Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief (D), who is ineligible to seek re-election to her local post in 2022, yesterday filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission for the 20th District. With reapportionment likely to award Florida two new seats and redistricting to significantly change the state’s congressional district boundaries, it is likely that she will have other options for a South Florida Democratic seat rather than challenging veteran Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach). For now, however, it appears that we have a budding Democratic primary battle.
Candidate Recruitment: GOP Targets
Staring at another difficult US Senate map in 2022 where Republicans are forced to protect 20 Senate seats as opposed to the Democrats’ 13, new National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Rick Scott (R-FL) looks to have his sights set on three GOP Governors, attempting to convince them to challenge incumbent Democratic Senators.
The reported Republican Senate candidate wish list includes Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (term-limited in 2022; would potentially oppose Sen-Elect Mark Kelly who must run for the full six-year term). The others are Govs. Larry Hogan (against Sen. Chris Van Hollen) and Chris Sununu (versus Sen. Maggie Hassan). There is no guarantee that any of the Governors will run for the Senate, but they represent the most formidable potential challenger to the Democratic incumbent in each situation.
Election Ballot Measures
Most states also decided ballot propositions on many subjects, and several considered changes in their electoral systems.
Alaska voters were asked to consider a new primary system that would feature four candidates advancing into the general election. Though almost half the votes are still not counted, it appears the measure will be defeated. At this point, more than 56% have voted No.
Florida has a 60% rule for adopting ballot measures. Therefore, even though 57% of voters approved changing their primary system to a top-two jungle primary, the measure failed to reach the required passage percentage and thus dies.
For years, Mississippi has had a law that required statewide candidates to carry a majority of state House districts in addition to winning the aggregate popular vote. In an overwhelming result, with a 78% majority, the voters scrapped the system and future elections will be decided only from the statewide popular vote count.
Massachusetts voters were asked to approve a measure to adopt Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting system where each candidate is ranked at the voting booth. If no one receives 50% of the vote, the last place candidate is dropped and the ballots that show the last place candidate as the first choice are found and their second choice is added to the count. The Bay State voters rejected the change with almost 55% of the vote.
Two states made changes in their redistricting process. Missouri changed the parameters of a previously adopted procedure that gave power to a state demographer. The measure, passing with 51%, removes the state demographer from the process. Virginia voters, with just under a 66% margin, adopted a new legislator/citizen commission process that will remove map drawing responsibilities solely from the legislative process. The legislature and Governor, however, must approve the commission-drawn maps or the state Supreme Court will assume such responsibility at the end of the process.
Last night’s national election, as predicted, looks to be headed to political overtime.
The presidential race won’t be decided for more than a day, and possibly not until all ballots are received and counted in Pennsylvania. The state’s post-election ballot reception deadline is Friday, November 6th, at 5:00 pm.
It appears that former Vice President Joe Biden (D) has the inside track to unseat the President, but Mr. Trump still has a narrow path to victory.
It is likely that the Republicans have held the Senate majority despite what appears to be a close loss at the top of the ticket. Defending 13 of the most vulnerable 16 Senate seats, the GOP may break even. Converting Alabama and leading in Michigan offsets the loss of seats in Arizona and Colorado. Four races remain undecided.
Republicans had a much better night in the House than expected. With 43 races still uncalled, a reasonable projection suggests the Democrats will return to the House with a majority margin approximately seven seats less than in the current Congress. This would make the new majority 226D-209R, and certainly put House control front and center for the 2022 election cycle.
In the 11 Governor’s races, we saw one state flip from Democrat to Republican, the open Montana race that completed a Republican sweep of the top four statewide offices. At-Large Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) was elected the state’s new Governor replacing term-limited Gov. Steve Bullock (D) who lost the Senate race to incumbent Steve Daines (R).
Polling and predictions generally proved unreliable. Once more, the big leads projected for the Democratic presidential nominee in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin did not materialize, while cumulative polling projections did correctly forecast Arizona and potentially Georgia. For the fourth consecutive major statewide race in Florida, the overwhelming number of pollsters failed to correctly project the winner.
It appears the cumulative polling community is potentially wrong in several Senate races including North Carolina, Maine, and the Michigan margin even if Sen. Gary Peters (D) rebounds to win. They also consistently under-estimated Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s electoral strength.
The media projection early in the evening of Democrats gaining seats in the House also proved incorrect.
The projected record turnout may not be as high as many projected. While it is clear we will exceed the 136,792,535 voters we saw in 2016, which was a record participation level at the time, the grand total in this election may not reach the 150 million mark that many analysts were suggesting, and very likely not the 155 million others predicted. We are likely to venture beyond 140 million, but how much further remains to be seen when all of the states have reported, and ballots completely tabulated.
We will have further coverage of the finer details in the coming days.
Florida: More Polling Conflict
We have another example of two more polls taken within the same time period reflecting much different results. Florida Atlantic University (10/24-25; 937 FL likely voters; live interview & online) tested the Sunshine State’s electorate and projected former Vice President Joe Biden (D) to a 50-48% slight lead over President Trump. Susquehanna Polling & Research, in the field during the same period (10/23-25; 400 FL likely voters; live interview) saw President Trump opening one of his largest Florida leads of the election cycle, a four-point spread, 48-44%, when leaners are added for both candidates. Florida is a must-win state for the Trump campaign.
FL-16: Big Conflict
Two research studies that produced very different results were just posted in the Sarasota anchored district from southwest Florida. The poll from Democratic nominee Margaret Good, a Sarasota area state Representative, via Change Research (10/5-8; 527 FL-16 likely voters; online & text), gives Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota) only a 48-45% edge.
The Congressman’s internal poll, however, from the Data Targeting firm taken at virtually the same time but conducted with live interviews (10/6-8; 403 FL-16 likely voters), projects Mr. Buchanan to a 52-37% advantage. Therefore, these two internal polls yield wildly different results. The 16th District is a 54-43% Trump 2016 domain. Mr. Buchanan has averaged 59.0% in his six re-election efforts.
Arizona/Florida: Sample Swing
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.
FL-15: New Nominee Well Ahead
Lakeland City Commissioner and retired Navy fighter pilot Scott Franklin denied freshman Rep. Ross Spano (R-Dover) re-nomination in August, and now we see the first published poll indicating how he will fare in the general election. According to the Democratic Greenberg Quinlan Rosner firm survey (9/4-6; 400 FL-15 likely voters), Mr. Franklin is staked to a relatively healthy 49-42% advantage over former television newscaster Alan Cohn (D).
The 15th is a traditionally Republican district with GOP candidates typically winning in the high 50s to low 60s. Mr. Spano won the seat in 2018 after then-Rep. Dennis Ross (R) retired. He became the victim of bad publicity during his first term over inappropriate loans used for his 2018 campaign. This helped lead to Mr. Franklin’s upset 51-49% Republican primary win on August 18th. Mr. Cohn upset favored state Rep. Adam Hattersley (D-Riverview), 41-33%, within a field of four Democratic candidates.
Florida: Again, Tightening
Two more Florida polls were released showing a tightening of the race between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Both Monmouth and Florida Atlantic Universities were in the field during the September 9-13 period. Monmouth (9/10-13; 428 FL likely voters; live interview) found Mr. Biden leading 50-45% under their high turnout model, and an almost identical 49-46% if the voter participation factor proves lower.
FAU (9/11-12; 831 FL likely voters; live interview and online) finds the two candidates tied at 50-50% when all respondents are pushed to make a decision. Once again, Florida is a very close state but a must-win for President Trump.
AARP: Series of Key State Polls
The AARP organization commissioned a series of Democratic and Republican polling firms to test key states for the upcoming presidential and US Senate contests. Like other recent pollsters, the Benenson Strategy Group (D)/GS Strategy Group (R) pairing found tightening ballot test results in three key states: Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Testing 1,600 likely voters via live interviews during the August 30th thru September 5th period, the AARP team found Joe Biden leading in all three of the critical swing states, but in margins well within the polling error factor. The Biden leads were 1, 2, and 3 points in Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania, respectively.
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