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What the Polls Say Today: Adam Laxalt (Might) Have the Lead

Catherine Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt are locked into one of the closest, toughest Senate races. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Shutterstock/Getty Images

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

Six days before Election Day, the overall midterms picture is looking up for Republicans. With early voting under way in most 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:


Laxalt moves ahead in two polls, trails in another

New polls of Nevada from The Hill/Emerson and from Susquehanna show Republican Adam Laxalt opening up a five-point lead over incumbent Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in one of the country’s closest and most bitterly contested races. But Cortez Masto does have one new poll (from USA Today/Suffolk) showing her up by a point. The Trumpy Republican now has a 1.9 percent lead in the RealClearPolitics polling averages.

The Emerson poll may deserve special attention as a relatively large survey of 2,000 likely voters with a low 2.1 percent margin of error. Emerson also shows Republicans with substantial leads in all three of the state’s competitive U.S. House races.

The Senate race is essentially a battle between Harry Reid’s legendary Democratic turnout infrastructure and a national and state economic environment conducive to Republicans. Democrats are working to create an early voting “firewall” in Clark County (Las Vegas) while Republicans run up the score in rural areas and both parties compete for votes in Washoe County (Reno). Veteran Nevada political analyst Jon Ralston has been watching early voting closely and thinks it’s too early to reach any firm conclusions.


Shocker: Bolduc may have caught Hassan

At the very beginning of the cycle, Republicans were optimistic about defeating New Hampshire Democratic senator Maggie Hassan. But most put the race on the back burner when popular Governor Chris Sununu rejected overtures to take on Hassan. Then Republicans really got discouraged when MAGA extremist Don Bolduc defeated GOP Establishment favorite Chuck Morse in a September primary. Bolduc had a long history of outlandish utterances and wasn’t very good at raising money. But his floundering campaign was picked up by national Republicans who bankrolled his effort while helping him moderate his rhetoric and obscure his record.

Now it appears the former general has caught up with Hassan. A new large-sample survey from the usually reliable St. Anselm pollster shows Bolduc holding a 48-47 lead and also matching the incumbent in favorability. It’s still very close, but the trend lines aren’t great for an incumbent with less than 50 percent of the vote and facing a Republican breeze.


Dueling post-Senate-debate polls in Pennsylvania

Democrats have been nervous that Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman’s poor performance in his one debate with Republican Mehmet Oz might have hurt him in a race that has already been tightening. A one-day Insider Advantage survey conducted the day after the debate showed Oz up by three points (48-45). But now another fully post-debate four-day poll from Monmouth shows Fetterman leading Oz 48-44 and also doing better than the Republican in net favorability.

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What the Polls Say Today: Adam Laxalt (Might) Have the Lead