New Hampshire: Again, Beyond Error Margin: Though the new Suffolk University survey for the Boston Globe newspaper (9/23-26; 500 NH likely general election voters) shows Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) holding a lead well beyond the polling margin of error over retired General Don Bolduc (R) as do three other post-primary pollsters, their 50-41% margin is a touch closer than some of the other results.
While Republican national political organizations continuing to spend heavily will likely draw Gen. Bolduc closer to Sen. Hassan, it is unlikely that her ballot test advantage can be overcome before election day. Therefore, the analysis that the GOP strategists will pull their media buy from the New Hampshire race and transfer it to other more winnable contests remains valid.
North Carolina: The “Three-Way” Tie: 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 on the cusp of beginning.
Pennsylvania: Dr. Oz Moving Closer: A trio of new surveys find Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) coming within close range of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) in their expensive battle over what is one of the most important Senate contests in the nation.
Fox News (9/22-26; 827 PA likely general election voters) finds Dr. Oz pulling to within four points of Mr. Fetterman, 48-44%. Franklin & Marshall College (9/19-25; 517 PA likely general election voters) and Insider Advantage (9/23-24; 550 PA likely general election voters) also see similar margins. The latter two arrive at identical ballot test results: Fetterman leading 45-42%. With early voting just days away from beginning since the ballots have already been mailed to the registered voters, Dr. Oz may be making his move at precisely the right time.
Wisconsin: Six Polls, Six Tight Results: The Wisconsin Governor’s race between incumbent Tony Evers (D) and businessman and former statewide nominee Tim Michels (R) is clearly a dead heat. Six polling firms were in the field during the September 14-27 period surveying between 574 and 1,399 likely or registered voters and each sees an extremely close race.
Emerson College and Public Policy Polling find Gov. Evers leading by two percentage points. Big Data Poll and Fox News saw the race as a dead heat tie. The Trafalgar Group and Fabrizio Ward (R)/Impact Research (D), polling for AARP, project Mr. Michels as holding a tight lead. In five of the six results, both candidates drew support within the 40s. Only the AARP survey found a contender, Mr. Michels, reaching the 50% mark.
Arizona: Sen. Kelly Expands Advantage: 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.
Washington: Another Outlier: Yesterday, we reported on The Trafalgar Group’s new September poll that posted Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) to a 49-47% lead over Republican Tiffany Smiley and suggested the poll may be an outlier, since no other firm found such a close division between the two major candidates.
Now we see Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling quickly countering 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 2nd Washington jungle primary, Sen. Murray outpaced Ms. Smiley, 52-34%.
Arizona: While Sen. Kelly Leads, Gov. Dem Nominee Trails: 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.
Oregon: Republican Drazan Takes Lead: 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.
Pennsylvania: A Suspected Outlier: 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.
Washington: Another Outlier: 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.
MT-1: Closer Than it Should Be: 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.
YouGov/CBS News: Abortion Poll Results: The international polling firm YouGov, surveying for CBS News, released a new issue-oriented poll (9/21-23; 2,253 US registered voters; 1,192 female voters; online) and its purpose was to largely test the abortion issue along with some other subject areas more likely to attract Democratic voters.
Though the abortion issue was highlighted as the central theme of the current poll, and the reported partisan segmentations only included Democrats and Republicans thus omitting Independents, abortion as a voter turnout driver was still not at the top of the list.
According to this latest YouGov finding, 59% of the respondents rated abortion as “very important” (the other two choices given the respondents were “somewhat important” or “not too/not important”), but this ranked seventh from the list of one dozen tested topics. Again, topping the grouping with an 82% “very important” rating was the economy, with inflation following posting a score of 76%. Crime was third with a “very important” rating of 67%. Also finishing ahead of abortion were voting & election issues (64%), immigration (62%), and gun policy (61%).
The best news for Republicans on this poll: the enthusiasm gap still looks to favor them, which is also a key factor in winning lower turnout midterm elections. According to the YouGov/CBS data, Republicans have a five-point lead over Democrats among those saying they will “definitely” vote in the upcoming midterm election, 79-74%.
NY-19: Surprising New Poll: 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 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.
Oklahoma: Gov. Stitt Facing Strong Opposition: 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.
Texas: Race Stabilizing: 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 6th, 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.
Voting Begins: Early Voting Open in Four States: The first general election votes of the 2022 election cycle will soon be received. The early voting calendar has opened in Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming. Ballots have been mailed to voters in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, so we can expect to see early voting commence in those two states, as well.
Most of the states return to their pre-2020 voting status, since the court-ordered Covid related universal mailing voting rules were in effect only for the previous election year unless the state enacted new electoral procedures in their 2021-22 legislative session. Even though the universal mail balloting provisions revert to previous law, 45 states now feature some type of early voting procedure.
The Rundown Blog
Learn more about the candidates running in key elections across the United States.