Lotta good news (and a little bad) for the GOP in this multi-state survey from CBS and YouGov but none better than the Florida gubernatorial numbers. Probably no single outcome next month will have more consequences for the 2020 election than who ends up in charge of Florida. A poll taken a few days ago had Ron DeSantis ahead for the first time in two months, which seemed suspicious. Was that really the start of a trend towards Republicans or was it just an outlier? Gillum had led in every one of the 18 other polls taken since September 1.
But maybe it is the start of a trend. The last four surveys of Florida have gone like this: DeSantis +3, Gillum +1, Gillum +5, and now Gillum +1 from CBS/YouGov. There’s every reason to believe the race is tightening in the home stretch even if DeSantis hasn’t yet grabbed the lead.
YouGov is expecting a decidedly bluish electorate in Florida next month but independents are singlehandedly keeping DeSantis in the game by breaking towards him by a 13-point margin. I’ll defer to Floridians on what’s driving that but my strong suspicion is that it’s Gillum’s ethics issues, which flared again recently with news of his freebies from lobbyists.
Although if this is all about Gillum, how to explain the nearly identical numbers in the Florida Senate race?
Same story: Republicans and Democrats are mirror images of each other but a strong break towards Scott among indies has made it a jump ball. This race has also tightened in multiple polls, by the way. A week ago things suddenly looked ominous for the GOP, with Nelson piling up leads of five, six, and eight points. The last five polls, however, have had it Scott +1, Nelson +1, Scott +1, Nelson +4, and now a dead heat in YouGov. Here as in the Gillum/DeSantis race, given the sum of the polling you’d wager on the Democrat if you had to wager. But you wouldn’t wager much.
Florida’s not the only state CBS/YouGov polled. New from the red battleground of Indiana:
Republican chances of holding on to their Senate majority – or even adding to it – are helped by the prospect of picking up a seat in Indiana, where Republican Mike Braun leads incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly, 46 percent to 43 percent. In Indiana, where many voters say that agriculture plays a role in their economy, three-quarters of Republicans feel that new tariffs will ultimately lead to better trade deals for the U.S.
A Republican internal poll taken a week ago had Braun suddenly up four after not leading in any surveys of the state since early September. Now here’s an independent pollster confirming that margin. Even more ominously for the Democratic incumbent Donnelly, in seven polls of Indiana taken since August he’s never once done better than 44 percent of the vote. Braun, by contrast, has hit 45, 46, and 47 in different surveys. Donnelly seems to have a low ceiling, with many undecided Hoosiers apparently reluctant to commit to him. That makes me think Braun is more likely to pick up late-deciders, which, if true, would mean Donnelly’s dunzo.
If Braun flips Indiana, that’s 52 Senate seats. Add in Kevin Cramer’s all-but-certain win over Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and that’s 53. If Josh Hawley holds on in Missouri to beat Claire McCaskill, which is how most pros seem to see things shaping up, that’s 54. And if Scott surprises Nelson, that’s 55(!). All of that is contingent, though, upon the GOP defending its own seats. Cruz looks like he’ll hold on in Texas and Dean Heller is narrowly ahead in Nevada after leading the last three polls taken there (including one where he led by seven). Marsha Blackburn remains the favorite in Tennessee, although the last poll of that state had Democrat Phil Bredesen up a point. Subtract one Republican seat for every Democratic upset among those three. And hey — what about Arizona? That’s the bit of bad news in the CBS/YouGov numbers that I referenced up top:
Health care concerns have helped Democrat Kyrsten Sinema to a slight three-point advantage over Republican Martha McSally, 47 percent to 44 percent. Sinema does well with voters who say health care is a very important concern and is also helped by nine percent of Republicans who say they’re backing her — it’s hardly an overwhelming number, but it could be essential for a Democrat in a Republican-leaning state like Arizona.
The last poll there had McSally up two points. Now she’s down three despite weeks of ads about Sinema’s apparent distaste for her own home state’s politics. The Democrat here is resilient. I assume it’ll be a pure coin flip on election night.
In lieu of an exit question, I’ll leave you with this from a new national poll also conducted by YouGov: