Election News

Trump, Clinton Lead in 3 Swing States Despite Poor Favorability Ratings

October 7, 2015

A new Quinnipiac Poll for the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania shows Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton remaining atop the field in those states for their parties' nomination. This despite the fact that they continue to have the worst overall favorability ratings among all voters. Translation: Perhaps the most polarized general election ever if these two are the eventual nominees.

For the Republicans, Trump and Ben Carson were 1-2 in all 3 states, with Florida Senator Marco Rubio 3rd in that state and Pennsylvania. Governor John Kasich of Ohio was 3rd in his state.  In passing Kasich in Ohio, Trump now leads in in almost every state where Republican primary polling has been conducted. 


Results were fairly similar across the three state for the Democratic candidates. In Ohio, Clinton's 40% was equal to Biden + Sanders. She outperformed that in Florida, while doing a bit more poorly in Pennsylvania. If Biden wasn't in the equation, Clinton would be just over 50% in all 3 states; Sanders about 25%

Quinnipiac also took a look ahead to the general election in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania



Biden to Decide on 2016 Shortly

October 4, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden will decide within the next 7 to 10 days whether to run for president in 2016, CBS News reports. CBS noted that this info came from 3 sources, 2 of whom indicated Biden is leaning toward running.

Even if Biden enters the 2016 race, he is expected to skip the first Democratic debate.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that Biden, while still trailing in the poll, would enter the race as the most popular Democrat. It is worth noting, however, that recent attention on Biden has largely been positive; this would undoubtedly change if he actually became a candidate.


CNBC Sets Eligibility Criteria for Next Republican Debate

October 1, 2015

The third Republican presidential debate is scheduled for Wednesday, October 28, in Boulder, Colorado. It will be hosted by CNBC. Befitting that network, the debate will focus on the economy. This includes "jobs, taxes, the deficit and the health of our national economy", according to the original CNBC debate press release

The Republican field remains crowded, with 15 candidates vying for the nomination. As a result, there will again be two debates. Qualifications are as follows:

Main Debate (8PM ET): For those candidates averaging 2.5% or higher in qualifying polls released from September 17 to October 21. Qualifying polls are those released by NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN and Bloomberg. At this point it appears 9 or 10 will qualify for that.

Earlier Debate (6PM ET): For those candidates not meeting the above criteria but who have earned at least 1% in any single poll from the same organizations in the same time frame.  

Four polls appear to qualify thus far. Meeting the 2.5% threshold in all of them are:  Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie.

John Kasich only polled 2% in a September 20 CNN poll, but has seen 4-6% support since, so he looks fairly safe at this point. Mike Huckabee saw 6% in that same CNN poll, but his numbers have declined since. He's still likely to make the cut. Rand Paul is on the bubble, averaging just over 2.5% in the four qualifying polls.

Of the remaining five candidates, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and George Pataki have received 1% support in at least one poll, so have qualified for the early debate. Lindsey Graham has not, despite performing well in the early debate last time. Jim Gilmore has also seen 0% in the four qualifying polls.

The table below shows the 270toWin calculated polling average for each Republican candidate. This includes poll sources that are recognized, but not in the CNBC criteria.

Waiting for Biden: CNN Democratic Debate Criteria

September 28, 2015

CNN has announced eligibility criteria for the first Democratic presidential debate, to be held October 13 in Las Vegas. In addition to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, 3 other candidates meet a minimal threshold polling requirement: Martin O'Malley, Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb. 

Vice president Joe Biden has met the polling criteria; he will be able to participate in the debate if he announces his intention to run as late as the day of the event

This is one of six debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee, a limited schedule that has caused some controversy. The next two debates will be in the first two primary/caucus states. The first will be November 14 in Des Moines, followed by a December 19 event in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Four General Election Debates Announced for 2016

September 23, 2015

Although the first one is still more than a year out, the Commission on Presidential Debates today announced four debates for the 2016 general election. There will be 3 presidential and one vice presidential debate.

3 of the 4 debates will take place in what are likely to be competitive states in 2016.

The first presidential debate will be at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio on Monday, September 26, 2016. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio and the state's residents have voted with the eventual winner for the past 13 consecutive elections.

Next up is the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia on Tuesday October 4. Virginia and Ohio were two of only four states to be decided by less than 5% popular vote margin in 2012, indicative of our nation's increasing electoral polarization

The second presidential debate will be Sunday, October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. While Missouri has been trending 'redder' in recent presidential elections, it was decided by just 0.1% in 2008 so could be competitive in the right circumstances.

The final presidential debate will be Wednesday, October 19 at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada. The state has voted with the eventual presidential winner in each election since 1980. It has also seen its electoral votes double, from 3 to 6, in that period.

Scott Walker Exiting 2016 Race

September 21, 2015

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, once thought to be a leading candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination is exiting the race, the New York Times reports. A news conference is scheduled at 6PM eastern time.

Here is the current polling average for the 15 remaining candidates, based on 5 recent national polls. Click the image for details.



House Back at Full Strength; Looking Ahead to 2016 Elections

September 21, 2015

The swearing in of Darrin LaHood (IL-18) on September 17 (the office he took over no longer looks like this) returned the U.S. House of Representatives to full strength - 435 members - for the first time since January 5 of this year. The House is currently comprised of 247 Republicans, the same as earlier this year, and the most since 1931.

2016 Election

As is the case every two years (including all presidential election years), there will be elections for all 435 House seats in 2016. Given the Republican 29-seat majority (over the 218 needed), it should not be surprising that, this far out, Republicans are expected to retain control. An early projection by Sabato's Crystal Ball indicates that only 59 of the 435 seats are expected to be somewhat competitive, with just 17 of them true toss-ups. Republicans would keep control by winning just 10 of these 59 seats.

Retiring Members

Thus far, 22 Representatives have announced they will not be seeking another term in the 2016 House elections. Interestingly, there is an even split between Democrats and Republicans. Several are running for Senate; many are retiring. In terms of 2016, quite a few of these races may be competitive, including AZ-01, CA-24, FL-13, FL-18, MI-01, MI-10, MN-02, NV-03, NY-19, PA-08.

Post Debate Poll: Fiorina, Rubio Gain, Trump Down, Walker Disappears

September 20, 2015

A new CNN | ORC poll is our first look at the Republican field post-debate. This survey was conducted entirely after the September 16 event. In the table below, we compare this poll with the prior CNN | ORC survey, released September 10.

When comparing the two polls:


  • Fiorina and Rubio were the big winners. Both were at 3% prior to the debate, now in double digits. Fiorina's 12 point gain has put her in 2nd place.
  • Trump remains well ahead of the field, but saw a 25% reduction in support from 32% to 24%.
  • Carson lost 5 points and now is tightly bunched with Fiorina and Rubio. Along with Trump, all these candidates exceeded 10%, vs. only 2 at that level in the prior poll
  • Walker also lost 5 points -- his only 5 points -- and has fallen to the bottom of the pack. Before the political outsiders came along, he and Bush (who held steady at 9%) were seen as favorites for the nomination. 
  • Speaking of those outsiders, The combined total of Trump, Fiorina and Carson, none of whom have held political office, was 53%, virtually unchanged (although redistributed) from the 54% total of 10 days ago.

2nd Republican Debate: Defining Success for Each Candidate

September 16, 2015

Tonight's second Republican debate will take place at the Reagan Library in California, televised at CNN beginning at 8PM ET. It is expected to last about 3 hours.  11 candidates will participate. Here's where they will stand:

And, here's how they are doing in recent polls:

The Hill has put out a nice summary of what each candidate needs to do for a successful showing tonight. Some excerpts:

Donald Trump must conjure all of his skills as an entertainer to handle increased scrutiny while also laying out a vision that goes beyond a 'make America great' slogan

Ben Carson needs to build on the outsider wave that has gotten him to second in the polls. He needs to display command of policy.

Jeb Bush can't appear intimidated by Trump and needs to reverse the low-energy image that Trump has painted him with.

Carly Fiorina should stay above the fray as she introduces herself as the only woman on the main stage.

Politico has a top 5 things to watch article. Carson and Fiorina have something to prove, while Bush vs. Trump is expected to be the evening's main event. Scott Walker and Rand Paul need to use this debate to get back into the conversation as their recent poll numbers have lagged. Finally, the article discusses the endurance event this three hour debate will be.

Rick Perry Ends 2016 Campaign; Avoids Wednesday Debate

September 12, 2015

Former Texas governor Rick Perry became the first declared Republican candidate to leave the 2016 race, suspending his campaign on Friday. Perry was averaging less than 1% in recent polls and would have again been relegated to a secondary forum in this Wednesday's CNN-hosted Republican debate

This leaves 16 Republicans in the 2016 field.

Suspending a Campaign vs. Ending It

If you've ever wondered why candidates 'suspend' their campaigns instead of just declaring them over, it mostly boils down to two things. First, in the unlikely event that the world changes, it is easier to revive the campaign. However, the main reason is that it takes a while to wind down a campaign, paying off bills/debts etc. This article from 2012 discusses some of this in a bit more detail.

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