Two September polls suggest that the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s a (NRSC) attack campaign upon two-term Sen. Jon Tester (D) is likely working. An Axis Research poll conducted for the NRSC (9/17-19; sample size not released but did claim to have a MT likely voter response universe) finds the Senator and Republican opponent Matt Rosendale, the Montana State Auditor, tied at 44%. An independent poll taken shortly before the Axis study from CBS News/YouGov (9/10-14; 453 MT likely voters) forecasted Sen. Tester to be holding only a two-point margin, 47-45%.
A pair of interest groups released their own Public Policy Polling Texas survey, but are the responses being used twice? Both the liberal advocacy groups End Citizens United and Protect our Care were in the field with PPP during the September 19-20 period with what were largely push polls containing questions on campaign finance for the former group and healthcare for the latter. The sample size for End Citizens United was 613, while the Protect our Care study lists 603 responses. Not surprisingly, the ballot test result for each was virtually the same: Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leading Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) by three percentage points, 49-46% (End Citizens United) and 48-45% (Protect our Care).
Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D) is a lock to replace retiring Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago) with a certain November election victory, but he already may be planning a new campaign for another office. With Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) announcing that he will not seek re-election, a major open local race will get underway as soon as the current general election concludes.
While Cook County Commission President Toni Preckwinkle (D) and former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley (D) are already in the race, a mayoral fundraising committee was just launched for Congressman-to-be Garcia. Though the organization is not directly tied to Mr. Garcia, he is not dissuading them from continuing. In 2015, Garcia lost to Mayor Emanuel, 56-44%.
Though we are not even through the 2018 election cycle, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to future campaigns. Three states will hold gubernatorial elections next year, including Louisiana (Kentucky and Mississippi are the other two). Remington Research, polling for the Hayride Louisiana political blog (9/11-12; 1,615 LA likely 2019 jungle primary voters via automated response system) tested several possible opponents to Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), who is expected to seek re-election.
According to the RR results, the most likely scenario, is for Gov. Edwards and Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) to advance into a run-off election. Sen. Kennedy has not indicated he will run for Governor, but local speculation is rampant that he will enter the race at some point next year.
The data finds Gov. Edwards placing first in a hypothetical primary election at 40% followed closely by Sen. Kennedy with 37%. Trailing is Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Monroe) who posts 8%, while Baton Rouge developer Eddie Rispone pulls 3% support. If Messrs. Edwards and Kennedy were to advance into a run-off, it is the Senator who jumps out to a 47-43% advantage. Gov. Edwards has large leads within any other combination. Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), another individual thought of as a possible gubernatorial candidate, was not tested in this poll.
The open Tennessee Senate race continues to move back and forth between former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) and US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood). The latest Vox Populi survey sums it up, well. According to their latest poll (9/16-18; 567 TN “active” voters), the two candidates are tied at 42% apiece on the first ballot test question. When pushed for an answer, an additional nine percent lean toward Bredesen as opposed to seven percent more preferring Blackburn.
Earlier in the month, CNN released their Tennessee poll (9/11-15; 723 TN likely voters) that placed Mr. Bredesen up 50-45%. But, during the same time period, Triton Research & Polling (9/10-12; 1,038 TN registered voters) found Blackburn riding in front, 48-45%. Out of state groups are coming in hard for Bredesen, but Blackburn has raised more campaign money. October promises to be an interesting month in the Volunteer State.
Just when Sen. Ted Cruz (R) sees his best independent polling results from Quinnipiac University (9/11-17; 807 TX likely voters) placing him ahead of Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso), 54-45%, Ipsos Reuters countered with their online poll (9/6-14; 992 TX adults/registered voters) that gives O’Rourke a 47-45% edge. This is further countered by Vox Populi (9/16-18; 508 TX likely voters) that foresees a flat tie at 46%, apiece. Then, Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling, surveying for the liberal interest group Protect Our Care (9/19-20; 613 TX likely voters) again finds Cruz up, 48-45%.
Monmouth University went into the field to test the central New Jersey race between five-term incumbent Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) and former State Department official Tom Malinowski (D). According to the survey (9/13-17; 414 NJ-7 registered voters), Mr. Malinowski takes a 46-43% over Rep. Lance among the most likely voters.
From the registered voter universe as a whole, the numbers greatly improve for the challenger ( 47-39%). If a “Democrat surge” were present, which emphasizes lower propensity Democratic voters under the theory that this will be a wave election year, Malinowski would hold a 47-41% advantage. The 7th District is politically marginal, and is obviously in play for a Democratic conversion.
Things continue to go extremely well for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in this most Democratic of states. It is now being reported that the Maryland chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO will formally endorse Gov. Hogan for re-election. This will mark the first time that any segment of the public employees’ union will endorse a Republican gubernatorial candidate.
A Garin-Hart-Yang Research survey for the Elaine Luria campaign (9/5-8; 404 VA-2 likely voters) finds the retired Navy Commander moving ahead of Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach), 51-43%. Recent controversy has arisen that resulted in several of Taylor Campaign operatives being fired for apparently assisting an effort to qualify an Independent candidate for the ballot with falsified signatures. This data suggests that the negative publicity has clearly put Rep. Taylor, originally elected in 2016, in serious danger of losing his seat.
Since Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami) announced that she would not seek re-election, this seat has been at the top of the national Democratic conversion list. That is largely because President Trump lost here by 20 percentage points and is the most Democratic district in the nation to elect a Republican House member. But, the Democrats’ new hold on this seat may not be as tight as once thought.
According to a McLaughlin & Associates poll for the Maria Elvira Salazar campaign (9/10-13; 400 FL-27 likely voters), the Republican nominee, an Emmy winning Spanish language news reporter, holds a 51-42% lead over former Health and Human Services secretary and ex-University of Miami president Donna Shalala (D). The Shalala campaign countered with their own internal Bendixen & Amandi International poll (8/29-9/2; 600 FL-27 registered voters), which gave their candidate a 46-42% advantage. Though many prognosticators have this seat rated as Likely Democratic, the numbers appear to be telling a different story.
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