Florida: Conflicting, But Close
Not surprisingly, new polls were released in the nip and tuck Florida Senate race. The University of North Florida (10/23-26; 1,051 FL likely voters; automated) and Suffolk University (10/24-28; 500 FL likely voters) both went into the field and found Sen. Bill Nelson (D) clinging to small leads over Gov. Rick Scott (R). UNF posts the ballot test at 47-46% in the Senator’s favor, while Suffolk finds an equivalent 45-43% point spread. The margins again suggest that either man can still win this race as we enter the campaign’s last week. With early voting already more than half-way through, it is likely that as much as 50% of the statewide vote is already in the ballot box.
Indiana: Confirming Data
We now are seeing a spate of Indiana Senate polls in a race that once had only a dearth of information. It does appear the GOP challenger Mike Braun is establishing a clear lead over Sen. Joe Donnelly (D). A new Cygnal polling firm survey (10/26-27; 505 IN likely voters) finds Mr. Braun holding a 49-46% advantage, which is a similar result to several other late-breaking surveys. Though trailing, Sen. Donnelly’s support factor is growing, however. He now consistently posts numbers in the mid-40s as opposes to the low 40s. Though an improvement, it appears the overall trend is moving away from him.
Texas: A Poll Swing
Two days ago, Dixie Strategies released a survey in Utah that found GOP Rep. Mia Love (R-Saratoga Springs) trailing Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D) by almost seven percentage points. The survey was met with bias complaints. Yesterday, the same polling firm publicized their new Texas results (10/25-26; 588 TX likely voters) that give GOP Sen. Ted Cruz (R) arguably his largest polling lead during the entire election cycle. The Dixie Texas survey finds Sen. Cruz holding a 52-42% advantage over Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso).
Florida: Gillum's Best Numbers
The previously covered North Florida University survey that sees only a one-point difference in the Senate race (see Florida Senate above) finds Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) jumping out to a 49-43% advantage over resigned Rep. Ron DeSantis (R), his largest lead of the general election campaign. Most other polling finds Mr. Gillum ahead, but well within the polling margin of error, usually only a point or two.
Texas: Abbott Cruising
From the aforementioned Dixie Strategies survey (see Texas Senate above), Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is posted to a strong 26-point lead over Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D), 59-33%. Though this poll provides Gov. Abbott a much stronger lead than Quinnipiac University’s 54-40% result, which was released only a day earlier, the Dixie numbers are actually more consistent with other recent published data. Regardless of the projected margin, Gov. Abbott is well on his way to securing a second term.
UT-4: Rep. Love Trailing
In a survey result that Rep. Mia Love’s (R-Saratoga Springs) campaign pollster heavily disputes, Dixie Strategies, polling for KUTV News 2 in Salt Lake City (10/25; 936 UT-4 likely voters; automated), finds Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D) polling beyond the Congresswoman by just over six-points, thus exceeding the polling margin of error. The ballot test finds a 50.5-43% spread in the Democratic candidate’s favor. All other surveys have found a tight race, most of them with Rep. Love leading within the margin of error.
Love Campaign pollster Scott Riding of Y2 Analytics criticized the Dixie Strategies study according to the poll’s media outlet sponsor. “Robodial polls (even when supplemented by other methods) have an inaccurate history in Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune had a poll with a similar robodialing approach in the 2016 race that ended up being biased toward the Democratic candidate by 19 points,” he said.
Dixie Strategies pollster Brian Graham responded that “time and again our polls have proven accurate and we have been rated one of the least biased polls in America.”
Texas: Race Becoming Defined
Quinnipiac University just returned from the field in the Lone Star State (10/22-28; 1,078 TX likely voters) and finds Sen. Ted Cruz (R) maintaining a small lead over Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso). The ballot test results project Sen. Cruz to be holding a 51-46% edge. This compares with the same respondents giving Gov. Greg Abbott (R) a much stronger 54-40% advantage over former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D).
Men are breaking 56-39% for Cruz, while women split 52-45% in O’Rourke’s favor. Independents strongly support the Democratic challenger, moving 56-40% toward O’Rourke.
Emerson College is the latest to survey the Garden State Senate race (10/24-26; 659 NJ likely voters) and, like other recent polls, detects a close race between embattled Sen. Bob Menendez (D) and former pharmaceutical company CEO Bob Hugin (R). The Emerson results find Sen. Menendez’s lead at 47-42%, on the cusp of being outside the margin of error.
Spending is heavy on both sides. Through September, Mr. Hugin had spent over $27 million. Sen. Menendez had countered with $11.2 million in expenditures. Outside spending appears to be about even, with at least $10 million apiece coming in to back each candidate. The Senator must overcome a consistently poor favorability index of 34:53% according to the Emerson data, which is in line with other statewide polling.
Democrats: Two More Hedging
Last week, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), seeking re-election this year but believed to be a potential 2020 presidential candidate, made several statements pledging to serve her full six-year term if winning again on November 6th. Yesterday, she partially walked those comments back, saying that she would make any serious decision regarding a 2020 national campaign after the Midterm elections.
Hillary Clinton, responding to speculation that she might again become a presidential candidate, apparently is not closing the door on such an effort. According to a New York Times story, Ms. Clinton at first ruled out running again in an interview with another journalist, but then began to hedge her words and stated that she would “like to be President.” And, she bristled at comments about some people calling for her to just “go away.” Ms. Clinton responded, “there were no articles telling Al Gore to go away or John Kerry to go away or John McCain or Mitt Romney to go away,” she said.
Montana: Sen. Tester Gaining Strength
The University of Montana conducted their Big Sky Poll, and Democrats are faring well in the tabulations. The survey was conducted from 10/10-18 and interviewed 607 Montana registered voters of which 533 were determined to be likely voters. According to the ballot test, Sen. Tester maintains a 49-39% advantage over state Auditor Matt Rosendale (R).
But, the survey sample appears to skew Democratic. The crosstabs literally show 0% of Democrats supporting Rosendale. The female sector favors Sen. Tester by 21 percentage points, 54-33%, which appears too strong of a swing. Conversely, males are breaking 45-45% between the two candidates. The Independents are dividing 49-33% for Tester, which again seems a stretch too far within this mostly conservative voting state. While it is reasonable to see Sen. Tester leading in a ballot test, this survey is not consistent with other recent data that shows the race getting a bit closer, instead of widening in in the incumbent’s favor.
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