Elections 2020: GOP Gaining Ground in Senate Races


  • Oct. 24, 2020
  • 4 min read

CONTESTS TO WATCH: Are two upsets in the making? Michigan: GOP senatorial nominee John James is neck-in-neck with incumbent Democrat, Gary Peters. Minnesota: Republican Jason Lewis is closing fast on incumbent Tina Smith, who was appointed to fill the position. (see more in the state synopses)

North Carolina: (Not reported below) Democrat challenger Cal Cunningham’s lead over incumbent Thom Tillis has evaporated, per a recent Rasmussen survey. Cunningham’s numbers are heading south after revelations about multiple affairs surfaced, including one tryst that may have occurred when Cunningham was on active military duty.


Alabama: Moore Information (10/11-14; 504 AL likely voters; live interview), consistent with previous polls, finds challenger Tommy Tuberville (R) holding a large 55-40% over Democratic first term Sen. Doug Jones. FM3 Research, on the other hand (10/11-14; 801 AL voters; live interview), actually projects Sen. Jones to be holding a one point, 48-47%, edge. This is the first poll of any kind to deliver such a result. It is likely the latter poll is an outlier.

Alaska: Independent Al Gross also won the Democratic Senate nomination and is appearing on the ballot as a representative of the major party. Two new polls are out, both showing a close race, but Siena College/New York Times may be more accurate than Harstad Research because they included Alaskan Independence Party nominee John Howe on the ballot test questionnaire.In the Harstad survey (10/10-13; 606 AK likely voters; live interview), the ballot test split, 47-46%, in favor of Dr. Gross. Considering that Siena/NYT (10/9-14; 423 AK likely voters; live interview) found Mr. Howe attracting 10% support, the race changes significantly. Here, Sen. Sullivan recoups the lead with a 45-37% split. Mr. Howe’s presence on the ballot clearly makes a difference.

Arizona: As usual, we see several polls being released of a race, with a wide range of results. All show Democrat Mark Kelly leading, but the span is quite wide. Each of the surveys were conducted between the October 13-21 period.

The most favorable to Mr. Kelly comes from YouGov (10/13-16; 1,065 AZ registered voters; various online panels) and gives the Democrat an 11-point advantage, 52-41%. Ipsos/ Reuters (10/14-21; 658 AZ likely voters; online interviews) gives Mr. Kelly a 51-43% margin. The most favorable poll for appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) comes from Rasmussen Reports/ Pulse Opinion Research (10/18-19; 800 AZ likely voters; live interview & online), which yields Mr. Kelly only a two-point edge, 46-44%.

Georgia-B: The latest Emerson College poll (10/17-19; 506 GA likely voters) finds Georgia Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) making a move on the Senate special election field. The Emerson survey projected Mr. Collins tied with Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) and ahead of Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) by seven percentage points.

The Siena College/New York Times survey has a different take. It’s new poll (10/13-19; 759 GA likely voters; live interview) sees Rev. Warnock, who is coalescing the Democratic vote around his candidacy, leading the pack with 32%, while Sen. Loeffler trails at 23% support. Rep. Collins is back all the way to 17%. This large disparity between the two surveys taken within the same time frame suggests that the entire special election jungle primary field is fluid.

Kansas: In another instance of wide-ranging Senate polls, we show two more that may give us our largest spread. Public Policy Polling (10/19-20; 897 KS voters; interactive voice response system) sees the open contest between Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) and state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills) as a dead heat tie, 43-43%, with Libertarian Jason Buckley taking 5% preference. The co/efficient organization saw things wholly differently. According to their survey (10/18-20; 2,453 KS likely voters; online) sees Rep. Marshall opening up his biggest lead of the general election campaign, 51-39%. Most data show the race close, but the Kansas voting history is more in line with the co/efficient result.

Kentucky: The Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy company tested the Kentucky Senate race between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and his Democratic opponent, retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath (10/12-16; 625 KY registered voters; live interview) and finds the Senator holding a 51-42% lead over Ms. McGrath, which is consistent with earlier polls.

Michigan: Late this week, five different polls were released, with four producing similar results. Fox News (10/17-20; 1,032 MI likely voters; live interview), Data for Progress (10/15-18; 830 MI likely voters; online), Morning Consult (10/11-20; 1,717 MI likely voters; online), and Public Policy Polling (10/21-22; MI voters; interactive voice response system) all post Sen. Peters to a clear advantage, within five to nine percentage points.

The Trafalgar Group, on the other hand (Oct. 15-18; 1,034 likely Michigan voters, live interview & online), sees a much different result. They find Mr. James holding a two-point lead, 50-48%. If the Republican were to complete the upset, Trafalgar would again be in a position of calling a race correctly when all others would be proven incorrect.

Minnesota: Yesterday, Survey USA released a new Minnesota Senate poll (10/16-20; 625 MN likely voters; live interview) that finds former US Rep. Jason Lewis (R) pulling to within one percentage point, 43-42%, of Sen. Tina Smith (D) as the two work toward the end of their respective campaign schedules. Countering the S-USA poll is the Civiqs polling organization (for the Daily Kos Elections site; 10/17-20; 840 MN likely voters; online) that still projects Sen. Smith to be leading in low double-digits, 54-43%.

South Carolina: After Siena College/New York Times and the Morning Consult firm both released data last week posting Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) to respective six-point leads, the brilliant corners Research & Strategies firm (10/11-16; 525 SC likely voters; live interview) found Democrat Jaime Harrison rebounding. Mr. Harrison, who clearly leads the money race with $86 million raised for the campaign, is up two percentage points, 47-45%, on the brilliant corners survey. We can expect many more polls coming from this exciting Senate race in the closing weeks.

Please share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *