The Political Report – July 3, 2023

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball says there are really just four true toss ups: Arizona (11 electoral votes), Georgia (16), Nevada (6) and Wisconsin (10). Sabato has North Carolina (16) and Maine’s 2nd congressional district (1) as Lean Republican. And Michigan (15), Pennsylvania (19) and New Hampshire (4) Lean Democratic.

Former Clinton White House political adviser Doug Sosnik argues in a new memo that the traditional indicators to gauge a presidential race — such as presidential job approval, national polls and right track/wrong track numbers — are no longer as predictive as they once were.

Instead, he argues it’s better to focus on the eight key swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

That’s where the 2024 presidential election will be decided.

More specifically, Sosnik identifies four types of swing voters to watch in these key battleground states:

The Double Doubters — “People who have a negative view of both Biden and Trump are perhaps the most important group of swing voters in the upcoming election. This is not an insignificant voting bloc. In an ABC Ipsos poll taken after Trump’s most recent indictment, a majority of the country had a negative view of both Biden and Trump, with only 31% having a favorable view of both candidates.”

Abortion Rights voters — “The 2022 Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade had a seismic impact on American politics and totally reshaped the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections. In an NBC poll released this week, 61% of voters disapproved of the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.”

Republicans — “The results from the 2022 midterms, as well as recent polling, suggest that a group of Republican voters will be up for grabs in 2024, particularly if Trump is on the ballot.”

Independents — “The winning party in the last four election cycles carried political independents. The 2022 exit polls showed that over 30 percent of voters were independents, the highest percentage since 1980.”

Despite Democratic confidence that Joe Biden could beat Donald Trump again, Sosnik reminds readers that Biden’s victory in 2020 was an extremely narrow one. His winning margin comprised less than 1.2% across the four closest states.

If fewer than 40,000 voters in Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin had switched their support, Donald Trump would have been reelected.

Nikki Haley said House Republicans “absolutely should” impeach President Biden over whistleblower allegations that there was improper meddling in the investigation of his son Hunter, NBC News reports.

“Donald Trump built his 2016 campaign on the ability to pack supporters into arenas and fields. In his first early-state rally of 2024, he commandeered a small city,” Politico reports.

“Taking over the movie-set-like Main Street of a town of 3,300 in the hills of South Carolina on Saturday, Trump put on a show of force not only in his stronghold of rural America, but in an early primary state where he remains dominant.”

“In front of an estimated 20,000 people, Trump barged onto the home-state turf of two of his primary opponents, Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott. The size of Trump’s crowd — and its fervor — was the latest ominous sign not only for them but for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump’s top rival, who is desperately trying to peel off part of Trump’s base in this first-in-the-South primary state.”

“In the concert-like atmosphere — with thousands standing for hours and dozens falling ill from the July heat — Trump appeared once again to dwarf the field.”

Politico: “Meeting the Republican National Committee’s polling requirements … might be a lot harder than it looked at first blush.”

“That’s because the RNC’s criteria exclude virtually all of the public surveys conducted these days, meaning there may not be many opportunities for the lower-polling candidates to even hit that 1 percent. According to the RNC’s guidelines, in order to count for debate qualifying, polls have to survey at least 800 ‘likely’ primary voters or caucus-goers. [Those] criteria aren’t just strict — they’re unrealistic.”

“I don’t think he’s ever gone up against somebody who knows how to do what he does. He’s never run against somebody from New Jersey who understands what the New York thing is and what he’s all about. For people like me, who’ve grown up here and lived my whole life in this atmosphere, he’s just one of a lot of people I know who have that personality. He knows I know what his game is.”— Chris Christie, in an interview with the New York Times about challenging Donald Trump in the Republican primary.

Donald Trump “is not campaigning at the pace of previous cycles, preferring to spend most of his days at Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster rather than grip-and-grinning in Iowa and other early primary states,” Axios reports.

“Trump — who enjoys a big lead despite his 2024 rivals doing far more campaign events — has held only one of his signature rallies this year, with his second coming this weekend in South Carolina.”

Steve Israel: “Former President Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen has become a permanent part of the political ecosphere. It’s a lie, of course, invalidated by truth, facts and over 60 court decisions. There never was a steal of the 2020 election — but there could be a hijacking of the 2024 outcome.”

“A hijacking typically involves the planting of operatives to take control of a vehicle. I worry that in 2024 the vehicle will be the hyper-local agencies, boards and commissions responsible for counting and certifying votes. The hijackers will be MAGA Republicans, no matter who the GOP nominee may be.”

An Arizona county elections director quit Tuesday, accusing the local elections department of caving to “a faction of the Republican party” and failing to protect her from “intimidation,” NBC News reports.

Nate Silver, the old head of FiveThirtyEight, is fighting with the new head of the data analytics website, G. Elliot Morris.

MISSISSIPPI LT. GOVERNOR. The Magnolia Tribune’s Russ Latino has obtained what he describes as a “leaked poll” sponsored by the National Association of Realtors that finds its endorsed candidate, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, trailing far-right state Sen. Chris McDaniel 45-40 ahead of the Aug. 8 Republican primary for this powerful office. These late-May numbers from American Strategies, a firm that we’ve only rarely seen numbers from before, are quite different from the 47-32 Hosemann advantage that Siena College showed a couple weeks later in its survey for Mississippi Today. Two minor candidates are also on the ballot, and their presence could prevent anyone from earning the majority needed to avert an Aug. 28 runoff.

Latino writes that word of NAR’s poll only recently “began circulating among Mississippi lobbyists and politicos,” though the story doesn’t say who released the memo. He also notes that Hosemann has been making use of his huge financial edge to run TV ads since American Strategies finished this survey.

ALLEGHENY COUNTY (PA) DISTRICT ATTORNEY. Incumbent Stephen Zappala on Monday officially accepted the Republican nomination, which he won through write-in votes last month even as he was losing the Democratic primary 56-44 to county Chief Public Defender Matt Dugan. Zappala, who has long had a terrible relationship with criminal justice reformers, secured over 9,700 write-in votes in a contest where no Republicans were on the ballot, which was far more than the 500 he needed.

Dugan, who will resign his post July 7 to focus on the November general election, told WESA in response, “We’re not at all surprised by this. A lot of their messaging in the primary involved Republican talking points.” Joe Biden carried this populous county, which is home to Pittsburgh and several nearby communities, 59-39, but Zappala’s allies are hoping the 25-year Democratic incumbent can win enough crossover support to prevail this time.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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