Polling is one of many metrics that can be used to predict a race. Having already analyzed the financial commitment of each party in the 14 battleground Senate races in last week’s article, this week, poll numbers will be examined to predict the outcome of the Midterm Elections. In addition to the 14 senate races I have been covering, House seats and gubernatorial races will also be mentioned in this week’s election coverage. For clarity of sources, I am using the polling documented in Real Clear Politics.
At the end of September, the Senate map of Real Clear Politics showed a Senate with 47 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 9 toss ups. October concluded with the Republicans having 50, Democrats having 44 and the remaining 6 seats as tossups. What changed? North Dakota, Texas, and Tennessee were all changed to Republican. The Democrats, in that same period of time, have gained nothing in terms of polling. According to RCP, the GOP holds a majority in the Senate with Vice President Mike Pence to break a partisan tie.
A look at the toss ups shows an even grimmer picture for the Senate hopes of the Blue Wave. In Missouri, polling has Josh Hawley ahead of Claire McCaskill (Hawley+2.0). In Florida, Bill Nelson has an uncomfortable +2.6 point lead. In Indiana, Steve Braun has edged a +.6 advantage, the most recent polls in his favor. Jon Tester’s consistent lead in Montana polls has yet to see him marked as blue. The Montana RCP is currently Tester +4.5. Months ago, Arizona was going in favor of Kyrsten Sinema. In October, things changed. Martha McSally has held on to a growing +.7 RCP spread. Lastly, Nevada gives no good news to Democrats. Jackie Rosen had good poll numbers in September. In October, Dean Heller holds a narrow +1.7 advantage because of strong polling in October. The no tossups map has the Republicans at 54 seats and the Democrats at 46, a GOP net gain of 3. Of the two toss ups that point to narrow Democrat victories, Montana provides the only minor comfort. Rick Scott outperformed his RCP average in 2014 to win the gubernatorial race. In other interesting developments, the most recent poll has Bob Hugin within five.
September concluded with a breakdown in the House with Democrats 206, Republicans 189, and 40 tossups. In October, these tossups have swung in favor of the Republicans. The current House RCP is Democrats 205, Republicans 200, and and 30 tossups. The Republicans have a lot more ground to lose in the House. The overwhelming majority of tossups are red seats. Yet the momentum is clearly in favor of Republicans who look as though they will narrowly hold on to the House of Representatives.
Gubernatorial polling is the source of the least amount of change. The Republicans have lost 1 seat while the Democrats have gained nothing in terms of polling in October. But here the Blue Wave can find some solace. Andrew Gillum, despite a corruption scandal, has outpolled DeSantis. John Kasich’s lack of popularity is favoring Democrats in Ohio. Scott Walker is in trouble in Wisconsin. Going by RCP, the Democrats will gain 7 gubernatorial seats in the midterms.
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The momentum through measurement of polling shows Republicans gains in the month of October. Not only is the success of a Blue Wave truly impossible with the impossibility of securing the Senate, but the Republicans holding onto the House is entirely within reach as well. The Democrats may see success in gubernatorial races but the national rhetoric of the Democrats would not call that a successful midterm except in order to prevent admitting defeat. At best polling shows that the Republicans narrowly lose the House and a few Governor’s seats. But the gains in the Senate offset these losses, especially once a new Supreme Court vacancy appears. The GOP can call the midterms a win even with such meager result. Lastly, take polls with a grain of salt. They can’t predict which side shows up, especially in a case like Bob Menendez who is very unpopular, according to polls. And they also had Hillary winning in 2016.
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