Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

The Most and Least Trusted State Governments?

Posted Apr 07, 2014 at 8:38 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Gallup poll reports that Illinois tops the list for state residents with the lowest trust in their state government:  “llinois’ position at the bottom of the list … is not surprising, given that its last two governors, Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan, were sentenced to jail for crimes committed while in office.” Here is Gallup's chart for the most and least trusted states. 

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How Did Obama Capaign Gauge The Mood Of The Electorate?

Posted Nov 29, 2012 at 9:24 AM by Maurice Berger

Here is a fascinating analysis of how the Obama campaign gauged its relative strengths and weakness through internal polls. Mark Blumenthal focuses on the Obama campaign polling operation and notes they their view of the state of the race was local rather than national. Rather than taking nation-wide polls, the campaign
limited its surveys to 11 battleground states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin), conducting them at regular intervals throughout the campaign. Campaign manager Jim Messina says this gave him a deeper understanding of "how we were doing, where we were doing it, where we were moving -- which is why I knew that most of the public polls you were seeing were completely ridiculous."

Kerrey Way Behind In Nebraska

Posted May 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM by Maurice Berger

Although the candidacy of former Sen. Bob Kerrey was seen as the Democrat's best hope of saving the seat now being vacated by Democrat Ben Nelson, Rasmussen, in the first poll of Nebraska's U.S. Senate race after this week's GOP primary, finds GOP candidate Deb Fischer almost +20% ahead of Kerrey, 56% to 38%.

2012 US Senate: Are The Democrats In Trouble?

Posted Feb 02, 2011 at 12:26 AM by Maurice Berger

An analysis by Politico suggests that the GOP may have an inherent advantage in the 2012 US Senate races, and may well be poised to take over from the Democrats: "Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg will challenge Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in 2012, giving Republicans their first-choice candidate for the race and putting yet another incumbent in serious jeopardy. . . .  [An] Opinion Diagnostics survey of 400 likely Montana voters showed 49 percent backing Rehberg compared to 43 percent for Tester and 8 percent undecided . . . Rehberg’s announcement will mean Republicans have high-profile, formally announced challengers in four states where Democrats are up for reelection: Montana, Missouri (former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman), Nebraska (state Attorney General Jon Bruning) and Virginia (former Sen. George Allen). That’s not to mention the open Senate seat in North Dakota, where Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad’s retirement gives Republicans a strong pickup opportunity, and Florida, where several solid candidates are circling the race against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Some of these candidates are facing competitive primaries, but the big picture is this: Senate Republicans have already put a sizable list of Democratic seats in play and they only need to net four to hit the 51-seat mark."

Support Of Health Care Package Hurting Blue Dog Democrats

Posted Jan 19, 2010 at 2:11 AM by Maurice Berger

So-called "Blue Dog" Democrats--moderate Democratic Senators and congressmen in marginally conservative or Republican districts or states--are suffering because of the unpopularity of the health care bill now working its way through congress. A prime example, Sen. Ben Nelson who has campaigned hard to sell Nebraskans on his vote to support the bill: "Nelson, who once enjoyed some of the highest job performance marks in the U.S. Senate, has now seen his approval rating dip below 50 percent in Nebraska, according to The World-Herald Poll. Nelson said the poll results come as no surprise, especially since Nebraskans have been 'bombarded' with millions of dollars in 'misleading advertisements.' He said he expects that people will come to appreciate the health care bill. In the survey, Nelson's job approval rating was 42 percent and his disapproval rating was 48 percent. By comparison, Republican Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska, who voted against the bill, had a 63 percent job-approval rating."


Electoral College Stands Tentatively At Obama-365 to McCain-173

Posted Nov 19, 2008 at 1:47 AM by Maurice Berger

With the Associated Press calling Nebraska's Second Congressional District for Obama (the state and Maine are the only two not winner take all) and NBC calling Missouri for Obama, the tentative electoral count for the 2008 presidential cycle is 365 to 173. When the Missouri tally is made final by the state, PollTrack with enter the final on the Election Day Map and archive it (and the blog). we will continue to have updates on the election and its aftermath over the next month.

Sarah Palin In Nebraska?

Posted Oct 06, 2008 at 3:20 AM by Maurice Berger

Why did Sarah Palin make a surprise visit to Omaha, Nebraska yesterday? The state has been reliably Republican since 1940 (the only Democrat to win it since then was Lyndon Johnson, in his 1964 electoral landslide) The answer may lie in the way Nebraska apportions its five electoral votes. It is only one of two states (the other, Maine) that is not winner take all, aloting three of its electoral votes by congressional district. (Each state is allocated as many electors as it has Representatives and Senators in the US Congress. Nebraska's two "Senate" votes go to the overall victor in the state.) Since Nebraska instituted this method in 1992, all of the congressional districts in the state, one of the most reliably red, have gone Republican. Could Palin's presence in Nebraska be a tactic to force Obama to spend money and resources in state he will not win. Or it could be that the Democrat is starting to poll well in the 2nd Congressional district, home to Omaha and other cities with significant blocs of Democratic and independent voters?

Obama's 50-State Strategy: Is It Working?

Posted Sep 12, 2008 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack observes that the so-called 50-state strategy of the Obama campaign--the idea that the electoral map can be realigned to flip into the Democratic column traditional Republican strongholds such Alaska, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia--may not be working. With the Republican party unified--and Sarah Palin firing up the party's most faithful voters--most of these states are now out of reach. Over the past week, McCain's numbers are improved dramatically in these states, in some cases tilting them into the "Safe" column (indeed all of the above states, save VA, where McCain has moved into a tiny lead, are growing redder). Is the Obama campaign squandering its resources in states it cannot win, thus diluting its power in states that have traditionally been close but winnable for the Democrats?

The good news for Obama--but one that brings the 50-state strategy into question--is that the candidate is holding his own in nearly all of the states that John Kerry won in 2004, leading in many by significant margins. Still, in order to reach the magic number of 270, Obama will need to pick off a few states that either are inevitably Republican (but have shifting demographics that favor the Democrats, like VA, which has gone red in every presidential cycle since 1964) or have a demographic that gives the Dems a fighting chance to flip the state (CO, NV, NM, FL). Will competing in states that are not winnable make it more difficult for the Obama campaign to pick off states that are?