Poll Update (8/31)

Two new polls from New Jersey, but nothing from Virginia:

2009 New Jersey GovernorDemocracy Corps (D)8/26/2009414316
2009 New Jersey GovernorRasmussen Reports8/25/200942508

There seems to be divergence amongst pollsters regarding the closeness of this race. Two partisan polls, the one from last week and the DemocracyCorps (D) poll from this week show the race essentially deadlocked. There has yet to be a poll from a pollster we consider to be non-partisan, that shows Corzine (D) within stricking distance as the two partisan polls suggest. Until the mainstream polls began to reflect a closer race, our projection will continue to favor Christie (R):

2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election

Public Policy Polling (D) has their monthly Virginia poll in the works, so hopefully we'll have more Virginia data next week.

Published on August 31st at 10:56 PM CT :: 0 Comments

Poll Update (8/24)

Corzine (D) has apparently retaken the lead in the only new poll released in the last week; the poll is of questionable origins however:

2009 New Jersey GovernorNeighborhood Research (R)8/21/2009373528

I found the associated polling report at PolitickerNJ.com along with the relevant description excerpted below. I've admitted the likely voter result into our database, as outlined within our methodology.

Republican Christopher Christie leads Gov. Jon Corzine 39%-36% among definite voters, according to a poll conducted by Neighborhood Research, a survey firm run by conservative strategist Rick Shaftan. Independent Christopher Daggett is at 6%.


Among likely voters, Corzine leads Christie 37%-35%, with 6% for Daggett. [Emphasis added]

"If Corzine gets his liberal/urban/Democratic base together he's going to open up a significant lead, forcing Christie to work the right," Shaftan wrote in his analysis.

The poll was conducted between August 12-21 with a sample size of 319 and a margin of error of +/- 5.49%. The party breakout among respondents was 43% Democrat, 34% Republican, 23% unaffiliated.

Source: PolitickerNJ.com

There are some concerns about the sample size and the error that raise questions about the accuracy of this poll. For example, I highly doubt Christie has an approval rating of 20 favorable and 27 unfavorable; a very high rejection rate of over 50%. The most recent Quinnipiac University poll of New Jersey gave Christie a favorability of 42 and an unfavorable result of 26; a more reasonable rejection ratio of about 30%. The results of this Neighborhood Research (R) poll may in fact be accurate, but the noted anomalies are too numerous to warrant serious consideration.

Our projection remains unchanged due to the partisan affiliation of this newly inducted poll:

2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election

If this poll were to be included into our projection, both candidates would converge around 38% with a very slight advantage to Christie.

Virginia remained unchanged, polling wise. More in a week.

Published on August 24th at 8:48 PM CT :: 0 Comments

Senator Klobuchar's Tele-Townhall

Minnesota Senator, Amy Klobuchar (D) was supposed to have a tele-townhall today, at 7 PM according to her website:

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar will be hosting a live statewide tele-town hall meeting to discuss making health care more affordable and answer questions from her constituents. Joining her will be Dr. Denis Cortese, CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and Mary Wakefield, the highest ranking nurse in the federal government.

The tele-town hall will be held on Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time.

If you have registered and have not recieved [sic] a call by 7:10 pm or have questions, please call our office at 1-888-224-9043.

Source: Senator Amy Klobuchar's Townhall Registration Website

I signed up on Wednesday and waited for my automated call about 20 minutes ago. The phone rang at exactly 7 pm, but instead of hearing the townhall, I heard another recorded message:

Hi I'm senator Amy Klobachar,

Tonight at 7:00 I hosted a live statewide health care townhall to discuss ways to make the American health care system more affordable and more stable. I was pleased to be joined by Dr. Corteez, head of Mayo Clinic and Mary Wake Field the highest ranking nurse in the federal government. I'm so sorry I missed you but I'd like to invite you to listen to the audio recording of our townhall meeting. It's going to be posted on my website at Klobacher.senate.gov. You can also click on the 10 ways to talk to me about health care link on our website and that ways you can find out about up coming events like when I'll be at the State Fair and share your thoughts on this issue with me if you haven't already.

I really appreciate you being a part of our discussion on health care. Thank you.

[Call ended.]

Source: VoteForAmerica.net [MP3]

Why was I unable to join the tele-townhall?

I then called the office number as provided on her townhall registration in an attempt to remedy the error, but I heard another automated message:

Automated Voice: The mailbox belonging to...

Amy Klobuchar: Senator Amy Klobuchar's Office...

Automated Voice: Is full. To disconnect press 1, to enter another number press 2.

Source: VoteForAmerica.net [MP3]

Why can Senator's voice mail-boxes fill up?

Despite my inability to participate in the tele-townhall, TheUpTake.org is streaming the townhall live, right now.

Published on August 23rd at 7:17 PM CT :: 2 Comments

Poll Update (8/17)

After three rough weeks of polling for Jon Corzine (D), the tide may be shifting if this week's polls are to be trusted. Creigh Deeds (D) of Virginia however, still appears to be stuck in the sand:

2009 New Jersey GovernorDemocracy Corps (D)8/12/2009354025
2009 New Jersey GovernorQuinnipiac University8/9/2009404614
2009 Virginia GovernorWashington Post8/14/200939547
2009 Virginia GovernorRasmussen Reports8/10/2009414910

Chris Daggett, the Independent candidate in the New Jersey election, broke into the double digits for the first time in Democracy Corps' (D) latest poll. If Daggett can pull down 10% of the electorate, as James McCarville's Democracy Corps (D) poll indicates, Corzine may have a fighting chance.

The New Jersey election is beginning to resemble the Minnesota Senate Election of 2008 where Dean Barkley, an Independence Party Candidate (not the same as Daggett) altered the electoral landscape by capturing the disillusioned major party voters. If Daggett's support holds in the coming weeks, the election comes down to base turn-out, and in New Jersey, that favors the Democrat. This of course is a big if because it's just one poll and a series of extrapolations; but at this juncture, it may be Corzine's best opportunity at re-election.

The landscape in Virginia continued to grow darker for Democrat Creigh Deeds as two new polls confirmed his diminishing numbers. He's been down by at least eight for the past month, with no indication of a reversal. Deeds needs something good to happen before the close of September.

2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election

2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Election

Both Democrats are down in the polls, but where do they stand in the money game? Answer; in about the same position. I'll start by providing the latest fundraising numbers out of New Jersey as reported on Jun 22, 2009:

                 Corzine (D)      Christie (R)
Receipts      $ 4,539,006.04   $  5,363,054.33
Expenditures  $ 4,539,006.04   $  5,170,238.97
Cash on Hand  $         0.00   $    192,815.36

Source: New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission

The figures above contain data from the close of the primary period. The leading candidates each filed their report electronically, but Corzine used an R1 form and Christie a G1; the reason for this difference is unclear, but they both contain the same information. Daggett has yet to file a finance report, as he was not involved in a primary election; a result of his Independent platform. The next report will be due on Oct 5, 2009 from all general election candidates in New Jersey.

Each major party candidate raised and spent about the same amount leaving little to no cash on hand. And although Christie holds a slight monetary edge, I do not believe this significantly contributed to his nine point lead. Other factors are at play, but I'm sure the money will help as Christie tries to maintain his lead. Corzine has also been known to spend his own money, so if the race gets truly close, money may buy the deciding votes.

I should also state that I am by no means an expert on campaign finance law within New Jersey, Virginia or any other state for that matter. With that being said lets move onto Virginia's fundrace as of Jun 30, 2009:

                  Deeds (D)      McDonnell (R)
Receipts      $ 6,207,533.60   $ 10,673,988.44
Expenditures  $ 3,486,182.65   $  5,753,365.35
Cash on Hand  $ 2,721,350.95   $  4,920,623.09

Source: Virginia State Board of Elections

Deeds was out raised and out spent during the primary period but the raw data may misrepresent the fundraising dynamics of this gubernatorial election. The nearly 2:1 discrepancy can be explained by the presence of a rigorous Democratic Primary where the donors were split into three campaigns; as opposed to McDonnell's (R) coronation as the only interested candidate. The combined candidacies of the Democratic primary actually out raised McDonnell during this time period. The monetary advantage for McDonnell in the past couple of months likely played a major role in his recent surge.

McDonnell was simply able to focus more time and money on the general election at an earlier point in time. The direct result of this conclusion translates into his comfortable lead in the polls. If Deeds and the DNC, along with Tim Kaine, can get the Democratic fundraising machine on track, the race will likely tighten, but Virginians may have already made up their mind.

More in a week.

Published on August 17th at 11:44 PM CT :: 0 Comments

Poll Update (8/10)

Six new polls in the last week, and they each reaffirm the trend we started to see in our last report. The Democrats in each gubernatorial race face an uphill climb:

2009 New Jersey GovernorResearch 2000, DailyKos (D)8/5/2009404812
2009 New Jersey GovernorRasmussen Reports8/4/2009375013
2009 New Jersey GovernorMonmouth University, Gannett8/2/2009365014
2009 New Jersey GovernorGlobal Strategy Group (D)7/30/2009354223
2009 Virginia GovernorResearch 2000, DailyKos (D)8/5/200943516
2009 Virginia GovernorPublic Policy Polling (D)8/3/2009375112

Virginia remains unchanged from a week ago due to the partisan affiliation of the two pollsters listed above, but our New Jersey model has since given Corzine (D) a 0% chance of reelection:

2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election

2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Election

The inclusion of this week's polls seemed to clarify the direction of each gubernatorial race. Corzine has all but lost, and Deeds (D) trails by a significant but non-critical margin. All four candidates know where they currently stand, two hope to maintain the status quo and two hope to change it. Because of this dynamic, the strategy becomes more important than the candidate. Let's take a quick look at each candidate's campaign manager:

Maggie Moran, Corzine (D):

This will be Maggie Moran's first foray into campaign management at any level, although she does have fairly extensive experience within the politicking world. She was a senior advisor during Corzine's first successful run at governor as a well as the NJ State Director for US Senator Franken Lautenberg (D) for several years. She clearly has political know how, but is it enough to erase the current deficit? Probably not.

Bill Stepien, Christie (R):

Bill Stepien has managed several successful state level campaigns for Republican candidates in New Jersey. He also managed Bob Frank's (R) failed bid for the US Senate in 2000 against Corzine. He was also the National Field Director for John McCain's and Rudy Giuliani's 2008 Presidential bids. Stepien clearly has the experience and the lead this time around. I would expect the Christie campaign to soften the dialogue in an attempt to prevent something stupid. Although the McCain and Giuliani campaigns melted down, Stepien wasn't responsible for the campaign's message, this time around he is. Can he avoid doing something catastrophically stupid? Probably.

Joe Abbey, Deeds (D)

Joe Abbey is another Democratic rookie, but he has considerably more experience than Moran. Abbey was the Deputy Campaign Manager for Mark Warner's (D) successful 2008 US Senate Election, a candidate who realistically didn't need a campaign manager. He has also ran a number of state level elections with varying degrees of success. If Abbey can run a successful issues based campaign and really promote voter turnout, Deeds should win. Whether this can actually be done remains the question.

Phil Cox, McDonnell (R)

There is relatively little information about Phil Cox, but a google search reveals possible connections with disgraced and now imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff. These ties came up in the 2005 Virginia General Assembly Election in which Deeds lost to McDonnell by 350 votes; Cox was McDonnell's campaign manager in that race as well. Unless some new information emerges, this pseudo-scandal is unlikely to affect the Governor's race.

More in a week. I'm tentatively planning to look at the money race.

Published on August 10th at 8:36 PM CT :: 0 Comments

Poll Update (8/3)

Just two new polls in the last week, one from each gubernatorial election, and each shows the Democratic candidate a significant distance behind:

2009 New Jersey GovernorPublic Policy Polling (D)7/27/2009365014
2009 Virginia GovernorSurveyUSA7/28/200940555

Last week I said Corzine (D) had run out of life lines, and that really hasn't changed; but now he is in better shape than his fellow Democrat in Virginia, Creigh Deeds. They each trail by more than 8 points according to our most up-to-date polling models:

2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election

2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Election

Deeds' deficit is almost entirely based upon the most recent poll at this point, in part due to our methodology and in part due to the spread of the most recent survey. Both of these factors may be artificially inflating McDonnell's lead. The SurveyUSA poll is in all likelihood an outlier, but our model doesn't know the difference; the most recent poll receives the most weight. The SurveyUSA poll may also be at fault; the sample appears to skew toward people who voted for McCain by about 9 points, but Obama won Virginia by 6 points last November. This demographic discrepancy would explain the sudden drop in support for the Democrat, or it could indicate that many Obama voters don't care to participate in the off year election as SurveyUSA screens for likely voters.

Corzine is screwed, he's lost the Democratic establishment in New Jersey:

WNBC-TV's Brian Thompson reported last night that South Jersey Democratic Leader George Norcross wants Corzine to drop his re-election bid so that the party can replace him on the ballot. Some Democrats are worried that Republicans might win their first statewide election in a dozen years. One Corzine advisor acknowledged that he has heard talk among Democrats about the governor changing his mind about re-election, but says that Corzine is not considering a withdrawal.

Source: WNBC-TV via PolitickerNJ.com

There are several possible replacements in the hangar and some pollster appears to be conducting a what if replacement poll for Corzine.

More in a week.

Published on August 3rd at 7:18 PM CT :: 0 Comments

Electoral College Projection Map
Senate Projection Map