A pair of new surveys in the Georgia special Senate election race find a three-way race evolving for the two positions available for the January 5th runoff election. It appears no chance exists for any candidate to attract majority support on November 3rd, meaning a secondary election will be required.
Siena College/New York Times and Data for Progress went into the field almost simultaneously and both found appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R), Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville), and Baptist pastor Raphael Warnock (D) all within range to capture either first or second position in the jungle primary that will be held concurrently with Election Day.
Siena/NYT (9/16-21; 523 GA likely voters; live interview) projects Sen. Loeffler pulling 23% support, with both Rep. Collins and Rev. Warnock posting identical 19% support factors. Data for Progress (9/14-19; 800 GA likely voters) sees Rev. Warnock in first place with 26%, followed closely by Rep. Collins (22%) and Sen. Loeffler (21%). Leaners were added to the original totals for all candidates. Together, the polls tell us that no one can reach 50% on the first vote, and that a tough political dogfight is brewing for the two runoff positions.
A new brilliant corners Research & Strategies survey (9/10-16; 605 AR-2 likely voters; 102 over-sample of African American voters) has produced results that show three-term Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) actually falling behind his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock), by a two-point margin, 48-46%. This study follows a Hendrix College survey taken in earlier in September (9/4-9; 698 AR-2 likely voters) that found Mr. Hill leading the race with a similar 48-46% edge.
The brilliant corners’ over-sample of African Americans could explain the flip toward Ms. Elliott, but the long-term history of this district favors the Democrats. Republicans captured it for what appeared to be the foreseeable future with their win in 2010, but prior to that, the GOP had held the seat for only eight of the previous 136 years.
An obscure law will take effect in this election because Legal Marijuana Now party nominee Adam Weeks unexpectedly passed away earlier this week. After the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone (D) eleven days before the election in 2002, which led to a fast and haphazard special election to replace him, an updated law was subsequently enacted that requires a special election well after the national Election Day if a major party candidate dies within 79 days of the general election.
Surprisingly, under Minnesota election law, the Legal Marijuana Now party is classified as “major.” Therefore, the 2nd District election will now be decided in a special election on February 9th with a new Legal Marijuana Now nominee. This means incumbent Rep. Angie Craig (D-Eagan) will have a break in service as her term will expire at the end of the 116th Congress. This new schedule will cause a number of ramifications and likely be subject to a lawsuit. It is possible the Justice Department will step in, since the law appears to violate the federal statute that requires all states to hold federal elections on the national Election Day.
Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) was first elected in 1996 and has had only one close re-election contest since, in 2010 when he received just 50.3% of the vote. President Trump, however, carried the district 49-45% in 2016, proving that a Republican can win here.
For the closing month, the Congressional Leadership Fund has decided to invest heavily here, reserving $2 million of media time in an effort to support Republican nominee Derrick Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL and Afghan War veteran. Rep. Kind is more than prepared for the challenge, however. Through the July 22nd Federal Election Commission pre-primary filing, the Congressman was showing more than $3 million cash-on-hand.
As a polling entity, the ABC News/Washington Post effort is rated as one of six A+ pollsters on the FiveThirtyEight statistical organization rating card. The media partners just released a pair of polls this week, one from Arizona and the other Florida. They both capture how much a survey sample can swing based upon segmentation, in this case from registered to likely voters.
The Arizona poll (9/15-20; 701 AZ registered voters; 579 AZ likely voters) finds President Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, 47-49% with registered voters, but leading 49-48% among those who are most likely to vote. In Florida, we see an even greater split. That ABC/WP survey (9/15-20; 765 FL registered voters; 613 FL likely voters) projects Mr. Biden holding a bare 48-47% edge among those registered to vote but leads 51-47% within the segment of those most likely to cast their ballot. This example underscores the importance of the voter participation model in determining election outcomes.
Contrary to opinion that Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) may have blown her re-election chances by immediately moving to postpone the vote on a successor to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Moore Information survey for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (9/20-22; 500 ME likely voters) finds Sen. Collins and state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D-Freeport) tied in their latest poll. Ms. Gideon has been ahead in the race for months, but this survey finds both candidates drawing 42%, apiece. It remains to be seen if this rather surprising trend continues as the SCOTUS replacement process begins in earnest.
In 2018, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) was re-elected with just a 50.4 – 49.6% margin, a spread of just 2,058 votes of almost 271,000 ballots cast. The GBAO polling organization just released the second public survey of this district (9/17-20; 600 IL-13 likely voters) for the 2020 campaign and see a virtual rerun campaign between Mr. Davis and businesswoman and 2018 congressional nominee Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (D). The GBAO findings project a 48-47% Davis slight lead, almost identical to how their last campaign ended.
The first publicly released poll came at the end of July and into early August from RMG Research (7/27-8/7; 500 IL-13 registered voters) and saw a potentially conflicting 43-41% edge for Ms. Londrigan.
Two pollsters surveyed the open western Michigan 3rd Congressional District, the We Ask America firm and the ALG Research polling organization. The results are radically different even though they were conducted over almost exactly the same time period.
We Ask America surveyed the district from September 19-20 (400 MI-3 likely voters; combination live interview and automated calls) and see Republican Iraq and Afghan War veteran and grocery store magnate Peter Meijer leading attorney Hillary Scholten, 48-41%, with both candidates having almost identical favorability index ratings. Mr. Meijer records a 39:30% positive ratio, while Ms. Scholten registers a 36:28% positive to negative index.
Conversely, ALG (9/16-20; 501 MI-3 likely voters) arrives at a much different conclusion. This data finds Ms. Scholten holding a two-point, 44-42%, edge. Voting history suggests that the WAA result is the more accurate of the two, however, considering this district has elected a Democrat only one time since 1912.
We have two more examples of pollsters testing the same electorate and arriving at vastly different conclusions. In Arizona, Morning Consult (9/11-20; 907 AZ likely voters; online from pre-determined sampling group) finds retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D) holding a nine-point, 49-40%, lead over appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R). While Fabrizio Lee & Associates also see Mr. Kelly with an edge, the margin is much different. From their survey (9/14-16; 800 AZ likely voters; live interview), Kelly’s lead is only two points over Sen. McSally, 48-46%.
We see a similar pattern in Michigan. The Ipsos research organization (9/11-16; 637 MI likely voters) detects Sen. Gary Peters (D) with a six-point, 49-43%, spread over manufacturing company owner John James (R), while the Marketing Resource Group (9/14-19; 600 MI likely voters) sees only a two point difference between the two, 42-40%, with a greater undecided factor.
While the aforementioned states are returning very different results through multiple polls, the South Carolina data has been very consistent since July. The race between Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) and challenger Jaime Harrison (D), the former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, has hovered within three percentage points since the end of that month. The latest Morning Consult survey (9/11-20; 764 SC likely voters; online from pre-determined sampling group) is no exception.
Here, MC again finds the two candidates in a virtual tie, with Sen. Graham holding the slimmest of leads, 46-45%. It is clear that Sen. Graham will attempt to use his position as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings as a way to improve his standing among Republican voters, a group with which he runs seven points behind President Trump on the party loyalty factor.
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