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Here’s how the polls stand in some key 2022 Senate races

Here’s how the polls stand in some key 2022 Senate races

Author: Caroline Vakil

With the Senate race narrowed to a handful of battleground states, Republicans and Democrats are looking to polls to gauge their chances of winning a majority in the upper chamber on Tuesday.

While the polls didn’t always reflect actual voter turnout and many of these races likely won’t be called for days, the polls offered a snapshot of voter sentiment during the midterms and could hold some clues about what to expect in the coming days.

Here’s a look at recent polls in seven key races:

Nevada

Polls have largely shown Republican Adam Laxalt leading Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) in the Nevada Senate race. The RealClearPolitics polling average has Laxalt ahead by 2.8 points, while a separate polling average from data site FiveThirtyEight has the Republican up by 1.4 points.

In polls where he’s ahead, Laxalt trails Cortez Masto by 2 to 6 percentage points. At the same time, several polls also show Cortez Masto leading Laxalt, but she is generally between 1 and 2 percentage points ahead. There are several factors at play in this state. First, the economy was seen as the most important issue for a larger number of voters given Nevada’s hospitality and tourism-focused economy and how it has been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Its tourism and hospitality industries also present an additional challenge for lawmakers, who must reintroduce themselves to voters given Nevada’s transient nature.

Arizona

Sen. Mark Kelly (D) is likely the favorite for re-election in Arizona’s Senate race against Republican Blake Masters, as most public polls show the former NASA astronaut ahead of the venture capitalist, albeit by a narrow margin. The FiveThirtyEight polling average has Kelly ahead by more than 1 point, while a separate RealClearPolitics polling average has Kelly up by 1 point.

Most polls show Kelly with a single-digit lead over Masters, though several recent polls have shown the two tied — and one even has Masters ahead of Kelly by a small margin. An Emerson College poll conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 1 shows Masters leading Kelly by a narrow 1-point margin, 48 percent to 47 percent, among very likely voters.

It’s still too early to know what effect third-party candidate Marc Victor’s decision to drop out and back the Masters will have on the race at this point, since Victor announced it long after early voting began.

Wisconsin

While Sen. Ron Johnson is considered the most vulnerable Republican incumbent in the Senate, recent polls show him likely to win a third term. The RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight polling averages show Johnson ahead by 2.8 points and 3.4 points, respectively.

The latest polls show Johnson leading by between 1 and 6 points, and several recent polls show Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes leading Johnson. If they do, Barnes is up by just 2 or 3 points — a different dynamic from August, for example, when some polls showed the state’s lieutenant governor enjoying a lead.

Jessica Taylor, editor of the Cook Political Report, changed her rating of the nonpartisan electoral handicap race from “toss out” to “lean Republican” earlier this month, given the slightly more favorable political environment. It’s not an unfamiliar forecast of other competitive Senate races that have since tightened after Democrats led their Republican rivals at various points over the summer.

Georgia

While polls show Republican Herschel Walker with a slight lead over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in Georgia, the race is likely to head to a runoff next month. FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics polling averages show Walker up 1 point and 0.6 points, respectively.

When The Daily Beast published its first story in early October alleging that Walker had asked a woman he was having an affair with at the time to get an abortion, polls later suggested the report and others that followed dealt a temporary blow to his campaign. But given how quickly Republicans have rallied around their nominee, polls suggest Walker still has a shot in the Senate.

RealClearPolitics predicts the race will go to a runoff on Dec. 6, while FiveThirtyEight’s polling average shows Walker averaging 47.7 percent support compared to Warnock’s 46.7 percent. One of those candidates would need to get at least 50 percent of support to avoid a runoff.

Pennsylvania

The Senate race in Pennsylvania is seen as the Democrats’ best chance, but the race has tightened considerably in recent weeks. Although Democrat John Fetterman enjoyed favorable polls over the summer and fall showing him ahead of Republican Mehmet Oz, the dynamics of his and many other Senate races have shifted as voters’ minds have turned to issues like crime and the economy.

There were also questions about whether Fetterman’s performance in a debate last month against Oz would hurt Democrats’ election chances. Although several polls released after the debate showed Oz leading Fetterman by between 1 and 3 points — including an Emerson College Polling-The Hill survey with Oz at 48 percent and Fetterman at 46 percent — it’s unclear how voters will weigh the debate, if at all.

Still, the RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight polling averages show the race will be dead. The RealClearPolitics polling average has Oz ahead by 0.1 points, while FiveThirtyEight has Fetterman ahead by 0.1 points.

New Hampshire

Before September’s GOP Senate primary, some Republicans were ambivalent about how competitive the New Hampshire Senate race would be if retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc won as the GOP nominee. Non-Republican spending poured into the state, only for several groups to reverse course as polls showed Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) maintaining a lead over Bolduc.

But part of the Senate GOP campaign reversed course again and decided to launch a seven-figure ad buy in the state. However, only a few recent polls have Bolduc ahead of Hassan – mostly by 1 point. Multiple polls consistently put Hassan ahead of the Republican, though it’s likely to be a close race.

The FiveThirtyEight polling average has Hassan up by 2 points, while the RealClearPolitics average is up by 1 point.

Ohio

Democrats praised the campaign of Ohio Senate hopeful Tim Ryan (D) as the congressman held a competitive race against Republican JD Vance between the summer and fall. And while Democrats believe this could be the year they elect another Democrat to state office, polls show a better night for Vance.

For one thing, the FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics polling averages show a much larger lead for the Republican in the competitive Senate race than the others mentioned here, with Vance ahead by 5.4 points and 7.5 points, respectively. Some recent polls show that the Republican has even widened his lead.

An Oct. 30-Nov. 1 Emerson College poll found Vance ahead of Ryan among very likely voters, 51 percent to 43 percent, compared to another Emerson College poll in October that had Vance and Ryan tied at 46 percent and 45 percent, respectively.



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