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Political Roundup for September 26th, 2016

We will have a live blog up at 8:00 Eastern for the Presidential debate tonight.

President:

Clinton-strategy: There’s increased speculation that the decision of the Clinton campaign to try to deliberately separate Trump from the rest of the GOP brand is what’s causing the Republican’s unusual down-ballot strength, as Clinton has helped give Congressional Republicans cover to separate themselves from Trump. I’m skeptical of this theory however, both because Trump’s status as a not-really-Republican long predated anything the Clinton camp ever did, and because the GOP isn’t even really running that far ahead of Trump outside of a few edge cases. I mean, if Generic R was down roughly 2 points to Generic D for president, I’d expect similar numbers to what we’ve been seeing from Senate and Congressional Republicans considering the number of GOP incumbents running this year.

Debates: As you would expect, the candidates have widely different methods for debate preparation. Clinton is following the classical method of rigorous practice, sound-bite refinement, and opposition research, while Trump is basically aiming for trying to just naturally own the room like he’s done for most of his media appearances for the last 15 months. The smart money is on Clinton to come out on top, but the smart money has been against Trump at basically every point of the race so far, and yet he’s still within a few % of the Presidency. This will probably be the most-watched debate in US history, and should easily be one of the most memorable.

Hispanics: This isn’t a surprise—Trump isn’t doing well with Hispanics. Here’s an actual surprise—he’s actually doing about the same with them as Romney did. Hispanic-only polls like this one regularly show better D margins with Hispanics than the exit polls do, and pundits have a habit of comparing these sorts of polls to the exit polls, which means every GOP candidate looks like they’re set for a fall-off with Hispanic voters even when that’s not what the polls actually show. Trump’s shunning of GOP orthodoxy on fiscal issues is probably helping him here, as Hispanics have always had a lot in common with the sort of White-Ethnic voters that first started moving towards the GOP when Richard Nixon ran on a platform of punching hippies rather than repealing Social Security.

Millennials: Democrats continue to be confounded by the fact that Millennials seem to be far more willing to vote 3rd party than other demographics. The fact that they are running a nakedly corrupt political dinosaur with all the relateability of moldy cream cheese seems to be glossed over in favor of the classical bemoaning about how stupid and vapid Millenials are. I’m wondering if the Democrats realize a huge part of Obama’s impressive Millennial margins came from the “Hope and Change” stuff rather than his progressive platform, and that Clinton is a terrible successor to the former while being an acceptable successor to the latter.

Trump-ads: Trump has apparently announced a big ad buy for the last couple of weeks of the campaign. The buy, rumored to be about $140 Million, comes at a time when airtime is increasingly expensive, and if I had to guess was more about making his campaign look competent than actually moving votes (following the classic model of Trump’s campaign strategists getting all their ideas from reading yesterday’s headlines). But when I said “apparently”, I meant that it’s unclear exactly how Trump is planning to pay for this ad blitz, as his campaign does not have nearly that much cash on hand.

Congress:

NV-Sen: Cortez-Masto has gone on the attack after some Nevada Republicans accused her of “Hispandering”. Cortez-Masto is ethnically Mexican, but doesn’t speak Spanish and a pair of former GOP operatives accused her of playing up the “First Latina Senator” angle despite having little cultural ties to the Nevada Hispanic community. Naturally, Cortez-Masto is trying to spin this into an actual issue (“People who used to work for my opponent think I’m playing up my race” seems less damning when you actually type it out), and is attacking Heck for not denouncing the statements more vociferously than he already has.

NC-9: Robert Pittenger, already on thin ice for the cloud of ethics charges hanging over him, claimed on TV over the weekend that the reason all the people in Charlotte are rioting is because they hate white people for being more successful than them. Sadly Pittenger won his highly-contested 2016 house primary, and we can only hope that someone with a little less foot-in-mouth syndrome can take his place in this safe-but-not-secure NC House seat come 2018. Stuff like this is how you lose elections in otherwise safe seats in decent years.

TX-Sen-2018: A few months after pointedly refusing to endorse Trump at the RNC, Cruz has back-tracked and done just that over the weekend, albeit tepidly. On one hand, this is probably an attempt to head off backlash from Trump supporters that are already threatening to primary Cruz in 2018, but on the other hand it pretty much robs Cruz of the only constituency he really had left (#NeverTrump Conservatives). Cruz has now managed to piss off just about every major ideological group in the GOP at some point or another. As I’ve said before, what exactly does he offer 2020 primary voters that someone like Ben Sasse doesn’t?

TX-Sen-2018: Fortunately for Cruz, Wendy Davis is mulling a comeback, and is talking about running for Senate against him in 2018 if the 2016 turnout “looks good”. One of RRH’s biggest electoral jokes might be back to kick around again! Maybe we can get Bruce Braley to run for Iowa Governor too!

Other:

MD-Gov: Prince George’s County executive Rushern Baker III is openly considering running for Governor of Maryland in 2018. Baker, who is black, would probably have a solid lock on the important PGC Democratic “bloc” (against the MontCo “bloc” and the Baltimore “bloc”), and might attract some outside attention as one of the few serious black gubernatorial candidates in the country.

NJ-Gov: Members of the New Jersey Legislature are looking at impeaching Governor Chris Christie over the “Bridgegate” scandal. Christie is already termed out of the governor’s mansion in 2017, and impeaching him would only mean that Lt-Gov and likely 2017 GOP Governor candidate Kim Guadango would get to run as an incumbent Governor instead. Oh how the mighty have fallen–remember when Christie was seen as a rising force for change in the GOP?

UK-Labor Party: Corbyn was re-elected as Labor Party leader over the weekend, by a 62-38% margin. This is widely seen as a vindication of Corbyn’s strategy to greatly expand the number of Labor party members (official party membership in the UK is vastly smaller than in the US). Corbyn and his allies have made it quite clear that they want to purge the Labor party of all dissenting elements, including de-selection of moderate MPs as part of the UK’s very establishment-friendly (which increasingly means Pro-Corbyn) “primary” system. Between this and Corbyn’s inability to come off like a reasonable lefty as opposed to a caricature of the sort of Bevanite Hard-Left politician that Thatcher won huge majorities against. It remains to be seen what the more moderate members of the Labor party plan to do in response to this, but regardless it looks like Theresa May’s Conservatives are in for a good election year in 2020, even beyond the boundary changes.

VT-Gov: Despite the Bernie Revolution sweeping across America, it seems very possible that the GOP is going to pick up the Governor seat his home state of Vermont. The existence of Sanders/Scott (the Republican candidate for Governor) voters seems to make no sense until you realize that a huge part of Sander’s appeal came from outside of his hard-left economic agenda. In a state where it’s possible for the average voter to meet candidates face-to-face multiple times over the course of a campaign, likeability plays a much bigger role than they do in a national or even large-state races. Combine that with the failures of the Vermont single-payer experiment, and you have a state ripe for a GOP Gubernatorial win even in the face of an ~2:1 flop at the top of the ticket.

Voting-Fraud: An examination of voting in Colorado has found that a number of dead people have turned in ballots. For all the huffing and puffing about voter ID, this is probably a much bigger source of voting fraud, as mail-in ballots and lax registration purging means that eligible ballots can be sent to the addresses of a number of people long after they died, and returned filled out by whoever happens to get their hands on them.

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RRH Elections September 2016 Gubernatorial Rankings

Today we present our latest round of gubernatorial rankings. For the first time we are also including Tilt calls (our low-confidence guesses for the Tossup races). Here is this month’s map:

Safe D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Safe R
 DE (OPEN) OR (K. Brown)
WA (Inslee)
MT (Bullock)
NJ (’17, OPEN)
NC (McCrory)
WV (OPEN)
IN (OPEN)
MO (OPEN)
NH (OPEN)
VT (OPEN)
VA (’17, OPEN)
ND (OPEN)
UT (Herbert)

Bold denotes a seat we project to flip partisan control. Italics denotes a D-held Tossup Seat.

RRH Elections has made the following four changes to our gubernatorial ratings since our last update in August, one in Republicans’ favor:

Vermont Tossup from Lean D

And three in Democrats’ favor:

Delaware Safe D from Likely D || North Carolina Lean D from Tossup || West Virginia Lean D from Tossup

These changes mean we are projecting a net shift in gubernatorial seats of between R+2 and D+2 in 2016 and between R+2 and D+3 in 2016 and 2017 together. With Tilts, our current-best guess estimate for 2016 is a change of D+2, for a 29R-20D-1I split.

Flip over for the full narratives!

Continue Reading

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Weekend Open Thread For September 23-25, 2016

Welcome to the weekend. It is finally autumn. Thirty-eight shopping days until Halloween. If you haven’t already, you can still get your “sexy” Trump and Hillary costumes.

Here are some questions to get the weekend started. Please check back at noon tomorrow for our latest Gubernatorial Rankings.

  1.  Is Trump more likely to over-perform, under-perform, or match the polls?
  2.  How should politicians respond to the riots in Charlotte?
  3. Bonus question: if you were Ted Cruz, what would you have done differently after losing the Indiana primary last May?

And because it’s the weekend, here’s THIS.

And also, for those of you who haven’t seen Hillary’s appearance on Between Two Ferns, you can see it here. “Does President Obama like his coffee like he likes himself? Weak?”

166 Comments »

Political Roundup for September 23, 2016

President:

Trump: It is less than 50 days until the election and Donald Trump’s television advertisements have all but vanished. It has been over a week since the Trump campaign has paid to run a TV ad in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This begs the question of what the heck is Donald Trump spending all the campaign cash he is raising on? We know that Trump’s campaign has spent at least $8.2 million on business owned by Trump and his family (see here). The eventual post-election FEC investigation into Trump’s campaign spending could be a major scandal and a major embarrassment to the GOP.

Hillary: It must be nice to have Russian oligarchs, Saudi princes and Wall Street investment banks shower millions of dollars on you for giving speeches. Bill and Hillary Clinton just shelled out $1.16 million to buy the house next door to their Chappaqua mansion to use as a guest house for staff and visitors (because who doesn’t have a $1.16 million guest house on their estate). I guess when you are running for President against Donald Trump you don’t even need to make a pretense of being an average American.

Cruz: Ted Cruz is apparently taking bids on his conscience. Politico is out with a story claiming Ted Cruz is considering endorsing the man who claimed his father murdered JFK. I have to believe these stories where planted by people trying to troll Cruz because there is no way he could be politically stupid enough to endorse Donald Trump now after the stunt he pulled at the Republican National Convention.

Governor:

NH-Gov: Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate William Weld has made two donations to Republican Chris Sununu’s gubernatorial campaign.

NY-Gov: Federal corruption charges were filed against two close aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and six other people. The sweeping corruption charges are a result of an investigation from the office of  US Attorney Preet Bharara into the Buffalo Billions project. This is a devastating blow to the governor’s innermost circle and a repudiation of how Gov. Cuomo’s prized upstate economic development programs were managed. And if you are wondering why an investigation of a Buffalo development project was run out of the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan, the US Attorney for the Western District of New York is William Hochul who is the husband of New York Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul (D).

Senate:

AK-Sen: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead and former Sen. Mark Begich (D) is still not running for Senate. Begich made a big to-do about releasing a statement on Thursday about his political plans only to announce that he would not run a write-in campaign for Senate against Sen Lisa Murkowski (Write-in R). Murkowski is facing a 4 way re-election campaign against Democrat Ray Metcalfe,  independent Margaret Stock (who is running with lots of Democrat support) and Libertarian Joe Miller who beat Murkowski in the 2010 GOP primary. On the bright side Begich little publicity stunt should help him with his current career as a Washington lobbyist.

FL-Sen: The NRSC points out in Spanish that Patrick Murphy lied about about his resume. “Patrick Murphy si es un contador pero de cuentos” is a really cute line. Wish there was a good English equivalent of that Spanish play on words.

IL-Sen: The judge overseeing the Downstate retaliation lawsuit against Democrat senate candidate Tammy Duckworth has set an October 5th date for both sides to talk. Two former employees of Duckworth at the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs have sued claiming Duckworth tried to fire one of them and gave the other a bad review that cost her raises after they complained about Duckworth’s leadership at the VA home, where they work. Duckworth’s politicization of her work at the VA at the behest of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) has become an issue in the Senate campaign and has been features in ads by Sen Mark Kirk (see here).

MO-Sen: Republican Sen Roy Blunt’s latest TV ad features lots of people assembling guns and makes the point that anyone can learn how to assemble a gun but what’s important is how you stand on the issues.

MT-AL: In sad news Libertarian candidate Michael Fellows was killed in a car crash this week. Fellows had run for office every year since 1996, when he ran for a seat in the Montana House. He ran for Congress in 1998, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010; for Secretary of State in 2000, and for the Montana Supreme Court in 2012. He was unsuccessful every time. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family.

NV-Sen: Freedom Partners is spending $1.2 million on TV ads to remind voters that as Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto ignored numerous request to investigate a guardianship program that exploited and abused seniors.

PA-Sen: Freedom Partners Action Fund has released a new ad attacking Democrat Katie McGinty for supporting “special interest profits for her and higher taxes for you”.

WA-Sen: Sen. Patty Murray is clearly not sweating her re-election campaign against Republican Chris Vance. Murray has transferred $1 million from her campaign account to the DSCC.

House:

FL-18: Democrat congressional candidate Randy Perkins is kind of a dick. Perkins had a meltdown over his double-amputee Republican opponent Brian Mast citing his military service as qualifying him to serve in Congress. Perkins actually had the gall to ask a man who lost both his legs fighting for his country to tell him “why the sacrifices and the services that you have provided for this country make you capable of solving issues?” Perkins also accused Mast (who once again lost both of his legs serving his country in Afghanistan) of not being a man for standing behind ads put out by the NRCC which Perkins took issue with. In Perkins world making money off of ripping off taxpayers during national disasters qualifies you for Congress but losing both your legs fighting for your country does not. Perkins is clearly trying to take Alan Grayson’s place as the biggest a-hole in Florida politics.

NH-1: Despite the best efforts of the New Hampshire Democratic Party former Democrat and Bernie Sanders supporter Shawn O’Connor will officially be on the ballot as an Independent candidate. O’Connor originally intended to run in the primary as a Democrat but pulled out after Democrat Party officials sandbagged his campaign in favor of former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.  O’Connor could draw progressive votes on the left away from Shea-Porter and could give Republican Rep. Frank Guinta a slightly better shot at re-election in this R+1 district.

NY-3: Tom Suozzi, you’re no Jack Kennedy! Democrat candidate Tom Suozzi released a new TV ad in which he compared himself JFK. Unless Tom Souzzi was referring to using dead voters to win (see here) I’m not sure the analogy holds.

NY-21: In a sign of how nasty politics can be a speaker at a campaign event for Democratic congressional candidate Mike Derrick called his Republican opponent Rep. Elise Stefanik a “cow”. After he was called out on it Derrick tried to distance himself from the disparaging remarks made at his own campaign event.

NY-22: The Oneida Indian Nation, which has feuded with Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, has given $500,000 to the Democrat aligned House Majority PAC.

NY-24: Rep. John Katko (R) released a new TV ad using his Democratic opponent Colleen Deacon’s own words against her. When asked for her view on what the U.S. should be doing to combat ISIS Deacon replied “Um … fighting ISIS, obviously, I … I don’t know what the answer is …”.

NY-25: Republican Mark Assini came a few hundred votes short of upsetting Rep. Louise Slaughter in this D+7 district in 2014. Now the 87 year old Slaughter is not taking any chances with her re-election. Her campaign has dug up online comments Assini made over a decade ago on gay marriage and other LGBTQ issues and is now trying to manufacture a controversy against him.

State, Local & Other:

Philadelphia District Attorney: Joe Khan has left his job as a federal prosecutor and announced that he will challenge Philadelphia DA Seth Williams in the 2017 Democrat primary.

NYC CD-21: Fresh off his loss in a bid for Democratic district leader position, former New York State Senator (and total scumbag) Hiram Monserrate will try for a comeback bid by running for City Council against Queens Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D) next year. Monserrate was part of the 2009 coup with Sen. Pedro Espada (D) that briefly gave control of the NYS Senate to the GOP. Monserrate was later expelled from the Senate for doing THIS to his girlfriend.

NYC-Mayor: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is desperately trying to find a sane Democrat to take on Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) next year. Unfortunately, it seems state Democratic Party Executive Director Charlie King, a Cuomo ally, was sounding out support for a mayoral run by longtime Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright. Wright is a Charlie Rangel hack protege and recently lost the NY-13 Democrat primary to soon to be Congressman Adriano Espaillat. Seriously, for the sake of New York you have to hope that a better challenger than Keith Wright emerges.

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Afternoon Polling Roundup for September 22, 2016

President – National

Rasmussen: Trump 44, Clinton 39, Johnson 8, Stein 2

LA Times-USC: Trump 45, Clinton 43

President – State

California – PPIC: Clinton 47, Trump 31, Johnson 10, Stein 5

Illinois- Emerson: Clinton 45, Trump 39, Johnson 6, Stein 2

Louisiana – SMOR: Trump 49, Clinton 33, Johnson 8

North Carolina – NYTimes/Siena: Clinton 41, Trump 41, Johnson 11

Virginia-Roanoke: Clinton 44, Trump 37, Johnson 8, Stein 1

Wisconsin – Emerson: Clinton 45, Trump 37, Johnson 11, Stein 2

Senate

California – PPIC: Harris 32, Sanchez 25

Illinois – Emerson: Duckworth 41, Kirk 39

Louisiana – SMOR: Kennedy 17, Boustany 15, Fayard 11, Campbell 9, Fleming 8

North Carolina – NYTimes/Siena: Ross 46, Burr 42

Wisconsin – Emerson: Feingold 52, Johnson 42

159 Comments »

Political Roundup for September 22, 2016

President

Trump:  Republican nominee Donald Trump is calling for a nationwide stop and frisk policy.

Debates:  The Clinton campaign fears the debate moderators are going to dumb down the debates, which might assist Trump.  While I do not like Trump, this is absurd.  Trump was not the greatest in the primary debates, but he was far from the worst.

Cruz-Trump:  It appears there is a level of detente starting between Senator Ted Cruz (R) and Donald Trump.

Congress

Republicans: Major Republican donors are dumping cash into Senate races instead of Donald Trump.  This is a smart strategy from my perspective if you really want to help Trump as the Trump campaign does not have the organizational prowess to execute, but Senate candidates in critical states can help Trump on the organizational front indirectly.

Schumer: Senator Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street) is using Wall Street cash to fuel the Democratic efforts to win control of the Senate and elevate Schumer to Majority Leader.

NV-Sen: Nevada Democrats are still confident they can hold Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s seat, but they are not considering it a done deal as Representative Joe Heck (R) is putting up a strong fight.

KS-1: Primaried Representative Tim Huelskamp (R) has been outed as being a massive hypocrite abusing his franking privileges while running for reelection as being a “Burn the Government to the Ground Conservative”.

LA-Sen:  The FBI has ended its investigation into Louisiana US Senate candidate Troy Herbert (I).  The FBI was investigating Herbert, the former Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control commissioner, for accepting sexual favors for helping a woman fix some liquor license issues.  Such a stereotypical Louisiana political scandal!

WV-Sen:  Senator Joe Manchin (D)’s daughter, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch was grilled by Congress for Mylan’s aggressive tactics regarding EpiPens.  To add a twist, Manchin’s wife and Bresch’s mother, Gayle Manchin, was president of a national school board organization who aided in pushing EpiPens made by Mylan.

States

PA-Corruption Update:  The bizarre story of convicted felon State Representative Leslie Acosta (D) continues to spiral out of control since the disclosure of her felony guilty plea.  Now Governor Wolf (D) is calling for her to resign and House Republicans are talking about not seating her as Acosta refuses to resign or withdraw from the general election where she is the only candidate on the ballot.

WATN:  Disgraced former Representative Anthony Weiner (D-Pervert) might face jailtime for sexting a teenager says Governor Andrew Cuomo (DINO).

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Afternoon Polling Roundup for September 21, 2016

President-National:

Economist/Yougov: Clinton 40, Trump 38, Johnson 7, Stein 2; Clinton 45, Trump 44 head-to-head

Reuters/Ipsos: Trump 39, Clinton 37, Johnson 7, Stein 2; Trump 39, Clinton 39 head-to-head

President-States:

Florida-Monmouth: Clinton 46, Trump 41, Johnson 6, Stein 1

Florida-St. Leo: Clinton 49, Trump 44, Johnson 6, Stein 2.

Maine-MPRC: Clinton 37, Trump 37, Johnson 11, Stein 5

ME-1 -MPRC: Clinton 41,Trump 30,Johnson 12, Stein 5.

ME-2 -MPRC: Trump 44, Clinton 33, Johnson 10, Stein 4.

North Carolina-PPP: Trump 45, Clinton 43, Johnson 6.

North Dakota-DFM Research: Trump 43, Clinton 32, Johnson 8, Stein 1.

Congress: 

CA-Sen: Field has Harris 42, Sanchez 20.

FL-Sen: Monmouth has Rubio 47, Murphy 45.

FL-Sen: St. Leo has Rubio 44, Murphy 35

IL-Sen: Loras has Duckworth 41, Kirk 36.

NV-Sen: Rasmussen has Heck 44, Cortez-Masto 40.

NC-Sen: Elon has Ross 44, Burr 43.

NC-Sen: PPP has the race tied at 41.

UT-4: A Salt Lake Tribune poll has Love 53, Owens 35.

WV-2: A Hunt (D) campaign internal shows him behind Mooney 38-35.

Governor:

NC-Gov: Elon has McCrory 49, Cooper 46.

NC-Gov: PPP has Cooper 50, McCrory 43.

183 Comments »

Political Roundup for September 21, 2016

President:

Friendships: It appears supporting Trump for president will cost you friendships, at least among the Beltway establishment. Some people who claim to secretly admire Trump have decided it’s better to keep quiet about it lest it jeopardizes their careers. Although those Trump supporters are standing firm, they do worry about the two sides being able to reconcile after the election.

Hannity: Sean Hannity has made no secret of his support for Donald Trump since last year. His TV show has essentially turned into an hourlong Trump infomercial. But now he has gone a little too far for Fox News. Hannity appears in a new video called “Heartland for Trump” where he states why he supports Trump. But Fox News said he did not inform the network in advance about the appearance and says he will not be doing any other such ads for the rest of the campaign season.

Blind partisanship: Jim Geraghty of National Review has a good article on the increasing tendency for blind partisanship in supporting presidential nominees. For an example he notes that Trump’s plan for government funded paid leave for new mothers sounds more like something from John Kerry and a recent speech by Clinton about the importance of America leading in the world sounds more like George W. Bush-yet hardly anybody on either side is complaining about their nominees taking those positions. He goes on to point out numerous double standards that both sides have had about certain issues or people and how people on both sides increasingly see people on the other side as “the bad guys” who need to be defeated at all costs-and then see people flip flop on issues so much and what was good for a party one cycle is bad another cycle. As he says, no wonder we see voters disengaging from politics.

Senate:

IN-Sen: Republicans are said to be really starting to see a turnaround in this race, bolstered by $10 million in spending that has eroded former Sen. Evan Bayh (D)’s early lead. They have put Democrats on the defensive here and forced outside Democratic groups to come to his aid. Democrats admit that their original strategy was for Bayh’s entry to scare Republicans from even competing in this race and abandon Rep. Todd Young (R). Even though that didn’t work, they do insist that they have a clear path to victory, even if some are privately wondering if Bayh is up for a tougher fight than they had planned on when he was coaxed into the race by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D).

MO-Sen: Increasingly it appears that Democrats are pinning their hopes on retaking the Senate by shifting resources away from Florida and Ohio and focusing on Missouri-a race that was only on the edge of the radar going into the cycle.Although one recent poll had Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) ahead of Sen. Roy Blunt (R) by 2 points and his campaign has got praise for a recent ad where he assembles a rifle blindfolded to combat his image as anti-gun, it still is unclear how competitive it really is. Some Republican strategists however, although still confident of a Blunt win are expressing frustration that they are having to spend money in this race.

NC-Sen: Some Republicans are said to be privately fretting about the campaign of Sen. Richard Burr (R). The problem is that Burr is a very laid-back person and they feel that he isn’t taking seriously the challenge posed by former state Rep. Deborah Ross (D). The Senate Leadership Fund Super PAC is concerned enough about Burr’s position to make an $8.1 million ad buy in the state-more than they are spending in Nevada and Pennsylvania. The relaxed demeanor of Burr has been an issue with Republicans in past campaigns, but they fear that this time is different because Democrats are making more of a push in this race than his 2 other campaigns for Senate.

House:

FL-13: Rep. David Jolly (R) and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) held their first debate on Monday. The two sparred mostly over Crist’s changing positions on issues like abortion to make himself fit the Democratic Party better. But the most memorable line from the debate came when Crist said he admired Hillary Clinton for her honesty-which prompted a negative response from the audience.

LA-2: Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden (D) is challenging Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) for this seat. On paper, it would appear to be a strong challenge as mayor of the state’s 2nd largest city. But nobody seems to be taking Holden’s challenge seriously-including  maybe even the candidate himself. Holden doesn’t have a campaign website(there is one still active for his failed lieutenant governor campaign last year) and doesn’t have any campaign staff. He only reported $319 in his campaign account in the last reporting period. Holden was also criticized for his response to the Alton Sterling issue and his response to August floods.

Governor:

OR-Gov: Republican nominee Bud Pierce is withdrawing his support of Donald Trump. Pierce had previously given a lukewarm endorsement of Trump, saying that he was better than Clinton. He says that Trump is not unifying Republicans and is driving away Hispanics. Pierce is not endorsing Clinton or any other candidate and says at this point he plans to not vote for anybody for president.

Approval ratings: Morning Consult has come out with approval ratings for all 50 governors, and to no surprise, Sam Brownback is the nation’s least popular governor with 71% disapproval to only 23% approval. Dan Malloy is the 2nd least popular and the only Democrat in the top 5, followed by Chris Christie, Rick Snyder and Paul LePage. Only one Democrat makes in the top 5 popular governors as well-Steve Bullock at #4. Dennis Daugaard is the most popular, followed by Larry Hogan, Charlie Baker and Gary Herbert at #5.

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Afternoon Polling Roundup for September 20, 2016

President – National

NBC News Survey Monkey (LV): Clinton 50 Trump 45, Clinton 45 Trump 40 Johnson 10 Stein 4

LA-Times (LV): Trump 47, Clinton 42

President – State

California – Field: Clinton 50, Trump 33, Stein 6, Weld 5

New York – Siena – Clinton (LV): Clinton 51 Trump 30 Johnson 8 Stein 3

Nevada – Rasmussen (LV): Trump 42, Clinton 39, Johnson 11

North Carolina – Elon (LV): Trump 44, Clinton 43

Polling 

Cohn:  Nate Cohn at the New York Times highlights some of the statistical problems with polling driven by different methodologies.

 

194 Comments »

Political Roundup for September 20th, 2016

First off, I’d like to give a shout-out to both Son_of_the_South’s analysis of the new UK constituency lines (HERE), and Jncca’s look at the political geography of France (PART 1 and PART 2). If you haven’t checked either of them out, you really should.

Now, onto the news!

President:

Bush 41: George H.W. Bush is rumored to be considering endorsing and supporting Hillary Clinton if it looks like Trump might win. I could buy this (Daddy Bush has always been essentially a Connecticut Republican, as opposed to his more Texas-adopting son), but I’m not sure Clinton would actually want the endorsement. I mean, this would feed perfectly into Trump’s narrative about how he’s running against a unified corrupt political class, and further embolden his supporters while probably moving more progressives to Stein than Trump or Johnson voters to Clinton. Bush 41 is not exactly beloved by the GOP base after all.

Clinton: It seems Clinton is not particularly inspiring to the average Democratic voter, as she is facing a notable enthusiasm gap in the electorate heading into the final stretch of the election. Part of this is natural (the GOP has always had a solid turnout-edge), but it really highlights how reliant Clinton is on the Obama turnout machine working well for her, which is not guaranteed.

Clinton: It’s rare that I completely agree with an NBC electoral piece, but this one pretty nicely summarizes Clinton’s big problems so far. She needs to stop pretending like Trump can’t win, she needs to start campaigning beyond just press releases and media statements, and she needs to come up with a more positive message as opposed to her constant Trump-bashing.

Clinton: This is a good example of what is meant by the last bit—she leveled a thinly-veiled charge that Trump might be committing treason over ISIS. Why you may ask? Because his flamboyant criticism of Islam is reportedly being used by ISIS as a recruitment tool, which she considers to be “giving aid and comfort to our adversaries”, which is the formal definition of treason. You know, because all those Axis WWII propaganda posters depicting caricatures of FDR meant that he was committing treason too. The logic here is so tortured that I’m kind of amazed this was something someone seriously suggested she say, let alone agreeing to say it.

Johnson: Johnson accidentally said on camera that he was glad that no one was hurt in the bombings and stabbing over the weekend, despite multiple (and in some cases serious) injuries. This probably doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it helps to remind people that the Libertarian’s low profile can be a gift or a curse—Johnson being vaguely relevant to the current election means that the media has a reason to play up his negative stories.

Johnson: Despite not making it into the debates, Johnson is promising to continue to soldier on, saying that he’s aiming to get into the second one despite all signs pointing against it. I’d be more sympathetic if the dude wasn’t running against the two most unpopular nominees in political history and still struggling to break 10% of the vote. To give you another idea of how bad his campaigning is going, he had to deny that his running mate William Weld was planning on dropping out of the race to endorse Hillary Clinton.

Trump: In one of those obvious-after-the-fact moments, Trump is absolutely killing it with small donors. He has managed to pull in over $100 Million in donations under $200, which is even more amazing when you consider that he’s only been seriously raising money for the last 3 months and is widely regarded to have an amateur and ineffective fundraising team. Although he’s still nowhere near Obama levels (who managed almost $500 Million in 2012), this is greatly helping compensate for the usual wealthy GOP donors’ hesitation to give to his campaign. Say what you want about Trump’s political skills, but he’s clearly fired up the Republican base better than anyone since Reagan.

Congress:

Adelson: The famous GOP Mega-donor is opening his wallet for the party again, pledging $5 Million to Trump and $20Million each to GOP House and Senate SuperPACs. This is on top of a record-high $28 Million haul for the Senate Leadership Fund in August. If Trump is turning off the usual mega-donors, he’s at least pushing them to give more to the down-ballot stuff, which will greatly help the GOP try to maintain control of both chambers this year.

MO-Sen: It seems that the NRSC is following the Democrats into this Senate race, spending 6 digits and planning to spend much more. I guess shifting a Senate battlefield from Ohio to Missouri is still a win for us.

NY-21: As much as I give some of the #NeverTrumpers crap about how the GOP needs to be “Purged of Trumpist influence”, Carl Paladino makes a pretty good case for that. He seems to have recruited a write-in GE challenger to Elise Stefanik in this North-Country congressional district, mostly because Stefanik only gave a half-hearted endorsement of Trump. The candidate, Robert Shaver, lives in Bergen County NJ but has “roots” in the district, and is so utterly unserious about his campaign that he’s not even going to move back to the correct state for his run. Stefanik is probably safe given that she’s drawn essentially token opposition along with an unusually strong Green-Party candidate, but someone needs to remind these guys that openly trying to sabotage your party’s electoral chances because someone only endorsed a candidate you like “half-heartedly” is not a way to see your policies implemented.

Other:

Christie: The head prosecutor in the “BridgeGate” scandal has claimed that Christie knew about the closings before and during them. Now, I don’t want to jump to conclusions here (again, this guy is currently trying to get Christie arrested for abuse of power), but oh boy did we dodge a bullet here when Christie flopped. Imagine a story like this being headline news in September for a non-Trump nominee.

Cuomo: If you ever wanted to know why Cuomo gets such a pass from the NY Republicans, it’s because he’s capable of acting like an intelligent human being every once in a while. Cuomo actually called the weekend bombings an act of terrorism, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the Democrats, who kept tip-toeing around the term for the better part of a day. I dread the day the (other) Democrats realize how stupid and inept stuff like that makes them look.

Kasich: In a sign that the Prince of Light in the Darkness might seriously be considering another run for president, he shot back at Reince Preibus’s suggestion that candidates who broke their pledge to support the eventual nominee might not get ballot access in 2020. It will never cease to amaze me that this narcissistic joker is trying to take a “principled” #NeverTrump stand despite being one of the major reasons why Trump was able to win in the first place. He’s like the Establishment version of Ted Cruz—complaining about something he helped create while trying to claim the mantle of “purity”.

KY-State-House: Both sides are trying to frame the idea of what a Republican takeover of the Kentucky State House would look like. The Democrats are playing the “Divided Government is key” card and saying that they’re the only thing stopping Bevin from passing a whole laundry list of right-wing legislation, while Republicans are accusing Stumbo of naked obstructionism and claim that they’re going to take a much more cautious approach to their first unified control of the state in almost a century.