October 18, 2022
Americans are weeks away from November's midterm elections, and early voting has already begun in some states. A close battle for the Senate has many eyes trained on the races that could secure control for either party, while controversy over election fraud has others watching the gubernatorial races since governors play an important role in overseeing elections. Here is the state of some of the key battleground states ahead of the upcoming midterm elections: Arizona Governor: Katie Hobbs (D) v Kari Lake (R) The race for Arizona governor is shaping up to be tight. Data from a recent Fox 10/InsiderAdvantage poll reveals that Republican candidate Kari Lake is now leading by about 4 points, with 49.3 percent to Hobbs' 45.6. An earlier Fox10/InsiderAdvantage poll had shown Hobbs in the lead at 43 percent, but Lake has gained favor in more recent surveys. Lake has a significant lead among voters aged 18 to 39, up on Hobbs by 11 points with the demographic. She also has a lead among independent voters, with only 4 percent remaining undecided. Hobbs currently serves as Arizona's secretary of state, where political sentiments have historically favored Republicans, per The Guardian. Her opponent is a former news anchor and a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump. Lake has repeated Trump's false claim that he won the state of Arizona during his bid for re-election in 2020. On Sunday, Lake refused to commit to accepting the election results if she were to lose. In an interview for CNN's State of the Union, Lake stated, "I'm going to win the election, and I will accept that result." Additionally, she said, "The people of Arizona will never support and vote for a coward like Katie Hobbs." Senate: Mark Kelly (D) v Blake Masters (R) The Fox10/InsiderAdvantage poll results also showed that Democratic candidate Mark Kelly has a 4-point lead over Republican Blake Masters in the state's Senate race, with Kelly polling at 46 percent and Masters at 41.6. Sen. Mark Kelly (D) has outpaced his opponent in raising election funds in the third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission Records, per CNBC. A surprising jump in support for Libertarian candidate Marc Victor may spell further trouble for Masters, effectively securing the win for Kelly if Victor does not drop out of the race. The results of Arizona-based pollster OH Predictive Insights (OHPI) and the latest Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP) predicted Victor could earn close to 15 percent of the vote — a 9-point increase from their survey in September. The Fox10/InsiderAdvantage poll included responses from 550 registered voters in Arizona with a margin of error is 4.2 percent. OHPI's AZPOP surveyed 674 Arizona likely voters between conducted Oct. 4-6 with a margin of error of +/- 3.77 percent. Pennsylvania Governor: Doug Mastriano (R) v Josh Shapiro (D) Non-partisan poll aggregator Real Clear Politics' average shows Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro (D) with a 10-point lead over his opponent Doug Mastriano (R). The polls affecting the RCP average include the latest Daily Wire/Trafalgar Group poll, where Shapiro is ahead with almost 53 percent compared to Mastriano's 43.5 percent. Mastriano, a far-right senator, has been the center of many controversies since he falsely claimed that Trump had won his state during the 2020 presidential election and was subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 capitol attack. Mastriano was photographed outside of the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6, per The Associated Press. The Daily Wire/Trafalgar Group poll surveyed 1078 likely election voters through an online survey between Oct. 8 and Oct. 11. The margin of error was 2.9 percent. Senate: John Fetterman (D) v Mehmet Oz (R) The battle for the Pennsylvania Senate seat has been one of the most closely followed this midterm season: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) is up against Trump-endorsed former TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz. The Daily Wire/Trafalgar poll shows Fetterman ahead of Oz, 47 percent to 45 percent. Fetterman is recovering from a stroke he suffered in May and he recently addressed the debate over the state of his health. On Saturday, he told a crowd at a rally that he has "auditory processing" issues and sometimes stumbles over his words, The Washington Post reports. His opponent has made his recovery a focus of his aggressive ad campaigns against Fetterman. Oz has also called Fetterman soft on crime due to Fetterman's celebratory response to Biden's recent pardon of those with simple marijuana possession charges. The Daily Wire/Trafalgar Group poll surveyed 1078 likely election voters through an online survey between Oct. 8 and Oct. 11. The margin of error was 2.9 percent. Georgia Governor: Stacey Abrams (D) v Brian Kemp (R) Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams (D) is facing Gov. Brian Kemp (R) in a rematch after she lost to him in 2018. The RCP average has Kemp with a 5-point lead, but a Quinnipiac University poll shows a close race with 50 percent of likely voters supporting incumbent Kemp, while 49 percent support Abrams. Abrams has been admonishing Kemp for his pro-abortion stance, while Kemp has largely avoided the issue to focus on inflation, The New York Times reports. The two candidates faced each other in their first debate since 2018 on the evening of Oct. 17. Senate: Herschel Walker (R) v Raphael Warnock (D) Another highly anticipated Senate faceoff pits Republican Herschel Walker against Democrat Raphael Warnock. This race is being closely watched, as it has the potential to determine which party ends up with control of the Senate. The Quinnipiac poll found that Warnock was in the lead with likely voters, 52 percent to 45 percent. Walker, who supports strict abortion bans, recently came under fire when a woman claimed he paid for her to get an abortion in 2009; Republicans and Trump have rallied behind him after he deemed the story an outright lie. In a recent debate, Warnock called Walker out for previous false claims he made about being a police officer, despite never having a job in law enforcement, CNN reports. Walker responded by displaying a badge, which he later admitted was an honorary badge, per CNN. Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,157 likely voters throughout Georgia via cellular and landline phones from Oct. 7 to Oct. 10. The margin of error was +/- 2.9.
October 3, 2022
The midterms are only a month away, and all eyes are on Congress, where Democrats are battling to maintain control of both the House and the Senate. But a number of consequential contests are unfolding off Capitol Hill, too — gubernatorial match-ups, namely — and you won't want to miss a minute of 'em. To help catch you up, here is a look at where a few of the biggest gubernatorial races stand: Texas: Abbott v. O'Rourke Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) was initially favored to prevail against challenger Beto O'Rourke … and it seems he still is. Though his advantage has narrowed since the beginning of the year (per reporting from FiveThirtyEight), a Quinnipiac University poll released Sept. 28 estimates Abbott with a 7-point lead over his Democratic opponent. Intraparty support for each candidate is strong: 96 percent of Republicans back Abbott, and 96 percent of Democrats want O'Rourke. Among independents, however, "53 percent support Abbott, while 46 percent support O'Rourke." Further, almost all likely voters surveyed said they've made up their minds as to how they'll vote. "The race for the top job in Austin leans toward Abbott, who has very strong support from white Texans, particularly white men, while O'Rourke has overwhelming appeal among Black voters and strong support among young voters," explained Quinnipiac Polling Analyst Tim Malloy. Recent polling from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation supports Quinnipiac's findings — per its Sept. 25 report, Abbott holds a 7-point lead over O'Rourke. "Abbott enjoys a nearly two-to-one advantage over O 'Rourke among white voters (63 percent to 33 percent) and a 79 percent to 16 percent advantage among Black voters," the foundation detailed. "Support is more equal among Hispanic voters," 53 percent of whom "intend to vote for O'Rourke and 39 percent for Abbott." As of Sept. 30, RealClearPolitics also reported an 8-point polling average in favor of Abbott. For his part, O'Rourke is skeptical of the potentially-bad news: "I take these polls with a grain of salt," the nominee said last Saturday. Later, when asked if he regrets interrupting an Abbott-led press conference in the aftermath of May's Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, O'Rourke said no. "I wanted to fight for those families in Uvalde, for our families across the state. The best time to stop the next school shooting is right now," he explained. Immigration has also taken on newfound significance in the Texas race, after Abbott made headlines busing loads of migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to Vice President Kamala Harris' residence in Washington, D.C. The governor has been relocating migrants since the spring, but his efforts drew renewed Democratic ire after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) followed his lead. Both governors' stunts were intended to protest the Biden administration's immigration policies. Per the Sept. 28 Quinnipiac poll, 51 percent of likely voters approve of Abbott's relocation efforts, while 47 percent disapprove. Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,327 likely Texas voters from Sept. 22-26. Results have a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points. The Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation surveyed 1,172 likely Texas voters from Sept. 6-15. Results have a confidence interval of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Pennsylvania: Mastriano v. Shapiro How do you solve a problem like the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, Doug Mastriano? For Democrats, you don't; instead, you spend millions to get him nominated, then pray his extremism sends voters running the other way — toward Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro. And at least for the time being, the left's risky gamble (known as the "pied piper" strategy) appears to be working. Not only is Shapiro outraising the former President Donald Trump-backed Mastriano eight to one, but "the Pennsylvania attorney general also significantly out-spent his Republican opponent in the last few months, using about $27.9 million of his massive war chest compared to Mastriano's less than $1 million in expenditures," The Hill writes. While Shapiro has roughly $11 million left to play with in the weeks leading up to Nov. 8, Mastriano has just about $2.6 million. Shapiro is also besting Mastriano in the polls, where he's enjoying — as of Sept. 30 — a roughly 10-point lead, according to averages from both FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics. Likewise, in a Muhlenberg College-Morning Call poll released last Thursday, Shapiro was favored 52 percent to 42 percent when voters were asked who they'd pick if the election were held "today." A Sept. 27 Marist poll furthered that narrative: "A plurality of Pennsylvanians (47 percent) has a favorable view of Shapiro while a similar plurality (45 percent) has an unfavorable view of Mastriano." Mastriano's campaign has been marred with scandal and bad press, and he himself has proven a pretty controversial guy. Not only does he believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, but he also chartered buses to Washington, D.C., for the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6, 2021, and dabbled in efforts to overturn President Biden's win. He's been characterized as a Christian nationalist (though he'd disagree with that label), shared a number of tweets featuring the QAnon hashtag, and was once photographed wearing a Confederate soldier uniform. Recently, it was also reported that he once suggested women in violation of his proposed abortion ban should be charged with murder. As for top issues in the Pennsylvania contest, 40 percent of adults cited inflation as being at the forefront of their minds, per the Marist poll. After that came preserving democracy (29 percent), abortion (16 percent), immigration (7 percent), and health care (7 percent). Most Republicans (56 percent) are concerned about inflation while preserving democracy ranks as the top issue for Democrats. Marist Poll interviewed 1,356 adults (1,242 registered voters, 1,043 of whom definitely plan to vote) from Sept. 19-22. Results for each subset have a margin of error of +/- 3.3, 3.5, and 3.8 percentage points, respectively. Muhlenberg College/Morning Call surveyed 420 likely voters from Sept. 13-16. Results have a margin of error of +/- 6 percent. Georgia: Kemp v. Abrams It's the rematch of a lifetime — or, at the very least, of 2022. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams are at it again after their 2018 battle royale ended in a Kemp victory, much to Abrams' chagrin. Though lacking some of the drama and extremism coloring other gubernatorial contests, the Georgia race is nonetheless one to watch, if only to see how these storied opponents fare. At the moment, it seems Kemp is in the lead — though the race is tight, per a Sept. 28 Monmouth University poll. According to Monmouth, about half of potential voters say they will definitely (34 percent) or probably (15 percent) vote for Kemp, while 33 and 12 percent said the same of Abrams. That said, "more Georgia voters have definitely ruled out voting for Abrams (46 percent) than say the same about Kemp (37 percent)." Further, though Abrams enjoys a bit more backing among her Democratic base, "her potential support appears to be capped at a lower level than Kemp," said Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray. And though "some election conspiracists may still hold a grudge against Kemp for not stepping in to overturn the 2020 result," Murray continued, " … they'll still vote for him over Abrams." It's also worth noting that the landscape in Georgia is significantly different than it was in 2018. For instance, as highlighted by The Washington Post, certain "anti-Trump fervor" in the state has dissipated; rather, "it's Republicans who are eager to register their displeasure with [Biden's] policies," perhaps bolstering GOP turnout. At the same time, however, Democrats have enjoyed significant victories as of late, including in the 2020 election and the runoffs in early 2021. "Knowing that you can win in a state like Georgia when you've been told that you can't is very motivating for Democrats in the state," senior Abrams campaign adviser Seth Bringman told the Post. As of Sept. 29, the non-partisan Cook Political Report had classified the state's gubernatorial race as "lean Republican." Meanwhile, Abrams is working overtime to address allegations of election denial, as journalists and critics continue to compare her rhetoric immediately following the 2018 race to that of Trump post-2020. In her final speech at the time, Abrams said she could not concede the governorship, levying charges of voter suppression; 10 days later, she officially acknowledged Kemp's victory, but specified her remarks were "not a speech of concession." Now, Abrams is looking to get on the other side of the infamous comments. "I have never denied that I lost. I don't live in the governor's mansion; I would have noticed," she said during a September appearance on The View. "My point was that the access to the election was flawed, and I refuse to concede a system that permits citizens to be denied access. That is very different than someone claiming fraudulent outcome," she recently told the 19th, alluding to Trump. When it comes to issues, cost of living ranked first among likely Georgia voters, while threats to democracy and jobs and the economy placed second and third, respectively, according to a poll conducted for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Among nine total issues, abortion ranked eighth, above COVID-19 and below climate change. The poll also showed Kemp leading Abrams in the general election 50 percent to 42. The University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs conducted the poll for AJC, surveying 861 likely general election voters from Sept. 5-16. Results have a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points. The Monmouth University poll was conducted by phone from Sept. 15-19, among 601 registered Georgia voters. Results have a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points