Siena College and the New York Times are again partnering to produce a series of political polls as they did last year. Yesterday, mid-June results were made available for Senate races in Arizona, Michigan, and North Carolina. The results are consistent with what we have been seeing for quite some time in these three frequently polled states.
Retired astronaut Mark Kelly and Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) maintain their recent approximate ten-point advantages over appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and manufacturing company owner John James (R) in Arizona and Michigan, respectively.
The North Carolina race, which is predicted to seesaw between Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) again produces a tight result for Siena/NYT. We’ve seen six similar polls released for the state in June, including S/NYT, and the margin between the two candidates hover between one and four points. The Siena/NYT result shows a three-point edge for Mr. Cunningham. Of the six surveys, four find the Democrat slightly ahead with two favoring Sen. Tillis in a similar realm.
After being quiet most of the presidential election cycle, the Trafalgar Group, the only pollster to correctly project the Great Lakes states in the 2016 election, released new data for Michigan, and again they are cutting against the polling grain. According to their latest political research study (6/16-18; 1,101 MI likely voters), Trafalgar projects former Vice President Joe Biden to hold only a one-point 46-45% lead over President Trump, which is almost identical to Change Research’s (6/12-14; 353 MI likely voters) 47-45% published polling margin.
Trafalgar and Change portend the most recent data and reflect a much different trend. All other earlier pollsters find the Democratic nominee-designate scoring leads of at least 12 points (five pollsters) from May 30 through June 12.
Recently data from across the country and in key battleground states have forecast a strong advantage for Democratic nominee-designate Joe Biden over President Trump. A new Change Research polling series of seven polls, six stemming from their national polling sample (6/12-14; 1,250 US likely general election voters with subsets in AZ, FL, MI, NC, PA, and WI) finds the President gaining in his must-win states.
The national ballot test continues to give Biden a wide 51-41% national margin, but, as is the case with such polling, the Democrats’ overwhelming advantage in the big states skews the overall popular vote count. Additionally, as we saw in 2016, the national count is irrelevant in electing a US President.
In the key states, however, Change Research, which is a Democratic pollster, finds Trump to be within 1-4 points in the key battlegrounds of Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and down by seven points in Florida. It is these battlegrounds that will truly decide the November election.
Michigan pollster Epic-MRA (5/30-6/3; 600 MI likely voters) finds Sen. Gary Peters (D) reaching his largest lead of the election cycle over Republican business owner and retired Army Ranger John James. The data gives Sen. Peters a 15-point advantage over Mr. James, 51-36%. The same poll finds former Vice President Joe Biden posting a 12-point, 53-41% Michigan lead over President Trump.
It will take further data after the country returns to a more normal state of life, i.e., when the COVID situation and the police protests quiet, to assess if these Michigan numbers are accurate. Or, whether the surveys taken before these two crises hit that showed much closer spreads among the candidates closer to reality.
A story in the June 6th Business Insider publication reports that mail voting was handled well in certain states for last Tuesday’s primary, and poorly in others. Getting good marks, according to the BI story, are Iowa, Michigan, and Montana. Doing poorly, where voters were not sent their ballots, receiving incorrect ballots for their districts, or facing crowded polling stations for those who chose to vote in person, were the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
With voter turnout being way down in Pennsylvania, for example (34% under 2016 Democratic primary participation totals and 55% for Republicans), a great deal of the reasoning for such a steep fall off could be that thousands of voters simply weren’t well enough informed that the April 28th election had been moved to June 2nd. We will be hearing much more about the all-mail experience while undoubtedly seeing calls for increasing mail options for this year’s general election.
The Hodas & Associates survey research firm went into the field to test the swing Great Lakes/Mid-Atlantic states and produced surprisingly inconsistent data. Conducting surveys among sampling universes of 600 likely general election voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in early May, Hodas finds the results very different than the three close wins Donald Trump recorded in these places four years ago. While former Vice President Joe Biden posts wide leads in Wisconsin (51-42%) and Michigan (50-42%), he surprisingly trails President Trump in Pennsylvania (46-50%).
Interestingly, despite the lopsided totals in Hodas’ Wisconsin and Michigan data, President Trump would still have enough to win the national election with this Great Lakes/Mid-Atlantic performance. If he holds his five core states of Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina, the President would be re-elected if he were to carry only Pennsylvania so long as any other previously won state doesn’t turn against him.
A pair of Michigan US Senate polls both find Sen. Gary Peters (D) leading his re-election campaign against challenger John James (R), but Hodas & Associates 5/1-5; 600 MI likely voters) and Change Research (5/11-17; 3,070 MI likely voters; online) see very different margins.
Hodas gives Sen. Peters a big lead, 48-36%, a wider spread than other pollsters have found, and Change projects a five-point spread between the two men, 48-43%, also in the incumbent’s favor. The latter ballot test result is more consistent with other previously released data, however.
Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids) said over the weekend that he has decided not to seek the Libertarian Party presidential nomination after filing an exploratory committee to assess his chances. Rep. Amash cited the COVID-19 precautions that make personal campaigning difficult as one reason not to continue along the presidential path. He says he is committed to helping build the national Libertarian Party, however.
Mr. Amash did not say whether or not he will re-enter the 3rd District Congressional race. Though major party filing in Michigan is complete, he still could file as a Libertarian or Independent before July 16th. The Michigan primary is August 4th.
CNN conducted a nationwide political poll (5/7-10; 1,112 US adults; 1,001 registered voters; 302 over sample in 15 battleground states) and compared the national results to those found in 15 battleground states. The latter group included the typical swing states like Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, and Wisconsin, but also added Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia, places where former Vice President Joe Biden has developed significant leads.
On the national count, as found in most other polls, Mr. Biden leads President Trump, 51-46%, but the numbers are virtually reversed, 52-45%, in Mr. Trump’s favor within the all-important battleground states.
Democratic candidate Jon Hoadley, a state Representative from Kalamazoo, released his internal Victoria Research poll (5/2-5; 400 MI-6 likely general election voters) showing him edging ahead of veteran incumbent Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) by a 38-37% margin. Whether or not this is yet a one-point race, it is clear that the southwestern Michigan district is becoming more competitive. In 2018, Rep. Upton was re-elected with a 50-46% victory margin.
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