sinema to have a 48-42% margin over Rep. McSally.

In the Republican primary, Ms. McSally tops former state Senator Kelli Ward and ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, 35-27-15%. The Arizona race is one of the keys toward determining which party will control the Senate in the next Congress. Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is retiring after one term.

Michigan: In the close Michigan US Senate Republican primary contest, President Trump announced his official support for retired Army Ranger and manufacturing company owner John James as he battles venture capitalist Sandy Pensler for the party nomination. Polls have projected a tight race, so the Trump endorsement could make a significant difference in the final totals. The move may already be having an effect. A new MIRS/Mitchell Research small-sample flash poll (7/30; 413 MI likely Republican primary voters) finds Mr. James now taking a substantial 44-30% lead over Mr. Pensler. Previously, Pensler had led in virtually every statewide survey. The winner faces an uphill climb against three-term incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D). The Wolverine State primary is scheduled for August 7th.

Texas: The new Quinnipiac University poll (7/26-31; 1,118 TX registered voters) shows the already competitive Texas US Senate race getting tighter. According to the new Texas Q-Poll, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leads Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso), 49-43%, which again projects the race to be in single digits. Sen. Cruz's personal favorability ratio is 50:42% favorable to unfavorable. Rep. O'Rourke, though not as well known, posts a similar 33:23% index.

House

FL-16: A new St. Pete Polls study (7/28; 681 FL-16 likely voters via automated response device) finds six-term Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota) leading attorney David Shapiro, his probable Democratic opponent, by a ten-point margin, 44-34%. The 16th district is a reliable Gulf Coast Republican seat, but the GOP did lose a key special state Senate election within the district confines earlier in the year. Therefore, this gives Democrats hope that they can build upon such success and seriously challenge Mr. Buchanan in the fall. The St. Pete data again suggests that the Congressman is in relatively strong political shape and having millions of dollars at his personal disposal means he will never be without the resources to adequately communicate his political message in order to drive Republican turnout.

IL-6: Victory Communications conducted an independent survey of the hotly contested 6th Congressional District campaign (7/23-25; 600 IL-6 likely general election voters) and found 12-year incumbent Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) leading businessman and climate change activist Sean Casteel (D) in the Chicago suburban area campaign. The poll finds 44% of the respondents supporting Rep. Roskam, while 37% back Democratic challenger Casteel. The Congressman's personal favorability index ratio was recorded at 47:37% positive to negative.

MA-7: Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is challenging 20-year incumbent Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) in the September 4th Democratic primary. While she earned a high-profile endorsement from Attorney General Maura Healey (D) this week, a new WBUR public television poll (7/27-29; 403 MA-7 likely Democratic primary voters) finds Rep. Capuano topping Ms. Pressley, 48-35%.

MI-13: John Conyers III announced, after his father resigned from Congress last December, that he would run for the vacated Detroit-anchored congressional seat that John Conyers Sr. had held since 1965. But, he was disqualified from participating in the Democratic primary because he failed to submit the required number of valid petition signatures. Mr. Conyers just recently announced that he would run as an Independent after a court upheld the County Clerk's original primary election ruling. Now, he has been bounced again. Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett announced that Conyers does not qualify to run as an Independent because he entered the Democratic primary. Therefore, the state's "sore loser" law prevents him from appearing on the general election ballot.

OH-12: With the August 7th special election fast approaching to replace resigned Rep. Pat Tiberi (R), Gov. John Kasich (R) has taken to the airwaves to appear in a new commercial backing Republican nominee Troy Balderson, a Zanesville state Senator. A new Public Policy Polling survey was also released. According to the PPP figures (7/27-29; 617 OH-12 likely special election voters), Sen. Balderson has a 48-44% lead over Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor (D). After the PPP data became public, Monmouth University put forth their polling results (7/26-31; 512 OH-12 likely special election voters) showing a closer 44-43% result in the Republican's favor. For the cycle, all eight polls conducted for the race find Balderson leading the race, but none project him reaching the 50% plateau.

OK-1: With former Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Tulsa) accepting a position in the Trump Administration and resigning from Congress, the Tulsa-anchored 1st Congressional District is vacant. Attracting a field of five Republicans and five Democratic candidates for the safe Republican seat, the June 26th primary produced a secondary GOP run-off election featuring former Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris and businessman Kevin Hern.  

Now, with the August 28th run-off less than a month away, a new Newson6-Oklahoma Sooner Poll (7/24-29; 811 OK-1 likely Republican run-off voters) finds Mr. Harris posting a 38-26% advantage over Mr. Hern. The original primary election yielded a 27-23% Harris-Hern first and second place finish, which advanced both into the run-off. For the Democrats, attorney Tim Gilpin and oil business analyst Amanda Douglas are also embroiled in a run-off election, but no polling numbers were released for this contest.

Polling Trilogy:The Freedom Business Alliance released polls in each of three key congressional districts. The survey research firm IMGE Insights conducted all the polls during the July 9-12 period. The respondent total in each of three isolated districts is 400 likely voters. The states have already held their primary elections, so the tested candidates are official nominees.

CA-25: In the race featuring Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) and non-profit organization executive Katie Hill (D), the two candidates were tied at 47% apiece.

CO-6: An almost identical result was found in the contest between Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and attorney Jason Crow (D). Here, both men posted 45% total support.

NY-19: Another close contest is also developing in the rural Upstate New York district between Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) and attorney Antonio Delgado (D). In this contest, Rep. Faso recorded a 49-44% edge.

Governor

Alabama: Gov. Kay Ivey (R), running for her first full term after ascending to the Governorship when former incumbent Robert Bentley (R) was forced to resign in April 2017, has opened up a substantial lead in a new Cygnal Poll (7/24-25; 1,027 AL likely general election voters). According to the Cygnal data, Gov. Ivey leads Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D), 56-42%.

Florida: Before billionaire former US Senate candidate Jeff Greene became an active Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine appeared to have an advantage over former US Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee). A new St. Pete Polls automated survey (7/30-31; 1,652 FL likely Democratic primary voters) finds Ms. Graham again holding down first place with 29%, and this time Mr. Greene follows at 23%. Mayor Levine drops to third place with 19%, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum posts 12% support.

Another new twist just occurred. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) just endorsed Mayor Gillum, so could this help him move up in the field and possibly challenge for the lead? With the Florida primary scheduled for August 28th, this new month promises to bring intense political action as the many candidates fight through to the coming Election Day.

Hawaii: Aloha State Gov. David Ige (D) appears poised to make an epic comeback in his Democratic primary battle with US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu). Earlier in the cycle, Gov. Ige trailed by as much as 29 points with a support figure under 25%, but now the Merriman River Group (7/19-21; 871 HI likely Democratic primary voters) finds that he has eclipsed the polling deficit and more. According to the MRG results, as the two candidates trade political punches nearing the August 11th primary election date, Gov. Ige now leads the contest, 43-34%.

Illinois: A new Illinois Public Opinion, Inc. small-sample poll (7/12; 423 IL likely general election voters; via automated response device) gives both gubernatorial candidates and President Trump poor approval ratings. Doing the worst is Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), who records a terrible 27:62% favorability index. But, his Democratic opponent, venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker, posts a 29:44%, also well below the average ratio. President Trump's index is 38:55%. With that background, Mr. Pritzker leads Gov. Rauner on the ballot test, 39-26%. He is favored to unseat the first-term incumbent in November.

Kansas: A new JMC Analytics survey (7/24-26; 500 KS likely Republican primary voters, including some who have already cast early ballots) finds new Gov. Jeff Colyer trailing Secretary of State Kris Kobach as the candidates enter the last full week of campaigning before the August 7th primary election. According to the poll, Mr. Kobach has opened a 34-25-11-8% GOP primary advantage over Gov. Colyer, former state Sen. Jim Barnett, and state Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, respectively. Gov. Colyer, originally elected Lt. Governor, ascended to the state's top position in January when then-incumbent Sam Brownback (R) resigned to accept a position in the Trump Administration.

Tennessee: Rising above the fray of attacks between Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) and former state Economic Development Commissioner Randy Boyd, businessman Bill Lee came from the outside to win the Tennessee gubernatorial Republican nomination, with a 37-24-23% win over Mr. Boyd and Rep. Black, respectively. Considering the way Tennessee has voted in the recent past, the GOP nomination is now tantamount to winning the general election. This gives Mr. Lee the inside track against former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who easily defeated state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley), 75-20%.

Texas: Contrasting the aforementioned Quinnipiac University Texas poll (see Texas Senate above), Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is expanding his lead over former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D). The Q-Poll projects the Governor's advantage to be 51-38%, and he leads in all age and gender categories. He trails among African Americans and Hispanics. The Governor's approval rating is 51:32%, while Ms. Valdez's ratio is already an underwhelming 25:20%. While Gov. Abbott's favorability rating is just slightly better than Sen. Ted Cruz's, his negatives are much lower. Cruz's unfavorable mark is a full ten points higher than Mr. Abbott's.


July 27, 2018
Georgia Run-Off Results Highlight Week
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • 2020 Convention:  Republicans choose Charlotte, NC
  • California:  further warning signals for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) as she continues to fall below the 50% mark; Republicans may skip voting on race per new Public Policy Institute survey
  • Florida:  new Senate polling - Gov. Scott (R) leading Sen. Nelson (D) 44-40%
  • Georgia Run-off:  Lucy McBath (D) wins in 6th District and faces Rep. Karen Handel (R) in general; Democrats nominate Carolyn Bourdeaux to oppose Rep. Rob Woodall (R); Secretary of State Brian Kemp defeats Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in GOP primary for Governor in 69-31% landslide
  • MI-11 & MI 13:  new pre-primary polling numbers show US Treasury Dept. official Haley Stevens leading over opponents in Democratic primary; tight three-way race in Democratic party primary in MI-13
  • PA-17:  Monmouth Univ. poll:  Rep. Conor Lamb (D) leads Rep. Keith Rothfus (R) 51-39%

President

Convention: The Republican National Committee announced on Friday that the party's 2020 presidential nominating convention will be held in Charlotte, NC, making it the second time the city will have hosted a national major political party convention. In 2012, Democrats gathered there to re-nominate President Barack Obama.

The Democratic National Committee has narrowed its convention site choice to three cities: Houston, Miami Beach, and Milwaukee. They have set the event schedule, however, and the convention will be held from July 13-16, 2020. A fourth city host finalist, Denver, saw its leadership withdraw after the calendar was announced because of scheduling conflicts in conjunction with their convention facilities.

Senate

California: US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) received some further disconcerting news from a new Public Policy Institute of California survey (7/8-17; 1,711 CA adult residents; 1,420 CA registered voters; 1,020 CA likely voters; questionnaire provided in English and Spanish) this week. The poll found her leading state Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), a former state Senate President, 46-24%. While the advantage seems substantial, she continues to fall below the 50% mark, and has, in fact, never hit that mark. Even in the jungle primary election, Sen. Feinstein's total vote only equaled 44%. The poll also determined that as many as 20% of the polling respondents, mostly Republicans, said they plan to skip the race, voting for neither Feinstein nor de Leon. This could prove problematic for the Senator who, in the end, is expected to attract more Republican votes than de Leon, a contender well left of the five-term incumbent.

Florida: The Florida Senate race, one of the top campaigns in the country, has been bouncing back and forth between three-term incumbent Bill Nelson (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R) for an extended period of time. Though the Florida primary isn't until August 28th, it is a foregone conclusion that both men will advance into the general election.

A new Florida Atlantic University survey was just released (7/20-21; 800 FL registered voters) and it finds Gov. Scott leading Sen. Nelson, 44-40%, which, interestingly, is the exact result they found from their May statewide poll.  Gov. Scott also led substantially on job approval ratings. According to this data, by a ratio of 50:32%, voters approve of the Governor's job performance. Conversely, Sen. Nelson's approval index is much lower at 37:32%.

House

CA-24: Third-time congressional candidate Justin Fareed (R) just released a new internal Olive Tree Strategies poll (7/12-15; 404 CA-24 likely general election voters) that claims he trails freshman Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) by only one percentage point, 47-46%. In 2016, culminating a tough open seat campaign, then-County Supervisor Carbajal defeated businessman Fareed, 53-47%. The 24th District, covering all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, with a sliver of Ventura added, can yield close campaigns but probably not a Republican victory. The constituency voted 57-37% in Hillary Clinton's favor, for example.

CO-6: Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has consistently won his tough suburban Denver district that was drawn to elect a Democrat. A new Global Strategy Group poll (7/11-17; 506 CO-6 likely general election voters) for the Jason Crow (D) campaign finds the Democratic challenger posting a tight 47-45% edge. Like in many polls this year, and what could prove to be the Democrats' greatest asset in the current election cycle, the unaffiliated voters are breaking decidedly their way. According to GSG, Mr. Crow's margin within this segment is 49-35% over Rep. Coffman. The race will be classified as a toss-up all the way to Election Day.

GA-6&7: In the Georgia Democratic US House run-off campaigns earlier in the week, gun control activist Lucy McBath defeated businessman Kevin Abel, 54-46%, to become the party nominee for the right to face freshman Rep. Karen Handel (R-Roswell). The Congresswoman begins the official general election campaign with more than $1 million in her bank account and is the clear favorite in the 6th District general election.

In the northeastern Atlanta metro 7th District, Democrats nominated former state Senate Budget director Carolyn Bourdeaux to oppose four-term Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville). She won a close 52-48% contest over businessman David Kim in a very low turnout election of just over 15,000 voters. Here, too, the Republican incumbent is considered the favorite for November.

Louisiana: The final state to hold its candidate filing deadline is now reporting its political contenders for the fall, meaning the entire country has set its political card. Louisiana has no Governor or Senate race this year, and none of the six House incumbents, all seeking re-election, appear to have drawn stiff competition for their November elections. It is probable that each of the half-dozen House members: Reps. Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson/Mesquite), Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans), Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette), Mike Johnson (R-Benton/Shreveport), Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Alexandria), and Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) will all win outright on November 6th.

MI-11: Target Insyght released the Democratic primary numbers for their survey of Michigan's open 11th CD (7/16-18; 500 MI-11 likely Democratic primary voters). According to the results, former US Treasury Department official Haley Stevens leads technology corporation CEO Suneel Gupta, the brother of CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, state Rep. Tim Greimel (D-Troy), and ex-Homeland Security Department official Fayrouz Saad, 21-15-14-7%, respectively, as the candidates move toward the August 7th primary election.

MI-13: A lot of news coverage has been generated about which member of the Conyers family will succeed resigned Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) in Michigan's now vacant 13th Congressional District. According to a just-released district survey from Target Insyght (7/16-18; 600 MI-13 likely Democratic special election and primary voters), however, it doesn't appear that state Sen. Ian Conyers (D-Detroit) is well positioned to win the Democratic nomination, which is tantamount to general election victory in this center-city district.

According to the TI data, a very tight three-way race is evolving for the party primary. Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones has a miniscule 21-20-19% lead over Westland Mayor Bill Wild and former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib.   State Sen. Coleman Young II, son of the former Detroit Mayor, is next with 14%, while Ian Conyers trails badly at 8 percent. The Michigan primary is scheduled for August 7th. In the general election, because he failed to qualify for the primary ballot, John Conyers III, the former Congressman's son, has entered the contest as an Independent.

PA-17: Monmouth University (7/19-22; 401 PA-17 registered voters) gives us the first glimpse of the western Pennsylvania paired incumbents' race between Reps. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley). Rep. Lamb, fresh from his special election victory that allowed him to spend more than $10 million to become known throughout western PA, is taking advantage of his early assets. In the Monmouth survey, Mr. Lamb posts a strong 51-39% lead over Rep. Rothfus in a district that looks to be a pure toss-up on paper. The 17th District will host one of the most important congressional campaigns in the 2018 cycle.

Governor

Florida: Billionaire Jeff Greene's (D) late entry into the Florida Governor's race is dramatically changing the Democratic primary. Quickly spending more than $10 million to re-acquaint himself with the voters - he was a US Senate candidate in 2010 - Mr. Greene has jettisoned into third place and is clearly damaging former front runner Philip Levine, the wealthy Miami Beach Mayor.

According to an Associated Industries of Florida poll (released 7/24; 800 FL likely Democratic primary voters), former US Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee) has surged into the lead with 24%. Mayor Levine drops to 16%, just ahead of Mr. Greene with 13%, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who has 12 percent. Businessman Chris King, as he has for most of the campaign, languishes in low single digits at 4 percent.

On the other hand, Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy just released a new survey (7/23-25; 1,000 FL likely voters; 500 FL likely Democratic primary voters; 500 FL likely Republican primary voters) and they, too, find Mr. Greene garnering substantial primary support. M-D also sees Ms. Graham leading the group. According to their result, she has a stronger 27-18-12-10-7% support margin over Messrs. Levine, Greene, Gillum, and King. For the Republicans, the Mason-Dixon numbers report a conclusion similar to several others. They find Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach) leading Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam 41-29%, in a race that looks completely different than it did last month. The Florida primary is August 28th, so these fluid campaign situations can still change.

Georgia: Peach State voters went to the polls this week and Republicans chose Secretary of State Brian Kemp to oppose former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in the state's open general election for Governor. Mr. Kemp's victory over Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was a landslide 69-31% result. Mr. Cagle's self-inflicted political wounds, then allowing Mr. Kemp to move to his ideological right, and President Trump and Vice President Pence endorsing within the last two weeks all culminated in a huge victory for the retiring Secretary of State. Survey USA (7/15-19; 1,199 GA likely general election voters) tested the November election just before the run-off vote, and found Mr. Kemp topping Ms. Abrams, 46-44%.

Illinois: Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) has long been down in the polls even before his poor performance in the March Republican primary when he barely won re-nomination. The newly released Victory Communications survey provides no contrary information. According to the data (6/26-28; 1,208 IL likely general election voters via automated response device), Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire venture capitalist, leads Gov. Rauner, also a billionaire, 45-30%, in a race where combined spending will likely top $300 million for the campaign cycle. Obviously, Illinois is the Democrats' best national conversion opportunity.

Kansas: The Remington Research Group released a new poll of the Kansas Governor's campaign (7/19-20; 1,189 KS likely general election voters via automated response device) and finds a distinct difference in how the general election polling respondents break depending upon who is cast as the eventual GOP nominee.

If Gov. Jeff Colyer wins the party nomination, he would lead state Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) and significant Independent candidate Greg Orman, 38-28-10%. But, if Secretary of State Kris Kobach wins the Republican gubernatorial nomination on August 7th, the race becomes much tighter. Remington projects a virtual dead heat in the latter scenario, with Mr. Kobach leading 36-35-12% over Kelly and Orman, respectively. Having Mr. Orman campaigning from the left clearly makes the Democrats' task more difficult as the eventual nominee will attempt to become the first party member to win the Kansas Governor's office since Kathleen Sebelius was re-elected in 2006.

Oklahoma: The new 9News (Oklahoma City)/Sooner Poll (7/18-20; 483 OK likely GOP run-off voters) finds the two Republican run-off participants, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and mortgage banker Kevin Stitt in a dead heat, tied at 38% apiece. In the primary, Cornett placed first in a field of ten candidates with 29% of the vote. Mr. Stitt placed second with 24%, thus both advanced to the run-off election. The winner of the August 28th contest moves to the general election against former Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who won the Democratic nomination outright on June 26th. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Oregon: Gravis Marketing released the results of their Oregon gubernatorial poll (7/16-17; 770 OR likely general election voters) and surprisingly find Gov. Kate Brown (D) and state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) tied at 45%, apiece. The sampling group contains 33% registered Democrats, 23% registered Republicans, with the remainder (44%) being Independent or unaffiliated voters. But, the major party respondents are a bit under-represented in each party. The actual Oregon voter registration rolls show the Democrats at 35.6%, Republicans claiming 26.1%, and the combined Independent and unaffiliated total reaching 35.9%.

Rhode Island: Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who lost the 2014 Governor's race to then-state Treasurer Gina Raimondo (D) in a close 41-36% vote with Independent Bob Healey capturing over 21%, is again challenging for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. This week, Mr. Fung's campaign released the results of their latest Public Opinion Strategies survey (7/11-14; 400 RI likely Republican primary voters) that projects their candidate to a huge GOP primary lead over state House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, 62-22%. Ms. Morgan claims the results are so lopsided because the survey was a "push poll", designed to test an extreme situation. It will take some time to determine who is correct. The Rhode Island statewide primary is not scheduled until September 12th.


July 20, 2018
Conflicting Polling Results Emerge in Top Senate and House Contests
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • California:  Sen. Diane Feinstein snubbed at California Democratic Party session; Democrats award official endorsement to challenger Kevin de Leon, a LA state legislator and former state Senate President
  • West Virginia:  recent polling shows SCOTUS vote key determiner for Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in ballot test with GOP challenger, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey 
  • FL-6:  in what may be the closest race in the nation, latest polling indicates it's a dead heat for the Republican nomination between former state Rep. Fred Costello, retired Naval officer John Ward, and businessman and retired Army Green Beret Michael Waltz
  • Florida:  Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) pulling away in primary race for Governor from former Rep. Adam Putnam (R)
  • Georgia:  Secretary of State Brian Kemp outpacing Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in upcoming July 24th run-off; President Trump officially endorses Kemp, with Vice President Pence set to make campaign appearance 
  • Hawaii:  Gov. David Ige (D) leading his primary opponent, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) for the first time

Senate

California:Despite serving her 26th year as a US Senator, California Democratic Party delegates overwhelmingly awarded their official endorsement to challenger Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles state legislator and former state Senate President. In voting at a special delegate session open to only 330 individuals throughout the state, 65% of the attenders this past weekend at the Oakland meeting voted for the state party to officially endorse de Leon. Sen. Feinstein, who was present at the meeting, urged the party members to vote for "no endorsement" when it became obvious she could not win. She attracted only 7% support. The remaining 28% did as she asked and voted "no endorsement."

The ballot initiative that would have divided California into three separate states and created an additional four Senate seats under a modified US state map over a long process, will not be voted upon. Though the initiative qualified for the ballot in terms of valid petition signatures, the California State Supreme Court late this week ruled the initiative question unconstitutional. Therefore, the proposition dies before voters have their say.

Michigan:National Research, polling for the non-connected Outsiders PAC (7/11-14; 600 MI likely Republican primary voters), finds venture capitalist Sandy Pensler leading retired Army Ranger and manufacturing company owner John James, 28-21%, with still a huge 41% undecided as the candidates enter the final days of the Republican primary campaign. The Michigan primary will be held August 7th. The winner faces Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) in the general election.

Missouri:The Missouri Senate race may arguably be the most topsy-turvy race in the country so far this year. Most polls have shown just a small lead for one contender or the other but, in most, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) has enjoyed a slight advantage. Earlier this week, the Remington Research Group released its new Show Me State survey for the Missouri Times news site (released 7/10; 1,034 MO registered voters via automated response device) that finds Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) again claiming the lead, with a slim 48-46% edge over Sen. McCaskill. We can expect this race to be rated a toss-up all the way to Election Day.

Montana:Early last week, Axios Media/Survey Monkey released polls of 13 Senate races that included Montana. The SM study found Sen. Jon Tester (D) opening up a substantial 55-42% lead over state Auditor Matt Rosendale (R). Just as the week closed, the Remington Research Group (7/8-10; 2,581 MT likely general election voters) published their new survey that shows Mr. Tester holding only a 49-46% advantage. Polling has given Sen. Tester consistent leads and larger margins than Remington detected in their latest study. Therefore, more data will be needed to determine if the Remington results are detecting a new trend or putting forth outlier data.

New Jersey: A new Gravis Marketing poll for the Breitbart News site (7/6-10; 563 NJ likely voters) finds former pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin (R) pulling to within a 43-41% margin of Sen. Bob Menendez (D) despite heavy advertising attacking the former man for prices and availability of various life-saving medication. Hugin, who has loaned at least $7.5 million of his own money to his campaign, has countered with his messages attacking Sen. Menendez over ethics. The reference, of course, is the Grand Jury indictments brought against the Senator that resulted in a hung jury, dismissal of charges, and finally the government folding their case.

Tennessee:A series of four Tennessee Senate polls were released within the July 2-14 period, and both Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) and former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) find public data projecting them as the race leader. As we covered last week, the Axios Media Survey Monkey poll (6/11-7/2 (for their 13 state polls); 1,010 TN registered voters) found Rep. Blackburn leading definitively at 55-41%. This was followed by a WPA Intelligence poll (7/9-11; 551 TN likely voters) that found her ahead, but with a more pedestrian 38-35% margin.

Public Policy Polling simultaneously released their data (7/10-11; 583 TN likely voters) that saw Mr. Bredesen up 44-41%. Now, Emerson College publishes their Tennessee poll (7/11-14; 657 TN likely voters) that projects Bredesen to an even larger 43-37% advantage. Combined, this tells us that we have no clear current leader at the present time. Mr. Bredesen has the statewide name identification and positive image advantage, while Rep. Blackburn's solid conservative base and Tennessee's voting history since the former Governor left office are the key points in her favor.

West Virginia:The Trafalgar Group (7/13-16; 1,158 WV likely general election voters) released their latest poll, and the ballot test confirms what other pollsters have also been reporting. According to Trafalgar, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) leads Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), 50-40%. This is the first reported poll that has tested what happens if the incumbent votes either for or against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Should Sen. Manchin vote for Kavanaugh, his support margin soars to 59-30%. If he chooses to oppose the judge, the race becomes a toss-up at 47-45%.

Wisconsin:The Marquette Law School is back with their latest poll (7/11-15; 800 WI registered voters; 305 likely Democratic primary voters; 216 likely Republican primary voters) that tested the Wisconsin Republican primary where voters will determine on August 14th who advances into the general election to face Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D).   According to the results, state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), who has Gov. Scott Walker's support along with many other state Republican leaders, has a very slight 34-32% edge over businessman Kevin Nicholson.

House

AL-2:Four-term Alabama Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) easily turned back a Republican run-off challenge from former US Representative and ex-Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, on Tuesday. The Congresswoman scored a 68-32% victory, winning in all 15 of the 2nd District's counties. The run-off turnout exceeded 71,000 Republican voters. The race was a re-match of the 2010 general election when Ms. Roby unseated then-Rep. Bobby Bright, who at the time was a Democratic incumbent.

Rep. Roby appears secure for the general election. She now faces business analyst Tabitha Isner, who won the Democratic nomination outright on June 5th. Ms. Isner reported having less than $90,000 in her campaign account on the just-released June 30th Federal Election Commission campaign disclosure report, however.

CA-48: A new Monmouth University poll surveyed the Republican Orange County 48th District that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) has held since 1989. According to the MU data (7/11-15; 402 CA-48 registered voters), Democratic challenger Harley Rouda, a businessman, has crept into a 46-43% lead over the Congressman. Though this district features a Republican registration advantage of 40-30%, the race has evolved into a toss-up largely because of seemingly favorable comments that Mr. Rohrabacher has made about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

CA-49: Contradicting polls were released about this southern California congressional campaign between Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey (R) and attorney Mike Levin (D) this week. The two are battling to replace retiring Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista).

Several days ago, the Feldman Group (6/24-27; 400 CA-49 likely voters with a 200-person oversample of those who register No Party Preference) found Mr. Levin leading the race on a 44-41% count, which expanded to 49-46% when those who responded that they are leaning to one candidate or the other were added. The new Harkey Campaign poll, from Public Opinion Strategies (7/15-16; 400 CA-49 likely voters), reports their candidate claiming a similar three-point lead, 46-43%. Ms. Harkey, hailing from Orange County, leads in the Orange County section 53-42%, and just 44-43% in the dominant San Diego County segment.

FL-6:Rep. Ron DeSantis' (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach) is leaving a dead heat Republican primary in his wake as he mounts a statewide campaign for Governor. According to a new St. Pete Polls survey (7/18; 477 FL-6 likely Republican primary voters via automated response device), a virtual three-way tie exists for the Republican nomination. According to St. Pete, former state Rep. Fred Costello, retired Naval officer John Ward, and businessman and retired Army Green Beret Michael Waltz, record respective support figures of 21-20-20%, which looks to be the closest three-way contest anywhere in this national election cycle. The Florida primary is August 28th, and the outcome is obviously in doubt.

HI-1:Former Congressman Ed Case (D-HI-2) may be coming back. Mr. Case was first elected in a 2002 special election but decided to launch an ill-fated Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Daniel Akaka in the 2006 Democratic primary instead of continuing his career in the House. Mr. Case has since attempted another run for the US Senate and entered a 2010 special congressional election for the 1st District. Before coming to Congress, he had lost a gubernatorial campaign.

Now a new Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy survey (7/6-11; 244 HI-1 likely Democratic primary voters) signals that Mr. Case may be returning to the winning track. According to the data, he leads the field of five Democratic opponents with 36%. Lt. Gov. Doug Chin is second with 27%, ahead of state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (14%), and three others who fail to reach 10% support. The Hawaii primary is scheduled for August 11th.

Governor

Florida:In June, five Florida statewide polls from five different pollsters all projected Agriculture Commissioner and former US Rep. Adam Putnam (R) to be leading US Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach). Now, five current July polls show the exact opposite.

From the surveys released during the July 2-17 period, Rep. DeSantis posts advantages of six to 20 points from five different polling firms. 1982 Polling, for the DeSantis Campaign, Remington Research, Fabrizio, Lee & Associates, Gravis Marketing, and St. Pete Polls, find DeSantis now leading Putnam from a low margin of 35-29% (Gravis Marketing; 7/13-14; 905 FL likely Republican primary voters) to a whopping 20-point spread from St. Pete Polls (50-30%; 7/16-17; 1,709 FL Republican registered voters via automated response device). The results represent a stunning turnaround, but more than a month remains in this explosive campaign. The Florida primary is August 28th.

Georgia:Controversy has surrounded Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle soon after he finished first in the May 22nd Republican gubernatorial primary. In a telephone conversation with fourth place finisher Clay Tippins, one that the latter man secretly taped, Mr. Cagle admitted he supported a particular piece of legislation simply for political reasons. He believed supporting the bill in question would head off opponents' spending against him in the Governor's race. Once his comments were released to the media, the voter reaction became what one would expect.

After finishing first with a 39-26% margin over Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a new Opinion Savvy poll for the local Atlanta Fox News affiliate (7/17-18; 466 GOP likely run-off voters) sees Mr. Kemp outpacing Lt. Gov. Cagle, 55-37%, which is the biggest spread between the two candidates since primary election night. Additionally, President Trump has just officially endorsed Mr. Kemp, and Vice President Mike Pence is coming to the state to campaign for him over this weekend. The Georgia run-off election is Tuesday, July 24th.

Hawaii:Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy released a new survey (7/6-11; 494 HI likely Democratic primary voters) that finds Gov. David Ige pulling ahead of his Democratic primary challenger, US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu), for the first time. The new M-D numbers find Gov. Ige now ahead 44-40%. This is a highly significant finding because it was Mason-Dixon, in March, who found Ms. Hanabusa forging a commanding 47-27% advantage.


July 13, 2018
Topsy-Turvy Missouri Senate Race Polling Caps Summer Survey Results in Key Contests
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Missouri:  flip-flopping polling data in Senate race with small leads for either Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) or Attorney General Josh Hawley (R)
  • CA-49:  Democrat Mike Levin jumps out to lead in Rep. Darrell Issa's (R) open seat over Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey (R) in recent polling
  • NJ-2:  Republicans back away from candidate Seth Grossman because of past racist statements with chance of retaining Rep. Frank LoBiondo's (R) seat slim at best
  • NY-14:  defeated Rep. Joe Crowley (D) still on general election ballot with Working Families Party nomination despite losing in the Democratic primary to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • NC-9:  Democrat Dan McCready leads in the open seat race against Baptist former pastor Mark Harris (R), who upset incumbent Rep. Bob Pittenger (R) in the GOP primary
  • Alaska:  three polls find Gov. Bill Walker (I) trailing former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) and former U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D)

Senate

Arizona: Axios Media, in conjunction with the Survey Monkey organization, launched a 13-state US Senate race study (conducted during 6/11-7/2 where 12,677 registered voters were interviewed in their 13-state sample taken from their pre-qualified universe of 3,000,000 respondents). The Arizona results (1,290 sample size) finds Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) leading Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson), the strongest Republican in the field, by a 48-44% margin. Under various turnout models, the Sinema range stretches from one to six percentage points.

Florida: The Axios-Survey Monkey polling project also tested the Florida electorate (1,080 respondents - see Arizona Senate above for further details) and found Gov. Rick Scott (R) to be leading Sen. Bill Nelson (D) by a 49-46% margin. Under all tested turnout models, Gov. Scott's lead reaches from three to nine percentage points.

Indiana: Again covering the Axios-Survey Monkey data, this time for Indiana (952 respondents - see Arizona Senate above for further details), the results find former state Rep. Mike Braun (R) topping Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) 49-47%. Under the pollsters' elasticity models, the Braun advantage ranges anywhere between one and eight percentage points depending upon the voter turnout model employed.

Missouri: The Missouri Senate race may arguably be the most topsy-turvy race in the country so far this year. Most polls have shown just a small lead for one contender or the other but, in most, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) has enjoyed a small advantage. For example, the Axios Media/Survey Monkey poll (see Arizona Senate) posted the Senator to a 49-47% advantage.

Yesterday, however, Remington Research released its new Show Me State survey for the Missouri Times news site (released 7/10; 1,034 MO registered voters via automated response device) and finds Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) slipping back into the lead, posting a slight 48-46% edge over Sen. McCaskill. We can expect this race to be rated a toss-up all the way to Election Day.

Nebraska: The Grassroots Targeting qualitative research organization yesterday released the results of their recent 1,000 person voter survey of the Nebraska electorate and found first-term Sen. Deb Fischer (R) cruising to re-election. According to the GT results, Sen. Fischer would lead Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould (D) 63-28% if the election were held in the current time frame.

Nevada: The new Gravis Marketing Nevada poll (6/23-26; 630 NV likely general election voters) finds Democratic US Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson) taking a 45-41% lead over incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R) in one of the nation's most critical US Senate races. The Survey Monkey, in its 13-state Senate study as described above (see Arizona Senate), finds Rep. Rosen to be holding a similar 48-45% edge with a ballot test range of between one and five percentage points depending upon various projected turnout models.

North Dakota: One more state the Axios-Survey Monkey project tested was North Dakota. There, 457 respondents participated (see Arizona Senate above for further details). According to the Survey Monkey results, at-large US Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-Bismarck) holds a 52-47% edge over Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) and the data models range from five to ten percentage points in the Congressman's favor.

Ohio: In addition to the Missouri results, Ohio is the only state where the Axios-Survey Monkey elasticity turnout models produce different leaders. According to the released data (951 OH respondents - see Arizona Senate above for further details), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) leads Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth), 52-44%, but the elasticity stretches from the most likely eight percentage point Brown margin all the way to a one-point edge for Rep. Renacci. In the remaining Democratic incumbent states tested: Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the sitting office holder has a strong lead under all scenarios.

Tennessee: Here, the Axios-Survey Monkey data (1,010 respondents - see Arizona Senate above for further details) produces a much stronger Republican result than in most other polls. According to these data, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) is opening up a substantial 55-41% lead over former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), with an elasticity range of 14 to 19 points depending upon turnout model scenario.

West Virginia: The Mountain State Axios-Survey Monkey results (892 respondents - see Arizona Senate above for further details) are also more favorable to one candidate than most polling suggests. Here, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) leads Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), 53-40%. The turnout model elasticity range favors Sen. Manchin from 11 to 13 percentage points.

House

CA-49: Democratic candidate Mike Levin released the results from his first campaign poll conducted in conjunction with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In the San Diego/Orange County congressional seat that Republican Darrell Issa (R-Vista) is vacating, the new Feldman Group poll (6/24-27; 400 CA-49 registered voters with an over-sample of 200 independents who are registered as "No Party Preference") finds the poll sponsor leading Republican Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey (R) 44-41% in the first ballot test, and 49-46% when those leaning to both candidates are added to the sample.

NJ-2: New events in New Jersey's open 2nd District have caused the National Republican Congressional Committee to back away from its endorsed nominee. Information coming into the public domain revealing past racist statements from Republican candidate Seth Grossman is precipitating the action. Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May) has long been considered the favorite to replace retiring twelve-term incumbent Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor), so GOP chances of retaining this seat were slim at best even at the beginning of the campaign.

NY-14: Amid a back-and-forth controversy between New York Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx) and the woman who defeated him in last month's Democratic primary, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the prospect of a general election campaign between the two still remains. Though Mr. Crowley lost the Democratic primary, he won the Working Families Party nomination, which means he has ballot placement for the general election. Though being called upon by the Working Families leadership to resign from the ticket, Mr. Crowley has refused to do so, but still says he supports Ocasio-Cortez. Therefore, it is at least conceivable that we could see a re-match between the two in the general election.

NC-9: Former pastor Mark Harris upset GOP Rep. Bob Pittenger (R-Charlotte) in the May 8th Republican primary, but a new poll suggests the new party nominee is trailing as the candidates move toward the general election vote on November 6th. The North Carolina-based Civitas Group, a conservative think tank that often sponsors polls of the Tar Heel State electorate, contracted with Survey USA to test the 9th Congressional District race.   According to the poll (7/5-8; 543 NC-9 likely general election voters), businessman Dan McCready (D) has jumped out to a 43-36% lead over Mr. Harris.

WI-1: Labor activist Randy Bryce (D) was raising millions of dollars when he was running against Speaker Paul Ryan (R) before the latter man announced his retirement. Now, his cash-on-hand still reads over $2 million but so far, that doesn’t seem to be helping him in his Democratic primary battle with Janesville School Board member Cathy Myers. According to a just-released Remington Research poll, Ms. Myers has assumed a 34-33% lead as the two move closer to the August 14th Democratic primary. Republicans are sure to nominate University Regent Bryan Steil, a long associate of Speaker Ryan. The race is expected to generate strong competition in November.

Governor

Alabama: A just-released recent Atlantic Media & Research survey (6/12-14 & 6/18-21; 440 AL registered voters) finds Gov. Kay Ivey (R) jumping out to a major 53-28% general election lead over Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D). Both Gov. Ivey and Mayor Maddox won their respective Republican and Democratic Party nominations outright on June 5th, so neither was forced into a July 17th run-off election.

Alaska: Last week, the Alaska Research Service released polling numbers that found Gov. Bill Walker (I) falling well behind both Republican former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy and Democratic ex-US Senator Mark Begich. The ballot test showed Gov. Walker trailing in third place, 38-33-23%, behind both Dunleavy and Begich.

This week, the Governor released his own Patinkin Research Strategies poll (6/22-28; 800 AK likely general election voters), but his own survey actually confirms significant portions of the ARS poll. According to Patinkin, Mr. Dunleavy is also placed in the lead with 36%, followed by Gov. Walker attracting 28%, while Mr. Begich polls last at 22%. Later, Harstad Strategic Research conducted a survey for the Alaska AFL-CIO and also found Messrs. Walker and Begich alternating positions.

According to the Harstad results (6/21-26; 602 AK likely general election voters), Mr. Dunleavy holds a 32-28-28% lead over his two opponents. The polling also finds that both Walker and Begich would top Dunleavy in a one-on-one race, but there is no sign that either the Governor or ex-Senator will soon depart the campaign. So, unless something changes before the August 21st primary, the Alaska Governor's race will feature three major candidates.

Minnesota: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research ran a survey of the upcoming August 14th Minnesota Democratic gubernatorial primary (6/25-27; 602 MN likely Democratic primary voters) and found Attorney General Lori Swanson leading the primary field of candidates with 37% when leaners are included. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato) was second at 29%, and state Rep. Erin Murphy (D-St. Paul), the officially endorsed Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate, is well back with only 17% support.

The eventual Democratic nominee will face either former Gov. Tim Pawlenty or Hennepin County Commissioner and officially endorsed Republican candidate Jeff Johnson in the general election. Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is retiring after serving two terms.

Wyoming: A new University of Wyoming poll for Wyoming Public Media and the Wyoming PBS outlet (6/18-20; 596 WY Republican voters) finds that any of the candidates can still win the August 21st GOP primary to succeed term-limited Governor Matt Mead (R). State Treasurer Mark Gordon places first with 19% of the vote, followed by businessman Sam Galeotos who polls 14%, while attorney Harriet Hageman follows with 11%, and retired physician and former gubernatorial candidate Taylor Haynes has 10 percent. Billionaire investor Foster Friess is next with 7%, and businessman Bill Dahlin follows with just 1% preference.


July 6, 2018
New Polling Results Out in Top Contests for Senate and Governor
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Michigan:  GOP Senate race tightens between venture capitalist Sandy Pensler and retired Army Ranger and manufacturing company owner John James
  • Minnesota:  polls show leads for Senators Amy Klobuchar (D) and Tina Smith (D) over potential Republican general election opponents
  • Nevada:  Gravis Poll finds Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) topping incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R) in Senate race
  • Alaska:  major race changes - businessman Scott Hawkins (R) ends gubernatorial campaign;  former Gov. Tony Knowles (D) publicly endorses former Sen. Mark Begich (D), now a candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary
  • Rhode Island:  Governor Gina Raimondo (D) and Republican opponents file

Senate

Michigan: Though venture capitalist Sandy Pensler has been spending heavily in the Republican primary - well over $1 million reportedly through the end of March of the over $5 million he injected into the campaign - a new Target Insyght survey for the Michigan Information and Research Service (6/24-26; 800 MI likely voters; 400 likely Democratic primary voters; 400 likely Republican primary voters) finds him clinging to only 32-29% lead over retired Army Ranger and manufacturing company owner John James.

But, Mr. Pensler countered by releasing a Strategic National poll (6/16-21; 1,000 MI registered voters), taken much earlier in the month. This data posted him to a 33-18% advantage. Looking at the polling pair, the results suggest that while Mr. Pensler still leads the primary race, Mr. James appears to be gaining ground.

Minnesota: The Outstate blog, the creation of former GOP congressional candidate Stewart Mills, recently commissioned a BK Strategies poll of the Minnesota statewide electorate (6/24-25; 1,574 MN likely voters). In the pair of US Senate campaigns, the Democratic incumbents enjoy leads over their potential Republican general election opponents.

Looking at the race that appears secure for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), who is seeking a third term, the incumbent begins with a sound 57-37% advantage over state Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker). The central Minnesota state legislator is one of four Republicans running, but the only one tested in the hypothetical November contest.

In what could develop into a competitive general election, appointed Sen. Tina Smith (D) begins with a high single-digit lead over two-term state Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Mary's Point), 48-39%. Though Ms. Smith is the state's former Lt. Governor, running in the Senate race marks the first time she will individually appear on the Minnesota ballot.

Nevada: The new Gravis Marketing Nevada poll (6/23-26; 630 NV likely general election voters) finds Democratic US Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson) taking a 45-41% lead over incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R) in one of the nation's most critical US Senate races. Nevada is so important because it is one of two states -- Arizona being the other -- where Democrats begin on even footing in a Senate challenge campaign. To win the majority, Democrats must hold all 26 Senate seats they are defending, and then convert at least two Republican states, thus explaining why Nevada and Arizona potentially possess majority-defining status in this national midterm election.

House

KS-2: The crowded August 7th Republican primary is approaching in the district from which five-term Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Topeka) is retiring. The Mellman Group chose one of the seven GOP contenders, state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth), as a proposed general election opponent for former state House Minority Leader and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis (D) in their latest poll (6/13-18; 600 KS-2 likely voters). In addition to Sen. Fitzgerald, a former state House Speaker, four sitting state legislators, a local official, and a defense contractor comprise the primary field.

According to the Mellman Group, a ballot test featuring Messrs. Davis and Fitzgerald would break 39-34% in Mr. Davis' favor, but this is well before the general election campaign has developed. Democrats view this as a top open seat conversion opportunity because Mr. Davis topped Gov. Sam Brownback (R) here by seven points in the last gubernatorial campaign. The fact that Mr. Davis doesn't even reach 40% from a district he carried against the then-incumbent Republican Governor suggests, however, that the partisan trend could change quickly once the GOP nominates a candidate.

MI-13: John Conyers III, who was disqualified from entering the August 7th Democratic congressional primary because he lacked a sufficient number of valid ballot petition signatures, will still apparently be present in the special and regular general elections to be held later this year. Mr. Conyers, and ten others are competing for the seat that Mr. Conyers' father, former 27-term Congressman John Conyers (D-Detroit), resigned late last year. Though Mr. Conyers will not be competing in the special and regular Democratic primaries, he will enter the race as an Independent candidate.

Governor

Alaska:Businessman Scott Hawkins has decided to end his gubernatorial campaign despite being a major candidate for the Republican nomination because the race has so drastically changed in the past month. In addition to former US Sen. Mark Begich entering the Democratic primary just before the candidate filing deadline expired, the emergence of former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell as a Republican candidate altered the GOP picture.

On the Democratic side, ex-Gov. Tony Knowles (D) publicly endorsed former Sen. Begich. This move isn't surprising, but Mr. Knowles attack on Gov. Bill Walker (I), for what the former state chief executive claimed is a poor handling of the state's economy, is eye opening. Gov. Walker has been much more friendly to the Democrats than Republicans and even was prepared to enter the Democratic primary before ex-Sen. Begich entered the race. Additionally, the Alaska Survey Research poll, as reported here last week, placed Walker as running behind both Republican former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy and Mr. Begich (38-33-23%).

Arizona: An Arizona state court ruled in favor of the Arizona Republican Party, which challenged Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Kevin McCormick's ballot petitions. The GOP argued, and the court agreed, that Mr. McCormick did not submit the legally required number of signatures to obtain ballot position. It is unclear if Mr. McCormick or the Libertarian Party will appeal the ruling. Republicans generally don't want a Libertarian candidate on the ballot because they believe some conservative votes are diverted to such a contender instead of supporting the GOP nominee. First-term Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is seeking re-election. Though favored in November, this campaign could turn competitive.

Georgia:In the May 22nd Georgia Republican primary, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp advanced into the July 24th run-off election. According to a Cygnal polling firm survey (6/26-27; 812 GA likely Republican run-off voters), the two candidates have lapsed into a dead heat with a month of campaign time remaining. Cygnal sees Lt. Gov. Cagle holding just a 44-43% edge over Secretary of State Kemp when leaners are included. In terms of defined support, Mr. Kemp holds an identical one-point lead, 27-26%.

The Kemp Campaign then released their internal Public Opinion Strategies survey on July 1st (methodological information not available) that showed both candidates attracting 45% support, virtually confirming the Cygnal data. The run-off winner faces former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in the general election. Ms. Abrams won the Democratic Party nomination outright in late May.

Louisiana:Speculation persists that US Senator John Kennedy (R) may enter next year's gubernatorial primary to challenge first-term incumbent John Bel Edwards (D). To encourage even more conjecture and publicity, Sen. Kennedy's political organization commissioned a new statewide Survey USA poll (6/19-22; 812 LA adults; 666 of whom are registered voters; 600 who voted in the 2016 presidential campaign).

In a three-way contest among Gov. Edwards, Sen. Kennedy, and US Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Monroe), the two better-known office holders begin on even footing, and far ahead of the northern Louisiana Congressman. According to the S-USA data, Gov. Edwards and Sen. Kennedy would be tied at 35%, with Rep. Abraham badly trailing with 8% support. But, in a run-off between Gov. Edwards and Sen. Kennedy, which the first poll question suggests would happen, it is the Republican Senator who opens up a large lead, 51-37%.

Michigan:The aforementioned Target Insyght poll for the MIRS (see Michigan Senate above) released a series of numbers for the Governor's race. In a proposed general election campaign between Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) and former state House Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D), the GOP statewide office holder trails 37-42%. Both, however, command substantial advantages in their party primaries. For the Democrats, Ms. Whitmer has a solid 40-19-17% lead over businessman Shri Thanedar and former Detroit Health Department Director Abdul El-Sayed. For the Republicans, Mr. Schuette holds an equally strong 45-16% advantage over Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

Minnesota:The aforementioned BK Strategies poll (see Minnesota Senate above) tested two Democratic candidates against former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R). In a previous question, the pollsters determined that Mr. Pawlenty is leading his officially endorsed Republican primary opponent as the state primary approaches on August 14th. The former two-term chief executive leads Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner who was the party's 2014 gubernatorial nominee, 54-20%.

Perhaps surprisingly, because Mr. Pawlenty previously won two statewide gubernatorial campaigns in adverse Republican election years, he trails both tested Democratic candidates in this BK poll. This includes US Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato) who only represents 1/8 of the state. According to the ballot test numbers, Attorney General Lori Swanson (D) is staked to a 46-41% edge over former Gov. Pawlenty. Rep. Walz performs even better, leading Mr. Pawlenty, 48-41%. Curiously, state Rep. Erin Murphy (D-St. Paul), the officially endorsed DFL candidate, was not even tested in this particular survey.

Nevada:The previously mentioned Gravis Marketing Nevada poll (see Nevada Senate above) also surveyed the state's hotly contested open Governor's race. According to the Gravis numbers, Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) leads Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak (D), 43-41%. Tight results such as these can be expected here all the way to Election Day. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Rhode Island:Candidate filing closed this week, and Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) stands for a second term. Her opponents include former Secretary of State Matt Brown, who is her serious Democratic primary challenger, and ex-state Rep. Spencer Dickinson. Once coming through the September 12th Democratic primary, the nominee will likely face 2014 nominee Allan Fung, the Cranston Mayor who held Raimondo to a 41-36% win four years ago. State House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick) and former state Sen. Giovanni Feroce round out the Republican field. Five individuals are running as Independents or minor party candidates.

Tennessee:US Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) and businessman Randy Boyd each lead the Republican primary race for Governor according to two new polls. The Phoenix-based Data Orbital firm surveyed the Tennessee Republican electorate from June 27-30, questioning 700 likely Republican primary voters through the Interactive Voice Response system. They find Rep. Black leading businessman Mr. Boyd by a single point, 24-23% for the August 2nd Republican primary, with a large 24% factor saying they are undecided. Businessman Bill Lee is third with 19%, followed by state House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), who receives 10% support.

But, the Triton Polling & Research firm, surveying for the Tennessee Star newspaper (6/25-28; 1,040 TN likely GOP primary voters; Interactive Voice Response) sees the race completely differently. According to Triton, it is Mr. Boyd who leads the contest, and by a more substantial 33-27% over Rep. Black. Mr. Lee is again in third place, this time with 20% support, and Speaker Harwell follows with only 7% backing.


June 29, 2018
Primary Results and Polling Provide Insight into General Election Outcomes
by Jim Ellis
 
Key Takeaways:
  • Florida: Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R) polling close in toss-up Senate race
  • Utah: Mitt Romney wins US Senate GOP primary with landslide victory
  • CA-48: Democrat Harley Rouda advances to general election to oppose Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa)
  • CO-5: Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) Easily Wins Re-Nomination
  • NY-11:  Rep. Dan Donovan tops former Rep. Grimm in Republican primary
  • NY-14: Rep. Joe Crowley (D) falls to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in huge primary upset
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and mortgage banker Kevin Stitt to head to run-off election for Republican gubernatorial primary.
  • South Carolina: Gov. Henry McMaster won the Republican gubernatorial nomination with a 54-46% run-off victory.

Senate

Arizona:  CBS News and the YouGov polling organization teamed up to survey a potential general election campaign pitting US Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) against the three Republican candidates.  The Arizona poll (6/19-22; 1,001 AZ registered voters) finds Ms. Sinema leading Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson), 45-37%.  If former state Sen. Kelli Ward were the Republican nominee, Rep. Sinema’s lead is a similar 46-38%.  Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio fares the worst.  Against Rep. Sinema, he would trail 49-29%.  Marist College found similar results from their June 17-19 poll of 839 AZ registered voters.  Against Rep. McSally, the Sinema advantage is 49-38%.  Opposite former state Sen. Ward the lead is an almost identical 48-38%.  And, as found in CBS/YouGov, the Sinema lead over ex-Sheriff Arpaio is stronger.  In Marist, the spread becomes 57-32%.  The Arizona primary is August 28th.

California:  No Golden State US Senate poll has ever depicted Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) as trailing in her bid for re-election, yet the five-term Senator has also never reached majority support.  This includes the actual California jungle primary vote where she took 44% against 31 opponents from all parties.  The new Survey USA poll, though with a small sample of just 559 likely statewide general election voters (6/26-27), finds Ms. Feinstein holding a 46-24% lead over fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles state legislator and former state Senate President.   Though Sen. Feinstein is showing some weakness, it is unlikely that Mr. de Leon will have the necessary resources to run a winning campaign.

Florida:  Over the past six weeks, several polls have been conducted of the toss-up Sunshine State Senate race, and now we see another where the two candidates are virtually tied.  Public Policy Polling, surveying for the EDGE Communications group (6/18-19; 1,308 FL registered voters; automated), finds Sen. Bill Nelson (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R), 48-46%.  A day later, CBS News/YouGov released their poll (6/19-22; 1,002 FL registered voters) that found Gov. Scott in a much better position, leading with a 46-41% advantage.  But, Marist College (6/17-21; 947 FL registered voters) saw Sen. Nelson rebound, as he posted a 49-45% margin in their newly released survey.

Ohio:  The third Marist College poll, and one that CBS/YouGov did not previously survey, is of the Ohio electorate.  Here (6/17-22; 778 OH registered voters), Marist found Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) topping Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth), 51-38%.  This margin is consistent with other previously conducted and released surveys.

Texas: The last of the released CBS News/YouGov polls surveyed the Texas electorate, tested Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso), the respective Republican and Democratic US Senate nominees.  According to this poll (6/19-22; 1,030 TX registered voters), Sen. Cruz has a 50-40% advantage.  This result is in line with many other released studies that find the Senator holding an advantage in a similar range.

Utah:  As expected, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R) won the US Senate primary nomination in last Tuesday’s Republican primary.  Mr. Romney defeated state Rep. Mike Kennedy (R-Provo), 72-28%, and now becomes the prohibitive favorite defeat Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson, the Democratic nominee. 

West Virginia:  Public Policy Polling (6/12-13; 633 WV registered voters) released their new West Virginia poll that finds Sen. Joe Manchin (D) continuing to lead Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R).  The ballot test numbers give Sen. Manchin a 49-42% advantage.  But, the office holder approval ratings prove interesting.  While President Trump scores a 64:30% positive to negative ratio, he is the only tested political figure who lands in positive territory.  Sen. Manchin scores only a 39:48% favorability index, but he is in better shape than Mr. Morrisey who posted a 30:44% ratio.  Gov. Jim Justice (R) fares the worst, at 27:47% positive to negative. 

House

CA-48:  Three weeks after Californians voted in their jungle primary, a second place finisher in the state’s 48th District has finally been declared.  Businessman Harley Rouda (D) will advance into the general election and oppose 15-term Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) in the general election.  The final count gives Mr. Rouda a 126-vote lead, and the third place finisher, biomedical company CEO Hans Keirstead (D), announced that he will not ask for a re-count and has endorsed Mr. Rouda.  The final uncertified account gives Mr. Rouda 30,099 votes as compared to Mr. Keirstead’s, 29,973.  Rep. Rohrabacher finished first with 52,734 tallies.  The 48th District jungle primary attracted 16 candidates.  The race is rated as a Toss-up for the fall campaign.

CO-2:  In another primary race that produced an expected outcome, former University of Colorado Regent Joe Neguse easily won the Democratic primary with 67% of the vote.  Mr. Neguse is now the prohibitive favorite to win the seat in November.  He faces marketing executive Peter Yu in what has become a very safe Democratic district.

CO-5:  Six-term Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), who was originally disqualified from the ballot for lack of valid petition signatures only to have his status restored in court, easily won his heavily contested Republican primary.  Mr. Lamborn received 52% of the vote against four Republican opponents including El Paso County Commissioner and former US Senate GOP nominee Darryl Glenn (20%), and state Sen. Owen Hill (18%).  Rep. Lamborn is now a lock to defeat Baptist minister Stephany Spaulding in the general election.

MD-6:  After spending millions in the neighboring 8th District in the last election to finish second, Total Wine Store founder and CEO David Trone unleashed another $10 million in the adjacent open 6th District.  This time the spending paid off, as Mr. Trone captured 40% of the vote, topping seven Democratic opponents.  He now faces 2016 Republican nominee Amie Hoeber in the general election.  Mr. Trone begins this campaign as the clear favorite to succeed retiring Rep. John Delaney (D-Potomac), who intends to run for President.

MS-3:  In yet another race with a clear expected outcome, local District Attorney Michael Guest easily won the Republican run-off election (65-35%), defeating businessman Whit Hughes.  Mr. Guest is a big favorite to hold the seat in the GOP column in November, and will replace the retiring Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Pearl/Jackson) with his predicted win in the general election.

NJ-7:  A newly released Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll for Democratic candidate Tom Malinowski (6/20-25; 500 NJ-7 likely general election voters) finds the challenger ticking ahead of incumbent Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) by a 47-45% count.  The Lance-Malinowski campaign is typically viewed as a toss-up election, and this poll certainly confirms such an assertion.  Rep. Lance was first elected in 2008, and has averaged 57.5% of the vote over his four re-election campaigns.  Mr. Malinowski is a former US Assistant Secretary of State (Obama) and National Security Council Member (Clinton).  He won the Democratic primary on June 5th with 67% of the vote against two opponents.

NY-11:  The political backstreet brawl between Rep. Dan Donovan (R-Staten Island) and former Congressman and convicted felon Michael Grimm (R) ended with a clear victory for the incumbent.  Mr. Donovan’s margin was 64-36%, and he is the heavy favorite to win a second full term in November.

NY-14:  One of the biggest primary upsets of the election cycle occurred on Tuesday when little known Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset ten-term Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens) in the Democratic primary.  The 28-year old self-proclaimed Democrat-Socialist scored a 58-42% victory, but just 27,658 people voted in the party primary.  It appears that Rep. Crowley could still enter the general election from the Working Families and Women’s Equality Parties, where he carries their ballot lines, but apparently will not do so.  Mr. Crowley has already endorsed Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and says that Democrats need to unify in order to win in the fall.  The Congressman is also the chairman of the powerful Queens County Democratic Party.  Mr. Crowley is the third incumbent House member to lose a re-nomination campaign in this election cycle.  The other two are Reps. Bob Pittenger (R-NC) and Mark Sanford (R-SC).

SC-1:  Just two weeks after state Rep. Katie Arrington (R-Summerfield) denied US Rep. Mark Sanford (R-Charleston) re-nomination in the Republican primary, she was seriously injured in a car accident.  Ms. Arrington is expected to fully recover from the crash, but will likely endure two surgeries and spend some time away from the campaign trail while she recuperates.  In response, Democratic nominee Joe Cunningham said he would suspend his campaign efforts while Ms. Arrington begins the healing process.  She is expected to win the seat in November and hold the seat in the Republican column.

SC-4:  Run-off elections were held in the Greenville-Spartanburg congressional district, with the GOP winner becoming the prohibitive favorite to succeed retiring Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-Spartanburg) in the fall.  State Sen. William Timmons (R-Greenville) topped former state Senator Lee Bright with a 54-46% victory margin.  He will now face university official and former congressional candidate Brandon Brown who easily won the low-turnout Democratic run-off.

VA-10:  A new Monmouth University poll (6/21-24; 400 VA “potential” voters) finds two-term Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-McLean) falling behind the new Democratic nominee, state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudon).  According to Monmouth’s likely voter model, challenger Wexton would lead incumbent Comstock, 50-41%.  Among the full voter sample, the Wexton margin was 49-39%. 

Governor

Alaska:  Alaska Survey Research, polling for the Alaska Correctional Officers Association (6/15-21; 654 AK registered voters), released the first public poll of the state’s gubernatorial campaign after former Sen. Mark Begich (D) joined the candidate field.  According to ASR, incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) drops to third place among three major contenders.  For purposes of this poll, only former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy was tested for the Republicans.  Neither ex-Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell nor businessman Scott Hawkins was included in the ballot test questionnaire.  That being the case, it is Mr. Dunleavy who takes first place with 38%, followed by former Sen. Begich who posted 33%, and Gov. Walker trailing badly with only 23% support.

Colorado:  US Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) and state Treasurer Walker Stapleton won their respective Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primary campaigns on Tuesday.  Mr. Polis defeated former state Treasurer and officially endorsed Colorado Democratic Party candidate Cary Kennedy, by a 20-point margin.  He captured 44.4% in the four-way primary vote.  Mr. Stapleton received 48% in the Republican primary, defeating former state Rep. Victor Mitchell and two others.  Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.  Rep. Polis begins the general election contest as at least a slight favorite to win in November.

Maryland:  Former NAACP President Ben Jealous, in a Democratic primary that was marked by the death of one of the major contenders, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, won the party primary with 40% of the vote over eight opponents.  He will now face popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the fall.  The Governor typically records the second best job approval ratings in the country, but Maryland’s Democratic nature will still make the general election competitive.

Ohio:  The previously mentioned Marist College Ohio poll (see Ohio Senate above) finds Republican Attorney General and former US Senator Mike DeWine topping former Attorney General Richard Cordray (D).  According to Marist, AG DeWine leads Mr. Cordray, 46-42%, in the open race.  Gov. John Kasich (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Oklahoma:  A gubernatorial run-off election will now be held on August 28th, as Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and mortgage banker Kevin Stitt advance into the secondary Republican nomination phase.  Mr. Cornett placed first with 29.3% of the vote, followed by Mr. Stitt with 24.4%.  Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (R), at one time viewed as the early favorite, garnered 23.9%, falling just short of Mr. Stitt, meaning the former man is eliminated from further competition.  The run-off winner faces former Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who won the Democratic primary outright with 61.4% of the vote.  This general election could become more competitive than we normally see in Oklahoma elections.

South Carolina:  Gov. Henry McMaster successfully won the Republican gubernatorial nomination with a 54-46% run-off victory over Greenville area businessman John Warren.  Gov. McMaster, who ascended to his position when then-incumbent Nikki Haley (R) resigned to become US Ambassador to the United Nations, now runs for his first full term and becomes the party standard bearer.  He will oppose state Rep. James Smith (D-Columbia) who won the Democratic primary outright on June 12th.  The Governor begins the general election campaign in the favorite’s position.

Wisconsin:  The abnormally large Democratic gubernatorial field just got a bit smaller as the candidates move toward Wisconsin’s August 14th state primary.  After most polling gives Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers sustained leads over the field of ten Democratic candidates even though three-quarters of the respondents are choosing other contenders, businessman Andy Gronik and state Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) have both decided to end their campaigns.  The eventual nominee, and it most likely appears that Mr. Evers will become the party standard bearer, will then challenge Gov. Scott Walker (R) who is running for a third term.


June 22, 2018
Hectic June Primary Month Winds Down as Summer Campaigning Heats Up
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Arizona:  Rep. Martha McSally (R) expands GOP primary lead over former state senator and US Senate candidate Kelli Ward (R) and ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R)
  • North Dakota:  Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) tops Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) in new Mason-Dixon Poll
  • Utah:  Mitt Romney (R) poised for landslide victory in upcoming primary with commanding lead over state Rep. Mike Kennedy (R)
  • CA-48:  still not done - businessman Harley Rouda (D) with a narrow 62-vote edge over biomedical company CEO Hans Keirstead (D)
  • OH-12:  state Senator Troy Balderson (R) leads in latest August 7 Special Election poll over Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor (D) 
  • Maine:  instant Democratic Governor run-off finally concludes with Attorney General Janet Mills (D) declared the winner
  • South Carolina:  Gov. Henry McMaster (R) opening up lead over businessman John Warren (R) in June 26 GOP gubernatorial run-off 

Senate

Arizona:Regular Arizona pollster OH Predictive Insights released their latest survey (6/11-12; 600 AZ likely Republican primary voters) and finds a major change in the Senate GOP primary scheduled for August 28th. According to OH, Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) has opened up a 39-24-14% lead over former state Senator and 2016 US Senate candidate Kelli Ward, and ex- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Previously, Ms. McSally's advantage was much smaller. The Republican primary winner will face Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix), the consensus Democratic candidate, in the general election. Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is not seeking re-election.

California:The new Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll was just released (6/6-17; 893 CA adults, 767 registered voters, 498 of whom voted in the 6/5 state primary; online) and posts Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) to only a 36-18% lead over state Senator and former Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles). The remaining 46% declared themselves as undecided. The Feinstein total is obviously low for an incumbent who was originally elected in a 1992 special election, and then won four full terms in subsequent campaign years. In the June 5th jungle primary, Sen. Feinstein garnered 44% of the vote, well under a majority, but also faced 31 opponents. Sen. de Leon advancing creates a double-Democrat general election.   He placed second with just 12% of the vote, however.

Missouri:A new Democratic Senate Majority PAC survey (Global Strategy Group; 6/11-13; 804 MO likely voters) finds Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) moving into her strongest position within this current election cycle. Recovering from hits taken during former Governor Eric Greitens' (R) extra-marital affair scandal that forced him from office prior to impeachment and being charged with felonies, Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) has now fallen behind Sen. McCaskill 47-41% according to the GSG results. Previous polls have shown a much closer race, a spread usually in the plus or minus two percentage point range.

North Dakota:A new Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey for the Valley News Service (6/13-15; 625 ND registered voters via live interview) finds at-large Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-Bismarck) leading first-term Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D) 48-44% on the statewide count. At this point in the election cycle, the North Dakota race appears to be the Republicans' best conversion opportunity according to available polling.

Texas:Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research went into the field to test the Texas Senate race (5/29-6/5; released 6/14; 1,000 TX likely voters) and their data reinforced other released polls within the same time period. According to GQR, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) has a 49-43% lead over Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso). Though the Cruz advantage continues to languish in single-digits, the Senator's early standing isn't particularly unusual for a Texas Republican statewide candidate facing a credible and active opponent. Republicans tend to under-poll in the state, and generally elsewhere in the South. The voting history suggests Sen. Cruz's actual final margin will be more substantial, in the 10-14-point range.

Utah:A new pre-primary survey from the Hinckley Institute of the University of Utah, conducted for the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper, finds former presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R) in position to score a landslide US Senate primary nomination victory on Tuesday night. The poll (6/11-18; 654 UT registered voters; 356 UT registered Republicans) finds Mr. Romney holding a commanding 65-23% lead over state Rep. Mike Kennedy (R-Provo). In a general election pairing, Mr. Romney holds a 58-20% lead over Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson who won the Democratic nomination in convention.

Wisconsin:The Restoration PAC released a new Hodes & Associates survey of the Wisconsin Senate Republican primary (6/7-12; 600 WI likely GOP primary voters) that again stakes businessman Kevin Nicholson to a lead over state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield). Once more, we also see a very large undecided segment as the candidates move toward the August 14th primary election. According to Hodes, Mr. Nicholson sports a 28-14% advantage over Sen. Vukmir, while a new Marquette University Law School poll (6/13-17; 800 WI registered voters) finds him holding a 37-32% primary lead. The eventual Republican nominee challenges first-term Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) in the general election.

House

CA-48:The Golden State's 48th Congressional District primary election remains unresolved now more than two full weeks after the June 5th primary election. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) is safe in first place with 30% against 15 opponents. But, biomedical company CEO Hans Keirstead (D) and businessman Harley Rouda (D) continue seesawing for second place and the right to advance into the general election. The latest official count finds Mr. Rouda ahead by just 62 votes, meaning a lengthy recount process will likely begin after the official vote is finally recorded.

NY-11:Campaigns on Staten Island, NY are always known for their "no holds barred" styles and the Republican congressional primary challenge between Rep. Dan Donovan (R-Staten Island) and former Rep. Michael Grimm (R) is certainly no exception. Late last week, Mr. Grimm, who was forced from office because of a federal tax fraud conviction and would subsequently spend seven months in federal prison, claims that Rep. Donovan promised to obtain a pardon from President Trump if he (Grimm) would exit the race. Rep. Donovan denies the accusation but said the subject did come up in a conversation that he and the President held. Mr. Donovan asserts that he did not ask for the pardon, nor did Mr. Trump move in such a direction. The New York federal primary is June 26th.

ND-AL:Democrats and Republicans made their US House nominations official in the June 12th state primary, and Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy late this week released its at-large congressional race results from their new statewide survey (see North Dakota Senate above). According to M-D, state Sen. Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson) leads former state House Minority Leader Mac Schneider (D), 46-35%, on the ballot test question. The winner replaces three-term Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-Bismarck), who is running for the Senate.

OH-12:Special election candidates Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville), a state Senator, and Danny O'Connor (D), the Franklin County Recorder, continue moving forward to their August 7th decision day.   JMC Analytics just released their latest poll (6/13-16; 500 OH-12 likely special election voters who completed the ten-question survey) and found Sen. Balderson leading Mr. O'Connor, 46-35%. This tracks with the previously released Monmouth University poll (6/7-10; 501 OH-12 likely special election voters) that found Sen. Balderson holding a 43-33% district-wide advantage.

PA-10 & 16: Two new polls find Keystone State Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Butler) and Scott Perry (R-Dillsburg/York) holding only single-digit leads in their newly configured congressional districts. Public Policy Polling (6/8-10; 654 PA-10 likely voters) projects Rep. Perry to be leading Lutheran minister and retired Army officer George Scott (D), 45-41%. In 2016, President Trump comfortably carried the new 10th District with a 52-43% margin.

In Rep. Kelly's new western Pennsylvania's 16th CD, stretching from Erie to the outer northern Pittsburgh suburbs, the Normingtion Petts survey research firm conducted a poll for Democratic nominee Ron DiNicola (6/5-7; 400 PA-16 likely voters) and also finds a competitive challenge. According to their data, Rep. Kelly's advantage is only 50-44%, and is the second such poll to suggest that this campaign has the potential to develop. President Trump carried the new PA-16 by a full 20 points, 58-38%, so this seat is more likely to normalize as Election Day approaches.

Governor

Florida:Two new Democratic gubernatorial primary surveys again see a very close statewide race. The Let's Preserve the American Dream organization (6/5-9; 800 FL likely Democratic primary voters) finds Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine topping the primary field, but he leads former US Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee) only 24-21%. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is next with 11%, while Orlando businessman Chris King has 4% support, and wealthy businessman Jeff Greene attracts 3 percent.

But RABA Research (6/15-16; 660 FL likely Democratic primary voters) sees the race as being razor thin. Their data suggests Mayor Levine's edge is only one point over Ms. Graham, 27-26%, while Mr. King improves his standing to 15%, Mayor Gillum tabs 8% support, and Mr. Greene has 3 percent. The Florida primary is August 28th. The Republicans see an equally tight Republican race between state Agriculture Commissioner and former US Congressman Adam Putnam and US Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach), but neither of these polls tested the Republican race.

Maine:Through referendum, Maine voters instituted an "instant run-off" process to ensure political party nominees obtain a majority vote, but the new program's first test has been anything but "instant." On June 12th, Democratic primary voters cast 33% of their gubernatorial ballots for appointed Attorney General Janet Mills, but she did not officially win. Businessman and Iraq War veteran Adam Cote finished second with 29% support, and six other candidates followed with between 16 and 1 percent of the vote. The succeeding candidates are important because their supporters are key to who eventually is declared the party nominee.

In a long counting process that began after the election and found irregularities in five towns, the Secretary of State's office finally completed the ranked vote tabulation at the end of this week. When a person now votes in Maine, they are asked to rank the candidates by level of support from 2nd through 8th, in this case. The laborious process finally ended, and AG Mills was declared the winner over Mr. Cote, 54-46%, after the ranked votes from the other six candidates were dispersed. Ms. Mills now faces businessman Shawn Moody who won the Republican nomination outright. The now official general election pairing begins as a toss-up race.

New York: Syracuse former Mayor Stephanie Miner (D), who the national Democratic leadership continually tried to recruit as a challenger for Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse), has decided to run for a different office. But, her next political move is not exciting her previous supporters. This week, Ms. Miner announced that she will enter the Governor's race and form her own party in order to do so. The decision will place her into the general election against both Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and actress Cynthia Nixon (D/Working Families), but with minimal chances of winning the race.

The likely Republican nominee is Duchess County Executive Mark Molinaro, who will also control the Conservative and Reform Party ballot lines.   In New York, candidates may appear on the ballot with different political party lines. All votes cast for a candidate, regardless of on which party affiliation line, are amassed together. Gov. Cuomo is favored to win a third term. The New York state primary is not until September 13th.

South Carolina:The short two-week Republican gubernatorial run-off cycle is already drawing to a close, and the first post-primary poll has just been released. The Trafalgar Group went into the field right after the June 12th primary (6/13-14; 1,000 GOP likely run-off voters) and found Gov. Henry McMaster opening up a commanding 60-36% margin over businessman John Warren. The pollsters included those respondents who are reported as "leaning" to a particular candidate. The June 26th winner, presumably Gov. McMaster, then faces state Rep. James Smith (D-Columbia) who clinched the Democratic nomination on primary night.

Wisconsin:A previously mentioned Marquette University Law School poll (see Wisconsin Senate above) finds Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers opening up a commanding Democratic primary lead over his nine tested opponents for the August 14th Democratic primary. According to Marquette, Mr. Evers scores 25% support in comparison to the other candidates, with the next closest finishers, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and former state Democratic Party chairman Matt Flynn, each only pulling 7% preference. In a general election pairing with Gov. Scott Walker (R), Mr. Evers trails the two-term incumbent, 48-44%.