Political Snippets from Around the Country

Check out these political snippets on congressional, gubernatorial and state races from across the country. Senate, House, and Governors race ratings are from the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. 

U.S. Senate

Alaska (Solid Republican)

A new Alaska Survey Research organization poll (10/19-22; 1,276 AK likely general election voters; text to online) forecasts a tight US Senate election between incumbent Lisa Murkowski* (R) and former state Director of Administration Kelly Tshibaka (R).

The actual vote is projected to break 41-39-16-4% with Sen. Murkowski leading Ms. Tshibaka, Democrat Pat Chesbro, and Independent Buzz Kelley. Such a result would eliminate the fourth-place finisher who has already withdrawn from the race and endorsed Ms. Tshibaka.

The first RCV round would eliminate Ms. Chesbro by a closer 41-40-17%. The final RCV round between Sen. Murkowski and Ms. Tshibaka would then break the incumbent’s way, according to the ASR poll, 56-44%. Therefore, while Sen. Murkowski will likely not reach an outright victory in the actual vote, she is positioned to fare well under the ranked choice system.

Arizona (Toss Up)

The Trafalgar Group is reporting on their latest Arizona survey (10/16-17; 1,078 AZ likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) that finds venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) pulling to within one point of Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly (D), 47-46%. This race is closing, and the Trafalgar poll is not an outlier. Since October 10th, four research studies have shown chronological deficits for Masters of only 3, 4, 2, and now 1 percentage point.

Additionally, Trafalgar finds former newscaster Kari Lake (R) now running as the open gubernatorial race leader over Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D). In this poll, Ms. Lake carries a 49-46% edge, again consistent with recent trends that other pollsters also detect.

Connecticut (Solid Democrat)

Last week we saw a Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey that found Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s (D) lead over Republican nominee Leora Levy shrinking to 49-44%. Countering this data is a new survey from Connecticut based Quinnipiac University (10/19-23; 1,879 CT likely general election voters) that restores Sen. Blumenthal to a 56-41% advantage, similar to what the September Q-Poll produced. The latter data is more consistent with other polls of this race, suggesting that the Fabrizio Lee survey may be an outlier.

Georgia (Toss Up)

A trio of surveys conducted during the October 21-25 period from three research firms, co/efficient, Moore Information Research, and the Trafalgar Group all see Republican Herschel Walker claiming a small advantage over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) as the campaign enters its final ten days and early voting continues at a robust pace.

The co/efficient firm finds Mr. Walker’s lead at 47-44%, very similar to Moore’s 46-42%, while Trafalgar posted a smaller 49-47% spread. In the last ten polls, Sen. Warnock has led in four, Mr. Walker four, and in two surveys the candidates were tied. In nine of the ten research studies, the spread is three points or less. The preliminary early voting reports, however, give the Democrats a clear edge.

Iowa (Likely Republican)

On the heels of the Des Moines Register/Selzer & Company poll (10/9-12; 620 IA likely voters) that found Sen. Chuck Grassley* (R) holding only a three-point lead over retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken (D), The Tarrance Group followed with their own study. This poll (10/15-19; 600 IA likely general election voters; live interview) restores the Senator to a double-digit lead, 53-42%.

Nevada (Toss Up)

The latest CBS News/YouGov poll (10/14-19; 1,057 NV likely general election voters; online panels) finds former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt* (R) regaining a one-point lead, 49-48%, over Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) in the race now featured as the most likely Democratic seat that potentially flips to the GOP.  The CBS/YouGov poll marks the eighth of the most recent nine polls projecting Mr. Laxalt to a small lead. Considering there is likely a Republican undercount, chances are good that Mr. Laxalt’s edge is slightly larger.

North Carolina (Lean Republican)

The new Trafalgar Group poll is following the East Carolina University survey that projected breathing room for US Rep. Ted Budd* (R-Advance) in his open seat Senate race against former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D). The Trafalgar data (10/16-19; 1,081 NC likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) gives Mr. Budd a 48-44% lead over Ms. Beasley. A few days earlier, the ECU data projected a 50-44% Budd margin.

Ohio (Toss Up)

While the Ohio early voting numbers give the Democrats an edge in turnout so far, a four-day track from the Cygnal polling firm, meaning four online polling reports during the period of October 14-24, each gives Republican J.D. Vance* a four-point lead over US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/ Youngstown). Three other entities, Marist College, Suffolk University, and The Trafalgar Group, were also polling within this same time realm, and while they report a Vance lead, their margin for Vance is even less than four points.

Oklahoma (Solid Republican)

While two polls find the Democratic candidate trending ahead in the Oklahoma gubernatorial race, the same polls, Amber Integrated study (10/13-15; 500 OK likely general election voters) and Ascend Action, polling for Fox News Oklahoma TV stations (10/10-12; 638 OK likely general election voters; live interview), projects the Republican candidates in both the regular and special US Senate elections to be in strong position.

Amber Integrated’s regular election poll shows Sen. James Lankford* (R) holding a 52-36% margin over Democrat Madison Horn. In the special, Rep. Markwayne Mullin* (R-Westville) leads former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D) by a similar 52-39% count. Ascend Action sees Sen. Lankford leading 51-37%, and Rep. Mullin posting a 50-39% spread.

Pennsylvania (Toss Up)

The Insider Advantage firm is the first to publish a survey after the Pennsylvania Senate debate in which the post-event coverage suggests that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) performed poorly. The poll (10/25; 750 PA likely general election voters) yields the Republican nominee, Dr. Mehmet Oz*, to a 48-45% edge, and is only the third survey during the entire election cycle that projects him with a lead.

A total of 83% of the poll respondents said they saw all or part of the debate either live or in post-debate news coverage. While this poll favors the Republicans, early vote totals portend a Democratic advantage.

Washington (Likely Democrat)

Once again, we see two polling firms testing at exactly the same time in the same Senate race (10/19-20) but arriving at radically different conclusions. Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute (782 WA likely voters; live interview & text) sees Sen. Patty Murray (D) topping Republican Tiffany Smiley, 52-42%, which is consistent with most other surveys and the August 2nd jungle primary vote (Murray 54-Smiley 32%).

Conversely, the co/efficient firm (1,181 WA likely voters; live interview & text) sees only a three-point margin between the two candidates, 48-45%, in the Senator’s favor.

Survey USA was also in the field during the similar period (10/14-19; 589 WA likely voters; online) and they split the difference between PPP and co/efficient. S-USA returned a 49-41% Murray advantage. Though this race has several times touched upon competitiveness, the jungle primary and Washington voter history again suggests an impending victory for Sen. Murray.

U.S. House of Representatives

AK-AL (Lean Democrat)

The aforementioned Alaska Survey Research organization poll (see Alaska Senate above), while projecting a tight result for Sen. Lisa Murkowski* (R) sees the opposite trend for August special congressional election winner Mary Peltola (D-Bethel). The House poll suggests that Rep. Peltola has a chance to win outright opposite former Governor and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, businessman Nick Begich, III (R), and Libertarian Chris Bye. Even if she does advance into the RCV round, it also appears that she would easily beat both Palin and Begich in one-on-one contests.

The ASR polling results find the initial vote cutting 49-26-21-5% for Rep. Peltola, Ms. Palin, Mr. Begich, and Mr. Bye, respectively. Obviously, the polling margin of error could mean that Rep. Peltola wins at this point since she is so close to the majority mark. Should Rep. Peltola fail to reach 50%, she would then likely advance to a final RCV round with Ms. Palin. The poll projects that the Congresswoman would win the one-on-one pairing with 57% of the Ranked Choice Vote.

CO-8 (Toss Up)

Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District that stretches from the Denver suburbs north to the city of Greeley was drawn to be a hotly contested CD. A new Global Strategy Group survey for the Yadira Caraveo (D) campaign (10/11-16; 600 CO-8 likely general election voters; live interview) finds Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer* (R-Weld County) claiming a two-point, 46-44%, edge over Ms. Caraveo, a Democratic state Representative from Adams County.

The race margin hasn’t changed since Global Strategy Group’s released August poll that also found Ms. Kirkmeyer holding a two-point advantage. Expect this contest to go down to the wire.

CT-5 (Toss Up)

Republicans have been excited about their congressional candidate, former state Senator George Logan, who like Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Wolcott) is African American, and now we see why. A new Emerson College survey (10/19-21; 500 CT-5 likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects Mr. Logan to a 48-47% lead over Rep. Hayes, the first time any survey has shown him holding an edge over the incumbent.

According to the Target Smart organization, both parties are improving their early voting performance by approximated three percentage points when compared with the 2020 pattern. This northwestern Connecticut race becomes another of the many to watch on election night.

GA-2 (Likely Democrat)

A recent Trafalgar Group survey of the southwest Georgia electorate (10/14-16; 515 GA-2 likely Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) holding only a 50-46% advantage over GOP attorney Chris West, suggesting yet another close congressional race.

Post-redistricting, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated the new GA-2 seat as a D+4. Therefore, the Trafalgar poll is indicating the district is performing exactly as the voting history yields. Before the 2021 redistricting map was passed, the district was rated D+6. While Rep. Bishop remains the favorite for re-election, this is another pending November 8th electoral contest that merits watching.

MI-7 (Toss Up)

The Glengariff Group research firm released their survey of the 7th Congressional District contest between two-term Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) and state Sen. Tom Barrett* (R-Lansing). The poll (10/18-20; 400 MI-7 likely general election voters; live interview) finds Rep. Slotkin leading Sen. Barrett, 47-41%.

On issues, this poll revealed a lean toward the abortion issue as being most important, the first time we’ve seen any survey post this subject ahead of the cost of living.

Furthermore, the analysis indicates that 47% of the undecided voters are Republican as compared to just 22% of Democrats who profess to be in a similar status. The analysis indicates that extrapolating the undecided vote into the aggregate ballot test would see Rep. Slotkin’s lead drop to under three percentage points. 

MN-1 (Likely Republican)

August special congressional election winner Brad Finstad (R-New Elm/Rochester) has jumped out to a nine-point lead in his re-match race with retired Hormel Corporation CEO Jeff Ettinger (D) according to a Survey USA poll (10/20-23; 563 MN-1 likely general election voters). In what many believed to be a toss-up general election campaign, this study producing a 46-37% advantage for Rep. Finstad suggests that the race is clearly leaning to the Republican side.

MN-2 (Toss Up)

In a surprise 2020 finish, Republican challenger Tyler Kistner, a military veteran who hadn’t gotten much national attention, lost only a two-point battle to Rep. Angie Craig (D-Eagan), 48-46%. It appears the two are headed for another razor-thin finish this year in their re-match campaign. A just released Survey USA poll (10/15-16; 586 MN-2 likely general election voters; automated telephone & online) projects Ms. Craig to be holding a bare 46-45% lead over Mr. Kistner in a polling result wholly consistent with this electorate’s voting history.

NY-17 (Toss Up)

McLaughlin & Associates released a new internal study for the Mike Lawler for Congress campaign (10/12-14; 400 NY-17 likely general election voters; live interview & text) that again shows the Republican state Assemblyman leading veteran New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring).

This survey posts Mr. Lawler to a 52-46% advantage. McLaughlin polls from July and September also saw Lawler holding a significant lead. No Democratic poll was released to counter the numbers, but the Maloney campaign spokeswoman responded to the New York Post story about the survey release, saying that the Lawler polling figures are “skewed.”

NC-13 (Toss Up)

The court-drawn North Carolina congressional map created a new open district from the south Raleigh suburbs through the city of Fayetteville. To make it extremely competitive, they also included the solid Republican county of Johnston. A new survey suggests the district is playing out just as competitive as drawn.

Survey USA released a poll of the new district (10/21-24; 584 NC-13 likely voters; live interview & text), and it predictably finds the candidates in a dead heat. The ballot test posts state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) to a bare one-point lead, 44-43%, over Republican Bo Hines. The early vote count from the Target Smart data organization also shows a close result with both parties down a bit from their 2020 early vote performance.

OH-1 (Toss Up)

Despite state legislative Republicans drawing the congressional map, veteran GOP Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati), due to political changes within the Queen City, saw his new district become more Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight organization rates the new OH-1 as D+3, which is the exact margin a new Impact Research internal poll revealed.

The IR survey, conducted for the Greg Landsman (D) campaign (10-13-16; 504 OH-1 likely general election voters; live interview & text), posts the Cincinnati City Councilman to a 49-46% lead over Rep. Chabot. While the turnout model may provide a different result than what this poll finds, we can count on a close result coming here in November.

PA-12 (Likely Democrat)

St. Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) has a unique problem. Though running in a strongly Democratic open congressional seat that includes downtown Pittsburgh, her Republican opponent’s name is the same as the long-time retiring Democratic Congressman, Mike Doyle.

Ms. Lee is running ads clearly explaining that her opponent is not the retiring Congressman. Her approach is likely to work since the new 12th District is strongly Democratic. The fact that she has to advertise to warn about mistaken identity, however, tells us that Ms. Lee’s internal data is showing that the name confusion is causing her political problems.


Arizona (Toss Up)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has held a close lead in five of the last six Arizona statewide polls conducted, but the new Insider Advantage survey (10/24-25; 550 AZ likely general election voters; live interview & text) sees a major breakthrough.

The IA ballot test, conducted for Fox 10 News in Phoenix, sees Ms. Lake brandishing a 54-43% lead, the largest for either candidate in the entire general election campaign. Insider Advantage’s chief pollster largely credits the major move toward Ms. Lake as a response to Democratic nominee Katie Hobbs refusal to participate in a televised debate. 

Georgia (Lean Republican)

Two more polls were released that find Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leading former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D) and running substantially ahead of Republican Senatorial candidate Herschel Walker. The juxtaposition makes these races interesting to watch.

Insider Advantage (10/16; 550 GA likely general election voters) gives Gov. Kemp a 50-43% lead over Ms. Abrams, but also sees Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock posting a 46-43% edge over Mr. Walker. Similarly, while Landmark Communications (10/15-17; 500 GA likely general election voters) projects Gov. Kemp’s lead at 51-45%, the firm derives a 46-46% tie between Sen. Warnock and Mr. Walker.

Therefore, we continually see a relatively substantial single-digit swing in Sen. Warnock’s favor when comparing the gubernatorial results from consistent polling samples. This suggests we could see a split decision from these major Georgia statewide races.

Illinois (Solid Democrat)

An Osage Research survey (10/13-15; 600 IL likely general election voters; live interview) reports a ballot test that posts Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) to only a 44-42% lead over state Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) with a right and wrong track result trending 35:56% in the downward direction.

The ballot test is likely an outlier because the previous six polls, taken during the months of September and October, give Gov. Pritzker an average lead of 13 percentage points. This, however, is yet another piece of survey research showing a resurgence around the country for GOP candidates.

Michigan (Likely Democrat)

It’s rare to see two pollsters in the field at the same time producing a duplicate result. That’s what we have seen in the Michigan Governor’s race, however. Emerson College and the Cygnal research firm surveyed the Wolverine State electorate over the same October 12-14 period, and both found Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer leading Republican nominee Tudor Dixon by a 49-44% count. This represents one of the closest results we’ve seen for this race and is more credible since two independent pollsters each detected the identical result.

New York (Likely Democrat)

The last week has brought new data regarding the New York Governor’s race. Several pollsters are suggesting that US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) is gaining momentum against Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). The co/efficient firm (10/18-19; 1,056 NY likely general election voters; live interview & text) reports their ballot test showing, for the first time, Rep. Zeldin taking a one-point, 46-45%, lead.

The five previously released October polls saw Rep. Zeldin trailing by 8 (Marist College), 6 (Schoen Cooperman Research), 11 (Siena College), 4 (Quinnipiac University), and 6 (Survey USA). Now, co/efficient takes him to a one-point edge. It appears that the NY Governor’s race is heading toward an interesting conclusion.

Oklahoma (Likely Republican)

We are now continuing to see data suggesting that Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is in serious trouble against Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D). Two surveys find Ms. Hofmeister claiming a polling lead against the Governor. The Amber Integrated research study (10/13-15; 500 OK likely general election voters) gives Ms. Hofmeister a slight 46-45% edge.

Ascend Action, polling for Fox News Oklahoma TV stations (10/10-12; 638 OK likely general election voters; live interview), sees a much larger Hofmeister lead. The latter poll projects a ballot test of 49-42%. Last week, the small-sample Sooner Poll (10/3-6; 301 OK likely voters) was the first to detect a Hofmeister lead. The news organization found a 47-43% spread. A Democratic upset here would be surprising, but the data is suggesting that such an outcome is a clear possibility.

Oregon (Toss Up)

The three-way Oregon gubernatorial campaign, featuring strong Independent candidate Betsy Johnson, who served as a Democrat in the state legislature for 20 years, is one of the nation’s most interesting campaigns.

More race data is now available as a Hoffman Research Group survey (10/17-18; 684 OR likely general election voters; live interview) produces a result that continues to post Republican Christine Drazan, the former state House Minority Leader, to a two-point, 37-35% lead over ex-state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) with Independent Johnson dropping to 17% support. 



Because the state of Alaska allows ballots to be received a full two weeks after the election and the Ranked Choice Voting system they will use in the general election if no candidate receives majority support is a challenge to count, the Alaska Division of Elections announced they will release final electoral counts on November 23rd. Initial counts will be released on election night, November 8th, followed by official updates on November 15th and 18th. Both the US Senate and at-large House races stand a good chance of advancing into the Ranked Choice system. 

New York

New York is already one of the slowest ballot counting states, and a judicial ruling recently rendered will likely lead to an even slower count. The legislature and Governor had enacted a law that allowed election officials to count the received absentee ballots before the election with the caveat that no results were released. The judicial ruling struck down this new law, saying such a process is unconstitutional under New York law. Therefore, we can count on not receiving final returns until some six weeks post-election day.

* denotes the candidate has received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2021-2022 election cycle. 

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