A Yahoo News/YouGov poll finds Donald Trump with the clear lead nationally among Republican primary voters at 52%, followed by Ron DeSantis at 12%, Vivek Ramaswamy at 8%, Tim Scott at 4% and Nikki Haley at 3%.
DeSantis plunged from 23% support in July.
A new CBS News/YouGov poll finds Donald Trump’s lead nationally growing larger than ever over his Republican presidential rivals. Trump gets 62% support in the GOP primary, followed by DeSantis at just 16%.
A new NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll in Iowa finds a whopping 77% of likely Republican caucusgoers say they’re more likely to vote for a candidate who supports using the U.S. military to secure the southern border, while an additional 65% say are more likely to back a candidate who fights the “left’s woke agenda.”
By contrast, more than half of likely GOP caucusgoers in Iowa — 54% — say they’re less likely to vote for candidates who “aggressively criticize” Donald Trump over the multiple criminal charges he’s facing.
A majority of voters likely to attend the Iowa Republican caucuses believe that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election over Joe Biden, a new Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows.
Asked whether “you believe or not believe Donald Trump’s claims he won the 2020 presidential election,” 51% of likely Republican caucusgoers say they believe them, 41% do not and 8% are unsure.
“There are few things that Republicans and Democrats agree on. But one area where a significant share of each party finds common ground is a belief that the country is headed toward failure,” the New York Times reports.
“Overall, 37 percent of registered voters say the problems are so bad that we are in danger of failing as a nation, according to the latest New York Times/Siena College poll.”
“Fifty-six percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said we are in danger of such failure. This kind of outlook is more common among voters whose party is out of power. But it’s also noteworthy that fatalists, as we might call them, span the political spectrum. Around 20 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they feel the same way.”
LOUISIANA GOVERNOR. Faucheux Strategies finds GOP Attorney General Jeff Landry in strong shape in a survey conducted for several groups, including the state Urban League, the Public Affairs Research Council of Baton Rouge, and five media outlets. Landry and the one serious Democrat in the race, former state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, respectively take 36% and 26% in the Oct. 14 nonpartisan primary, with wealthy independent Hunter Lundy a distant third with just 7%. Faucheux, which is run by veteran Louisiana pollster Ron Faucheux, also shows Landry beating Wilson 54-36 in a Nov. 18 runoff.
Almost every other firm has also shown Landry and Wilson advancing as all their opponents languished in the single digits. The only contrary numbers came in late June when a Remington Research poll for allies of former state Chamber of Commerce head Stephen Waguespack placed Wilson at 27% as Landry edged out its candidate 25-16. The only prior look at a runoff, by contrast, came from a July BDPC survey for the conservative group Citizens for a New Louisiana, and it had Landry edging Wilson just 45-40.
MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR. Democrat Brandon Presley has launched a response spot days after Republican incumbent Tate Reeves debuted a transphobic ad insinuating that his foe opposed a new state law that banned gender-affirming care for minors. “I’m on the record saying I don’t support gender surgery for minors or boys playing girls sports―never have,” Presley tells the audience. “Truth is, Tate Reeves will say anything to protect his good ol’ boy network work and hide the fact that he’s caught up in the largest corruption scandal in the history of Mississippi.”
NEVADA U.S. SENATOR. Duty First, a super PAC that backs Army veteran Sam Brown, has publicized an internal from Public Opinion Strategies that shows him beating election conspiracy theorist Jim Marchant 33-15 in the GOP primary, with no one else taking more than 2%. This is the first survey we’ve seen of the contest to face Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen.
OHIO U.S. SENATOR. While Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has experienced what could charitably be described as a rough August, he insists to Jewish Insider that he’s “likely” to earn Donald Trump’s endorsement in the Republican primary to face Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. Trump “wants to be with somebody who can win the race and also be a good ally of his in the Senate, which I would be,” argued LaRose, despite the fact that he reportedly earned the wrong type of attention from the party’s supreme leader two weeks ago after he appeared to defend Mike Pence’s actions on Jan. 6.
That moment came when NBC’s Chuck Todd asked the secretary if Pence had done the right thing by refusing to reject the results of the 2020 election. LaRose replied that Pence “made the best decision he could with the information in front of him.” An unnamed source told the network, “The video was sent to Trump by multiple people, and he has watched it,” though they didn’t say how Trump had responded—though it isn’t hard to guess.
LaRose’s team, for its part, quickly tried to walk back the candidate’s remarks. “His position is that a lot of people wish they’d done things differently on January 6th,” said the campaign in a statement. “Mike Pence made decisions based on what he knew at the time. Not everyone agrees that he did, and that includes President Trump.” LaRose, though, had more cleanup to perform just days later when he fired press secretary Rob Nichols after Trump allies uncovered anti-Trump tweets Nichols had penned. In one, he had told a MAGA fan, “[I]t’s been an incredible indictments race to the bottom for your guys and hunter biden…the daytona 500 of felonies and misdemeanors.”
All of this took place shortly after Ohio voters decisively refused to heed LaRose’s calls to support Issue 1, the Republican-backed constitutional amendment that would have made it more difficult to change the state’s governing document. “This is 100% about keeping a radical, pro-abortion amendment out of our constitution,” LaRose told his fellow Republicans in comments that the “no” side plastered across the state in ads.
LaRose also tried to use his ardent support for Issue 1 to enhance his own standing in the Senate primary, declaring at one point that his two wealthy intra-party foes, state Sen. Matt Dolan and businessman Bernie Moreno, should each throw down $1 million to promote it. (Cleveland.com reports that Dolan owns assets worth at least $14.5 million, while Moreno’s fortune is valued at a minimum of $25.5 million.) Moreno’s team, though, responded to the measure’s 57-43 loss by calling it “a preview of what would happen with Frank LaRose at the top of the ticket in 2024—a 14-point landslide loss that crushed conservatives.”
Despite LaRose’s protestations, Moreno has looked like the candidate with the best chance to secure Trump’s endorsement; Trump himself told followers at a July gathering, “We love Ohio, and we love Bernie Moreno.” (It also doesn’t hurt that Moreno’s son-in-law is Rep. Max Miller, a former White House aide who was so close to Trump that a source told Politico in 2021, “They had … kind of a unique ‘bro’ relationship.”)
In his interview with Jewish Insider, LaRose seemed to bash Moreno in particular when he said it was possible to “be a great Trump supporter” without attempting “to be a cheap knockoff” of Trump. We can be pretty certain that he didn’t have Dolan in mind: During his failed 2022 campaign for the state’s other Senate seat, Dolan said that the GOP needed to move on from the Big Lie and Trump. Predictably, though, he hasn’t actually ruled out backing Trump next year.
But Moreno, as the Daily Beast reported last week, has his own history of firing off tweets questioning Big Lie orthodoxy. In December of 2020, the now-candidate tried to argue that, while Democrats were wrong for accusing Trump of colluding with Russia, it was “just as bad for [Trump] to make claims of a fraudulent election without proof.” He also condemned the Jan. 6 riots as they were happening and later liked a missive from Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw defending Liz Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump. There’s no sign yet, however, that Trump wants to punish Moreno, who now defends the Jan. 6 defendants as “political prisoners” and declared during his aborted 2022 Senate campaign, “President Trump says the election was stolen, and he’s right.”
Moreno still may need to be on guard, however, after what happened last cycle to former state party chair Jane Timken during the race to succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman. Trump, reported Politico’s Alex Isenstadt, had outright told Timken he’d endorse her only to abruptly change his mind when she initially defended another impeachment backer, Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. Trump eventually endorsed J.D. Vance, who himself had transformed from a one-time critic into a MAGA lackey, a decision that helped the now-senator win the primary.
Just a few months ago, LaRose seemed determined to avoid humbling himself to win Trump’s backing as most of the 2022 field had. The secretary, in a springtime “secret recording” obtained by Politico, instead told fellow Republicans that while Trump’s support “matters,” only 20% of the primary electorate would “vote for whoever” he endorsed. He added that, while he thought he’d win Trump’s favor, he didn’t think “begging for it” would work. But his decision to fire Nichols, who had a long history in state GOP politics, has some observers thinking that LaRose is now willing to do whatever it takes to secure Trump’s approval.
“Is the Trump endorsement worth burning bridges and setting fire to friendships?” an unidentified strategist asked the conservative Washington Examiner. “Is the Trump endorsement worth that much?” In LaRose’s case, the operative argued, it very much isn’t. “It just appears unnatural. It’s like he’s twisting himself in knots. When you’re not true to yourself, it shows.”
FLORIDA U.S. SENATOR. Former Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell kicked off her campaign to unseat Republican Sen. Rick Scott on Tuesday, a development that gives national Democrats the recruit they want for what will be a challenging contest. Mucarsel-Powell, though, is hoping that Scott’s own vulnerabilities, as well as a backlash to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ far-right agenda, will give her the chance to score an upset in a longtime swing state that veered sharply to the right in 2022.
Mucarsel-Powell, who flipped a competitive Miami-area House seat in 2018 but lost it two years later, first needs to win the primary. However, she begins as the strong favorite to become the first Latina Democrat ever nominated for statewide office.
The only other notable candidate who has launched a bid is Navy veteran Phil Ehr, who raised $2 million for his 2020 campaign against the nationally infamous Rep. Matt Gaetz in the safely red 1st District, but he’s so far attracted no major allies. Former Rep. Alan Grayson also is talking about running and even filed FEC paperwork in late June, but his deliberations have attracted little attention now that he’s well into the perennial candidate stage of his career.
Scott, who became wealthy running what was the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, HCA, used his vast personal resources to win two tight races for governor in 2010 and 2014 before narrowly unseating Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018.
His political fortunes, though, took a sharp downturn last cycle after a chaotic tenure as head of the NRSC that was defined by a feud with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and saw the GOP manage to defy history by actually losing a seat. One of Scott’s many mistakes came early in 2022 when he unveiled a plan to “sunset” all federal legislation, including Social Security, after five years, an agenda that Democrats were only too happy to make Republican Senate candidates answer for.
Scott’s proposal received new attention earlier this year when President Joe Biden attacked it in his State of the Union address—a pile-on that McConnell was only too happy to join. “I think it will be a challenge for him to deal with this in his own reelection in Florida, a state with more elderly people than any state in America,” said McConnell of the senator who months before had tried to oust him as the GOP’s Senate leader. (The bad blood between the two camps continues to linger, with one unnamed McConnell ally using just two words to describe Scott to Time magazine in April: “Ass clown.”)
Scott soon edited his “sunset” plan to include “specific exceptions of Social Security, Medicare, national security, veterans benefits, and other essential services,” but Mucarsel-Powell made it clear this week that his belated about-face wouldn’t deter her from making Scott’s blunder an issue. “He wrote the plan that could take away the Social Security and Medicare you worked and paid for,” she said in a kickoff video that also insinuated Scott had shirked his duties to the public while becoming even richer during his time in office.
The former congresswoman went on to highlight the most notorious chapter of Scott’s business career: his company’s 2003 guilty plea in what the Department of Justice at the time proclaimed was “the most comprehensive health care fraud investigation” it had ever undertaken. (HCA wound up paying a record $1.7 billion in fines.) The scandal was never quite enough to deny Scott victory in any of his previous elections, but Mucarsel-Powell is hoping it will help her frame this race as a battle between an immigrant from Ecuador who once “worked for minimum wage in a donut shop” and a wealthy incumbent “who cuts taxes for himself, but he’d raise them for you.”
Mucarsel-Powell is also hoping to get some help at the top of the ticket if she’s to give Florida Democrats their first win in a federal statewide race since 2012. Donald Trump carried the Sunshine State 51-48 in 2020 even as he was losing most other swing states, but it was landslides by DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio in 2022 that truly left Democrats in a funk. However, there are signs that Joe Biden is serious about keeping Florida in play next year, as his campaign included the state as part of a new $25 million TV and digital buy covering several battlegrounds.
And Democrats have some reason to be optimistic that, if serious resources are allocated here, their message could gain traction. Abortion rights advocates are collecting signatures to place a constitutional amendment on next year’s ballot that would both undo the six-week abortion ban that DeSantis signed into law in April and allow the procedure to take place up to 24 weeks into pregnancy. That could create problems for Republican candidates like Scott, who backed DeSantis’ ban and has indicated support for a federal ban as well.
The former congresswoman is also betting that voters are tired of other parts of DeSantis’ agenda. “These out-of-touch extremists cannot continue to wield the levers of power in our state,” she declared last month. Democrats are hoping that Donna Deegan’s upset win in the May race for mayor of Jacksonville was an early sign that Floridians are indeed growing weary of what the DeSantis-era GOP has to offer. They’ll also have an early chance to prove that victory was no fluke in a Jan. 16 special election where they’ll try to flip a competitive state House seat in the Orlando area.
Democrats also hope that Mucarsel-Powell, who was the first immigrant from South America ever elected to Congress, will be able to appeal to the many Latino voters who switched sides and backed Trump in 2020 after voting for Hillary Clinton four years earlier. Mucarsel-Powell herself experienced that swing the hard way in 2020 as the old version of her 26th Congressional District, where the electorate had a large number of Cuban Americans and voters with ties to elsewhere in Latin America, veered from a 57-41 win for Clinton all the way to a 53-47 Trump victory, a transformation that helped Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez unseat her 52-48.
“Yes, the fear of socialism is real and engrained for those of us who fled dangerous places in search of the American dream,” Mucarsel-Powell wrote in a Twitter thread two weeks after her defeat. “My own father was murdered by a criminal with a gun in Ecuador. But it’s not why I lost and it’s not the only reason South Florida went red.”
“There were many factors,” she continued, including “a targeted disinformation campaign to Latinos; an electorate desperate to re-open, wracked with fear over the economic consequences; a national party that thinks racial identity is how we vote.” Mucarsel-Powell went on to argue that state and national Democrats need to “step back and deeply analyze how we’re talking to Latinos and every voter.” Now she’ll have the chance to test out her own prescription statewide.
NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE HOUSE. Democrats racked up another big overperformance in New Hampshire on Tuesday night as David Fracht defeated Republican John Keane 72-28 in a special election for Grafton County’s 16th District, 13 points better than Joe Biden’s already sizable 64-34 margin. It’s the third such result in as many tries this year: In May, Democrats ran 16 points ahead of Biden in another vacant seat in Hillsborough County, which followed a 7-point overperformance in February in a do-over election in Strafford County after November’s contest ended in a tie.
Fracht’s victory bumps up the Democratic caucus to 197 members, while Republicans have 199 (two more seats are held by independents). Next month, Democrats will try to flip a swingy Republican seat in Rockingham County. If they succeed and then hold another safely blue seat in Hillsborough County in November, then they’ll strip away the GOP’s majority by forcing the chamber into a 199-199 tie between the parties.
MICHIGAN STATE HOUSE. The Michigan Board of Canvassers on Monday approved recall petitions against state Rep. Sharon MacDonell while once again rejecting those filed against five other Democrats; recall proponents also withdrew their paperwork against a seventh Democrat, state Rep. Reggie Miller. Biden carried MacDonell’s 56th District 57-41, which makes it the bluest of the targeted seats. Democrats currently hold a 56-54 majority in the chamber.
Conservatives looking to oust MacDonell will have 180 days to collect roughly 11,000 signatures, a figure that represents 25% of the votes cast in the district during the most recent general election, but all of them must be gathered within a 60-day timeframe. However, the attorney representing the six Democrats, former state party chair Mark Brewer, declared that he’ll appeal the decision, which he says will automatically prevent signature collection efforts from going forward for 40 days.
The bipartisan Board of Canvassers voted 3-0 to approve the recall campaign against MacDonell (one Democrat was absent) after determining that her detractors, by citing her vote for gun safety legislation, provided enough information about why they want her ousted. (Brewer argues the paperwork is still too vague.) The body, though, voted 2-1 to reject petitions filed against the other five Democrats, with the majority saying the language didn’t do an acceptable job summarizing the legislation they supported.
HOUSTON MAYOR. Candidate filing closed Monday for Houston’s Nov. 7 nonpartisan primaries, and the wealthy attorney Tony Buzbee waited until the final hours of qualifying to announce that he’d campaign for a spot on the city council rather than wage a second bid for mayor. Buzbee, an independent who serves as GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lead attorney for his upcoming impeachment trial, was the only notable politician who was still publicly undecided about running to succeed termed-out Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner, and there were no other last-minute developments in the mayoral contest.
A pair of prominent Democrats, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and state Sen. John Whitmire, remain the frontrunners in the 17-way race to succeed Turner. Also in the running are City Council member Robert Gallegos; former METRO board chair Gilbert Garcia; attorney Lee Kaplan; and former City Councilmember Jack Christie, who is the only notable Republican in the contest. A runoff would take place either on Dec. 9 or Dec. 16 unless one candidate wins a majority, though that likely second round has not yet been scheduled.
The only poll we’ve seen in months was a July survey from the University of Houston that showed Whitmire and Jackson Lee taking 34% and 32%, respectively, with Garcia at just 3% (Christie, who was not yet running, was not included.) Responds, though, decisively favored Whitmire 51-33 in a runoff.
A new Noble Predictive Insights poll in Utah finds that Donald Trump – who took only 14% of the vote in Utah’s 2016 presidential caucuses – now has the support of 48% of the state’s Republican voters.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is in a distant second at 18%. Former Vice President Mike Pence, at 10%, is the only other candidate with double-digit support.