By Hastings Wyman –
Some six weeks before the election on November 6 opinion polls are more predictive than earlier in the campaign season. In a nutshell, these surveys, reported on Realclearpolitics.com, show that in these contests, Democrats are poised to win two or maybe three new governorship’s (FL, GA & OK), at least one new US Senator (TN) and as many as five new members of Congress (FL 26, KY 6, NC 2, TX 7 & VA 7). The GOP, however, has a good chance of picking up a US Senate seat (FL), holding on to a hotly contested US Senate seat (TX) and a competitive congressional seat (TX 23).
In some of these contests, Republican incumbents are ahead by a few points, but are under 50%, suggesting a serious challenge for the GOPers.
Two takeaways of note: African-American candidates could get elected in numbers not seen since Reconstruction, including in bailiwicks with large white majorities. And a record number of Southern women are likely to be elected.
Of course, polls can be wrong, campaigns could change minds, and new issues could take center stage. For now, however, here is a good snapshot of where the 2018 mid-term elections stand in September polling.
In contests for governor, all four polls taken in September in Florida show Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) ahead of US Rep. Ron DeSantis. The most recent, taken by Rasmussen, shows Gillum with 48% to DeSantis’ 42%. DeSantis has been hurt by allegations that he has been associated with a white nationalist group. Should Gillum win, his election as an African-American campaigning as an unabashed liberal would upend the Sunshine State’s politics, giving a major boost to Democrats in the 2020 presidential election.
In Georgia, the most recent poll in the governor’s race, taken by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, shows a 45% to 45% tie between Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Abrams. Abrams, like Gillum in Florida, is an African American running on a liberal platform. Should she and Gillum win, it will mean that two states that were part of the Confederacy will have black governors, in itself revolutionary.
In Oklahoma, the Sooner Poll shows a surprisingly small lead for early favorite Kevin Stitt (R), a successful businessman running as an outsider, over Drew Edmondson, former state attorney general and scion of a family long prominent in the state’s politics: Stitt 47%, Edmondson 44%. Donald Trump carried Oklahoma by 36 points; however, Democrats have won a series of special legislative elections since then.
In US Senate contests, in Florida the most recent poll gives US Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 45% to Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) 44%. Earlier polls September polls gave Scott 46% to Nelson’s 44%; Nelson and Scott 49% each; and Nelson and Scott with 47% each. Stay tuned!
In the Tennessee contest for the US Senate, former Gov. Phil
Bredesen (D) is leading conservative US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) 50% to 45% in a CNN poll. In an earlier September poll, by Fox News, Blackburn had 47% to Bredesen’s 44%, and in an even earlier poll, by NBC News/Marist, Bredesen led 48% to 46%.
In Texas, the latest poll gives US Sen. Ted Cruz (R) a significant lead over US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D), a personable contender who has traveled to each of the state’s 254 counties. In the most recent poll Cruz had 54% to 45% for O’Rourke in a Quinnipiac Poll of likely voters. The average of the last four surveys gives Cruz a 4.5% lead
And in Virginia, the most recent survey gives US Sen. Tim Kaine (D) 52% to 36% for Loudoun County Board Chairman Corey Stewart (R), a defender of the state’s commemoration of its Confederate heritage. The poll was taken by the University of Mary Washington.
Fewer polls are taken in congressional races, but September surveys show mostly very competitive contests.
In Florida 26 (Miami-Dade, etc.), US Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) has a close lead over non-profit professional Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), 47% to 44%.
In Kentucky 6 (Lexington, etc.), there’s a nail-biter between US Rep. Andy Barr (R), with 47% to 46% for Amy McGrath (D), a retired Marine fighter pilot.
In North Carolina 2 (Raleigh, etc.), US Rep. George Holding (R), with 43%, is trailing challenger state Director of Human Resources Linda Coleman (D), who has 44%, in a poll by Civitas/Survey USA. Coleman is an African-American.
In Texas 7 (Houston, etc.), US Rep. John Culberson (R) has an unimpressive lead over attorney Lizzie Fletcher (D) – 48% to 45%.
In Texas 23 (San Antonio, etc.), US Rep. Will Hurd (R), one of only two African Americans on the GOP side of the aisle, is running strong against a serious opponent, with 51% to 43% for Gina Ortiz Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer.
And in Virginia 7 (Richmond suburbs, etc.), US Rep. David Brat (R) is getting a serious challenge from ex-CIA operative Abigail Spanberger (D). He leads with 47% to her 43%.