Snippets from Around the Country

Presidential Race

Gravis Marketing Polls

Gravis Marketing conducted a series of surveys in the Great Lakes Swing states during the July 22-24 period, and came to some interesting conclusions. While President Donald Trump had largely been polling better in Wisconsin when looking at the three regional swing states, Michigan and Pennsylvania being the other two, Gravis sees a different cut.

Their results find former Vice President Joe Biden leading Mr. Trump in Wisconsin (6/22; 796 WI likely voters via an interactive voice response system and through an online poll of cell phone users), 50-42%, and Michigan (6/22; 754 MI likely voters via an interactive voice response system and through an online poll of cell phone users), 51-42%. The Pennsylvania numbers, however, reveal the closer ballot test. Here (6/22-24; 1,006 PA likely voters via interactive voice response system and through an online poll of cell phone users), Mr. Biden leads only 48-45%.

U.S. Senate Races


A recently released Alaska Survey Research firm poll (6/26-7/7; 716 AK registered voters; 663 likely general election voters) counters the Public Policy Polling (7/7-8; 1,081 AK voters) data in projecting first-term Sen. Dan Sullivan* (R) ahead of surgeon Al Gross (I/D), 53-40%. PPP found the Senator leading only 39-34%. Alaska is a difficult place to poll, so seeing companion surveys here with markedly different results is not particularly unusual.


Spry Strategies, as part of their national survey series, tested the Iowa Senate race as many other pollsters have done previously. According to the Spry data (7/11-16; 701 IA likely general election voters), Sen. Joni Ernst*, in a must-win situation for Republicans, continues to slightly trail her Democratic opponent, Des Moines real estate executive Theresa Greenfield (D). The Spry data finds the Greenfield edge to be 45-43%, well within the polling margin of error that has been consistent with all Iowa post-primary surveys.


Monmouth University completed a Georgia survey (7/23-27; 402 GA likely voters) that found, for the first time, appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) leading the special election field for the November 3 jungle primary election to fill the remainder of resigned Sen. Johnny Isakson’s final term. Mr. Isakson departed the Senate at the end of 2019 for health reasons. 
According to Monmouth, Sen. Loeffler leads Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville), 26-20% with Democratic businessman Matt Lieberman, the son of former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (D/I), trailing in third place with 14%. Following is Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed candidate Raphael Warnock at only 9% preference, ahead of only former US Attorney Ed Tarver’s 5% preference figure. This is not the first time, however, that a poll projects the two Republicans advancing into the runoff election.


The full Democratic commitment to helping former Secretary of State and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach win the Republican nomination is now becoming known. Federal financial disclosure reports reveal that over $4.2 million has been spent from the Democratic PACs with the goal of pulling Mr. Kobach, who reported only $136,000 cash on hand through July 15, across the GOP primary finish line. It is obvious that they believe him to be the weakest Republican their consensus candidate, state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills), could face in November.
Mr. Kobach’s prime opponent, Rep. Roger Marshall* (R-Great Bend), had more than $1 million remaining to spend. Plumbing company Bob Hamilton, who is self-funding his campaign to the degree of $3.7 million, still had just under $1 million in his political account on the pre-primary financial disclosure filing.


The Bayou State always hosts the latest developing federal elections because their jungle primary isn’t until Election Day, November 3. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election on December 5. Until now, little has developed against Sen. Bill Cassidy* (R) who is seeking a second term this year. 
With candidate filing closing last week, Sen. Cassidy now has his first significant opponent. Announcing his candidacy is Democratic Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins, who is capable of waging a credible statewide campaign. Sen. Cassidy, however, is a prohibitive favorite.


After recent polling suggested that Sen. Susan Collins* (R) had re-captured the lead in the competitive Maine Senate race, state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D), fresh from a big primary win in mid-July, is back on top. This, according to Public Policy Polling in their survey (7/22-23; 561 ME voters) that included negative push questions about employing federal agents to stop the Portland, OR protests. The PPP ballot test found Ms. Gideon leading 47-42%.
Maine’s Colby College is out with their second poll of this year (7/18-24; 888 ME voters of which 89% describe themselves as definitely casting their ballot in November; combination of live and online interviews) and they see Ms. Gideon topping Sen. Collins by a similar 44-39% margin.


In what could be a major development, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) has captured another key endorsement. The Massachusetts Teachers Association announced this week they will actively support the veteran lawmaker in his bid for re-nomination against Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Newton). 

Prior to this, several key environmental groups, acknowledging the Senator’s long leadership role on the climate change issue, had endorsed Sen. Markey and launched a major independent expenditure on his behalf. Additionally, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) confirmed that she will highlight some closing TV ads for the Senator as the race moves toward conclusion. The Massachusetts primary is September 1.


Spry Strategies tested the Montana electorate (7/11-16; 701 MT likely voters) and produced results consistent with other pollsters. In yet another firewall must-win for Republicans, Sen. Steve Daines* (R) is posted to a slight three-point advantage over Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, 47-44%. Within the same polling period, the Civiqs firm, polling for the Daily Kos Elections website (7/11-13; 873 MT registered voters), sees Sen. Daines holding a similar 49-47% edge. The slightly earlier Public Policy Polling study (7/9-10) gave Gov. Bullock a 46-44% slim lead.

New Hampshire

The eventual Republican campaign against incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) is slow starting because of the state’s late September 8 primary, but self-funding businessman Corky Messner is jumping out to a strong lead over retired Brigadier Gen. Don Bolduc

According to a new Tarrance Group survey (7/12-14; 401 NH likely Republican primary voters), Mr. Messner hold a 39-27% lead over Gen. Bolduc who has been campaigning in the Republican primary for months but raised little in the way of election funds. The race against Sen. Shaheen is a long shot for the GOP, but Mr. Messner appears well positioned to advance into the general election.

South Carolina

An ALG Research poll conducted for Democrat Jaime Harrison’s US Senate campaign (7/15-20; 591 SC likely voters) finds incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham* (R) leading Mr. Harrison, the former state chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, 49-45%, with leaners included for both men. Both have raised huge campaign war chests through June 30. Sen. Graham has pulled in over $31 million cycle-to-date as compared to Mr. Harrison’s strong effort that has so far yielded a whopping $29 million in challenger campaign contributions. Sen. Graham has a substantial lead in cash-on-hand, however, $15 million to $10 million.


A third consecutive poll is confirming that the Republican primary race to succeed retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) is close. Last week, a JMC Analytics & Polling (7/18-19; 600 TN likely Republican primary voters) survey was published showing former US Ambassador Bill Hagerty* leading Nashville orthopedic surgeon Manny Sethi, 36-32%, as we approach the August 6 primary. Two other polls, from the Trafalgar Group and Victory Phones beginning at the end of June, found similar spreads in the three-point range. The GOP winner becomes a big favorite to claim the seat in November.

U.S. House of Representatives Races


The House Ethics Committee closed an investigation of Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) and issued a report after all parties reached an agreement. Mr. Schweikert admits he committed 11 violations in the areas of “campaign finance violations and reporting errors, spending government money to support his political campaigns, pressuring government staff to perform campaign work,” and for the Congressman’s "lack of candor and due diligence in the course of the investigation." While the investigation is now closed, the findings will certainly become a campaign issue.


A Meeting Street Insights survey (7/14-18; 400 FL-26 registered voters) was just released and the data produced an unexpected result. According to Meeting Street, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R) has a taken a 47-42% lead over freshman Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Miami) in a seat that flipped from Republican to Democrat in the last election. The race figures to be close, and a survey such as this will likely increase Mr. Gimenez’s standing on the Republican national target list.


Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that the special election to fill the remainder of the late Rep. John Lewis’ (D-Atlanta) term will be filled with a jungle primary scheduled for September 29. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two will runoff on December 1. It is likely that state Senator and Georgia Democratic Party state chair Nikema Williams will win the special election outright. She is the official replacement for Mr. Lewis on the November ballot for the regular term, so seeing her lose the special election would be highly unlikely. 


Republican candidate John Cowan, a north Georgia surgeon, just released a new internal poll as reported in the NJ Hotline (7/23-26; 400 GA-14 likely runoff voters) in anticipation of the August 11 runoff election. The results find Dr. Cowan and his opponent, first place primary finisher Margorie Taylor Greene, tied at 38% apiece. This is a consistent result with two earlier polls that showed each candidate establishing a three-point lead. In the primary, Ms. Greene outpolled Dr. Cowan, 40-21%, which was well short of the 50% she needed to capture the nomination outright.


In 2018, Democrat Cindy Axne unseated then-Rep. David Young* (R) by a two-point margin, 49-47%. A new Tarrance Group survey (7/7-9; 400 IA-3 likely voters) sees an equally close race again developing this year. According to the Tarrance findings, Mr. Young posts a 44-43% slight edge over Rep. Axne, which is similar to their March survey that found the two candidates locked in a 48-48% tie.


Freshman Rep. Steve Watkins’* (R-Topeka) indictment for voter fraud and the bad publicity surrounding it has already taken a toll on him and is making this seat, which has elected only one Democrat since the 1994 election, competitive in the general election. 

A new Battleground Connect poll (7/16-17; 1,250 KS-2 likely voters via live telephone interview) finds Mr. Watkins badly trailing Topeka Democratic Mayor Michelle De La Isla 37-50%, while State Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R) leads her 42-41%. During this time, Rep. Watkins’ favorability index has dropped to 25:50% favorable to unfavorable, and a very concerning 17:61% among Independents. 


After defeating now-US Senate Democratic nominee Amy McGrath by 10,000 votes after she raised and spent more than $8.3 million in 2018, Rep. Andy Barr* (R-Lexington) looked strong for his 2020 re-election bid. A new Bluegrass Data survey (7/13; 700 KY-6 likely general election voters via live telephone interview), however, finds Rep Barr leading Democratic nominee Josh Hicks by a scant 44-43% margin. When pushed for an answer, those recorded as leading to one of the candidates actually forge Mr. Hicks into a 50-48% lead.


Colby College (see Maine Senate above) also tested the 2nd Congressional District race now that former state Rep. Dale Crafts has officially won the Republican nomination. The 2nd District sample size, taken over the July 18-24 period is approximately 426 respondents via a combination of live and online interviews. The ballot test yields freshman Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) a 45-33% general election advantage. In February’s Colby College poll, Rep. Golden led a generic Republican, 43-29%. 


Now that the Independent and minor party candidate filing deadline has passed in Michigan, we know for certain that Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids) is truly retiring from the House, since that was his last chance to file. As a member of the Libertarian Party, speculation was strong that the Congressman, who for a time was considering running for his new party’s presidential nomination, would attempt to seek re-election in a three-way US House race as either the Libertarian Party nominee or an Independent. 


In 2018, ex-state Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones split the two election contests to replace resigned Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) with the former winning the full term and the latter woman taking the special election. Now, the two battle in a re-match Democratic primary to be settled August 4 that doesn’t appear close. A new Target Insyght poll (7/20-22; 500 MI-13 likely Democratic primary voters) finds Rep. Tlaib leading Ms. Jones, 52-24%, with the incumbent recording a 70:16% favorability ratio.


In 2018, Jim Hagedorn was one of two Republicans to win a Democratic congressional district. He scored an open seat 50.1 – 49.7% victory over former Defense Department official Dan Feehan (D), a margin of just 1,315 votes. Mr. Feehan returns for a re-match, and a new Victoria Research & Consultants poll (7/19-23; 511 MN-1 likely general election voters) finds the Democrat jumping out to a small lead, 48-46%. Early signs suggest that the second election between these two candidates could be just as close as the first.


Veteran Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay (D-St. Louis) has launched a personal media attack ad on his Democratic primary opponent, civil rights activist and pastor Cori Bush. Late this week, the Justice Democrats PAC, at least loosely affiliated with Rep. Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez (D-NY), responded with an ad wave in support of Ms. Bush in her effort to deny Rep. Clay re-nomination. With this outside organization coming into the race within the last week of the campaign, we can expect much more to follow making this a contest to watch next Tuesday night in the August 4 primary. 


The Congressional Leadership PAC just released a new survey of New Jersey’s 3rd CD, which could become the closest of the competitive Garden State US House campaigns. According to the CLF’s Basswood Research data (7/13-15; 400 NJ-3 likely general election voters), Rep. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown) has only a 45-42% lead over new Republican nominee David Richter, a venture capitalist. This is a race to watch and will become a top national GOP conversion target. In 2018, Mr. Kim unseated then Rep. Tom MacArthur (R), 50-49%.


Public Policy Polling, surveying for the 314 Action Fund, an independent expenditure committee supporting Democratic congressional nominee Nancy Goroff, released a study (7/14-15; 1,100 NY-1 voters) that finds three-term Rep. Lee Zeldin* (R-Shirley/Smithtown) leading Ms. Goroff, 47-40%. The 1st District leans Republican but has been known to flip in wave election years.


Five weeks after the New York primary and still without numbers being released, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) declared victory, saying she will be re-nominated by at least 3,700 votes. New York City officials report that over 95,000 absentee ballots have been counted, but such is not the entire allotment. Ms. Maloney’s opponent, business executive Suraj Patel did not dispute the count but is still a plaintiff in a lawsuit asking for court intervention to count every ballot regardless of when it was postmarked or received by county authorities. 
On election night, with just under 40,000 ballots counted, Ms. Maloney’s margin was below 700 votes. She predicted the absentee votes would heavily be in her favor and it appears her analysis was correct. Assuming her preliminary primary victory holds, the Congresswoman will easily win the general election.


Democratic nominee Kate Schroder just released her internal campaign poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (6/29-7/2; 605 OH-1 likely general election voters) that finds another competitive contest developing for Cincinnati Congressman Steve Chabot (R). 

The ballot test projects the Congressman leading, 50-48%. In 2018, he defeated Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval, 51-47%. Mr. Chabot was first elected in 1994 but lost the seat in 2008. He regained it in 2010, and subsequently won four more elections. He remains the favorite for 2020, but we will again see an aggressive campaign in this part of southwest Ohio.


A Public Opinion Strategies survey (7/11-14; 400 PA-1 registered voters) that posted Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick* (R-Levittown) to a 53-39% general election lead and questioned the results. The POS poll was not consistent with either the Victoria Research and Consulting survey (6/7-14; 403 PA-1 likely voters) that found Rep. Fitzpatrick and Democratic nominee Christina Finello locked in a tied 46-46% race, or even the Republican primary results that saw the Congressman secure only a 63% victory against an opponent who put forth little campaign effort. 

The new American Viewpoint poll (7/13-15; 400 PA-1 likely general election voters), however, confirms the POS result. They see Mr. Fitzpatrick holding a very similar 50-35% advantage in this Philadelphia suburban district that Hillary Clinton carried by two percentage points.


In what will likely become a national House campaign, Democratic pollster Garin-Hart-Yang Research conducted a survey of Texas’ 21st Congressional District, the seat that contains parts of San Antonio, Austin, and the Texas Hill Country, to determine how the race between freshman Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) and 2014 Texas gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis (D) is progressing. With no surprise considering the nature of other current polling around the country, we see a toss-up race. The GHY data finds Rep. Roy holding the slightest of leads, 46-45%, over Ms. Davis.


A new survey projects Ft. Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehl’s*, fresh from a landslide Republican runoff election victory, in very strong general election position despite having virtually no money. According to a new Meeting Street Insights survey (7/19-22; 400 TX-22 registered voters), Sheriff Nehls would hold a 44-32% lead over 2018 Democratic nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni


Texas Rep. Roger Williams* (R-Austin) is the latest incumbent to be shown in a close race. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an internal house survey from their DCCC Targeting & Analytics sector (7/21-22; 389 TX-25 likely voters) that found the Congressman leading Democratic nominee Julie Oliver, an attorney and political activist, only by a 45-43% count. It may be difficult for Oliver to capitalize on this, even if the poll is accurate. Mr. Williams, who is independently wealthy, is showing $1.268 million in his campaign account and can add a lot more, as compared to Ms. Oliver’s $90,000 in financial resources.


Former NFL pro-football player Burgess Owens is one of the stronger Republican challenger candidates and has a discernible opportunity to defeat an incumbent Democrat. The Congressional Leadership Fund just released a survey (Moore Information Group; 7/8-9; 400 UT-4 likely general election voters) that finds Mr. Owens leading Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City) well beyond the margin of polling error at 43-34%.

Republican Scott Taylor was ousted in 2018 after serving one term in the House and returns for a re-match with freshman Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk). A new Tarrance Group poll (/14-16; 402 VA-2 likely general election voters) rather surprisingly finds the two candidates tied with 48% apiece, however. This is not far from the 51-49% margin that Rep. Luria posted against Mr. Taylor two years ago but considering the course of the race at this point, the ballot test is unexpectedly good for the latter man. Fundraising overwhelmingly favors Rep. Luria, $3.8 million to $815,000 in the latest disclosure filing ending June 30th, but polling numbers such as these should help to elevate Mr. Taylor.


At an in-person district convention, state Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) won the 7th District Republican nominating convention in three rounds of voting with 56% of delegate support. Mr. Freitas advances into the general election against freshman Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) in what should become a major GOP targeted race in a district that was once solidly Republican. That is, if Mr. Freitas survives a Democratic legal challenge to the state Board of Elections’ members granting Freitas ballot access even though he missed the candidate filing deadline. 

Gubernatorial Races

North Carolina

A Cardinal Point Analytics survey (713-15; 537 NC likely general election voters), while producing consistent numbers with other pollsters in the presidential and US Senate races, finds Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) closing to within three points of Gov. Roy Cooper (D). The latter man has typically been recording double digit leads in other surveys.
In the presidential race, Cardinal finds President Trump holding a one point 49-48% edge in a state that he must win, and Democrat Cal Cunningham leading Sen. Thom Tillis* (R), 47-44%. Both of these numbers are well within the ranges that other pollsters are reporting. Yet, in the Governor’s race, Mr. Cooper’s advantage is only 49-46% as compared to the average 10.5 percentage point lead he has in six other surveys conducted since the beginning of June.


Survey USA, polling for KING-TV in Seattle, released a study for the upcoming August 4 Washington jungle primary (7/22-27; 513 WA likely primary voters) that finds Gov. Jay Inslee (D), running for a third term after withdrawing from the presidential race, holding a very comfortable lead. According to S-USA, he would capture 55% of the vote. His next closest rival is local police chief Loren Culp (R) who has only 9% support. Businessman Tim Eyman (R) is close behind Culp with 8%, while all others post 6% or less; therefore, Gov. Inslee is a lock for re-election in November.

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