Two new polls show Democratic US Senate candidates leading Republican in the contests for the open Senate seats in Tennessee and Arizona.
Here are the key numbers from CNN’s polling that show Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and former Gov. Phil Bredesen leading:
In Arizona, Sinema tops Republican Rep. Martha McSally by 7 points, 50% to 43% among likely voters, while in Tennessee, Bredesen holds a 5-point edge over Rep. Marsha Blackburn, 50% to 45% among likely voters there. Roughly 1 in 6 voters in each state say there’s a chance they’ll change their mind before Election Day.
In Tennessee, likely voters are about evenly split on the president’s performance, 49% approve and 48% disapprove, far outpacing his nationwide approval rating in the latest CNN polling of 36%. In Arizona, by contrast, Trump fares only slightly better than his national number, with 39% of likely voters saying they approve of the way he’s handling his job while 57% disapprove.
As in other polling done in Tennessee, Phil Bredesen’s cross-party popularity is powering him to a lead. Bredesen has a more than two to one split in his favorable/unfavorable rating (52%-24%), and he also has a 29% favorable rating with Republicans. In Arizona, the story remains the continued shift of the state away from the Republican Party. Both candidates in Arizona have net positive favorable ratings, but Trump‘s approval rating of just 39% suggests that the state is moving toward the Democrats.
Two Different Senate Elections With One Common Issue
There is one issue that both Senate elections have in common. Voters in both states list healthcare as their most important issue. 29% of likely voters list it as their top issue in Tennessee, and 25% in Arizona are most concerned about healthcare.
The healthcare issue could cost Republicans the Senate. One of the biggest mistakes that congressional Republicans have made was going along with Trump in gutting the Affordable Care Act.
Healthcare is a deeply personal issue, and Republicans may have handed Democrats a big win in November when they threw 20 million+ Americans off of their health insurance.
The Senate Could Be Slipping Away From Republicans
With red state Democratic Senators holding their own in close races, it is possible to see a blue wave forming that carries Democrats to what was once an unthinkable Senate majority. Republicans knew that they were likely to lose the House. They never thought their Senate firewall could come crumbling down.
Republicans believe that the blue wave is fake news, and their refusal to get serious about this election could result in a Democratic Congress in 2019.
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