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Period Ending November 4, 2016

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This weekly roundup of election news and notes is compiled for Thompson Coburn by the The Ellis Insight.

President

As we turn toward the final weekend, the presidential race is getting closer. Though Hillary Clinton should still be considered as favored to win, late trends in Ohio, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada, and New Hampshire seem to be tilting toward Trump. The latest Florida numbers, however, look to be better for Clinton: Opinion Savvy (11/1-2; 603 FL likely voters, 55% of whom have already voted) and Gravis Marketing (10/31; 1,995 FL registered voters via interactive voice response system and online cell phone responders) still find her leading. The former detects a 49-45% Clinton advantage, while Gravis sees an almost identical 49-46% split. The Opinion Savvy poll finds Sen. Marco Rubio (R) leading Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Jupiter) 50-46%, further giving its numbers objective credibility.

Assuming Trump secures all 23 states that normally vote Republican, and analysts are still keeping an eye on Utah, Arizona, and Georgia though all appear to be hanging for Trump, the Republican must then take Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa, and Nevada, along with either New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, or Colorado. To foil this victory path, all Ms. Clinton has to do is pick off one of the former group of states. Her lead in Florida suggests that she will still clinch Tuesday’s election even though the race does appear to be closing in Trump’s favor.

Trump’s victory path is difficult in that all of the aforementioned scenario must come through for him, and Clinton stopping his push in any one of the states will mean a victory for her. Tuesday will prove to be an interesting night.

Senate

Colorado: Considering that this Senate race has been virtually uncontested because the Republican Party wrote off nominee Darryl Glenn’s chances against Sen. Michael Bennet (D), the polling still remains relatively close. A new small-sample University of Denver survey (10/29-31; 550 CO likely voters) finds Sen. Bennet’s margin to be 48-40%. Two other surveys, from the Emerson College Polling Society (10/28-31; 750 CO likely voters) and CBS News/YouGov (10/26-28; 997 CO likely voters) each found five point differences between the two candidates.

Florida: Both CNN/ORC (10/27-11/1; 773 FL likely voters) and the Emerson College Polling Society (10/26-27; 500 FL likely voters) see a tightening of this state’s Senate race. CNN finds Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R) lead dropping to one point, 49-48%, while Emerson sees just a slightly better 49-47% Rubio edge. As mentioned in the presidential section, Opinion Savvy (11/1-2; 603 FL likely voters) finds Rubio a bit further ahead, 50-46%.

Missouri: Monmouth University (10/28-31; 405 MO likely voters) ran several small-sample polls in the Show Me State. While they produce Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and GOP gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens’ (R) best numbers of the cycle, the same sampling group gives Sen. Roy Blunt (R) only a 47-46% lead over Secretary of State Jason Kander (D). This contrasts with their posting of Trump to a fourteen point, 52-38% margin over Hillary Clinton. The Emerson College Polling Society (10/28-31; 650 MO likely voters) delivers similar numbers. They find the two candidates locked in a 45-45% tie.

Nevada: The Silver State Senate race, one of the nation’s most important determining campaigns, is reporting scattered data since October 20. The new Emerson College Polling Society survey (10/26-27; 550 NV likely voters) finds Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) leading former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D), 48-44% in the open seat campaign. Previously, Gravis Marketing (10/25; 875 NV likely voters via interactive voice response system) found Masto ahead by six points, 50-44%. Just before that, NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College (10/20-24; 707 NV likely voters), as reported last week, saw a 49-42% Heck advantage. The current Emerson poll finds Hillary Clinton topping Donald Trump 44-42%, thus giving the Republican Senate advantage more credibility.

New Hampshire: Though the University of New Hampshire has typically been an unreliable pollster, usually because of small sample sizes and very long questioning periods, their new data, again partnering with WBUR-TV, Boston’s public television station, appears much better. Their statewide sample of 641 NH likely voters is much more robust, and their sampling period of 10/26-30 is finally in line with other pollsters. With these as qualifying factors, their latest results give Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) a 46-44% edge over Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R). The margin is consistent with other pollsters’ findings, but the last four polls from a period beginning 10/17 and stretching to 10/25 see Ayotte leading in three and one falling into a tie. The data is further supported by Suffolk University’s data (with the Boston Globe; 10/31-11/2; 500 NH likely voters) showing Ayotte with a 44-42% edge.

North Carolina: The seesaw Tar Heel State was also polled, as it so often has been. Elon University (10/23-27; 710 NC likely voters), located almost in the dead center of North Carolina, released data in several races. In the Senate race, they see Sen. Richard Burr (R) clinging to a 45-42% edge over former state Rep. Deborah Ross (D). But, Survey USA (10/28-31; 659 NC likely voters) report Sen. Burr’s strongest standing in three weeks: leading 49-43%. Since October 20th, seven polls have reported data. Four have Burr leading, one is a tie, and one finds Ms. Ross ahead three points. The Elon poll finds Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tied at 44% apiece.

Pennsylvania: The new Franklin & Marshall College poll (10/26-30; 652 PA likely voters) appears to be an anomaly. The data portends a 47-35% lead for challenger Katie McGinty (D), which is way beyond any spread previously reported. In fact, until the Gravis Marketing (10/25-30; 3,217 PA registered voters via automated system) found a 45-41% McGinty advantage and CNN/ORC (10/27-11/1; 799 PA likely voters) finding a 51-46% split, earlier polls had shown Sen. Toomey opening up a discernible edge. With the latest polling entries tabulated, McGinty has now led in eight consecutive survey reports and she has a definite edge heading into Election Day.

Wisconsin: The new Marquette Law School Wisconsin poll (10/26-31; 1,225 WI likely voters), becoming a regular feature in Badger State politics, sees a major change of direction in the re-match Senate race between Sen. Ron Johnson (R) and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D). With Feingold leading consistently in the last six polls from two to twelve points, the Marquette data gives the Democrat only a one-point, 45-44%, edge.

House

ME-2: The University of New Hampshire/Portland News Herald tested the tight 2nd Congressional District race, and again UNH employing better methodological tenets, (10/2-25; 341 ME-2 likely voters) appears to be producing better results. Here, the survey finds challenger Emily Cain (D) topping freshman Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Oakland/Bangor), by a scant two-point margin, 46-44%. This race continues in toss-up mode.

NH-1: The aforementioned UNH/WBUR poll (see NH Senate above) also tested the hotly contested 1st District race. In a seat that has defeated more Representatives since 2006 than any district in the nation, the incumbent is again on the ropes. In the three-way contest that features self-funding millionaire Shawn O’Connor (I), the UNH data finds former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) leading Rep. Frank Guinta (R), and O’Connor, 37-32-14%. This is the fourth consecutive time Shea-Porter and Guinta have faced each other, with the latter winning two of the previous three.

NY-19: In the hotly contested Upstate New York open 19th CD, law school professor Zephyr Teachout (D) has opened up a 45-42% lead over former state Assembly Minority Leader and gubernatorial nominee John Faso (R), according to a new Survey USA poll (10/27-30; 598 NY-19 likely voters). Should Teachout win, this would be a Democratic conversion. Rep. Chris Gibson (R-Kinderhook) is retiring after three terms.

Governor

Missouri: The aforementioned small-sample Monmouth University poll (see MO Senate above), finds Republican former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens pulling even with Attorney General Chris Koster (D). According to the results, the two are tied at 46%, representing Greitens best showing to date.

North Carolina: Elon University (see NC Senate above) also tested the controversial Governor’s race. According to this poll, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) are tied at 46-46%. Most surveys give Cooper a slight advantage. The aforementioned Survey USA poll (see NC Senate above) that placed Sen. Richard Burr (R) ahead six points, finds Gov. McCrory trailing AG Cooper 47-48%.