Political Snippets from Around the Country

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. 

U.S. Senate

Arizona (Lean Democrat)

After several mid-September polls found Republican US Senate challenger Blake Masters pulling to within the polling margin of error against Sen. Mark Kelly (D), two new surveys see the two-year incumbent pulling back ahead by a more substantial margin. 

Suffolk University’s (9/21-25; 500 AZ likely voters; live interview) latest study reports a seven-point spread in the Senator’s favor, 49-42%. Marist College’s new likely voter survey (9/19-22; 1,076 AZ likely voters; live interview, text & online) found a slightly smaller Kelly lead, 50-45%. The Arizona race continues to be one to watch, especially considering the late GOP surge that occurred here in 2020.

This race was moved from Toss Up to Lean Democratic on September 22 by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. 

Arkansas (Solid Republican)

It has been assumed that Sen. John Boozman* (R) secured a third term in office when he won his contested Republican primary back in March. A Hendrix College/Talk Business Net survey, from the organizations that regularly sponsor Arkansas political polls, finds Mr. Boozman in predictably strong shape for the November election. The survey (9/12; 835 AR likely general election voters) gives the Senator a 44-31% advantage over civil rights activist and realtor Natalie James (D).

Colorado (Lean Democrat)

Emerson College tested the Centennial State electorate (9/18-19; 1,000 CO likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) and found Sen. Michael Bennet (D) leading AGC member and construction executive Joe O’Dea* by a 10-point, 46-36%, margin. Republicans have tagged this race as an upset possibility, but this poll shows little weakness for the Democratic incumbent who is seeking his third full term.

Georgia (Toss Up)

In what is proving a seesaw affair between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and former NFL and University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker (R), the new Atlanta Journal-Constitution/University of Georgia poll (9/5-16; 861 GA likely general election voters) again detects a change in leadership. The last three polls posted Sen. Warnock to leads between four and six points, and now the AJC/UGA data finds Mr. Walker moving ahead, 46-44%.

Another survey, from YouGov polling for CBS News (9/14-19; 1,148 GA registered voters; online) shows the same two-point margin but in Sen. Warnock’s favor, 51-49%. The exhaustive poll asked 72 questions, and while Sen. Warnock is clearly more favorably viewed that Mr. Walker, the vote continues to remain virtually even.

North Carolina (Lean Republican)

The North Carolina Senate race has been tight for weeks, but now we see three separate pollsters all finding the race status languishing in a flat tie.

The Cygnal polling organization (9/24-26; 650 NC likely voters), Meredith College (9/20-23; 731 NC likely voters), and the Global Strategy Group (9/12-20; 800 NC likely voters) all project tied results. Cygnal sees Rep. Ted Budd* (R-Advance) and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) each attracting 44% of the vote. Meredith College finds both with 41%, while GSG’s total is 46% apiece. Obviously, the North Carolina Senate race is one of the closest in the nation with just over a month remaining and early voting beginning.

Ohio (Lean Republican)

In the mid-August through early September period, three pollsters found US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) snatching the polling lead away from GOP author J.D. Vance. The research entities Impact Research, Suffolk University, and Fallon Research, in studies conducted during the August 17 through September 11 time realm, found Rep. Ryan trending ahead with margins between one and six points.

Two news polls, however, see the race flipping back to Mr. Vance. Emerson College (9/10-13; 1,000 OH likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) and the Civiqs survey research entity, polling for the Daily Kos Election site (9/10-13; 780 OH likely general election voters), and in the field during the same period, see Mr. Vance now holding close leads of 44-40 and 48-45%, respectively.

Pennsylvania (Lean Democrat)

Several polls have been released regarding the Pennsylvania Senate race during September, and all but one has shown Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) closing on Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D). 

The new Marist College poll (9/19-22; 1,242 PA registered voters; 1,043 PA likely general election voters; live interview & online) sees Mr. Fetterman holding a 51-44% advantage, but the result appears to be an outlier. Five other pollsters, surveying during the September 6-24 period find the Fetterman advantage to only be slightly more than three percentage points. On the other hand, 23 Pennsylvania Senate surveys have been released since the May primary and Mr. Fetterman has been posted to a lead in all.

Utah (Likely Republican)

Polling data suggests that the Utah Senate race is the closest campaign that attracts the least national attention. A new Dan Jones & Associates survey for the Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics (9/3-21; 815 UT registered voters; 786 likely general election voters) finds Sen. Mike Lee (R) ahead of Independent Evan McMullin by only a 37-34% margin. Though this poll has a very long sampling period, which adversely affects accuracy, it is consistent with some others we’ve seen of this race. 
In the early part of this month, both Impact Research and Kurt Jetta, polling for the Center Street PAC, found the candidates languishing within a combined four-point range. Impact Research actually found Mr. McMullen claiming a one-point edge. Back in April, the majority of Utah Democratic Party convention delegates voted not to field a candidate for the purpose of coalescing behind Mr. McMullin. Though he is more conservative than what most of the delegates would have desired in a candidate, they did want to see McMullin have a one-on-one shot to challenge Sen. Lee. 

Washington (Solid Democrat)

The Trafalgar Group (9/21/-24; 1,091 WA likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) just released data that no other pollster has even remotely found. According to this most recent Trafalgar result data, Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) lead over Republican Tiffany Smiley has dropped to just two percentage points, 49-47%. Though Trafalgar has proven itself very accurate in the elections since 2016, this poll appears to be an outlier.

In the most recent surveys conducted during the Sept. 6-15 period from Public Policy Polling and Elway Research, Sen. Murray holds an average lead of eleven percentage points. Still, Ms. Smiley’s effort is the strongest we’ve seen from a Washington statewide Republican candidate this century. Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling quickly countered with a new survey of their own (9/27-28; 770 WA voters). The PPP response gives Sen. Murray a much stronger 52-40% advantage. In the August 2 Washington jungle primary, Sen. Murray outpaced Ms. Smiley, 52-34%.

Wisconsin (Toss Up)

Since the August 9th Wisconsin primary, we’ve seen several polls conducted of the Wisconsin Senate campaign. Immediately after the nomination vote, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) opened the general election cycle with a polling lead. Marquette University Law School, a regular Wisconsin pollster, found Mr. Barnes holding a 52-45% advantage over Sen. Ron Johnson* in their August 10-15 poll of 713 likely Wisconsin general election voters.

Late last week, Marquette released a new survey (9/6-11; 801 WI registered voters; live interview) and the law school research organization now posts Sen. Johnson to a slight 48-47% advantage. Civiqs, polling for the Daily Kos Election site (9/10-13; 780 WI likely general election voters), confirms the Marquette result. They find Sen. Johnson up 49-48%. Though his leads are small, the Johnson trend line is positive.

U.S. House of Representatives

FL-2 (Solid Republican)

When the Florida redistricting map was adopted, most agreed the incumbent getting the worst draw was three-term Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) who saw his Tallahassee to Jacksonville 5th District split into several parts. Left with tough choices, Rep. Lawson chose to seek re-election against Republican incumbent Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) in the new 2nd District.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this seat that stretches from Tallahassee to the Emerald Coast as R+17. The Dave’s Redistricting App data group calculates the partisan lean as 54.5R – 43.8D.

A new David Binder Research (D) poll (9/14/18; 600 FL-2 likely general election voters; live interview & online) finds Rep. Dunn holding only a 49-43% lead, however, which is a closer result than one would expect from a district with such strong Republican base numbers.

FL-22 (Solid Demcorat)

In February, Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) announced that he would leave the House before the end of the current legislative session in order to assume the leadership of the American Jewish Committee. At the time, Mr. Deutch said he would leave sometime on or around October 1. Late last week, the Congressman confirmed he will officially resign his seat before September ends. 

It is unlikely that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will have the time to call a special election to replace Mr. Deutch for a probable lame duck session since Florida law dictates a relatively long voting schedule period once such an election is called. Therefore, with the party nominations being decided in the August 23 primary, the new 23rd District will remain open until the new Congress convenes on January 3, 2023. 

In the open seat general election, Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz (D) is favored over Republican Joe Budd in a South Florida district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+9.

IA-3 (Lean Republican)

In one of America’s tightest congressional districts, Rep. Cindy Axne’s (D-Des Moines) campaign just made an interesting move. The Congresswoman’s political leadership released Rep. Axne’s new internal Impact Research survey (9/7-11; 500 IA-3 likely voters; live interview & text) that reports she and her Republican challenger, state Sen. Zach Nunn* (R-Bondurant), are tied at 47% apiece.

The point of releasing the poll, however, is to show emphasis on the abortion issue among the respondents, which the campaign strategists believe will swing voters to the Democratic incumbent. Even when knowing Sen. Nunn’s abortion position, however, the best Rep. Axne can do is tie, suggesting that despite deep disagreements over the issue in the central Iowa region it does not appear to be bringing any more voters into Axne’s camp. Her 47% support figure quoted in this poll is consistent with her two 49% victory percentages in 2020 and 2018.

MT-1 (Likely Republican)

While Montana’s new western 1st District seat was drawn as a Republican CD – the FiveThirtyEight data organization projects a R+10 partisan lean – former US Representative and ex-US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (R) leads Democratic Monica Tranel by just a 43-41% count according to the latter’s internal Impact Research poll (9/14-19; 400 MT-1 likely general election voters; live interview & text).

The result is not particularly surprising considering that Mr. Zinke had a close call in the Republican primary, edging former state Sen. Al Olszewski by just a 42-40% split. Mr. Zinke’s image is his problem, according to the Impact Research survey. His favorability index stands at a poor 39:54% positive to negative. Perhaps more troubling, 55% of the poll respondents agree that Mr. Zinke is “out for himself,” and 50% characterize him as “corrupt.” The new MT-1 is a must-win for the Republicans if they are to capture the House majority.

NY-19 (Toss Up)

In August, Democrat Pat Ryan (D) won the 19th District special election against Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro* (R). Democratic strategists were claiming the result was an upset and a precursor of good things to come for their party in the 2022 general election. In actuality, President Joe Biden carried the district by two percentage points in 2020 and the Democrats won the last two congressional elections, so declaring a Democratic victory in such a seat as an upset is a bit of a stretch.

The new 19th District, that has some additional territory stretching along the Pennsylvania border, is actually more Democratic (D+4) than the special election seat that Mr. Molinaro lost. Since Rep. Ryan decided to seek re-election in the 18th District, Mr. Molinaro has a new opponent in attorney Josh Riley (D). 

Despite his loss, a new Triton Polling & Research survey (9/20-22; 658 NY-19 likely general election voters; interactive voice response system) posts Mr. Molinaro to a surprisingly large 51-42% majority. The GOP nominee winning this seat would be a huge step toward Republicans claiming the House majority with a substantial margin.

OH-1 (Toss Up)

The court-drawn Ohio congressional map was not kind to veteran Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati). The new 1st District now leans toward the Democrats with a three-point margin. The latest Impact Research internal poll for the Greg Landsman campaign (9/17-21; 506 OH-1 likely general election voters; live interview & text) gives the Democratic challenger a predicted 49-46% lead over the Congressman. 

Mr. Chabot was first elected in 1994, but lost the seat in 2008. He regained it in the 2010 election, and has been re-elected in the last five consecutive elections against formidable opponents. Winning this race is critical to Republican majority prospects.

OR-5 (Toss Up)

The Democratic survey research firm Global Strategy Group, polling for the 314 Action super PAC (9/1-8; 400 OR-5 likely general election voters) finds Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who defeated Rep. Kurt Schrader* (D-Canby) in the May primary election, leading businesswoman and former local mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer* (R), by a tight 41-38% margin.

PA-8 (Toss Up)

In what is appearing to be a classic example of a Democratic incumbent claiming independence but seeing Republican forces producing stats showing total compliance with the Biden agenda, the people of Pennsylvania’s northeast 8th Congressional District are dividing evenly. The Republican polling entity, Cygnal, surveying for the Jim Bognet campaign (9/6-8; 440 PA-8 likely general election voters), finds the two candidates, Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic/Scranton) and Mr. Bognet, tied at 48-48%.

At a R+8 partisan rating according to the FiveThirtyEight polling organization, PA-8 is the second most Republican district in the country that elects a Democrat to the House.

WA-3 (Lean Republican)

In late August, Expedition Strategies released a survey (8/19-20; 400 WA-3 likely general election voters) that was cause for concern among local southwest Washington GOP activists and supporters. After Republican Joe Kent and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez denied Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler* (R-Battle Ground) advancement into the general election from the August 2nd jungle primary, ES released their survey that gave the Democrat a 47-45% lead in the general election.

Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute, (9/19-20; 834 WA-3 voters; live interview & text) now projects Mr. Kent to have overtaken Ms. Perez with a 47-44% slight margin. The WA-3 race is a must-win for the GOP if they are to reclaim the House majority, so this race merits further national attention.


Arizona (Toss Up)

The aforementioned new Arizona Marist College Poll (see Arizona Senate above), while posting Sen. Mark Kelly (D) to a 50-45% advantage, also finds Republican Kari Lake taking a slight 46-45% lead over Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. To a large degree, this poll must reflect similar numbers to what the Hobbs campaign is seeing, which explains her new ad pitch that sees her echoing Republican calls for income and sales tax reductions and/or elimination. 

Florida (Likely Republican)

We haven’t seen a Florida Governor’s poll in weeks that showed enough change to report upon, but late this week two such surveys were almost simultaneously released. Both largely confirmed that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has a lead beyond the polling margin of error.

Civiqs, polling for the Daily Kos Elections site (9/17-20; 617 FL likely general election voters; online), posts the Governor to a 52-45% advantage over former Governor and recently resigned Congressman Charlie Crist (D). Suffolk University (9/15-18; 500 FL likely general election voters; live interview) derived similar results. They project the Governor’s lead over Mr. Crist to be 48-41%.

Georgia (Lean Republican)

The aforementioned Atlanta Journal-Constitution/ University of Georgia poll (see Georgia Senate above) also tested the state’s hot Governor’s race. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has been performing strongly in the polls since his landside 74-22% victory over former US Senator David Perdue in the May Republican primary. The AJC/UGA numbers give the Governor a 50-42% advantage beyond the polling margin of error over former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D).

Minnesota (Likely Democrat)

In a race where the polling has been inconsistent during the past few months, Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy has released a new ballot test result from their research study conducted for the Minneapolis Star Review and Minnesota Public Radio (9/12-14; 800 MN likely general election voters; live interview). The M-D conclusion finds Gov. Tim Walz (D) leading former state Sen. Scott Jensen (R), 48-41%.

Ohio (Solid Republican)

We are seeing places around the country where pollsters are producing very diverse ballot test results even when testing an electorate within the same time realm. The Ohio Governor’s race is another such example. A Civiqs organization poll, surveying for the Daily Kos Elections site (9/10-13; 780 OH likely general election voters; online) projects a close race developing between Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D). The Civiqs ballot test projects Gov. DeWine to hold only a 44-41% edge.

Emerson College, however, sees a much different margin when polling within exactly the same time frame. Their poll (9/10-13; 1,000 OH likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) yields the Governor a wide 50-33% spread over Mayor Whaley. The latter poll result is more consistent with other publicly released surveys for this campaign.

Oklahoma (Likely Republican)

At the beginning of September, the media sponsored Sooner Poll sounded the alarm bell for Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) by publishing their poll giving the incumbent only a one-point lead over Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D). Since the polling sample was small (402 respondents statewide), only minimal attention was paid to the results.

Yesterday, however, an Amber Integrated survey was released (9/19-21; 500 OK likely general election voters; live interview & online) that found the Governor leading Ms. Hofmeister with a similar 47-44% margin. With two polls showing the same basic result, we can expect the Stitt campaign to unleash a major advertising blitz to strengthen his areas of weakness within the traditional Republican voter base.

Oregon (Toss Up)

A just-released DHM Research survey (9/23-24; 600 OR likely general election voters) finds former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) taking a one-point lead over former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D), with strong Independent candidate Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic state legislator, dropping well back. 

The ballot test gives Ms. Drazan a 32-31-18% edge over her two opponents. When the pollsters asked a second question just centered around the three top contenders, the ballot test actually strengthened Ms. Drazan slightly, to a 35-33-21% margin. The last time a Republican was elected Oregon’s Governor came in 1982. In terms of the state’s status perception, just 25% said that the Beaver State is headed in the right direction while 62% replied that Oregon is on the wrong track.

Texas (Likely Republican)

Another Texas gubernatorial survey was released in the Lone Star State, and it again shows Gov. Greg Abbott (R) maintaining a significant but not particularly large lead over former US Representative and short-term 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (D). The Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation conducted a survey of the state electorate (9/6-15; 1,172 TX likely general election voters; online) and found Gov. Abbott leading well beyond the polling margin of error in this study, 51-44%.

Since September 6, four Texas gubernatorial surveys have been commissioned from four different polling entities and they post Gov. Abbott to an advantage between five and nine percentage points. Expect this trend to continue until the final two weeks of the campaign. At that time, we will likely see the Governor pull away from Mr. O’Rourke and record his traditional 10+ point victory margin as he has in his first two terms.

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

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