Senate polls swing toward Republicans as economy sours

With two and a half weeks to go before Election Day, polls and voting models suggest Republicans are on track to regain control of the evenly divided Senate as Americans attack President Biden and Democrats over the economy.

Republicans need to win a net of just one seat to regain control of the upper house of Congress after two years from the outside, despite having the same number of seats as Democrats.

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On Friday, website RealClearPolitics prompted the GOP to mirror Senate races in three states: Arizona, Georgia and Nevada.

In Grand Canyon State, the RealClearPolitics poll average shows Democratic incumbent and former astronaut Mark Kelly in free fall. After leading Republican Blake Masters by an average of 6.2 percentage points in late September, Kelly’s average poll lead has fallen to 2.5% — and his average support share has fallen from 49.3% to 46.5%. With RCP saying the polls underestimate Republicans by two percentage points, November’s race is a virtual toss.

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In Georgia, Republican Herschel Walker appears to be recovering from the racy abortion scandal that rocked his campaign. RCP on Friday had incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock ahead by just 1 percentage point in its adjusted poll average.

Twelve days ago, Warnock had opened an average spread of 5.2 percentage points on Walker. Now that both candidates average below 50% support – 47.6% for Warnock, 45.2% for Walker – Real Clear Politics predict the race will go to a runoff on December 6th. In this scenario, with Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver eliminated from the race, RCP suggests remaining voters will break hard for Walker and put the former Heisman Trophy winner over the top.

Senate Prediction Poll Shows Republicans Win 3 Seats.

A Senate forecast poll shows Republicans win three seats.

A poll predicts Republicans will take 219 seats in the House of Representatives.

A poll predicts Republicans will take 219 seats in the House of Representatives.

In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt, the state’s former attorney general, has been ahead of Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto on the RCP average since mid-September. Laxalt’s current average lead as of Friday was 1.2 percentage points.

Meanwhile, Republicans are looking increasingly likely to defend their two most vulnerable seats. In Ohio, Republican JD Vance has consistently edged Democrat Tim Ryan and currently leads the RCP average by 2.3 percentage points. And in the closely watched Pennsylvania Senate race, Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz quickly intercepted Democrat John Fetterman amid questions about the Commonwealth Lieutenant Governor’s health.

“Was previously a little skeptical about the GOP poll surge, but I think the evidence is pretty compelling now,” tweeted Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight Friday“And if anything, I’m more pessimistic about the Democrats’ odds than our model.”

Ohio Senate nominee JD Vance speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference Aug. 5.
Ohio Senate nominee JD Vance speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference Aug. 5.
LM Otero/AP

Silver’s latest statistical analysis of the Nov. 8 midterm election gives Democrats a 58% chance of retaining control of the Senate, up from 71% last month — and has a GOP sweep of both houses (41%) as more likely than one divided Congress (38%).

“[T]In our model, there has been steady movement toward the GOP over the past few weeks,” Silver wrote on Friday, later adding, “[T]The forecast has moved in predictable ways, with a long, slow and steady climb toward Democrats over the summer and now a consistent shift back toward Republicans.”

The GOP’s about-face is also visible in national general election polls. The RCP average shows Republicans lead by an average of 3.1 percentage points, their widest margin since mid-June — while FiveThirtyEight narrowly ahead Republicans in their overall polling average for the first time since early August.

The turn toward Republicans has continued with the release of a series of polls showing Americans fear for the state of their money.

Herschel Walker
Herschel Walker speaks during a campaign stop October 11.
Megan Varner/AP

A staggering 93% of registered voters said they were “concerned” about inflation in a Morning Consult/Politico poll. That poll found Democrats ranked 1st on the general ballot, but a New York Times and Siena College poll that ranked Republicans 4th found that the economy and inflation were top priorities for a combined 44% of likely voters topics were.

Meanwhile, a Monmouth University poll found that just 31% of Americans agreed that Biden is “paying enough attention to the issues that matter most to your family,” with 85% rating inflation as “extremely” or “very” important to them to address the designated government. That poll also showed that Republicans in general ballots were up 4%.

The latest Emerson College poll, released Friday, showed Republicans leading 46% to 41% of Democrats in generic ballots after the two parties were caught in a 45% to 45% dead heat in September. That poll found that 44% of Americans believed the economy was the most important issue for their vote, with access to abortion being the most important issue for only 12% of registered voters.



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