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What the Polls Say Today: Is Kari Lake Building a Huge Lead?

Just in time for Halloween, here comes Kari! Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Welcome to “What the Polls Say Today,” Intelligencer’s daily series breaking down all the latest polling news on the 2022 midterms.

Twelve days before Election Day, the overall midterms picture is looking up for Republicans. With early voting underway in a majority of states, it seems that a Republican wave of undetermined size is approaching, putting the Senate into play and very likely delivering the House to the GOP. But in weather and in politics, forecasts are often wrong and there are multiple unknown factors to take into account.

Here’s what the polls are telling us today:


Kari Lake may be locking up the Arizona gubernatorial race

There are a few Republican candidates this year who are especially terrifying to progressives. One of them is the GOP nominee for governor of Arizona, the former local TV anchor and big-time election denier Kari Lake, whose media chops and visceral MAGA style is wowing (or frightening) a lot of observers. She’s been consistently inching ahead of Democratic opponent (and Arizona secretary of State) Katie Hobbs in recent polls and assessments of the race.

Now, an Insider Advantage survey for Lake’s old Fox affiliate station shows her blowing out to an 11-point lead at 54-43. It’s a relatively small-sample likely voter poll with a high margin of error. But any suspicion of partisan bias is undercut by the same poll’s take on the red-hot Arizona Senate race, where it shows Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly hanging onto a two-point (45-43) lead over Republican Blake Masters, which is very close to the RealClearPolitics polling averages for that contest. In no small part due to this latest survey, Lake’s lead in those same averages is now up to 3.2 percent.


Yes, deep-blue Oregon could elect a Republican governor

Consumers of public-opinion data are accustomed to seeing Trafalgar Group polls showing Republicans doing well. But Trafalgar’s new assessment of Oregon’s three-way gubernatorial contest is right in line with every previous public poll since August. It shows Republican Christine Drazan leading Democrat Tina Kotek by 1.3 percent (41.7-40.4), with ex-Democratic independent Betsy Johnson at 13.2 percent. Johnson has enough money, and Oregonians have such a sour outlook on the status quo, that she may not fade down the stretch like most independent candidates — and even if she does, it’s unclear which major-party candidate would benefit.

Oregon hasn’t elected a Republican governor since 1982. With a national GOP wave, local anti-progressive sentiment (term-limited incumbent Kate Brown is the most unpopular governor in the country, per Morning Consult), and the three-candidate field, it could happen this year.


Don’t bet on California’s sports-gambling ballot initiative passing

A new survey from the well-regarded Public Policy Institute of California shows Democratic governor Gavin Newsom predictably cruising to an easy reelection (he leads Republican Brian Dahle by a 55-36 margin). But the poll’s more interesting findings involve California ballot initiatives.

The last PPIC poll in September showed overwhelming (69-25) support for Prop 1, the state’s abortion-rights constitutional-amendment initiative, so the latest survey focused on other ballot measures. To no one’s great surprise, two alternative initiatives (Props 26 and 27) appear certain to go down to defeat in something of a murder-suicide scenario. California’s Native tribes and their political allies have spent a fortune to kill Prop 27, which would allow national online sports-gambling firms to operate in California. It’s losing 26-67, according to PPIC. But confusion over or concern about Prop 27 appears to have spilled over to Prop 26, which would have allowed the Native tribes to conduct sports betting at existing casinos. So it, too, is losing 34-57.

Perhaps the most intriguing California ballot measure is Prop 30, which would impose a surtax on multimillionaires to finance incentives to meet the state’s zero-emission vehicle mandates. It’s being backed by many environmental groups and also by the California Democratic Party. But “No on 30” ads have featured none other than Gavin Newsom, who has attacked the initiative as a cynical ploy by the ride-share company Lyft (which is heavily financing the initiative drive) to get taxpayers to cover the costs of electrifying its vehicle fleet. Support for Prop 30 has dropped from 55 percent in PPIC’s September survey to 41 percent now.

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What the Polls Say Today: Is Kari Lake Building a Huge Lead?