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What the Polls Say Today: Doug Mastriano’s Hopes Fade

The specter of a Doug Mastriano win is receding as Josh Shapiro leads handily. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images

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

Five days before Election Day, the overall midterms picture is looking up for Republicans. With early voting underway 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:


Some once-hot races don’t look that competitive

There’s a huge wave of public polling data arriving in the final days before the midterm elections, and we can now separate the sheep from the goats in terms of races that no longer seem that close.

It’s important to remember that polling errors happen, and are more likely to occur in midterms where polling is less abundant. Upsets also occur that defy or exaggerate national trends. But at this point, some contests look all but done.

In Pennsylvania, while the Fetterman-Oz Senate race is still intensely competitive, polls (except for one Trafalgar Group outlier in September and another from Rasmussen in October) are showing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro easily dispatching MAGA extremist Doug Mastriano. A new poll from Fox News gives the Democrat a 54-38 lead, and another from The Hill–Emerson puts the Shapiro lead at ten points. Shapiro leads in the RealClearPolitics polling averages by 12 points. Those worried about Mastriano seizing Pennsylvania’s election machinery and its electoral votes in 2024 can probably relax.

There are a couple of closer gubernatorial races where the polling evidence weighs pretty heavily on one side of the scales.

In New York, two Trafalgar Group polls have shown a competitive contest between Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul and Republican challenger Lee Zeldin. But a new Data for Progress survey gives Hochul a 12-point (54-42) lead, and the incumbent leads by 6.2 percent in the RCP polling averages with over 50 percent of the vote (a key benchmark for all incumbents).

And in Georgia, a new Fox News poll showing Republican incumbent Brian Kemp leading Democrat Stacey Abrams 50-43 is extremely typical; Kemp leads in the RCP averages by 7.5 percent and has led in every public poll of the race since June. Abrams is a famously gifted turnout generator, but her work is really cut out for her this time.


A lot of Senate races are still very close

New polls of Senate races in Arizona (Fox News), Georgia (Fox News), Pennsylvania (The Hill–Emerson), and Wisconsin (Marquette Law School, Fox News, The Hill–Emerson) show some very close contests. The RealClearPolitics averages show:

Any of these races could go either way, notwithstanding the increasingly loud buzz about a Republican-wave election.


Republicans maintain small lead in the generic ballot

There’s been a slow but steady drift toward the GOP in the polling measurement most closely correlated to overall national results in midterm elections: the generic congressional ballot, which estimates the national House popular vote. In the RealClearPolitics polling averages, the two parties were basically even throughout August and September, and even now there are a few outlets (notably Politico–Morning Consult) still showing Democrats ahead. But the GOP has moved ahead on average, and now leads by 3 percent. To contextualize that number, Democrats won the national House popular vote by 8.8 percent in 2018, and Republicans won it by 10.6 percent in 2010 and by 5.7 percent in 2014.

So we aren’t really seeing widespread “wave” numbers at this point (more of a “ripple,” as some observers call it), though generic ballot surveys are subject to polling errors just like any other public-opinion findings.

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What the Polls Say Today: Doug Mastriano’s Hopes Fade