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Period Ending July 11, 2014

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

Senate

Arkansas: The Impact Management Group (6/29; 1,290 AR registered voters via Interactive Voice Response system) tested the Arkansas electorate and project Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) to have a 47-43% edge over Sen. Mark Pryor (D). The poll, however, is flawed. In Cotton’s favor, the polling sample is nine points more white than the population as a whole, and heavily skews toward senior citizens. Cutting against Cotton is the female composition, which is four points greater than the total Arkansas population. All things considered, we again see a poll where the result is too close to call, the same conclusion that most recent polls have drawn.

Delaware: The Delaware candidate filing period closed, and Sen. Chris Coons (D), running for a full six-year term in 2014, has drawn minimal opposition. Two Republicans filed. The most notable is engineering company founder and president Kevin Wade. Sen. Coons is a heavy favorite to win re-election. He first won in 2010, to fill the unexpired portion of then-Senator Joe Biden’s final term in office.

New Hampshire: The Granite Poll from the University of New Hampshire and WMUR TV (6/19-7/1; 669 NH adults) forecast a 50-38% lead for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) over former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R). The poll skews three points too young for the state population as a whole, and the Independent draw is seven points high. Therefore, it is likely that Sen. Shaheen fares slightly better within this polling universe than amongst the actual voting populace, but it is clear that she possesses a discernible advantage.

Louisiana: Rasmussen Reports (7/8-9; 750 LA likely voters) gives Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) a 46-43% lead over Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6) in a head-to-head ballot test. The other jungle primary candidates, such as former Air Force officer Rob Maness (R) and state Rep. Paul Hollis (R), were not included. Landrieu has been advertising heavily, including releasing a series of ads featuring her father, former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu (D).

Minnesota: Gravis Marketing (7/2-3; 879 MN registered voters) tested Minnesota Senate challenger Mike McFadden (R) against first-term Sen. Al Franken (D). The polling sample skews slightly more Democratic, so the Franken numbers are likely a bit better than actual. According to Florida-based Gravis, the Senator has a significant 51-35% advantage. This is the first time that a public poll has shown Sen. Franken exceeding the majority figure.

House

AL-6: With the July 15th Republican run-off election just days away, the Cygnal political and public affairs firm conducted a “flash poll” (7/7-8; 647 AL-6 likely run-off voters from a universe of 89,695 Republicans) of the electorate. Officially saying they were “shocked” at the results, former think tank director Gary Palmer registers a commanding 60-29% lead over state Rep. Paul DeMarco, the first-place primary finisher. This, despite DeMarco scoring a relatively strong 51:37% favorability ratio before the same respondent pool. The Club for Growth has open fired with a major media effort against DeMarco, thus boosting Palmer’s already strong grassroots effort. The official Republican nominee will capture this safely Republican Birmingham suburban seat in November.

LA-5: Freshman Rep. Vance McAllister (R), who changed his mind about retiring after time passed from his being caught on tape in an extra-marital affair, this week witnessed one of his late 2013 special election opponents, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo (D), announcing a 2014 challenge. Mayo represents the largest city in the 5th CD. We can expect Mr. McAllister to draw a large number of opponents. Six individuals – five Republicans, Democrat Mayo, and one Libertarian - are now in the race, and the list is expected to grow even larger before the August 22nd candidate filing deadline arrives. The Louisiana jungle primary is held concurrently with the regular general election. If no candidate attracts 50% support, the top two finishers then advance to a December 6th run-off election.

NH-1: The aforementioned Granite State Poll (see New Hampshire Senate above) also surveyed 261 likely 1st Congressional District voters. In a series of polls that continue to show Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) and former Rep. Frank Guinta (R) trading leads, the new data projects that the Republican again has the upper hand. According to these results, Guinta now has a scant 46-43% advantage in this obvious swing seat. Rep. Shea-Porter was originally elected in 2006, defeating then-Rep. Jeb Bradley (R). She was re-elected in 2008, but Guinta defeated her two years later. She regained the seat by a 50-46% margin in 2012.

NH-2: The Granite State Poll then questioned 246 likely voters in the state’s western 2nd District. Here, freshman Rep. Annie Kuster (D) is in stronger political shape against three virtually unknown GOP opponents. Against former state Sen. Gary Lambert, state Rep. Marilinda Garcia, and ex-state Rep. Jim Lawrence, Rep. Kuster maintains a spread between nine and fourteen points, but does not top the 50% mark in any polling scenario. The 2nd District is more Democratic than the eastern 1st District.

Governor

Alaska: A new Anchorage-based Ivan Moore Research poll (6/19-23, but released on 7/7; 584 AK likely voters) finds Gov. Sean Parnell (R) having a difficult time against Independent former Valdez Mayor Bill Walker. According to the Moore survey for the Walker campaign, Mr. Parnell has an uninspiring 42-28-16% lead over the ex-city chief executive and Democrat Byron Mallott. If Mallott were not in the race, the ballot test between the Governor and Walker results in a dead heat, with Parnell scoring only a slight 46-45% advantage.

Florida: For the second time in a week, a poll projects Gov. Rick Scott (R), originally trailing ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) by double-digits, to have battled back to the lead. According to Survey USA (6/30-7/2; 558 FL likely voters), the Governor claims a 45-43% lead over his sure general election opponent. Earlier, as we reported in our July 3rd BallotBoard, Gravis Marketing also detected a surge for Gov. Scott. Gravis (6/20-23; 1,232 FL registered voters) found a similar 41-39% spread, Scott over Crist. Though these numbers are still poor for an incumbent, it is clear the momentum has switched back toward the Republican incumbent.

Minnesota: The aforementioned Gravis Marketing poll (see Minnesota Senate above) also produced strong numbers for Gov. Mark Dayton (D). Against Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R), the Governor leads 52-37%. Gov. Dayton is a clear favorite for re-election.