Sabatos Crystal Ball

New polls: Tight Senate races across the Sun Belt

Florida, Texas effectively tied; mixed bag for both parties in Arizona, Nevada

UVA Center for Politics September 19th, 2018

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A series of new Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics polls found close races in the key Senate battlegrounds of Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.

The polls, conducted online in English from Sept. 5 to 17 with roughly 2,000 respondents per state (narrowed down to about 1,000 likely voters per state), found the following results for the Senate and gubernatorial races among likely voters in the five states surveyed:

Arizona Senate: Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47%, Martha McSally (R) 44%

Arizona Governor: Doug Ducey (R) 51%, David Garcia (D) 39%

California Senate: Dianne Feinstein (D) 44%, Kevin de León (D) 24%

California Governor: Gavin Newsom (D) 52%, John Cox (R) 40%

Florida Senate: Rick Scott (R) 46%, Bill Nelson (D) 45%

Florida Governor: Andrew Gillum (D) 50%, Ron DeSantis (R) 44%

Nevada Senate: Dean Heller (R) 46%, Jacky Rosen (D) 43%

Nevada Governor: Adam Laxalt (R) 43%, Steve Sisolak (D) 40%

Texas Senate: Beto O’Rourke (D) 47%, Ted Cruz (R) 45%

Texas Governor: Greg Abbott (R) 50%, Lupe Valdez (D) 41%

President Donald Trump’s approval rating among likely voters in each state is mixed at best, although perhaps unsurprisingly given how Democratic the state is, Trump’s approval is only very sharply negative in California:

Arizona: 45% approve-53% disapprove

California: 36%-63%

Florida: 47%-53%

Nevada: 49%-49%

Texas: 47%-53%

Full details, including toplines, tables, crosstabs, and methodological information, for all five of these polls are available at: https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/election-data-CA-FL-TX-NV-AZ.

The finding in the Texas Senate race is a more bullish result for Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D, TX-16) than other polls. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) leads by 4.5 points in the RealClearPolitics polling average, and led by nine in a Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday. One similarity between this poll and others is that Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is running ahead of Cruz in his own reelection bid, although other polls have shown the incumbent governor with a larger lead. The Crystal Ball rates the Texas Senate race as Leans Republican, and the gubernatorial race as Safe Republican.

On the plus side for Republicans, the finding in Nevada for Sen. Dean Heller (R) is a little bit better for him than a few other recent polls: Rep. Jacky Rosen (D, NV-3) has held nominal leads in two other surveys, but Heller is up by a small amount, three points, here. So too is state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) in his gubernatorial race against Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak (D). Both races are Crystal Ball Toss-ups.

The other state-level results reflect some trends in other surveys. In Florida, the Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D) is about a tie while Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) has a lead on ex-Rep. Ron DeSantis (R, FL-6), who recently resigned his seat, in the Sunshine State gubernatorial race. The RealClearPolitics average in the Senate race is Scott leading by 1.6 points, while Gillum is up 3.7 points in the gubernatorial race, a difference between the two races that is roughly reflected in these numbers. In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has a double-digit lead on education professor David Garcia (D), better than his RealClearPolitics polling average, while Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D, AZ-9) has a small lead over Rep. Martha McSally (R, AZ-2) in the Senate race. That too reflects other recent surveys, although there is some disagreement among pollsters as to who is leading in the Arizona Senate race. In California, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) have seemed like significant favorites in their respective races for governor and Senate, and these polls back up that belief (Feinstein is running against a fellow Democrat, de León, in the general election because of California’s top-two election system).

Reuters, Ipsos, and the UVA Center for Politics are collaborating this fall on several state-level polls. This is the first batch that has been released so far, and more releases are planned in advance of the November general election. These individual state-level polls also will help supplement the data presented on the UVA Center for Politics/Ipsos Political Atlas, a new website that uses Crystal Ball ratings, poll-based modeling, and social media data to present the state of play in this cycle’s Senate, House, and gubernatorial elections. A holistic approach is also what we at the Crystal Ball apply to polling, and we try to take many different surveys into account as we formulate our ratings.