New poll shows Nevada in dead heat and Democrats leading in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona

Key races show continued potential for Democrats picking up seats in the Senate

John Bowden
Washington DC
Monday 31 October 2022 16:29 GMT
Barack Obama campaigns for Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan

A new multi-state survey from The New York Times and Siena College is presenting easily the best news that Democrats have gotten in weeks, particularly when it comes to the fight to hold the Senate.

The survey, released on Halloween, has Democratic Senate candidates leading their GOP opponents in several key races: Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, while the race to protect incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto is tied in Nevada.

It’s great news for the president’s party, which was sweating a recent downward polling trend for several key races, largely blamed on persistent high consumer prices. If Democrats hold their seats in Arizona, Georgia and potentially Nevada, it will likely slam the door shut on a Republican majority in the upper chamber for the last two years of Mr Biden’s first term.

There’s also the potential in this poll for a key pickup for Democrats in the upper chamber: Pensylvania, where John Fetterman is facing a barrage of GOP attacks from organisations aligned with Senate GOP leadership as well as the conservative media complex, which has focused its gaze on the race. Despite this assault, the lieutenant governor has a five-point lead in the poll over Dr Mehmet Oz, his celebrity TV doctor opponent. Notably, the poll’s results only include interviews from one day after a widely watched debate between the two candidates.

According to the pollsters, a shift occurred after the debate resulting in more voters questioning whether Mr Fetterman was healthy enough to serve; his halting performance against Dr Oz was no doubt the reason. But according to the Times, “Mr Fetterman still maintained a slight lead over Dr Oz among all [post-debate] respondents”.

The poll does not include results from two other very important races, Ohio and North Carolina, which both represent opportunities for Democrats and pitfalls for the GOP. Both are seats held by retiring Republican senators, meaning that the GOP’s incumbency advantage is gone and in the case of Ohio, Republicans are running a total political newcomer in the race. Both are presumed close as well, meaning that a polling error of even a few points in favour of Democrats could mean a resounding victory for Mr Biden on election night.

The only worrisome news for Democrats in the poll came in Nevada, where incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto sees her race tighter than she would want. She’s tied with Adam Laxalt at 47 per cent. News broke on Monday, however, that a staffer for Mr Laxalt’s campaign was running an anonymous antisemitic Twitter account that also posted denigrating messages about transgender persons; the Cortez Masto campaign has already begun launching attacks on the issue.

The number of survey responses varied by state in theTimes/Siena College poll, as did the margins of error in each respective poll; methodology for the surveys can be found here.

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