September, 2014

Why is Alaska Polling So Bad?

Sam Wang notes that “in any given year, approximately 10% of Alaska’s population has just arrived or is about to move away.”

“This is reminiscent of Nevada, which has very similar statistics. Nevada is also the site of a spectacularly wrong polling error. In fall of 2010, surveys unanimously showed Republican Sharron Angle favored to unseat Democratic Senator (and Majority Leader) Harry Reid, by a median of four percentage points. Every data-based prognosticator, including me, expected Angle to win. Yet Reid won the election by 5 points, outperforming polls by 9 points. I regard this as the worst miss of Senate polling in the last three election cycles.”

“Based on the extreme mobility of Alaska residents, I suggest a problem of potentially far larger impact. Like Nevada, telephone-based surveys in both states simply fail to capture a sample that is fully representative of voters. In other words, I suggest that ideologically diverse states with lots of recent arrivals are subject to inaccuracy.”

Corbett Wants More Info on Porn Emails

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) “said today that he has asked state Attorney General Kathleen Kane for more information regarding old email accounts of top current and former Pennsylvania officials, including members of his own administration, that contained sexual images and videos,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Said Corbett: “I need the facts. I just can’t have the opinion of one person as to whether an email was ever read or deleted. I don’t know that to be the case.”

Quote of the Day

“We should insist that ABC, NBC, CBS, they refer to the visitor according to the term that is politically correct: an undocumented White House visitor.”

— Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), quoted by TPM, on the man who jumped the fence at the White House.

Coakley Loses Lead in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Charlie Baker (R) leading Martha Coakley (D) in the race for governors, 40% to 38%.

“Coakley may be suffering from the souring national mood toward her party’s leader, President Obama. Even in predominantly Democratic Massachusetts, more voters, 48 percent, disapprove of the president’s job performance, than approve, 46 percent.”

Cruz Will Fight Attempt to Replace Holder in Lame Duck

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) issued a political call to arms for conservatives, saying that outgoing senators should not vote on a new Attorney General nominee during the post-election lame-duck session, the Washington Post reports.

Said Cruz: “Allowing Democratic senators, many of whom will likely have just been defeated at the polls, to confirm Holder’s successor would be an abuse of power that should not be countenanced.”

Fiorina Apparently Serious About Exploring Presidential Bid

Carly Fiorina (R) “is hitting the campaign trail in the lead-up to Election Day for her new super PAC, teaching activists and politicians how to talk to female voters–and building herself a grassroots base in a half-dozen electorally important states in the process,” National Journal reports.

“While her efforts are focused on helping the GOP win control of the Senate in November, political strategists say Fiorina is doing all the right things to prep for a 2016 bid. And the message she’s touting is a preview of the kind of role she could play, if she runs.”

Brady Will Challenge Ryan for Gavel

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said that he “will seek the chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, scrambling what was expected to be a smooth ascension to the post by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the 2012 GOP vice-presidential nominee and the party’s architect of fiscal policy in the House,” the Washington Post reports.

“Brady said in an interview that after months of weighing his options, he has decided to battle Ryan for the gavel. The move could force Ryan’s hand on a 2016 presidential run.”

Christie Ramps Up Travel Schedule

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) “has already spent more than a third of his second term outside of New Jersey, mostly stumping and raising money for fellow Republicans. As the midterm elections draw near, the prospective White House candidate is planning even more time on the road,” the AP reports.

Bush Prepares for Possible Run

Politico: “Friends say Jeb Bush’s father is eager for his son to run, even telling a visitor at a recent family gathering in Kennebunkport, Maine, that a presidential campaign and a return of the family dynasty to power was a near certainty. Wall Street financiers and Main Street CEOs eager for a centrist champion are longing for a Bush candidacy.”

“But people who have met in recent weeks with Jeb Bush in New York, Washington and Florida say they are far less certain that a campaign will ultimately materialize. Some described Bush as deeply engaged on issues beyond his usual focus on immigration and education, suggesting he was very much preparing for a national race. Others said it seemed like concerns over how a run would impact his family ultimately might keep Bush on the sidelines.”

Democrats Surprising Strength in North Carolina

Nate Cohn: “This spring, North Carolina looked like the obvious sixth pickup state for the Republicans, just enough to take the Senate. The state is competitive only in presidential elections when turnout rises, especially among young and nonwhite voters. The Democratic incumbent, Kay Hagan, needed to compensate with big inroads among conservative white voters. But the polls showed her poorly positioned to do so. Her approval ratings were low; she was stuck in the low 40s among registered voters against Republican candidates who had yet to win their party’s nomination.”

“It couldn’t look more different today. If the Democrats assemble a firewall in defense of the Senate, the polling suggests North Carolina will be its bulwark. Ms. Hagan leads her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, in nearly every survey over the last month by an average of more than three percentage points.”

Wolf Mulls Endorsement of Orman

“Milton Wolf, the tea party candidate who battled Sen. Pat Roberts in a bitter Republican primary fight, is considering some political payback: Endorsing Kansas independent Greg Orman,” Politico reports.

“But there’s a big catch: To win Wolf’s endorsement, Orman must first agree to caucus with the Senate GOP if he were to defeat Roberts in the general election.”