2014 Iowa Senate race

IowaRecent Presidential Elections

2012 Presidential Election: Obama 52, Romney 46
2008 Presidential Election: Obama 54, McCain 44
2004 Presidential Election: Bush 50, Kerry 49
2000 Presidential Election: Gore 49, Bush 48

Iowa Elected Representatives

Senate Delegation: Chuck Grassley (R – 1980), Tom Harkin (D- 1984)
House Delegation: 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats
Governor: Terry Branstad (R- 2010)
State Senate: Democrats 26, Republicans 24
State House: Republicans 53, Democrats 47

2014 Iowa Senate race  Continue reading

Obama’s job approval hits new lows

Barack Obama Usually an unfavorable poll will carry a silver lining, but the latest Pew Poll marks several lows for the President. Obama’s overall job approval came in at a weak 44% and that was the highpoint of the survey for him. Respondents gave him lower approval marks when they were asked about individual issues.

Obama’s approval on the economy dropped two points to 40% with 56% disapproving. By a two-to-one margin respondents disapprove of the way he has handled the current immigration crisis. On Iraq and foreign policy he is now polling in the mid-30s with disapproval levels in the mid-50s.

The President also saw a noticeable  drop in how Americans view his leadership style. Only 47% of Americans view Obama as a strong leader, which represents the lowest number of his Presidency. Obama also hit lows in “Trustworthy”, “Stands up for what he believes”, “Good communicator”, and “Cares about people like me.” His  “able to get things done” number was only a point off of his all-time low.

Besides show further erosion in Obama’s job approval, the Pew Poll also showed Republicans regaining a very slight advantage in who voters trust on immigration. Forty percent of those polled believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to apply for citizenship, while 54% are roughly divided  between supporting deportation or permanent legal status, but no citizenship. By a fourteen point margin Americans support speeding up the process so the children coming across the border can be deported faster.


Chris Christie is still alive

Chris Christie Chris Christie picked a good time to screw up. In the fall of 2012 he angered the Republican base needed to win the GOP primary by embracing President Obama. He then proceeded to upset independent and centrist Democrat voters with Bridgegate. The independents and centrist Democrats were critical because they made Christie the most viable candidate to take on Hillary Clinton.

Electability was his primary strength after the hug. With the right already mad at Christie, losing the electability argument threatened to be a knockout punch. Nevertheless, due to fortuitous timing, Chris Christie is still alive in the race for the 2016 GOP nomination.

His poll numbers and favorability rating are nowhere near where they were in the fall of 2012, but compared to the rest of the GOP he is performing well enough to still warrant top-tier consideration. While Christie has regained the lead in New Hampshire over Rand Paul, most of his drop-off in South Carolina and Florida appears to have gone to Jeb Bush. Conventional wisdom says that either Bush or Christie will run, but not both. Should Bush decided not to run, Christie has a large segment of the vote read to be won over.

Quinnipiac’s national poll showed that Christie is still considered more favorably with independents (+17)  than any other GOP candidate. Christie’s national polls now mirror other GOP candidates. His head-to-head standing with Clinton is very similar to Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Jeb Bush.

The big worry for Christie is that he has lost the GOP base for good. The right was remarkably quiet during the media’s Bridegate assault and left him to fend for himself while the media tried to fan the flames in the aftermath. This doesn’t bode well for a potential nominee.

While Christie’s standing with independents is still the envy of other Republicans he now will likely need to sacrifice some votes in the middle in order to win the nomination. It now appears that Christie may need to take the Romney and McCain path, surrendering the middle to win the base. This is a route he had hoped to avoid and will make his path to the nomination and general election victory much tougher.


2014 Montana Senate Race


Recent Presidential Elections

2012 Presidential Election: Romney 55, Obama 42
2008 Presidential Election: McCain 50, Obama 47
2004 Presidential Election: Bush 59, Kerry 39
2000 Presidential Election: Bush 58, Gore 33

Montana Elected Representatives

Senate Delegation: Jon Tester (D – 2006), John Walsh (D- 2014)
House Delegation: 1 Republican
Governor: Steve Bullock (D – 2012)
State Senate: Republicans 29, Democrats 21,
State House: Republicans 61, Democrats 39

2014 Montana Senate race  Continue reading

2014 Louisiana Senate Race


Recent Presidential Elections

2012 Presidential Election: Romney 58, Obama 41
2008 Presidential Election: McCain 59, Obama 40
2004 Presidential Election: Bush 57, Kerry 42
2000 Presidential Election: Bush 53, Gore 45

Louisiana Elected Representatives

Senate Delegation: Mary Landrieu (D – 1996), David Vitter (R- 2004)
House Delegation: 5 Republican, 1 Democrat
Governor: Bobby Jindal (R – 2007)
State Senate: Republicans 58Democrats 45, Independents 2
State House: Republicans 24, Democrats 15

2014 Louisiana Senate race (Jungle primary, winner needs 50% to avoid run-off) Continue reading

June Senate update

Senate 2014

Good new for Democrats: Their vulnerable incumbents are holding strong, particularly in Arkansas where Mark Pryor appeared to be pulling away from Tom Cotton for a bit. Thom Tillis saw a small bump in North Carolina after winning his primary, but is still deadlocked with Kay Hagan.

Good news for Republicans: Their preferred candidates are winning their primaries and they are expanding the playing field. The GOP has pushed Iowa and Colorado into the near toss-up category while not losing any ground in the three seats currently controlled by Democrats that they are clear favorites to win (West Virginia, Montana, and South Dakota). They will want to start seeing some consistent leads appearing though in the toss-up states before they can really begin planning on winning a majority.

Projection – Democrats 50, Republicans 50 Continue reading

McDaniel hopes to follow Ted Cruz’s run-off success

Ted Cruz Chris McDaniel

Primary polling has been incredibly accurate during the 2014 cycle (ok, setting aside the Cantor upset). The RealClearPolitics polling average predicted a tie in the first rendition of the Mississippi Senate Primary and that is exactly what happened in round one.

Polling in round two has shown McDaniel building a small edge with leads of six and twelve points in two different polls. Cochran has led by just a single point in two polls.

While run-offs are rare, there is a definite trend of voters droping-off between the first and second stage. The model Chris McDaniel would like to follow is the Ted Cruz-Dave Dewhurst battle, where the drop-off in voters came almost exclusively from the establishment candidate, Dewhurst’s, side. Cruz consolidated all other candidates’ voters and turned a double digit defeat in round one into a double digit victory in round two.

While there is negligible “other candidate” vote to be taken, McDaniel, like Cruz, will benefit from a large enthusiasm gap in his favor.

The big concern for McDaniel is that his stunning turnout and margin of victory in Jones County may be difficult to match. If Jones county reverts to the 2012 Presidential Primary vote total (which is still an impressive turnout feat), McDaniel could lose 2,800 votes even if he still wins 85% of the county vote.

Cochran’s run-off campaign has smacked of desperation as he is actively courting the black vote, a strategy which may yield votes, but may also send some of his tepid supporters to McDaniel. This would be disaster for him as he would need two new votes for every one flipped to McDaniel.

Cochran has also sidled up to unions, which may validate McDaniel’s “RINO”charges in the minds of some voters. As Mississippi does not register voters by party, the run-off is essentially an open primary so Cochran sees Democrats and Independents who did not vote in the Democratic primary as potential new voters. Again, he may be courting them at the expense of some of his June 3 voters.

The final verdict will be decided by turnout. It is possible that McDaniel hit his best shot during the June 3 primary, while Cochran was still getting his act together. The more likely scenario though is that enough Cochran supporters will stay home to push McDaniel over the top. Trusting Democrats to win a Republican primary will not likely be a winning strategy for the incumbent.

The good news for all of us is that June 24 should be a much shorter night than June 3. We will be able quickly analyze turnout and performance changes from three weeks ago and hopefully have a call by 10:00. If 10:00 comes and goes with no call, it means Cochran is performing better than expected.

Prediction: McDaniel by 8


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