Two recently released polls suggest that the outcome of the upcoming Senate races is still very much up in the air — and although it’s typical for the party of a newly elected president to lose seats during the first midterm of the new administration, Democrats may defy the odds this year.
Fresh off his primary election victory in Wisconsin, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) appears to be in a good position to oust incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R). In a Marquette Law School poll published on Wednesday, 51 percent of voters said that they back Barnes or lean toward doing so, while only 44 percent of voters said the same for Johnson, who has been marred by a number of controversies, including his involvement in the fake electors scheme pushed by former President Donald Trump in January 2021.
Meanwhile, a University of North Florida poll shows Rep. Val Demings (D) slightly ahead of incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R); Demings has 48 percent support among voters in her state, while Rubio has 44 percent support, according to the poll.
The surveys demonstrate that, while President Joe Biden is polling poorly with the American public, Democrats have been able to secure voters’ support overall. It’s possible that the party will not only retain their current control of the Senate, but also gain seats, especially if they can pull off wins against incumbents Johnson and Rubio.
Other Senate contests show that these two races are not an anomaly — including in Utah, where Sen. Mike Lee (R) is being challenged by independent candidate Evan McMullin, who has vowed not to caucus with either party if elected.
“Plagued with weak, divisive candidates in many key races, the palpable trepidation among a dozen GOP insiders we spoke to is that — despite a favorable political climate and history that shows they should be able to net at least one seat to break the 50-50 logjam — their efforts to win back Senate control will fall short even as Republicans easily flip the House,” the Cook Political Report said.
An aggregate of polling data from RealClearPolitics shows that, when voters are asked which party they generally support, Democrats and Republicans are virtually neck and neck, with Democrats leading the GOP in some polls.
In the most recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, for example, 46 percent of respondents said they would back a generic Democrat on their congressional ballot, while 42 percent said they preferred a generic Republican. In an Economist/YouGov poll published on Wednesday, Democrats received 45 percent support, while Republicans received only 39 percent. Although a lot can change between now and November, research shows that only a handful of voters wait until Election Day to make up their minds.