- Ethan Singer
October Polling Update for 2022’s Midterms
Georgia’s Senate seat race is a hotly contested matchup between incumbent Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and challenger Herschel Walker (R-GA). The most recent major non-partisan poll of the race, conducted by Quinnipiac University, shows Warnock leading Walker by seven points among likely voters. Warnock’s support is largest among Black voters and women, who prefer the Democrat by 86 and 17 points in the poll, respectively. On the other hand, Walker's support is concentrated among White voters and men, who prefer the Republican by 30 and 13 points, respectively. The Quinnipiac University poll also found that Warnock is leading Walker in ratings of favorability and candidate quality: 50% of likely voters have favorable opinions of Warnock, compared to Walker’s 39%; Warnock also leads Walker in the percentage of likely voters who think that he is honest (54 to 37), that he has good leadership skills (57 to 33), and that he cares about average Georgians (57 to 46). However, other recent polls show a closer battle between the two candidates: for example, a recent poll by the Trafalgar Group, a Republican-funded pollster, shows Warnock leading by just 2 points. Overall, according to the polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight, Warnock leads Walker by approximately 4 points in the polling average and, accordingly, has a 61% chance of keeping his seat. The race is rated as a tossup by most election forecasters.
Meanwhile, in Georgia’s gubernatorial election, incumbent Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) is expected to defeat repeat challenger Stacy Abrams (D-GA). He maintains a 5.5 point lead in the FiveThirtyEight polling average, with Abrams running significantly behind Warnock in polls. For example, in a recent Fox News poll found Warnock ahead by 5 points, and Abrams trailed Kemp by 7. Kemp’s lead is thanks, in part, to his incumbency advantage. Kemp also leads Abrams in terms of favorability — a recent Marist College poll found that 50% of Georgians view Kemp favorably, compared to 35% who view him unfavorably. At the same time, only 42% of Georgians view Abrams favorably, while 46% view her unfavorably. FiveThirtyEight estimates that the incumbent Kemp has an 87% chance of winning another term.
Pennsylvania’s Senate race to fill Senator Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) open seat has defied expectations, with Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D-PA) holding a consistent lead in polls above Republican Mehmet Oz. In fact, Oz has yet to lead Fetterman in any major poll. One recent poll, conducted by USA Today, shows Fetterman up by 6 points as of September 30. The poll found that Fetterman’s favorability is even: 45% view him favorably, and 44% view him unfavorably. On the other hand, Oz’s favorability is upside-down: only 34% view him favorably, while 51 view him unfavorably. Other recent polls have Fetterman up by a smaller margin — for example, a recent poll from The Hill found Fetterman was up by just 2 points among likely voters. Still, FiveThirtyEight estimates Fetterman is up by 6 points in the polling average and has just over a 70% chance of winning the seat. Notably, Fetterman’s lead had considerably shrunk from mid-September when he led by almost 11 points in the polling average and had an 83% chance of winning the seat; this comes amid growing concerns over Fetterman’s health and an increase in effective advertising by Oz.
In Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election, Democrat Josh Shapiro (D-PA) holds a more comfortable lead in polls over Republican Doug Mastriano (R-GA). Even as Oz has picked up ground against Fetterman in the averages, Mastriano continues to trail Shapiro by a significant margin; Shapiro’s lead in FiveThirtyEight’s average has increased to over 10 points, and he is estimated to have a 94% chance of defeating Mastriano. Mastriano is dragged down by his unfavorability — a recent Marist poll in Pennsylvania found that only 31% of Pennsylvanians view him favorably, while 45% view him unfavorably (including 14% of registered Republicans 55% of registered Independents).
Nevada’s Senate race has trended towards the GOP in recent weeks. According to the FiveThirtyEight polling average, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) surpassed Republican Adam Laxalt (R-NV) on May 27 and had a 3.8 point margin as recently as September 8. Since then, Laxalt has taken back the lead and now holds a 0.7-point advantage as of October 13. With that said, polling in the Silver State has been relatively sparse compared to Georgia and Pennsylvania, so election forecasters have had to rely on other data like state fundamentals and expert ratings. Overall, FiveThirtyEight estimates that the race is a true tossup — Cortez Mastro has a razor-thin advantage, with just a 51% chance of winning.
Nevada’s gubernatorial election has followed a similar pattern, with Republican Joe Lombardo closing the gap behind Democrat Steve Sisolak in recent weeks. According to FiveThirtyEight, Sisolak is estimated to have a 54% chance of winning, down from 67% on September 21.