• VA-Sen: So it turns out that there were in fact not one but two missing polls of the Virginia Senate race that were withheld from publication just before Election Day for very sketchy reasons. One was conducted by Hampton University, which claims their poll was held back "for further review" but is now refusing to explain why it never saw the light of day.
The other was from the execrable Gravis Marketing, which happened to call a few races correctly this year because they always tilt heavily toward the GOP. Bizarrely, Dave Weigel goes out of his way to praise Gravis for getting Virginia "right" even though the firm sat on the poll (and still isn't sharing the numbers, just claiming they had the race tied). Gravis' Doug Kaplan moans that he didn't want to stick his neck out there because of "the way I'm treated in the media," but as Harry Enten explained, pollsters shouldn't take mulligans.
And in reality, Gravis doesn't have much to crow about. As Drew Linzer observes, if you lean Republican every year, your methodology isn't validated when there's a GOP wave election. What's more, Gravis now apparently has a share in a first-place tie for the worst poll of all time. According to MIRS News, Some Dude tea partier Alan Arcand released a poll "conducted by the Washington D.C.-based Community Research Group and utilized by Gravis Marketing" that put Arcand up 56-44 on Rep. Dan Benishek in the August GOP primary.
But Benishek won 70-30, meaning this poll missed by 52 points—the same number of points that a notorious Siena poll whiffed by in 2013. In a bizarre Twitter exchange Tuesday with Daily Kos Elections, Gravis repeatedly insisted that they did not "release" this poll, then huffed that "[o]ur success in 2014 is obviously bothering you." Then they declared that "[a] poll was never conducted for this client," but with their weird use of the passive voice, who knows what they meant by that?
Finally, Gravis announced that they "did not conduct a poll for this client," but does that still mean Arcand was a client? (Otherwise you'd just say, "We never worked for this campaign," right?) But Gravis also claimed that the survey in question was "not a scientific poll," yet if they didn't conduct it, then how would they know? And why did they wait until now to try to disavow this poll? There's a lot here that doesn't make sense, and it's all starting to feel like "Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Whacked-Out Pollster."
In any event, our own Steve Singiser will, as always, be conducting a very comprehensive review of all final 2014 polling next month, once all election results are certified. That'll be a much more useful resource to evaluating pollsters than a single cherry-picked unreleased survey. In the meantime, YouGov has put together some pretty candid reviews of Senate and gubernatorial polling. Interestingly, while PPP was in the middle of the pack on the Senate front, they were the most accurate in gubernatorial races. Gravis, for what it's worth, didn't poll enough to even be considered.
• CA-21, IL-10: We recently noted that the DCCC is trying to recruit some of 2014's unseated incumbents and unsuccessful challengers to run again in 2016, and we have some details about a couple of potential candidates.
Politico reports that the DCCC is hoping to get Amanda Renteria back for a rematch against Republican Rep. David Valadao in California's 21st District. Renteria lost by 17 points but she proved to be a great fundraiser. This district is also prone to huge turnout drops in non-presidential years, and Renteria should have a much better chance with the 2016 electorate.
Politico also tells us that Rep. Brad Schneider also looks ready to run again. Schneider, who lost Illinois' 10th District to Republican Bob. Dold! by 3 points, is putting his campaign equipment into storage rather than getting rid of it, a good sign that he's planning a comeback sooner rather than later.
• CO-06: After Republican Rep. Mike Coffman beat his highly touted Democratic opponent Andrew Romanoff by 9 points, there was always the uncomfortable possibility that potential Democratic recruits would be deterred from challenging him. Luckily, that doesn't seem to be happening: Former state Rep. Edward Casso has already formed an exploratory committee to run in this swing district, though he hasn't made any firm commitment.
The DCCC is trying to recruit Romanoff to run again, and Casso is hinting that he'd defer to him. The Denver Post also notes that there is some speculation that Coffman will run against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett rather than seek re-election, but right now it's only chatter.
• Philadelphia Mayor: In one of 2015's big mayoral races, there's one more entrant and one new refusal by a potential heavyweight. The new arrival is state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, who'll be announcing his candidacy for this open seat Wednesday. If his name sounds familiar, he finished third in Pennsylvania's 2010 Democratic gubernatorial primary ... or if you're old-school, you might be thinking of his father, Hardy Williams, who lost the 1971 Democratic mayoral primary to Frank Rizzo.
The demurral comes from Alan Butkovitz, who's been city controller since 2006 and had been widely expected to run for mayor. Butkovitz seems to be deferring to City Council President Darrell Clarke, though Butkovitz seemed to leave the door open in case Clarke decided not to run. The Democratic primary will be held on May 19, and the winner is all-but-certain to prevail in the November general election.
• State Legislatures: Republicans had a banner night on the legislative level two weeks ago, picking up 11 chambers from the Democrats. But here's an amazing statistic, courtesy Ballotpedia: Only 132 seats changed hands in those 11 bodies, amounting to 14 percent of the 915 seats in those chambers and just 2.2 percent of the 6,057 seats that were up for election nationwide.
What's more, if you remove the comically large New Hampshire House, which was responsible for almost half of the GOP's 119-seat pickup, Republicans gained just 66 seats in the flipped chambers while Democrats managed to recapture 10. As Ballotpedia puts it, a mere 76 seats determined the outcome in 10 legislatures.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, with additional contributions from Jeff Singer, David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Taniel, and Dreaminonempty
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