Check out these political snippets on congressional and gubernatorial races from across the country. Senate, House, and Governors race ratings are from the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
Alaska (Solid Republican)
The new Alaska Survey Research firm tested the Alaska Senate race, and we again see Sen. Lisa Murkowski* (R) having trouble distancing herself from challenger and fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka.
The ASR poll (9/25-27; 1,282 AK likely general election voters; online) finds Sen. Murkowski leading Ms. Tshibaka only 41-39% on the ballot test question, with Democrat Pat Chesboro attracting 17% support, and Republican Buzz Kelley garnering a 4% preference factor. Mr. Kelley has already withdrawn as an active candidate and endorsed Ms. Tshibaka, but his name remains on the ballot as one of the four finalists from the August 16th primary vote.
The Ranked Choice system then kicks in to put Sen. Murkowski well ahead in the final round. After Ms. Chesbro and Mr. Kelley are officially eliminated, Sen. Murkowski would top Ms. Tshibaka, 57-43%, once the second and third choice votes are added to the tabulation.
Arizona (Lean Democrat)
A new CBS News/YouGov survey (9/30-10/4; 1,164 AZ registered voters; online) sees GOP challenger Blake Masters pulling to within three percentage points of Sen. Mark Kelly (D), 51-48%. With Masters finally running ads from his own campaign committee, and outside organizations coming into the state to further target Sen. Kelly, we can expect this race to continue its competitive pace all the way through November 8th.
Georgia (Toss Up)
Just as the negative stories about GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s personal and family life began to appear in the media, along with his son coming forward to further the attacks, two conflicting surveys were released. The first, from Insider Advantage, a frequent Georgia pollster (10/4; 550 GA likely voters), finds Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) holding only a 47-44% lead over Mr. Walker.
Survey USA (9/30-10/4; 1,076 GA likely voters; online) has a much different take, and actually produces one of the best polls from Sen. Warnock’s perspective since late July. The S-USA ballot test gives the Senator a much larger 50-38% advantage.
With the negative publicity surrounding Walker, we can expect the Republican prospects to take a dip here. Since the Georgia Senate race has trended close for most of the campaign year, and this type of story has been previously publicized about Walker, it would not be surprising to see a GOP bounce-back before election day.
Indiana (Solid Republican)
Back in August, Change Research released a survey that found Sen. Todd Young* (R) ahead of Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott (D) by only a slim 45-42% margin. Most believed this survey to be an anomaly. Now, the ARW Strategies polling entity, surveying for the Indy Politics blog (9/25-26; 600 IN likely general election voters), has arrived at a similar conclusion more than a month later.
The ARW results find Sen. Young’s advantage to be only 39-37% opposite Mayor McDermott. Libertarian candidate James Sceniak accounts for 6% of the preference total with the remainder saying they are undecided.
These again are puzzling numbers since Sen. Young is not exhibiting any signs of political trouble in a state where his party consistently wins elections and is favored across the board in 2022. Chances are good we will see more attention from both sides being paid to this race as we move toward the campaign’s closing weeks.
Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R) resignation, to occur once he is confirmed as the University of Florida’s new president, has spurred discussion as to who will be appointed as Nebraska’s replacement junior Senator. Term-limited Governor Pete Ricketts (R), who refused to comment about his interest in assuming the position when Sen. Sasse announced his future plans, uttered a clarifying comment.
Under Nebraska state law, a Governor has 45 days to replace a resigning Senator after the seat becomes officially vacant. Sen. Sasse indicated he will resign before the end of the year. Therefore, it is possible that Gov. Ricketts could make the appointment as one of his last official acts, or the likely incoming chief executive, University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen (R), would do so as one of his first duties.
Mr. Ricketts now indicates if he develops an interest in receiving the appointment, he will let the new Governor choose the new Senator and not appoint himself. In a crowded 2022 Republican gubernatorial primary, Gov. Ricketts endorsement of Mr. Pillen helped him win the nomination, so the early tea leaves are suggesting that the outgoing Governor could be headed to the Senate.
Nevada (Toss Up)
After trailing in seven consecutive polls among likely voters, a new Suffolk University survey (10/4-7; 500 NV likely voters; live interview) finds Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) pulling back in front of former Attorney General Adam Laxalt* (R), 46-44%.
Clearly, the cumulative result from the many polls released of this race is that both candidates are alive heading into voter decision making time. The bad sign for Sen. Cortez Masto is that she has failed to reach 50% support in the last dozen consecutive polls, dating all the way back to July. Such is a troubling indication for any incumbent.
New Hampshire (Lean Democratic)
Earlier, we speculated upon the National Republican Senatorial Committee eventually making the move to pull their media reservation dollars from New Hampshire and moving the money to places where the GOP candidate looks to be in better victory position, namely Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. With the NRSC’s canceling its $2.6 million budget for the Boston market, as reported by the Adminpact and Daily Kos Elections organizations, the move has been made.
This, however, does not mean the Republican sector is abandoning New Hampshire, especially since polling still shows nominee Don Bolduc within high single-digits of Sen. Maggie Hassan (D). The Senate Leadership Fund and other outside right-of-center allies have reserved another $23 million in media time, so they are clearly not giving up on the NH Senate race even though the state and national party leadership overtly attempted to deny Bolduc his nomination.
Oklahoma (Solid Republican)
The Sooner Poll (10/3-6; 301 OK likely general election voters), a survey conducted for news media outlets in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, provided numbers for both of the state’s US Senate races, the regular election featuring Sen. James Lankford* (R) and the special election to replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R). The poll is flawed in that only 301 respondents comprise the entire statewide sample, but the Senate results appear reasonable, nonetheless.
In the regular election, Sen. Lankford holds a 52-40% lead over high tech businessman Madison Horn (D) and US Rep. Markwayne Mullin* (R-Westville) tops former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D), 51-42%. Both Sen. Lankford and Rep. Mullin are heavy favorites to win in November.
Nevada (Toss Up)
OH Predictive Insights, a frequent pollster in the southwest, released their new Nevada numbers. The survey (9/20-29; 741 NV likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects former Attorney General Adam Laxalt* (R) leading Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) by a 45-43% margin. This is the sixth consecutive poll, from six individual research firms during a long September 8-29 time frame, that forecasts Mr. Laxalt with a small lead; an average of just over two percentage points.
Pennsylvania (Toss Up)
Two weeks ago, we reported upon a trio of surveys finding Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) coming within close range of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) on the various ballot test questions. Fox News, Franklin & Marshall, and Insider Advantage found the Fetterman lead dropping to three and four percentage points.
Now, Emerson College has released their Pennsylvania statewide survey, the fourth coming to a similar conclusion within a constant time realm. The new Emerson study (9/23-26; 1,000 PA likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Dr. Oz coming within the polling margin of error, trailing Mr. Fetterman by only a 45-43% count.
Utah (Likely Republican)
The Hill Research Consultants, polling for the Put Utah First Super PAC (10/5-11; 500 UT likely general election voters; live interview & online) has found the first significant lead for Independent Evan McMullin over Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R).
The ballot test reveals a 46-42% McMullin edge over the two-term incumbent. Sen. Lee’s favorability index has gone south, and now reaches a 42:52% favorable to unfavorable ratio. The failure of Utah’s junior Senator, Mitt Romney, to endorse Sen. Lee has also attracted a large amount of attention. This is another race to watch as the election cycle continues to wind down.
U.S. House of Representatives
In one of the first cases on the US Supreme Court’s new term docket, oral arguments were heard for the Alabama racial gerrymandering redistricting case, which could result in a landmark ruling relating to future interpretation of the Voting Rights Act.
The state of Alabama is arguing its reasons for keeping the state’s congressional map that features one strong majority minority district. The US Government is arguing that a second minority seat can be drawn. The presentations consumed more time than usual for Supreme Court oral arguments, and now it is up to the nine Justices to craft a definitive ruling, which will be released sometime before June of next year.
In November, the high court will hear oral arguments on the North Carolina redistricting case that will lead to a definitive ruling pertaining to judicial power over the constitutional authority of state legislatures.
AK-AL (Toss Up)
The aforementioned Alaska Survey Research poll (see Alaska Senate above) also tested the state’s at-large US House District campaign and it discovered two significant data points. First, in the ballot test of the four candidates who advanced into the general election, businessman Nick Begich III now moves ahead of former Governor and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin by two and three percentage points on the initial vote and first Ranked Choice Voting round. The second finding is newly elected Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) would defeat either Mr. Begich or Ms. Palin even before getting to the second Ranked Choice round. According to the ASR poll, Rep. Peltola would achieve majority support, thus winning the election, once Libertarian Chris Bye, the fourth-place finisher, is eliminated from further competition.
CA-21 (Toss Up)
The Trafalgar Group released the first post-primary survey of California’s new 21st Congressional District and the results reveal a surprising dead heat between Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and businessman and former FBI agent Michael Maher (R). The poll (9/30/10-3; 515 CA-21 likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds the two candidates tied at 44 percent.
While the Central Valley region is showing signs of voting more conservatively than the rest of the Golden State electorate, the Republicans taking this district would be quite a stretch. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the new 21st, which includes downtown Fresno, as D+16 while the Dave’s Redistricting App crew calculates a 58.2D – 39.7R partisan lean. In the jungle primary, Rep. Costa unexpectedly received just 47.0% of the vote, but the Democratic aggregate total was 57.0%.
CO-3 (Lean Republican)
Despite representing a relatively safely Republican western slope 3rd Congressional District, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) looks to have a competitive race on her hands as we begin the campaign cycle’s final weeks. Colorado-based Keating Research conducted a poll for the Adam Frisch (D) campaign (9/28-10/2; 500 CO-3 likely voters; live interview & text). The ballot test results found Rep. Boebert’s lead shrinking to 47-45%, down from Keating’s 49-42% spread detected in its July survey.
FL-27 (Lean Republican)
In 2020, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar* (R-Miami) upset then-Rep. Donna Shalala (D) from a South Florida district that votes Republican to a greater degree than the voter registration figures might suggest. The GOP redistricting map drawers made the seat more favorable for Rep. Salazar, but it still rates as a D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization and 52.4D – 46.5R on the Dave’s Redistricting App partisan scale.
Therefore, it is not surprising to see a SEA Polling & Strategic Design survey (10/3-5; 400 FL-27 likely general election voters; live interview) finding state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) and Rep. Salazar in a virtual dead heat (Taddeo, 47-46%). The poll also found Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) leading former Governor and Congressman Charlie Crist (D), 50-44% within the 27th District, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R) held a 48-47% edge over Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando).
MI-8 (Lean Democratic)
A just released internal Cygnal poll for the Paul Junge (pronounced: Young) campaign (9/27-30; 335 MI-8 likely voters) sees the GOP challenger, a former news anchor and 2020 congressional nominee in the former 8th District against Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly/Lansing), pulling into a one-point 45-44% lead against five-term Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flushing/Flint).
This campaign has not gotten much national play, but the two candidates have been very active, and the party organizations are spending large amounts in eastern Michigan to deliver negative messages. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this seat a R+1, while the Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean sees a 50.8 – 46.0% spread in favor of the Democrats. This is a national under-the-radar race destined to attract more attention.
NJ-7 (Lean Republican)
The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research organization conducted a congressional poll for two-term Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill), who is again in a tight battle with former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R). In 2020, Mr. Kean held Rep. Malinowski to a 51-49% re-election win in a district that was more Democratic than the new 7th.
GQR survey (9/20-26; 500 NJ-7 likely general election voters) sees both candidates now attracting 48% of the vote. The Democratic pollster, however, also detects a partisan generic party label split of 50-45% favoring the Republicans. NJ-7 is a key Republican conversion opportunity seat.
NM-2 (Toss Up)
The Global Strategy Group, polling for the Gabe Vasquez (D) campaign, tested the NM-2 electorate to determine the state of the race featuring freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell* (R-Alamogordo) and Mr. Vasquez, a Las Cruces City Councilman. The GSG survey (9/20-26; 500 likely NM-2 voters; live interview) sees Mr. Vasquez pulling ahead of Rep. Herrell, 45-43%.
The result is not particularly surprising in that the Democratic legislature and Governor crafted the new 2nd CD to flip. Before redistricting, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated the seat, R+14. Post-redistricting, we see a D+4 categorization. This district will still yield a close finish, and voter turnout will tell the ultimate tale.
NY-22 (Toss Up)
Earlier, Siena College, partnering with Spectrum News, released a survey (9/22-28; 453 NY-22 likely general election voters) that pushed Republican Brandon Williams to a five-point, 45-40%, edge over former intelligence agency analyst Francis Conole (D).
Last week, the Conole campaign released countering data, but their Global Strategy Group survey was commissioned considerably earlier (9/15-19; 400 NY-22 likely general election voters) than the Siena College poll and only showed a 43-42% slight edge for the Democratic nominee. Thus, releasing a dated study with the candidate having such a small advantage suggests that the Siena data is likely a more realistic depiction of the current political situation. The new Syracuse anchored NY-22 is a politically marginal open seat from which Republican Rep. John Katko* is retiring.
PA-17 (Toss Up)
A just released brilliant corners firm survey (polling for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; 9/18-20; 400 PA-17 likely general election voters) containing a high error rate of 4.9%, posts Democratic election law attorney and college professor Chris Deluzio to a six-point, 49-43%, lead over GOP engineer and former local elected official Jeremy Shaffer*.
The open 17th District, located in the western Pittsburgh suburbs and encompasses the territory all the way to the Ohio border, is a swing district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+1. Detecting a Republican resurgence around the country after September 20th, it will be interesting to see what more recent data might show for this campaign. This region’s voting history suggests the 17th District remains a toss-up race.
RI-2 (Toss Up)
Though the Ocean State’s western congressional district is heavily Democratic – D+17 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization – the fourth consecutive survey, this one coming from Suffolk University for the Boston Globe (10/1-4; 422 RI-2 likely general election voters; live interview), confirms that Republican Allan Fung holds the lead over Democratic state Treasurer Seth Magaziner.
The Suffolk results post Mr. Fung, the former Mayor of Cranston and a two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee, to an eight point, 45-37%, lead, well beyond the polling margin of error.
Just four polls, from May to the present, have been released of the race, but Mr. Fung has led in all with margins between six and 15 percentage points. Despite the Democratic voting history here, Mr. Fung looks to be positioning himself to score a major political upset.
Arizona (Toss Up)
The aforementioned CBS/YouGov poll (see Arizona Senate above) also tested the Arizona Governor’s race. Here, as other pollsters routinely find, the race between Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and news anchor Kari Lake (R) is extremely close. In the CBS/YouGov survey that posted Sen. Kelly to a three-point edge, the gubernatorial ballot test finds both candidates deadlocked at 49% apiece.
Georgia (Lean Republican)
Two survey research entities released numbers for the Peach State Governor’s race during the week. Quinnipiac University (10/7-10; 1,157 GA likely general election voters; live interview) plots Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) lead over former state House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams (D) at just 50-49%. The University of Georgia (9/25-10/4; 1,030 GA likely general election voters; live interview), however, sees a much wider Kemp advantage, 51-41%.
Nebraska (Solid Republican)
The open Nebraska Governor’s race has not attracted much attention in the general election cycle, but a new Data Targeting poll projects the race between University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen (R) and state Sen. Carol Blood (D-Bellevue) is closer than most observers might have expected.
The DT survey (9/29-28; 1,340 NE likely general election voters; interactive voice response system & text) shows Mr. Pillen holding a 48-41% advantage over Sen. Blood. It is likely the ultimate spread will favor the Republican nominee to a greater degree, but this first glimpse into the race suggests that both campaigns will pick up the pace as we move closer to election day. Early voting in the Cornhusker State began during the week.
Nevada (Toss Up)
OH Predictive Insights also released their new Nevada gubernatorial results. The survey (see Nevada Senate above) projects Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) running ahead of Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) by three percentage points, 45-42%, and this is the third consecutive poll that finds the GOP challenger topping the Democratic incumbent. It is clear that the closing campaign weeks will be hot ones in the Silver State.
New Mexico (Lean Democratic)
After several weeks of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) developing comfortable polling leads over Republican former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti, a Cygnal poll conducted for GOP Attorney General candidate Jeremy Gay (9/27-29; 400 NM likely modeled general election voters; interactive voice response system & text) sees the pair of gubernatorial candidates falling within a two-point margin, 46-44%, but still in the Governor’s favor.
The sample size for this statewide poll is low, so the error factor is relatively high. Both candidates are very active, so we can expect that the New Mexico gubernatorial contest will draw further national attention before the election cycle concludes.
New York (Likely Democratic)
The Trafalgar Group released a new Empire State survey that finds US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) trailing Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) by only a 45-43% margin, the closest of any NY gubernatorial poll during this election cycle. The study was conducted over the September 30 – October 3 period and surveyed 1,087 likely general election voters through multiple sampling techniques. Earlier, the McLaughlin & Associates firm (9/21-25; 800 NY likely general election voters) found a 51-45% spread.
Siena College, polling in the period before the aforementioned (9/16-25; 655 NY likely general election voters) projected a much larger Hochul lead, 54-37%. It will be interesting to see if this latest trend proves to be an anomaly or the beginning of a directional change within the general election contest.
Oklahoma (Likely Republican)
Largely due to fallout from his Administration’s handling of some of the Covid 19 relief expenditures and attacks over his former business dealings, polling has suggested weakness for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) re-election bid. Now we see a new survey that, for the first time, projects the Governor falling behind his Democratic opponent, Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D).
The aforementioned Sooner Poll (see Oklahoma Senate) released their new data (10/3-6; 301 OK likely general election voters) and sees Ms. Hofmeister holding a surprising 47-44% lead. Though the Sooner Poll contains a very small sample and therefore a high error factor, it is becoming clear that this race will now draw further national attention.
Oregon Toss Up)
Independent Betsy Johnson’s largest contributor is Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who has given the former state legislator’s gubernatorial campaign over $3.7 million. Now, however, Mr. Knight is changing his allegiance. He announced plans to contribute $1 million to Republican Catherine Drazan’s campaign. The change is likely due to recent surveys finding Ms. Drazan taking a small lead over Democratic former state House Speaker Tina Kotek, while Ms. Johnson is beginning to lag well behind.
The most recent survey, from Emerson College (9/29-10/1; 796 OR likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques), sees Ms. Drazan topping Ms. Kotek and Ms. Johnson, 36-34-19%. Additionally, Ms. Drazan has developed a small lead in the six most recent surveys from five different polling firms.
South Dakota (Solid Republican)
South Dakota State University is releasing a series of political polls, but there is scant information accompanying the ballot test numbers. University polls can often be suspect, and this one without survey dates or sample sizes may fall into such a category. The ballot test finds Gov. Kristi Noem (R) leading state House Minority Leader Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls) by only a 46-42% count.
The same unidentified sample, however, also posts Sen. John Thune* (R) to a 53-28% advantage over Democratic attorney Brian Bengs, which sounds like a reasonable result and provides the gubernatorial ballot test more credibility. Therefore, the South Dakota Governor’s race may be another worth watching as we enter the campaigns’ closing weeks. In 2018, Ms. Noem, then the state’s at-large Congresswoman scored a 51-48% win over then-state Sen. Billie Sutton (D).
* denotes the candidate has received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2021-2022 election cycle.
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