Political Notebook


RNC polls voters on candidate favorability

A poll by the Republican National Committee includes Gov. Mike Pence and his predecessor, Mitch Daniels, among 32 prospective candidates for the party’s 2016 presidential nominations.

The RNC is asking “a handful of Republicans” in each state to check off how favorable or unfavorable each of the 32 is, according to a letter that accompanies the poll.

“This brief exploratory survey marks the launch of the first of a series of ‘pre-season’ polls we will be taking to measure the early awareness and opinion of” presidential prospects, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wrote in the letter.

He wrote that those polls “could play a decisive role in determining which Republicans ultimately throw their hats into the presidential ring.” Priebus also asked for a contribution of at least $25 a respondent to pay for the poll.

The candidates in the first survey include a lot of familiar names – Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul and Condoleezza Rice among them. Others are less known, such as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

New state site, app

Indiana has launched a revamped IN.gov and IN.gov iOS app. The new site places an emphasis on mobile users and offers a new feature that lets users personalize content, via my.IN.gov.

The top-level navigation was remapped in a more intuitive design to make it easier to find agencies. Each of the seven categories serves as its own portal, featuring the top content from those specific agencies. The site has prominent access to the transparency page and a map with multiple layers to find local state offices, parks and historical archives.

To meet the demands of mobile users, which make up 40 percent of site traffic, the IN.gov homepage is horizontally swipe compatible. The homepage quickly loads all seven agency categories and visitors can easily navigate through them by swiping their finger or tapping in the header.

Indiana also created a companion iOS app for IN.gov. Though the website is mobile-compatible, this app delivers content in a native format. The primary function of the app is to provide access to all state iOS apps in a single spot. The app allows access to the calendar database and easily lets users add an event to their personal calendar or read any of the news releases. An Android app is in development.

Another new feature that has been implemented is my.IN.gov, which provides a personalized dashboard that empowers the user to create a unique content experience. Users can create an account or login via existing social media accounts. Once logged in, visitors choose the content that interests them, like news and events from specific agencies or online services, and that information stays on their homepage.

On average, there are 81,000 searches per day on IN.gov and 3.8 million unique visitors a month.

Preferences vary

This is what happens when you put three unfunded, little-known candidates in a Democratic primary election in a heavily Republican congressional district:

The winner of Tuesday’s 3rd District race, Justin Kuhnle, received more than 61 percent of the vote in Adams County but only 18.5 percent in Blackford County.

Runner-up Tommy Schrader received 57.6 percent in Blackford but just 22.7 percent in DeKalb County.

Third-place finisher Jim Redmond received 52.8 percent of the ballots in his home DeKalb County but just 15.6 percent in Adams.

The wide variances across the district’s 12 counties evened out to give Kuhnle 34.9 percent of the total vote, Schrader 33.9 percent and Redmond 31.3 percent. In the final tally, Kuhnle edged Schrader by 83 votes out of 8,283 cast.

Noble County best reflected the overall results. Its voters gave Kuhnle 35 percent, Schrader 34.5 percent and Redmond 30.6 percent.

Kuhnle will face Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, in the Nov. 4 general election. Stutzman, who had two little-known challengers in the Republican primary, attracted between 79 percent and 85 percent of the Republican vote in 10 of the 12 counties in the district. But he received just 62.2 percent in Blackford County and 71.3 percent in Jay County.

Only 201 Republicans and 92 Democrats voted for 3rd District candidates in Blackford County, which is split between the 3rd and 5th districts. Variances tend to be larger in small sample sizes.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.