Midterms: Polls show the battle for the Senate going down to the wire

Battle for the Senate goes down to the wire: With just two days before the midterms, DailyMail.com breaks down the races on a knife-edge – with just 1% between the candidates in FOUR states

  • The Senate is already on a knife’s edge with a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans 
  • With just two days to go until the midterms, polls across the country have have key races too close to call
  • Real Clear Politics’ average of polls has the GOP picking up four seats on Tuesday night 
  • But candidates in battles in states such as Pennsylvania and Georgia are separated by less than one point 
  • In Pennsylvania, Republican Dr. Oz is leading his Democratic opponent by just 0.1 percent in poll averages 
  • The candidates are also separated by one percent or less in New Hampshire and Arizona 

The Senate is already on a knife’s edge with a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans.

Now, with just two days to go until the midterms, polls have the key races that could decide who wins the majority going down to the wire.

Real Clear Politics’ average of polls has the GOP picking up four seats on Tuesday night, but candidates in battles in crucial states are separated by less than one point.

In Pennsylvania, Republican Dr. Oz is leading his Democratic opponent by just 0.1 percent in poll averages. The TV doctor has gained momentum since Fetterman’s eye-opening debate performance last month that posed questions about his stroke recovery. Last night he campaigned with President Biden and Barack Obama in a final push to get voters on side.

The candidates are also separated by one percent or less in New Hampshire and Arizona, and Herschel Walker’s slim 0.4 percent lead over Raphael Warnock in projections for Georgia shows the the strong possibility of a runoff election on December 6.

All Republicans need to do on November 8 is flip one seat and keep their territory, and Mitch McConnell will be the new Senate Majority Leader. 

The GOP have momentum on their side, with national surveys showing voters trust them to deal with top concerns such as rising prices and crime.

Democrats want to try and avoid the red wave that is predicted in the House, and hope issues they have focused on such as abortion and the threat of election deniers drives voters their way at the ballot box. 

DailyMail.com looks at the eight Senate races that have been dominated the headlines in recent months, and could decide the fate of the upper chamber: 

Arizona: Sen. Mark Kelly (D) vs. Blake Masters (R) – Polls have Kelly up by 1 point – but Masters has gained ground

Sen. Mark Kelly had a consistent advantage over his Republican rival, Blake Masters, in Arizona’s Senate race over the summer. But the GOP candidate has eaten away at his lead in recent months.

An Emerson College Polling survey of Arizona voters released Friday found Masters with 48 percent while incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly has 47 percent, within the margin of error.  

Since September, Masters’ support has increased three points while Kelly has held 47 percent, the polling firm notes. 

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report on Friday shifted its forecast of control for the Senate toward Republicans and Real Clear Politics has Kelly up by just one point in their poll averages.

Kelly is a retired astronaut who became a household name after his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, survived an assassination attempt in January 2011. The couple became known as fierce gun control advocates, with Kelly entering politics in 2019 to run for Arizona’s Senate special election in 2020. 

Masters is the protégé of Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire most politically aligned with former President Donald Trump. Thanks to that relationship, Masters received Trump’s blessing in Arizona’s five-way Republican primary. 

The first-time candidate has attracted criticism for moderating his stances after winning the early August primary – from flip-flopping on wanting to see Social Security privatized to scrubbing hardline abortion positions from his campaign website. 

Like other Trump-backed candidates, Masters has repeated the ex-president’s election fraud lies.  

The race is competitive because Kelly is being dragged down by issues related to the economy and immigration in the border state. Arizonans rated immigration as the No. 3 issue and among those who ranked it ‘very important,’ 73 percent are backing Masters. 

Masters’ bid has also been hobbled by some behind-the-scenes drama between Thiel and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – with each expecting the other to pony up funds for the Republican’s general election campaign. 

As of early September the Thiel-linked group that helped Masters win the primary was back buying ads, but without any more of the billionaire’s money, Politico said.

Georgia: Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) vs. Herschel Walker (R) – Polls have less them separate by less than 1 point – so will we be waiting until a December runoff?

In the Senate superlatives, Georgia’s race currently ranks No. 1 for most salacious and is going down to the wire with polls showing less than a point between the candidates.

The Trump-backed, Heisman-winning, former University of Georgia-turned-NFL football star Herschel Walker has had family matters trip him up from the start. 

Emerson College/The Hill polling released Thursday pegs Warnock’s support at 49 percent to Walker’s 47 – within the three-point credibility interval – with two percent undecided. If neither candidate breaches 50 percent the race goes to a runoff between the top two candidates, per Georgia’s election law. 

Real Clear Politics has Walker up by just 0.4 points in their average of polls and predict the race will go to a runoff on December 6.

Georgia’s Senate race has turned into one of the most pivotal in the nation, where whoever comes out on top could determine what party controls the upper chamber. 

If neither Warnock nor Walker take the seat with over 50 percent of the vote in November, both candidates will face each other again on December 6. 

An ex-wife claimed he held a gun to her head, during the years he said he struggled with mental illness. 

An ex-girlfriend recently told the Daily Beast that Walker – who has portrayed himself as an anti-abortion absolutist – paid for her to have an abortion in 2009. She provided the news outlet with a receipt from the procedure, a check signed by Walker and a get well soon card. Walker, who has called abortion ‘murder’ and wants it banned without exceptions, denied the claims allegedly made against him by one of his children’s mothers. 

On the heels of that revelation, his son Christian came out against him. 

‘You’re not a “family man” when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence,’ Christian Walker said. 

And prior to that, it was revealed that Walker hid several love children from public consumption. 

Yet the race – in which Walker is running against a pastor, incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock – remains close. 

A Wednesday poll from InsiderAdvantage/FOX 5 Atlanta showed Warnock just three points ahead – within the survey’s 4.2 percent margin of error. The Real Clear Politics polling average has the incumbent leading by 3.8 points. FiveThirtyEight estimated Warnock having a two-point advantage. 

It’s helped that Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have stayed at Walker’s side. Trump complained Tuesday that Walker had been ‘slandered and maligned.’ 

And Warnock, who won one of two run-off races in early January in Georgia in 2021 to flip control of the Senate, is being dragged down by historical trends that don’t help his party, as well as running in one of the nation’s swingiest states. 

Nevada: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) vs. Adam Laxalt (R) – Laxalt up by 1.9 points in poll averages

Republican hopeful Adam Laxalt is being billed as the Republicans’ ‘best chance’ for a Senate pick-up, as he hovered just above Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in every September poll. 

A poll from Emerson College published last week has Laxalt with a five-point lead and Real Clear Politics have him with an average 1.9 percent lead in polls.

Laxalt, the former Nevada attorney general, has a recognizable name among the voter base: his grandfather was a former Nevada senator and governor. 

He’s also got the MAGA seal of approval: he called the 2020 election ‘rigged,’ and tried to contest the result as former President Donald Trump’s Nevada co-chair. He also told the Associated Press he believes ‘very few’ participants in the January 6 Capitol attack should be prosecuted. 

But unlike midwestern states where Democratic support is often overestimated, there’s a trend in Nevada that has Democrats winning even if the polls show they’re down. 

Part of this is the power of the Culinary Workers Union, which historically gets out the vote for Democratic candidates – even if there’s not much enthusiasm. 

But as National Review points out, about 20 percent of Culinary Workers Union employees remain unemployed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and Democrats are receiving the brunt of the blame. 

Hispanic voters have moved toward Republicans in recent elections, with the GOP taking advantage of this trend by running Spanish-language ads against Cortez Masto, calling her ‘weak on crime’ among other things. 

At the same time, Cortez Masto was the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate. 

Like Laxalt, she’s also a former Nevada attorney general, and pointed to an endorsement from the Nevada Police Union to push back on the GOP’s cries of her being soft on crime. 

She’s also distanced herself from the not-so-popular President Joe Biden when needed. She has criticized his student debt relief plan, pointing out that it doesn’t help with college affordability. 

New Hampshire: Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) vs. Don Bolduc (R) – Demcorat leads by just 0.8 points 

 Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan didn’t look like she was in much danger of losing her seat, but polls have tightened in recent months. 

It wasn’t until September 13 that Republican voters picked her rival  Don Bolduc. Bolduc won the GOP primary by less than 2,000 votes over Chuck Morse, the president of the New Hampshire state Senate. 

Polling from Emerson College last week has Hassan at 49 percent, a four point lead over Bolduc at 45 percent with 3 percent undecided. Real Clear Politics has Hassan just 0.8 points up in average polls across the country and predict that Bolduc will win. 

Trump stayed out of the race, but the state’s popular GOP Gov. Chris Sununu threw his weight behind Morse days before the primary, having criticized Bolduc previously. ‘He’s kind of a conspiracy theory-type candidate,’ Sununu said in August. 

Bolduc has called Sununu a ‘Chinese Communist sympathizer’ and suggested COVID vaccines contained microchips. ‘The only chip that’s going inside me is a Dorito,’ he said during a 2020 run for the U.S. Senate. 

Since his primary win, Bolduc tried to moderate his election denialism – at one point saying that Biden is the ‘legitimate president’ and the ‘election was not stolen.’ 

Hassan’s campaign had a field day with that, with a spokesman noting: ‘A word salad on Fox will not erase his record of election denial.’ 

North Carolina: Rep. Ted Budd (R) vs. Cheri Beasley (D) – Republican takes a five-point lead in poll projections

North Carolina’s low key Senate race pits the Trump-backed Rep. Ted Budd against Cheri Beasley, who was previously elected statewide as a judge. If elected, Beasley would become the state’s first black senator. 

The seat is being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Thom Tillis. 

Former President Donald Trump jumped into this race early, endorsing the relatively unknown Budd in June 2021. 

Budd’s chief opponent in the Republican primary was the state’s former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who had signed the controversial, anti-trans ‘bathroom bill.’ 

Budd was one of the 147 Republicans who contested the results of the 2020 election on January 6. 

He has widened the gap over Beasley in recent months, with last week’s Emerson College poll giving him 50 percent, a five-point margin over Beasley’s 45 percent. Real Clear Politics has Budd five percent in their average of polls.

Beasley’s ran a campaign focused mostly on local issues – to combat the historic drag Democratic candidates have in the first midterm a president of their party holds the White House. 

Republicans, however, are running ads against her, tying her to President Joe Biden’s economic record. 

Budd was one of the Republican Senate hopefuls who said he’d support GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s 15-week national abortion ban, something Beasley has also highlighted.  

Ohio: Rep. Tim Ryan (D) vs. J.D. Vance (R) – Hillbilly Elegy author extends his lead to five points 

As he did in Pennsylvania with Dr. Mehmet Oz, former President Donald Trump went with national name recognition when he backed Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance over a handful of more traditional GOP candidates for the Ohio Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Rob Portman. 

Vance is up against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who briefly ran for the White House during the 2020 cycle, and previously challenged then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for her gavel. 

The Hillbilly Elegy author has also widened the gap in polls since the summer. The last Emerson College poll has him at 51 percent, and Ryan at 43, with 4 percent undecided. Real Clear Politics also has him five points up in their average of polls.

To cut off some of the headwinds facing Democrats in a midterm year, the 10-term congressman Ryan has pointed out that he ‘voted with Trump on trade’ and he’s floated that he wouldn’t be opposed to Biden not running for a second term. 

He has tried to court voters disillusioned with Biden by not inviting the President to campaign alongside him and distancing himself from the national Democratic party. 

Pennsylvania: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) vs. Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) – Just 0.1 points between rivals in poll projections

Pennsylvania’s Senate race has been the most colorful – if not the most competitive, and polls have as little as 0.1 points between the two candidates. Early on, Democrats believed they could flip the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey. 

Days before the Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman – the frontrunner against Rep. Conor Lamb – suffered a stroke. He still won every county. On the Republican side, former President Donald Trump selected Dr. Mehmet Oz – the TV personality – over David McCormick, seen by many conservatives as the more electable choice. 

McCormick’s wife had even worked for Trump’s White House. 

Sidelined from campaigning due to his stroke recovery, Fetterman used web savvy staffers to create viral momentum, hitting Oz for being a rich, out-of-touch, carpetbagger from New Jersey. Fetterman’s campaign utilized Jersey greats including Snooki, flew a banner over the Jersey shore welcoming Oz home and mocked the doctor for saying ‘crudite’ instead of veggie tray. 

Last week Oz for the first time surpassed John Fetterman in polling just days before the midterms and a week after their debate where the lingering effects of his Democratic rival’s stroke were on full display.

The two point gap – 48 percent to 46 percent – continues a steady improvement for Oz, whose support from likely Pennsylvanian voters has increased by 5 percentage points since September, according to polling from The Hill/Emerson College.

Real Clear Politics’ average of polls has Oz with just a 0.1 per cent lead, and is projected to win – even if it is by then narrowest of margins. 

It also mirrors a national trend as Republicans surge in polls, with some tying or overtaking their Democratic challengers in the days ahead of the election after months of trailing. 

Meanwhile, Fetterman’s support only ticked up by 1 percent from the September poll from the one taken October 28-31. The split between the two candidates is within the poll’s plus or minus 3 percentage point margin of error.

Consistently, this particular polling has shown Fetterman, 53, ahead of Oz, 62.

A new poll from The Hill/Emerson College shows Dr. Mehmet Oz pulled ahead of Democrat rival John Fetterman for the first time – with just five days until the 2022 midterms

Wisconsin: Sen. Ron Johnson (R) vs. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) – Republican leads by an average of 3.2 points

Democrats would love to pick off Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, who heralds from a purple state. 

But polls are suggesting it will be an uphill battle for Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor.  

Last week, Emerson College poll had Johnson at 50 percent, four better than Barnes at 46 percent with 3 percent undecided. Real Clear Politics has Johnson up by an average of 3.2 percent in surveys across the country.

Johnson and outside Republican groups have hit Barnes, Wisconsin’s first black lieutenant governor and a progressive, heavily on crime, claiming he’s for ‘defunding the police.’ Barnes has countered that he’s not. 

They’ve also highlighted past controversial tweets. 

In one, Barnes said that House Minority Whip Steve Scalise was ‘taking one for the team’ when he was shot at Congressional Baseball Game practice, yet still was against gun control measures. ‘I question how people vote against self interest but this is next level. He literally almost died on this hill,’ Barnes commented. 

In recent days, Barnes has punched back using abortion. 

A narrator in a new Barnes ad accuses Johnson of co-sponsoring a bill that makes no exception for rape, incest, or the life of a woman. 

‘And Johnson said if women don’t like it, they can move,’ the ad says. 

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