November 8, 2016
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Politics and Election News
Monday, November 30, 2015
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I certainly enjoyed the few days of rest, relaxation and .... food. As a result of the festivities, there haven't been many posts of late. That will continue for a while this month as I work feverishly behind the scenes to update the website.
Soon, I'll be completing a major migration project for Election Projection, moving the site to WordPress from its current homegrown setup. As you can imagine for such an extensive website like EP, that project is a bear of a task. Once we're on the other side, it will be more than worth it, and I'm very excited for everyone to experience all the added flexibility and professionalism the move will provide. My timeline for completing the transfer is sometime before the end of the year. In the meantime, I'll be updating the polls and EP Poll Averages multiple times a day and occasionally posting to the blog as things come up that I want to react to.
posted by Scott Elliott at 2:49pm 11/30/15 :: link
Monday, November 23, 2015
On Saturday, Democrat John Bel Edwards handily defeated Republican David Vitter and won election as the next governor of Louisiana. While the victory is certainly a positive outcome for the blue team, its significance is limited. Viewing the result though the lens of the race's specifics and through the lens of what happened elsewhere in 2015, it becomes clear that Edward's win was the exception and in no way indicative of a larger tide.
Vitter was damaged goods
In a red state like Louisiana, Edwards should have faced long odds in his attempt to earn the governorship. Indeed, over the summer, polls showed Vitter with a commanding lead. However, Vitter had an Achilles heel. The sitting Louisiana senator had more than a decade's worth of stories of relations with prostitutes
on his resume. That's not an advantageous bullet point for a champion of traditional social values.
The effect of that baggage began to weigh on his poll numbers as October's general primary approached, and he barely secured a place in Saturday's runoff. Fortunately for Edwards, Vitter was able to survive the primary. Otherwise, we would probably be discussing how either Scott Angelle or Jay Dardenne, both legitimate Republican contenders, was able to capture the Governor's Mansion. Vitter's distant runner-up finish in the primary enabled Edwards to continue to hammer on Vitter's scandalous past and come away with a surprisingly comfortable victory.
Bobby Jindal isn't very popular
Just as with presidential elections, following a poorly-viewed sitting executive with a successor of the same party is problematic. For example, some would blame John McCain's nomination in 2008 for the ascent of Barack Obama to the presidency. I would much more point to President George W. Bush's upper-thirties approval rating. Any Republican would have had an enormous challenge defeating Obama that year.
That difficulty diminishes the more partisan the environment in which such an election takes place. Even though the current Louisiana governor Republican Bobby Jindal's approval ratings are dismal in Louisiana, the state is much redder than the nation as a whole. Nevertheless, Louisiana voters entered this election season less amenable to another GOP governor in Baton Rouge. So, Edwards was able to capitalize on both a flawed candidate and a flawed incumbent.
Other 2015 Election Results
Republicans won everything else in Louisiana
It is telling to look at other statewide races that took place this year in Louisiana. Republicans swept them all. And all of them by landslide margins. In the lieutenant governor race, Republican Billy Nungessar won by double-digits in the runoff on Saturday. I point that race out because it is, in fact, the only other statewide runoff election that even featured a Democrat. In all other races, a Republican won the primary outright or two Republicans advanced to the runoff.
Republicans won or held serve in everything outside of Louisiana
Three weeks ago, the buzz was all about how badly polls had missed the Kentucky governor election. Republican Matt Bevin defied the pollsters and crushed Democrat Jack Conway to win that race by almost 9 points - despite being a 5-point underdog going in.
One place where Democrats held high hopes of making gains was in the state legislature races in Virginia. They need to pick up a net of just one state senate seat to gain the effective majority. They did manage to pick up a seat, but so did the GOP. As a result, the balance of power remained unchanged and Republicans held onto their slim majority.
Finally, In Mississippi, the Republican governor, Phil Bryant, cruised to an easy re-election victory. No news there, I know, but it completed a very positive election night for the GOP on November 3.
Overall, Edwards' victory is pretty much all Democrats have to cheer about as we emerge from the 2015 elections. On the other hand, Republicans have plenty to feel good about. But the important question going forward is what do these results tell us about the coming elections in 2016.
Time will tell in that regard, but we do have a concrete outcome to note for next year's elections. The Louisiana senate seat currently occupied by Mr. Vitter will be open. He confirmed after the votes were counted Saturday evening that he would not seek re-election. His decision represents a collateral victory for the GOP insomuch as it means the seat will likely remain in Republican hands.
posted by Scott Elliott at 2:41pm 11/23/15 :: link
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Click here this evening for up-to-date voting results as the returns come in.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Donald Trump, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Trump's biography and ideological positions.
Known primarily as real estate mogul and television reality show star, Donald Trump has lived a wildly varied life. The list of things Trump has had his hand in over the years is extensive. There are real estate and TV, of course, but you'll also find there professional football franchisee, golf course resort developer, beauty pageant owner, Wrestlemania host, and, as of June 16, 2015, Republican presidential candidate.
Trump's rise to the front of the pack of GOP presidential hopefuls has been an unexpected, and some would say problematic, phenomenon. The sentiment among many conservatives regarding illegal immigration has festered into rage, and Trump has capitalized on that anger. His fiery rhetoric tickles their ears with promises of no tolerance and mass deportations of those who are here illegally. Along the way, his abrasive, tell-it-like-it-is style has offended many folks in many different stations of life.
It is that outlandish style that has been, in large part, the source of his momentum in GOP polling. It is also that style that makes him a likely loser in the general election in my opinion. I, like most political observers, have maintained throughout the summer and fall of 2015 that Trump's days as GOP frontrunner are numbered. So far, however, he has shown much greater staying power than I ever imagined.
The nay-sayers, me included, must concede, may I say incredulously, that he does have a legitimate chance to win the nomination. I still put the odds at 2-1 in favor of someone else in the field, but it is entirely possible that Republicans might settle on The Donald as The Nominee.
Republican Nomination Odds: 30%
30-day Trend: Flat
Candidate Page: Donald Trump, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 4:03pm 11/19/15 :: link
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Presidential primary debates are well underway for the 2016 presidential election cycle. So far, the Republicans have held five debates, if you include the voter forum conducted by C-SPAN back in early August, and the Democrats two. To help you track the debates for the rest of the year and into next year when voting actually begins, I've updated EP's Primary Debate Schedule
Check it out. Beyond just the dates and details, you'll find there interesting information about primary debates throughout presidential election history. And of course, do come back to find out when the next debates are planned, who will participate, and where they'll be televised.
posted by Scott Elliott at 4:52pm 11/18/15 :: link
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Rick Santorum, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Santorum's biography and ideological positions.
Throughout his career in politics, Rick Santorum has been the darling of social conservatives. He won a Senate seat from Pennsylvania during the Republican wave elections of 1994 and survived his first re-election bid in 2000. However, his fortunes had soured considerably by the time the 2006 election season rolled around.
In a very down climate for Republicans, Santorum chose not to distance himself from President George W. Bush, whose popularity stood at 38% in Pennsylvania. He also backed Arlen Specter in the 204 election to the chagrin of many conservatives. The result was a 59%-41% drubbing at the hands of Democratic State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr.
Santorum hoped to revitalize his political career in 2012 when he jumped into the presidential race. He did very well that year, coming in second to GOP nominee Mitt Romney and winning 11 state primaries and caucuses along the way. He dropped out in April and gave his endorsement to Romney.
This year, Santorum hoped to improve on his second place finish four years ago, but things just haven't worked out well for his campaign. His polling numbers, like so many in the GOP field, barely register. It is just a matter of time before he ends his quest for the nomination. Even money says he does it before any votes are cast.
Republican Nomination Odds: < 1%
30-day Trend: Flat
Candidate Page: Rick Santorum, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 1:43pm 11/18/15 :: link
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has decided to discontinue his bid for the White House. With no momentum and no poll numbers to speak of, Jindal's campaign never really got off the ground. For awhile at the helm of the Bayou State, Jindal's star shone brightly, but the presidential climate has taken its toll. Despite his conservatism and his prowess as a policy wonk, Jindal mourned his inability to gain traction.
|"We spent a lot of time developing detailed policy papers, and given this crazy, unpredictable election season, clearly there just wasn't a lot of interest,"
As disappointed as he must be to have fared so poorly in the GOP nomination contest, Jindal still reflects positively
on his career in the political arena.
|In withdrawing, Mr. Jindal alluded to his parents’ emigration to the United States from India 45 years ago.
"I don't think in a million years they would have ever imagined that I'd be governor or one day I'd be running for president of the United States," he said.
But in the end, he told Fox News, "I've come to the realization this is not my time." Jindal's exit decreases the still huge number of GOP nominee wannabees to 14.
posted by Scott Elliott at 7:45pm 11/17/15 :: link
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Bernie Sanders, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Sanders' biography and ideological positions.
As a self-proclaimed socialist seeking the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders is unique among this year's presidential candidates. Liberal is not a label he shies away from - except that it might be a bit conservative for his liking. As mayor of Burlington, Vermont, during the 80's, Sanders established a relationship with the then-Soviet city of Yaroslavl. He left to initiate the sister city project right after his wedding, causing some to say he honeymooned in the USSR.
The purpose of his trip was not to honeymoon in Russia, but his affinity to communist causes is unmistakable nonetheless. In honor of Burlington's relationship with Yaroslavl, Sanders hung a Soviet flag in his mayoral office. He showed solidarity with the Marxist-Leninist Sandinistas in Nicaragua by traveling to Managua to celebrate the sixth anniversary of Daniel Ortega's rise to power. From a policy standpoint, Sanders favors single-payer socialized medicine in the U.S., higher taxes on the wealthy, increased regulation on corporations, same-sex marriage and abortion on demand.
After making a splash early in this election cycle, Sanders has retreated a bit in the polls, solidifying the inevitable march of Hillary Clinton to the Democratic nomination. He was never a serious contender for the party nod - he's technically not even a Democrat - but his uber-liberal messages have resonated with the left-wing of the Democratic Party and drawn massive crowds all over the place. But all this is just fanfare. If there is one effect he's having on the race, however, it is that Clinton cannot be as free to posture to the middle with Sanders pulling her left in the primaries.
Democratic Nomination Odds: 2%
(as of 11/17/15)
30-day Trend: DOWN
Candidate Page: Bernie Sanders, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 9:20am 11/17/15 :: link
Monday, November 16, 2015
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Marco Rubio, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Rubio's biography and ideological positions.
After serving for 9 years in the Florida House of Representatives, the last two as Speaker, Cuban-American Marco Rubio burst onto the national scene in 2009 when he announced he would run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Mel Martinez. Florida governor Charlie Crist, a Republican at the time, also jumped into the race. Crist's moderate record could not withstand the charisma and conservatism of the photogenic Rubio. Eventually, after losing an early double-digit lead in the polls, Crist decided to concede the GOP nomination to Rubio and run as an independent.
Crist's move worked well for Rubio, and he earned a spot in Washington in 2010 with a 19-point victory over the former Republican. Democrat Kendrick Meek finished third with 20% of the vote. During the last four years in the Senate, Rubio has compiled a sterling conservative record, achieving a lifetime conservative rating of 98% from the American Conservative Union and a 93% conservative rating from Heritage Action for America.
Despite the certified conservative voting record, Rubio falls into persona-non-grata status among some in the Republican Party because of one issue. In 2013, he joined the 'Gang of Eight' bipartisan senators who crafted comprehensive immigration reform. The legislation angered hard line immigration reform opponents, some of whom seem bent on disqualifying any candidate who doesn't adhere exactly to their stance on that one issue.
Illegal immigration reform notwithstanding, Marco Rubio is a very strong candidate, both in the primaries and in the general election. I don't agree with the message that he is the new establishment candidate now that Jeb Bush has faded - his record reflects anything but. And I think he is well-suited to win the presidency next November - as long as narrow-mindedness doesn't trump the day in the GOP primaries.
Republican Nomination Odds: 25%
30-day Trend: UP
Candidate Page: Marco Rubio, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 4:21pm 11/16/15 :: link
I've added some educational information to Election Projection's 2016 Presidential Primaries
page. This addition is part of an ongoing upgrade to primary election coverage here at EP. Be sure to check it out.
posted by Scott Elliott at 2:42pm 11/16/15 :: link
Friday, November 13, 2015
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Rick Perry, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Perry's biography and ideological positions.
From a small town in west Texas, Rick Perry rose to the top of Texas politics when he became governor of the Lone Star State as a Republican in 2000. His childhood was spent in Paint Creek, a rural town of just 324 people according to the 2010 Census. Perry grew up for a time without electricity and running water, making his ascension to the Governor's Mansion all the more remarkable.
But it appears that will be the high mark of his political career. After trying and failing to secure the GOP nomination in 2012, Perry's 2016 bid didn't make it to the second debate. Famous for forgetting his own policy ideas during a debate in November, 2011, Perry didn't get much opportunity to repeat the mistake. He appeared in just one, second-tier, debate this go around.
Nevertheless, Perry's political career is nothing to sneeze out. He assumed the governorship of Texas in 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to become U.S. President. When he left office in Austin, 14 years 30 days later, he had been elected three times and was the second longest tenured governor at the time behind Terry Branstad of Iowa.
Perry announced on Friday, September 11, 2015 that he was no longer seeking the Republican nomination.
Republican Nomination Odds: N/A
30-day Trend: N/A
Candidate Page: Rick Perry, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 9:41am 11/13/15 :: link
Thursday, November 12, 2015
When Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter earned a runoff appointment with Democrat John Bel Edwards, I figured Vitter had withstood all the negative ads offered against him in the run up to the open primary last month. With Edwards below 40% in the final vote count, it seemed likely Vitter would be able to capture the majority of the runoff vote by shifting votes from the two other Republicans in the field.
However, that appears not to be the case. Edwards is crushing Vitter in a University of New Orleans poll released this week. The margin, 22 points, is overwhelming. And it probably will withstand the kind of polling oops we saw in the Kentucky governor election on November 3. As a result, EP is moving the projection for this race from Mod GOP Hold
to Mod DEM Gain
If Edwards does win, the balance of power among governorships will return to its pre-Nov 3 level - 31 Republicans
, 18 Democrats
and 1 Independent
The Bayou State will return to the polls on Saturday, November 21. Be sure to check here for Louisiana governor election results
as the returns come in that evening.
posted by Scott Elliott at 6:59pm 11/12/15 :: link
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Rand Paul, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Paul's biography and ideological positions.
Rand Paul achieved a singular distinction when he won election to the U. S. Senate from Kentucky in 2010. He is the first senator to serve alongside a parent, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, in the House of Representatives. He also engineered an early major victory by a Tea Party candidate, providing legitimacy and momentum to the upstart movement.
Ideologically, Paul is the most libertarian leaning presidential candidate this cycle. Professionally, he is an ophthalmologist with a degree from Duke University Medical School. And personally, he is married to Kentucky native Kelley Ashby Paul. In the early 1990's, he followed her to Kentucky to open his ophthalmology practice.
A couple years after moving to the Bluegrass State, Paul launched the Kentucky Taxpayers Union, a watchdog organization designed to track taxes and spending in Kentucky state government. From there, it wasn't a huge leap for Paul to enter the political arena, especially considering his father's example. In 2010, his small government message overwhelmed his primary opponent, Trey Grayson, a protégé of Senator Mitch McConnell. In the general election, Paul leaned on his Tea Party backing to score a double-digit victory over Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.
When he decided to run for president in early 2015, Paul's campaign promised to be a less non-interventionalist version of his father's failed presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012. Despite tempering his father's radical foreign policy views, Paul nonetheless has found little success in the polls. His prospects to win the nomination are, in turn, pretty paltry.
Republican Nomination Odds: < 1%
30-day Trend: Flat
Candidate Page: Rand Paul, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 10:53am 11/12/15 :: link
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Martin O'Malley, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to O'Malley's biography and ideological positions.
If Martin O'Malley were to score the biggest upset in the U.S. election history and win the presidency in 2016, his political career would span a remarkably short distance, geographically speaking. After losing an extremely close election battle for the Maryland state Senate in 1990, a race that he led until absentee ballots gave his opponent a 44-vote victory, O'Malley won a seat on Baltimore's city council in 1990.
Nine years later, he graduated to mayor, besting a large Democratic field before cruising to a 90% haul in the general election. During his time as Baltimore's mayor, he was tagged as a new star in the Democratic Party by BusinessWeek magazine along with Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel.
In 2006, he once again received a promotion when he ousted incumbent Maryland governor, Bob Ehrlich. The victory in the gubernatorial election earned him residence just 30 miles down I-97 in Annapolis. There he remained until his second term expired early in 2015. As governor, O'Malley proved his Democratic mettle by signing same-sex marriage and in-state tuition access to children of illegal immigrants into Maryland law.
So we come to O'Malley's presidential bid. Since Washington D.C. is just 40 miles from Baltimore and 35 miles from Annapolis, O'Malley's political rise from Councilman to Mayor to Governor to President would be completely contained within a circle just 40 miles in diameter. However, unfortunately for Mr. O'Malley, that's not going to happen. He has been unable to gain any momentum in the polls, and his candidacy will likely end long before all Democratic primary votes have been cast.
Democratic Nomination Odds: < 1%
(as of 11/11/15)
30-day Trend: FLAT
Candidate Page: Martin O'Malley, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 4:17pm 11/11/15 :: link
Monday, November 9, 2015
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on George Pataki, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Pataki's biography and ideological positions.
States with hard partisan leanings occasionally vote in governors of the opposing party's affiliation. Witness Republican Mitt Romney's election in the uber-liberal Massachusetts and Democrat Dave Freudenthal's in deep crimson Wyoming. New Yorkers did the same thing back in 1994 when they elected George Pataki as governor, a step they repeated in 1998 and 2002.
Pataki, like Romney, could never be classified as a hard-core partisan. His moderate views enabled him to be palatable to Empire State votes and an acceptable choice in three consecutive gubernatorial elections. Now that he's running for the Republican nomination for president, however, those moderate views are not a strength with GOP primary voters.
If any of the Republican contenders this year deserve the RINO label, Pataki definitely does. Pro choice, pro same-sex marriage, pro climate change regulations, Pataki's positions many times seem more suited for a Democratic run. Technically, his more liberal social views make him a 'Moderate Libertarian Conservative' as defined by OnTheIssues.org.
With a resume that reveals little conservative credentials, Pataki's chances to win the Republican nomination are practically non-existent. He'll eventually drop out of the race without earning a single delegate. And the only way he'll ever make it to the main stage during any of the GOP primary debates is for the secondary debate to be discontinued.
Republican Nomination Odds: < 1%
30-day Trend: Flat
Candidate Page: George Pataki, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 5:20pm 11/09/15 :: link
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Lawrence Lessig, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Lessig's biography and ideological positions.
Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig is a hard-core liberal who entered the Democratic nomination race with unusual intentions. He wasn't 'in it to win it' as most candidates would claim. He was in it to bring attention to the issue that matters to him - campaign finance reform. Lessig and I agree on very little, but I do agree that we should live out our convictions in the public square.
Lessig's political activism did not originate with his brief entry into this year's primary election contest. Over the last 15 years, Lessig has been a crusader for copyright policy reform, co-founding the non-profit group, Creative Commons. The group's copyright work is driven by Lessig's belief that copyright policy should not be approached 'in either extreme of perfect control or no rights.'
In 2014, along with a former George W. Bush advisor, Lessig started Mayday PAC. This super PAC gives expression to Lessig's fight for campaign finance reform by pushing, not for new restrictions on contributions, but for increased giving 'by small donors, in the hope of diluting the influence of big ones.'
The professor isn't running for the Democratic nomination any longer, so it's easy to peg his chances at getting it. He won't. But, honestly, he never had a chance, nor did he seriously entertain the idea. He was content to simply take his issue to a national stage.
Democratic Nomination Odds: N/A
30-day Trend: N/A
Candidate Page: Lawrence Lessig, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 4:25pm 11/09/15 :: link
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Only eight candidates will be on stage for the main debate next Tuesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Four will appear in the early debate. For the first time, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are relegated to the undercard. Fox Business determined the lineups based on the latest poll from each of the following four polling organizations: Fox News, Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP, Quinnipiac University, and The Wall Street Journal/NBC News
The lineups released today by Fox Business
don't include George Pataki, Lindsey Graham or Jim Gilmore. They failed to reach the minimum 1% average in the four polls. Those who reached the main debate each scored at least 2.5%.
For more information on this and the rest of the Republican
debates, as well as plenty more information on the nomination battles, be sure to check out Election Projection's Primary Election Central
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:50pm 11/05/15 :: link
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on John Kasich, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Kasich's biography and ideological positions.
Current Ohio Governor John Kasich has been elected to three different offices in his political career. In 1978, he won a seat in the Ohio Senate. Four years later, he moved up to the United States House of Representatives. Finally, in 2010, Kasich became Ohio's 69th governor. I note his electoral successes for a particular and interesting reason. In all three races, Kasich ousted a Democratic incumbent.
His ability to win election battles in less than ideal conservative environments is an indication of his more moderate ideology. According to OnTheIssues.org, Kasich is not numbered among the more conservative Republican candidates running for president. His record prompts the political ideology website to put him in the "Moderate Conservative" category along with fellow competitor Carly Fiorina.
His moderate record doesn't sit well with many Republican Party primary voters, and his late entry into the presidential race further diluted his appeal. As a result, Kasich languishes far below the leaders in the polls. I don't know when his presidential run will end, but I am confident it will end without him winning the nomination.
Republican Nomination Odds: < 1%
30-day Trend: Flat
Candidate Page: John Kasich, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:48am 11/05/15 :: link