BREAKING: New Poll: Van Hollen 38, Edwards 36 [UPDATED]

[UPDATE @8:57 am]: Statement from Van Hollen campaign spokeswoman Bridgett Frey:

We’re pleased that Chris Van Hollen has maintained his lead, despite the million dollar blitz of Super PAC advertising. We’re confident that voters are looking for his effective, progressive leadership that gets things done for Maryland families.

Original post follows:

Early this morning, a new Senate race poll from Patrick Gonzales was released showing Chris Van Hollen leading Donna Edwards 38-36 in the Democratic primary to replace Barbara Mikulski. The results are part of a larger poll of all Maryland voters, the poll also showing that Governor Larry Hogan enjoys a 67% job approval rating, the highest in Maryland history for a Republican governor.

Here are the top line results from the Senate poll of Democratic voters:  

Gonzales’ analysis is as follows:

This election could well test the old axiom in politics that claims “message trumps money,” because Chris Van Hollen has plenty of money and the proven ability to craft a compelling enough message, as demonstrated by his success 14 years ago, when he took on the “Kennedy Dynasty” in the Democratic primary for Congress in 2002.

Donna Edwards would wish to replicate her 2008 effort, when she cobbled together a very impressive coalition of influential, progressive groups and community organizations, which translated into broad success on Election Day.

Van Hollen is garnering 60% of the vote in Montgomery County, with 15% still undecided. Edwards has 68% of the vote in Prince George’s County, with 11% undecided.

Van Hollen’s recognition and money advantage have propelled him to a 16 point lead in the Baltimore suburbs, and a 2-to-1 lead (49% to 24%) in the Eastern Shore/Southern MD and Western Maryland rural parts of the state. But, while the Baltimore suburbs, Eastern Shore/Southern MD, and Western Maryland regions comprise 21 of the 23 counties, they make up less than 50 percent of the vote in a Democratic primary.

Edwards is up 50% to 24% in Baltimore City, suggesting resources her campaign has dedicated to messaging in the Baltimore media market are paying dividends there.

There is a bit of gender partiality in play, with Van Hollen leading among men, 45% to 30%, and Edwards ahead with women, 40% to 33%. Come April this will work to Edwards’ advantage because women make up nearly sixty percent of the vote in a Democratic primary in Maryland.

So, as stated earlier in this analysis, Maryland Democrats have two creditable candidates from which to choose. With the reward being to follow into the footsteps of a political legend,


Van Hollen’s money-advantage and establishment-backing prove dispositive?

Edwards’ grassroots strength and progressive group endorsements carry the day?

The answer to these questions is what campaigns are for and why elections are held.

Bottom Line: Slight edge to Edwards

This poll will be perceived as a positive for Edwards, although it would be even better if she were leading rather than narrowly trailing.

My own sense is that Gonzales’ analysis somewhat overstates the strengths of the Edwards campaign. While we have yet to see the 2015 Q4 fundraising numbers, my belief is that those numbers will not only show Van Hollen with an enormous financial edge, they will show Edwards with so little money as to raise questions about her ability to pay staff and other campaign essentials from now until April 26. As I and others have noted, she is likely to entirely reliant on outside groups such as EMILY’s List for her TV and other media – I don’t see her as likely to be able to afford even direct mail on any significant scale, this being a statewide race. There is no historical precedent in any race of this magnitude – anywhere, not just Maryland – where a candidate wins with such massive reliance on IE spending to win. When all is said and done, this fact is likely to take a heavy toll on Edwards’ performance when the votes are ultimately cast.

Other results from the poll:

Clinton 40, Sanders 27, O’Malley 5. Sanders leads among white voters 43-25, but Clinton leads by 61-6 among black voters, with O’Malley drawing more support (8%) than Sanders.

Trump 32, Cruz 15, Rubio 14, Carson 9, Christie 8, Bush 6. Trump has 41% among men, 22% among women (still leads both)

Maryland Right Track/Wrong Track: 60/22, Democrats 52/28, Republicans 73/14, Unaffiliated 66/15, Male 64/18, Female 57/26, White 64/20, Black 48/30

Not Even Pretending

As the presidential primaries crash headlong toward the first votes in three weeks, our pal Chris Cillizza has dropped any pretense of objectivity, today speculating about a Sanders sweep of both Iowa and New Hampshire. His fig leaf basis for indulging this fantasy scenario this is two polls yesterday, one showing Hillary Clinton leading in Iowa by 48-45 and the other showing Sanders leading in New Hampshire by 50-46. From this, Cillizza gushes:

Consider two polls conducted by the Wall Street Journal, NBC and Marist College in Iowa and New Hampshire that were released Sunday. In Iowa, Clinton has 48 percent, Sanders has 45 percent, and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has 5 percent. In New Hampshire, it’s Sanders in the lead with 50 percent, with 46 percent for Clinton and 1 percent for O’Malley.

Even if you accept that these surveys are a snapshot in time and take a step back to look at the broader polling picture, the idea of Sanders sweeping the first two states remains plausible.

Ummm, not really. As Cillizza acknowledges deeper into the article, the NBC/WSJ poll in Iowa is out of whack with the trend line in Iowa which shows Clinton with a larger lead. Her lead in the Real Clear Politics average in Iowa is 10.6 points. The new poll is the closest of the five being used in the current average. Sanders has not led an Iowa poll since early September, and out of 43 polls in the state since late April, he has led in precisely two of them.

In New Hampshire on the other hand, Sanders’ RCP lead is a mere 4.7 points, Clinton leads two of the most recent polls, and she’s led in 16 out of 35 polls since early May. Sanders’ current lead is the product of one poll – by Fox News – showing him with a  13 point lead in early January. But at the same time, the new NBC/WSJ poll shows Sanders ahead by 4, while Clinton leads by 3 in a PPP poll.

From all this data, Cillizza spins out a “nightmare scenario” of Clinton losing both Iowa and New Hampshire. If anything, however, the data argues for precisely the opposite – if Sanders can’t win in either Iowa or New Hampshire, he’s pretty much done. And the chances of him losing New Hampshire are growing with each new poll recently.

But that’s not the story that Chris Cillizza wants to tell. What he suggests certainly isn’t impossible, but absent his transparent cherry picking of a single poll this morning, there’s no evidence to indicate that it’s any more likely now than it was a week or a month ago. Leading me to wonder why this story wasn’t headlined “Sanders lead slipping in New Hampshire.”

Actually, upon 2.3 seconds of reflection, I don’t wonder at all. Chris Cillizza is a hack.

Post-ABC News Poll

Of course it came out right after I did the earlier polling post, so now I have to do another one. This national GOP poll shows more of the same: Trump leading big, Cruz second, and Rubio and Carson roughly tied for third. Bush trails substantially further behind. Think Monmouth rather than NBC-WSJ.

Donald Trump 38% (+6)
Ted Cruz 15% (+7)
Marco Rubio 12% (+1)
Ben Carson 12% (-10)
Jeb Bush 5% (-1)
Chris Christie 4% (+2)
John Kasich 2% (-1)
Rand Paul 2% (-1)
Carly Fiorina 1% (-3)
Mike Huckabee 1% (-2)

GOP Polling Dump

All at once, because while I could do six or seven posts, one on each poll, I like you too much to subject you to all that Republican miasma. Bottom line: Trump is rolling nationally, but Cruz is looking like the leader in the Iowa race.

Let’s start with the national polls:

Monmouth, December 10-13, 2015, 1006 respondents, margin of error +/- 5.0%

Donald Trump 41% (+13)
Ted Cruz 14% (+4)
Marco Rubio 10% (+4)
Ben Carson 9% (-9)
Jeb Bush 3% (-2)
John Kasich 3% (+2)
Chris Christie 2% (-1)
Carly Fiorina 2% (-4)
Mike Huckabee 2% (-2)
Rand Paul 2% (-2)

NBC/Wall Street Journal, December 6-9, 2015, 400 respondents, margin of error +/- 4.9%

Donald Trump 27% (+4)
Ted Cruz 22% (+12)
Marco Rubio 15% (+4)
Ben Carson 11% (-18)
Jeb Bush 7% (-1)
Carly Fiorina 5% (+2)
Chris Christie 3% (0)
Mike Huckabee 3% (0)
John Kasich 2% (-1)
Rand Paul 2% (0)

Note that although these are the two most recent national polls, they are at the extreme poles from one another. Trump does his best in the Monmouth poll and his worst in the NBC/WSJ. Cruz has his highest numbers in the NBC/WSJ tally. But even if we extend it to five additional polls, the pattern is the same. The current Real Clear Politics average over seven polls is: Trump 31.4, Cruz 16.3, Rubio 13.3, Carson 12.6, Bush 4.0, Fiorina 2.6, Christie 2.6, Kasich 2.3, Paul 2.1, Huckabee 2.0.

Trump is ascendant, Carson is cratering, Cruz is surging, and so is Rubio but to a lesser extent. Bush is treading water, and the rest really need to get back to their day jobs or start overtly positioning themselves as VP bait.

Iowa, on the other hand, is much more special in that very special Iowa kind of way. Three new polls over the weekend.

Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register, December 7-10, 2015, 400 respondents, margin of error +/- 4.9%

Ted Cruz 31% (+21)
Donald Trump 21% (+2)
Ben Carson 13% (-15)
Marco Rubio 10% (+1)
Jeb Bush 6% (+1)
Chris Christie 3% (+2)
Mike Huckabee 3% (0)
Rand Paul 3% (-2)
John Kasich 2% (0)
Carly Fiorina 1% (-3)

Fox News, December 7-10, 2015, 450 respondents, margin of error +/- 4.5% (no baseline for this poll, first one in 2015)

Ted Cruz 28%
Donald Trump 26%
Marco Rubio 13%
Ben Carson 10%
Jeb Bush 5%
Rand Paul 5%
Chris Christie 2%
Carly Fiorina 2%
Mike Huckabee 1%
John Kasich 1%

Quinnipiac, December 4-13, 2015, 874 respondents, margin of error +/- 3.3%

Donald Trump 28% (+3)
Ted Cruz 27% (+4)
Marco Rubio 14% (+1)
Ben Carson 10% (-8)
Jeb Bush 5% (+1)
Rand Paul 4% (-1)
Chris Christie 3% (+1)
Carly Fiorina 3% (0)
Mike Huckabee 1% (-1)
John Kasich 1% (0)

If Trump manages to win Iowa, look out. He’ll probably springboard that into a New Hampshire win, building huuuuuuuuuuge momentum going to South Carolina and Nevada. If Cruz sneaks by Trump, the calculus changes dramatically, and he becomes the favorite in South Carolina and the friendly Super Tuesday states of the SEC primary. The door will be open, briefly, for someone other than Trump to win New Hampshire – most likely Rubio, less likely Bush.

Rubio is in a bind that is simple to define but not at all easy to fix: he’s doing better, but where does he win early? Finishing a strong second or third over and over again leaves you nowhere in this race. He has to break through somewhere and I can’t say there’s a clear shot anywhere.

If Cruz’s momentum continues in Iowa, and he doesn’t get annihilated in New Hampshire, there’s ache de he runs the tense in a whole lot of states, including some of the big winner take all contests as the calendar moves to March and April. This race is shaping up in his favor, but it all starts with Iowa.

Prediction: Ted Cruz Will Win The Iowa Caucuses

You didn’t actually hear it here first, but it’s two months out and the momentum is huge, or should I say “yuuuuuuuge.” The latest Monmouth University poll is out and Cruz is, well, cruising.

Stoked by evangelical and tea-party support, Ted Cruz has surged to first place in Iowa, according to the results of a Monmouth University poll released Monday surveying voters likely to participate in the Republican caucus on Feb. 1.

Cruz earned 24 percent of support among likely caucus-goers, with 19 percent opting for Donald Trump, whose polling advantage in the state has dwindled in recent weeks. In a Quinnipiac University survey conducted in mid-November, Trump held a slim 25 percent to 23 percent advantage over Cruz, while retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson finished with 18 percent.

In this survey, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio finished third with 17 percent, followed by 13 percent for Carson (a 19-point drop from October), 6 percent for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 4 percent for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, 3 percent for former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and 2 percent for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. All other candidates finished with 1 percent or less support, with 4 percent undecided and 1 percent describing themselves as “uncommitted.”

Look at the three month October-November-December shifts. November is a Quinnipiac poll, the other two are Monmouth. 

Cruz 10-23-24
Trump 18-25-19
Rubio 10-13-17
Carson 32-18-13
Bush 8-4-6
Trump is treading water, the Quinnipiac November poll appears to be an outlier. Cruz is surging, Rubio is steadily gaining ground and Carson has crashed and burned.

Cruz will likely win Iowa. If Trump holds second place, he remains viable and significant. If, however, Rubio edges him out, then Trump will be damaged badly, and the long-awaited Rubio vs. Cruz cage match will commence. Bush has to hope that doesn’t happen, because if it does it leaves no room for a Lazarus-McCain rise from the dead play for Jeb! If Trump holds off Rubio and Bush beats Carson (probably unlikely, but this is Iowa we’re talking about, so who knows) Bush will be primed for a possible comeback. Then on to New Hampshire.

Less than two months to go! Boy do I love primary season.

Maryland Presidential Polls

The Sun has a new set of presidential polls out for Maryland. While he might be slipping elsewhere, Ben Carson continues to lead here. And Hillary Clinton maintains a big lead over Bernie Sanders, while Martin O’Malley is in single digits.

First the GOP race:


Though support for Dr. Ben Carson has slipped across the country, the retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon maintains a narrow lead for the Republican nomination in Maryland, a new poll for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore has found.

In the state where he lived and built an international reputation in the operating room, the first-time political candidate sits atop a crowded and unruly GOP field trying to attract a GOP electorate divided between centrist and conservative voters.
Carson’s continuing strength in Maryland is striking in a state where Republicans have tended to support more moderate candidates, such as Gov. Larry Hogan, and at a time that his poll numbers nationally and in early nominating states have been falling.
“There are enough people in the state who have had personal interaction with him, or have a great deal of personal professional respect for him as a neurosurgeon,” said Steve Raabe, president of Annapolis-based OpinionWorks, which conducted the survey. “He has that going for him.”

And on the Democratic side:

Marylanders continue to have a low level of support for former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s presidential ambitions, a new poll for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore shows.

Only 7 percent of Maryland Democrats say they would vote for O’Malley for president, compared with 56 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and 23 percent for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
O’Malley has failed to break out of single digits anywhere in the country, including his home state. Opponents cite O’Malley’s lackluster polling in the state he led for eight years to question his viability on the national stage.
O’Malley is supported by only 4 percent of Democrats in Baltimore, the city he once led as mayor for two terms, and just 2 percent of primary voters in nearby Baltimore County, the poll found.

Ted Cruz Rising

That sudden cold air we’ve been experiencing the past few days? It’s not just the weather – Tailgunner Ted Cruz is on the march in Iowa and the nation is having a moment of existential terror at the prospect of President Cruz. Brrrrrrrr.

Ted Cruz, buoyed by tea party support and the backing of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, has surged to a virtual tie with Donald Trump in the first caucus state of Iowa, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University poll surveying likely Republican caucus-goers released Tuesday.

Trump took 25 percent of support, followed by 23 percent who opted for the freshman Texas senator, more than doubling his support in the same poll from October, when he earned just 10 percent. Trailing the two leaders is Ben Carson, who dropped from first to third, falling 10 points to 18 percent.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is next with 13 percent, while no other candidate registered in the double digits. Only Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul registers outside of the margin of error, at 5 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dropped a point from last month to 4 percent, followed by 3 percent for Carly Fiorina. No other candidate earned more than 2 percent support, and about 2 percent of Iowa Republicans said they were undecided.

The media’s been talking up Marco Rubio, but at this point it’s been Cruz whose numbers have bumped up the most. He’s the most likely to win Iowa, and while that hasn’t translated to ultimate victory in recent GOP contests, Cruz has the money and the base of support to springboard from an Iowa win to later success.  

Carson Descending

Is Ben Carson in decline? According to the polls, the answer appears to be yes, thankfully. Politico:

Weeks of tough scrutiny are beginning to take a toll: Ben Carson appears to be fading in Iowa, and there are signs he may be hitting the wall in other early states.

A CBS/YouGov poll released Sunday showed Carson slipping below 20 percent in Iowa and to third place behind Donald Trump and Ted Cruz — the first time he’s had a rating of less than 20 percent in a major poll there since September. Since his late October Iowa high point, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Carson has dropped 8 percentage points in Iowa and 5 points in New Hampshire.

In South Carolina, which isn’t polled nearly as much as the other two early states, there aren’t as many data points. But after leading the GOP field there with 28 percent in an early November Monmouth University poll, Carson now finds himself a distant second. According to the latest CBS/YouGov poll of South Carolina Republicans, Carson has 19 percent to Trump’s 35 percent.

All of that suggests a challenging road ahead for the retired pediatric neurosurgeon, said Patrick Murray, the director of polling at Monmouth University, which surveys in the early states.

Conservative voters “really want an outsider candidate, [but] they want somebody who appears presidential … with a clear fire in the belly, and I think that’s where Carson has been letting them down,” Murray said. He went on to add, ”Carson is a natural fit for conservative voters, but he seems to have faded as recent national security issues highlighted some doubts conservative voters were already having about him.”

“Some doubts.” As in, doubts about his connection to reality, to veracity, to rational thinking? There’s something very, very wrong with that guy, and the idea of him as president is terrifying. Fortunately, it appears increasingly likely that his next trip to the White House will be as a tourist.


We now have our first poll numbers from the CD8 race, courtesy of the Raskin campaign.

Raskin 30
Matthews 21
Sol Gutierrez 11
Barve 5
Anderson 3
Jawando 2
Rubin <1

28% of voters are undecided.

Not all that surprised by the Raskin/Matthews numbers. Very surprised by the Sol Gutierrez/Barve/Jawando numbers. Hers are better than expected, while Barve and Jawando are not as good. Would be interesting to know if any other candidates have their own internal numbers and how they compare.

Here’s the Raskin poll memo.   

 As with any poll, I’d like to see the full cross-tabs and the questions asked. And I’d also like to see full geographic results, as well as name recognition and favorability numbers.

And as always, results from internal campaign polls are likely to be more favorable than an outside poll for a media organization. But we now have a baseline against which to compare future polls, and Raskin leads.

If I get more details, I’ll post them.

Two GOP Polls

Two new national GOP polls, one from the Post and one from McClatchy/Marist. Although there are differences, the broad outlines remain the same. Trump and Carson, then everyone else way behind.

In the Post poll, Trump is up substantially over Carson, Marco Rubio is third, Ted Cruz fourth and Jeb Bush fifth.

Donald Trump remains atop the crowded GOP field in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll with 32 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters listing the real estate mogul as their first choice.

Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson is the first choice of 22 percent of Republican voters nationally, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) with 11 percent.
Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) has 8 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has 6 percent.
No other GOP candidate had more than 4 percent support.

In the McClatchy poll, Carson leads Trump by a miniscule one percent. Otherwise, it looks the same.

Ben Carson and Donald Trump are running neck and neck in the race for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination among Republican voters, according to the latest national poll.

Carson leads Trump by a single point in the McClatchy-Marist survey released Tuesday.
The retired pediatric neurosurgeon takes 24 percent to the outspoken billionaire’s 23 percent among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents nationwide.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the only other GOP contender with double-digit support, ranks third with 12 percent.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tie for fourth place with 8 percent each, the new poll added.

The pattern is clear – Trump and Carson in the top tier, then Rubio, Cruz and Bush well behind in tier two. Forget everyone else.

Those impatiently waiting for the Trump and/or Carson implosions get no relief from these numbers. Similarly, the long-awaited Rubio/Cruz surge(s) haven’t materialized, either.