Democratic pollster Global Strategy Group released their survey of the western Michigan 3rd District (9/8-10; 400 MI-3 likely voters; live interview) and sees Iraq War veteran and grocery store magnate Peter Meijer (R) and attorney Hillary Scholten (D) tied at 41% apiece.
The sample skews left, as the generic ballot test reaches 45D-40R%, in a district that hasn’t elected a Democrat since Richard Vander Veen won a special election in 1974 to replace Gerald Ford (R), who had resigned the seat to become Vice President. Mr. Vander Veen was then defeated in 1976 and the seat has remained Republican ever since. Current incumbent Justin Amash was elected as a Republican but switched to the Libertarian Party.
Pollsters are active across the country in testing political campaigns and seem to be routinely delivering starkly different results for the same contests over a similar time frame. We have four such examples in Senate races.
Three different pollsters tested the Arizona Senate race between appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D). While the three polling firms active during the first week of September all find Mr. Kelly leading, the point spread ranges from six all the way to 17 points. The high pollster for Kelly is Fox News (8/29-9/1; 772 AZ likely voters) and the six-point low is Democratic pollster Change Research (9/4-6; 470 AZ likely voters).
Four pollsters were testing Michigan in early September, and the spread here ranges from a one-point deficit for Republican businessman John James opposite Sen. Gary Peters (D) to a dozen percentage points. Here, the most favorable James pollster is the Republican Tarrance Group (9/1-3; 569 MI registered voters) and the strongest Sen. Peters’ survey comes from the London, England based Redfield & Wilton Strategies (8/30-9/3; 967 MI likely voters).
The Minnesota race between Sen. Tina Smith (D) and former US Rep. Jason Lewis (R) is attracting more attention. Three survey research firms were conducting polls in early September and found Sen. Smith’s advantage extending between two and eleven points. The high Smith poll came from Survey USA (9/4-7; 553 MN likely voters) and the best for Mr. Lewis is from Republican Harper Polling (8/30-9/1; 501 MN likely voters).
North Carolinians are regularly polled, and the beginning of September is no exception. Again, brandishing wide ranges, seven surveys and/or iterations within such were conducted during the same time frame, and the margin stretches between an even race for Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and former state Senator Cal Cunningham (D) to a ten-point spread. The even poll came from Monmouth University’s (8/29-9/1; 401 NC likely voters) low turnout model (but the high turnout model suggested only a two-point difference), while the high spike came for Mr. Cunningham from Redfield & Wilton Strategies (8/30-9/3; 951 NC likely voters).
A number of polls were conducted over the Labor Day period and we generally see a closing of the presidential race. In Florida, NBC News/Marist College (8/31-9/6; 1,047 FL registered voters; 766 likely voters; live interview) discovers President Trump forging ahead to record a one-point, 48-47%, edge among registered voters, while he and former Vice President Joe Biden are tied at 48% among likely voters.
Turning to another swing state, Michigan, the Glengariff Group (9/1-3; 600 MI likely voters) finds Mr. Biden leading 47-42%, which is a closer spread than seen in most current surveys. The latest three polls from the international research firm Redfield & Wilton Strategies, Hodas & Associates, and Morning Consult, all of which conducted studies between August 11th and September 3rd, projected Mr. Biden to leads of 11, 11, and 10 points, respectively.
A pair of new Pennsylvania surveys also see the contest closing. Redfield & Wilton Strategies, the London, England based firm (8/30-9/3; 1,053 PA likely voters; online), found a five-point spread, with Mr. Biden up 47-42%. Local Pennsylvania research firm Susquehanna Polling & Research (8/26-9/4; 498 PA likely voters; live interview) sees the margin between the two national candidates dropping to two points, 44-42%, again in Mr. Biden’s favor.
Still closing, but in a reversed manner, We Ask America (9/1-3; 500 MO likely voters; live interview) projects that President Trump’s Missouri advantage over Mr. Biden is dropping to five percentage points, 49-45%. This, while the same sampling universe detects an expanding margin for Gov. Mike Parson (R) in his election battle with State Auditor Nicole Galloway. That contest is breaking 54-41% in Mr. Parson’s favor.
Public Policy Polling again surveyed the Michigan electorate and this time found an unusual pattern. While other pollsters are seeing the Senate race again tighten, PPP’s latest survey (8/28-29; 897 MI voters) finds Sen. Gary Peters (D) leading manufacturing company business owner John James, 47-39%, but the same sample favors Joe Biden over President Trump by just a 48-44% split. Recently, Mr. James has been faring better than President Trump in the Michigan ballot test polls.
The new Trafalgar Group poll was released for the battleground state of Michigan (8/14-23; 1,048 MI likely voters) and, has often been the case, finds a result opposite that of most other pollsters. According to the Trafalgar results, President Trump holds a 47-45% Wolverine State lead over Joe Biden. In 2016, Trafalgar came to national prominence because it was the only firm to correctly predict a Donald Trump victory in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The reason for the discrepancy is Trafalgar attempts to account for what is now being termed as the “shy Trump voter”, that is, a person who is voting for the President but will not say so publicly or to a pollster. Most people believe there is an under-poll for Trump, and Trafalgar is attempting, as they successfully did in 2016, to determine that number.
Other pollsters surveying Michigan during the same time period as Trafalgar project a clear Biden lead, but at least one of them, from the Civiqs polling firm surveying for the Daily Kos Elections website (8/13-17; 631 MI registered voters), isn’t so far away. They see Mr. Biden leading only 49-46%. Change Research (8/21-23; 809 MI likely voters) posts the Biden lead to 50-44%. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is much further away (8/16-19; 812 MI likely voters), seeing Biden with a large 50-38% margin. All four of these surveys point to how much the sample selection methodology means in forecasting a polling result.
The Trafalgar Group’s Michigan poll, as described above in the presidential section, also tested the Senate race between first-term Senator Gary Peters (D) and Republican manufacturing company owner John James. This race was polling close before the COVID shutdown but went clearly in Sen. Peters’ direction afterward. We now see the campaign tightening again, and Trafalgar, once more using the sample methodology discussed above, projects Mr. James to a one-point, 48-47%, edge.
The two other pollsters in the field during the same time as Trafalgar that tested the Senate race, Change Research and Redfield & Wilton Strategies, see a different result. Change finds Sen. Peters up 50-45%, while Redfield & Wilton posts the incumbent to a larger 48-39% advantage.
As part of the Change Research swing state polling series (8/21-23; 809 MI likely voters), the pollsters tested the US Senate contest between first-term incumbent Gary Peters (D) and challenger John James (R). According to this data from a Democratic polling firm, the race is getting closer and evolves into the types of margins we were seeing before the COVID-19 shut down.
The CR results find Sen. Peters currently leading Mr. James, 50-45%. Sen. Peters has dominated the 32 publicly released polls between mid-March and the end of July. Since August began, however, three of four surveys find Mr. James closing to within five points or less. For the Democrats to gain the Senate majority, Michigan is a must-win state.
Further signs are occurring showing the presidential race getting closer. Democratic pollster Change Research just released a series of surveys in six crucial 2020 swing states, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, during the August 21-23 period with sample sizes ranging from a low of 344 likely voters in Arizona to a high of 1,262 similarly chosen poll participants in Florida.
While CR projects former Vice President Joe Biden to be leading in all six states, at least four of which (AZ, FL, NC, and either MI, PA, or WI) are must-wins for President Trump, the Democratic nominee’s lead has dwindled to between one and six points in all of these places.
Two Democratic polling firms surveyed key presidential swing states over the same time period. Though they both see former Vice President Joe Biden leading in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, their margins, at least in two of the states, were leagues apart.
In Michigan, Redfield and Wilton Strategies (8/16-18; 812 MI likely voters) gave Mr. Biden a 12-point, 50-38%, lead while Civiqs, polling for the Daily Kos Elections Page (8/13-17; 631 MI registered voters), projected only a three point advantage for the now-official Democratic nominee, 49-46%. In Wisconsin, Redfield & Wilton (8/16-19; 672 WI likely voters) posted Biden to a ten-point lead, 49-39%, while Civiqs (8/13-17; 754 WI registered voters) yielded him only a six-point, 51-45%, edge.
Turning to Pennsylvania, the two pollsters found an identical seven-point spread, however. Redfield & Wilton (8/16-17; 1,006 PA likely voters) saw a 48-41% Biden lead, while Civiqs (8/13-17; 617 PA likely voters) forecast a 51-44% margin.
A week after the Michigan primary that saw state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) win a surprisingly tight Democratic primary victory and veteran Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) score only 63% in his GOP primary race, a new poll finds the challenger opening with a small advantage. RMG Research, polling during the primary voting period (7/30-8/6; 500 MI-6 registered voters), finds Mr. Hoadley taking a four-point, 40-36%, lead over Mr. Upton.
Considering this poll was taken during the primary voting period and most of the spending and communication action was on the Democratic side, it is not particularly surprising to see Mr. Hoadley getting a bump. Additionally, Rep. Upton scoring only 36% after winning 17 consecutive congressional elections in southwest Michigan appears questionable and is likely much too low a depiction of his true support level.
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