Fox News Poll: Pelosi, McConnell face negative ratings heading into new term

After a contentious election that saw the Democrats win back the House and Republicans retain the Senate, voters view both parties’ congressional leaders negatively, according to the latest Fox News poll. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell receives the worst rating of the leaders included in the survey, with a net negative 16 (28 percent favorable … Continue reading “Fox News Poll: Pelosi, McConnell face negative ratings heading into new term”

After a contentious election that saw the Democrats win back the House and Republicans retain the Senate, voters view both parties’ congressional leaders negatively, according to the latest Fox News poll.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell receives the worst rating of the leaders included in the survey, with a net negative 16 (28 percent favorable vs. 44 percent unfavorable).  He’s followed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (36 favorable vs. 48 unfavorable) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (28 favorable vs. 40 unfavorable) — both net negative 12.

CLICK TO READ THE COMPLETE POLL RESULTS.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has a net negative rating of 4 (19 percent favorable vs. 23 percent unfavorable), however, he remains mostly unknown to voters with over half unable to rate him (57 percent).

It’s not all bad news though.  While ratings for Pelosi and McConnell remain underwater, the new poll shows they have both gained in popularity since August.  Polling was conducted Sunday through Tuesday, with most interviews completed prior to Pelosi and Schumer’s combative meeting at the White House on Tuesday.

Pelosi’s favorability is up 7 points since August, going from 29 to 36 percent.  That nearly matches her record of 37 percent favorable in March 2007 (roughly two months after she first became Speaker).

McConnell saw a similar boost of 6 points, and now has a record favorable of 28 percent. His previous high was 25 percent earlier this year (January 2018).

Party loyalty and independents are largely responsible for the gains.  In August, 46 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of independents viewed Pelosi favorably.  Today it’s 57 and 29 percent respectively.  For McConnell, 36 percent of Republicans and 11 percent of independents viewed him favorably in August; today those numbers stand at 45 and 27 percent.

Schumer’s ratings are holding steady.

Among Partisans

Pelosi receives a 57 percent favorable among Democrats.  That is higher than Schumer’s 40 percent among Democrats and McConnell’s 45 percent among Republicans.  McCarthy gets 29 percent among the party faithful.

For comparison, Republicans give Donald Trump a 75-point net positive rating:  87 percent favorable vs. 12 percent unfavorable.

Overall, views of Trump are slightly negative: 46 percent of voters have a favorable view of him, while 52 percent have an unfavorable one.

Pollpourri

The holiday season is in full swing with companies hosting parties and families preparing to get together.  Will politics play a part in who people choose to spend time with this year?

Not so much.

Two-thirds of voters (66 percent) say the political views of friends and family won’t be a factor at all.

Still, for 27 percent politics will be a factor (13 percent “a major factor” vs. 14 percent “a minor factor”).

Those most likely to say it will be a factor are nonwhites (38 percent), voters under age 45 (37 percent), Democrats (35 percent), and urban voters (35 percent).

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,006 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from December 9-11, 2018.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.

Fox News Poll: Republicans make gains in top Senate races

A new round of Fox News battleground polls shows a Republican trend in the fight for the U.S. Senate. The GOP candidates are helped by increased interest in the election among Republicans and pro-Donald Trump sentiment.

There’s been an uptick in GOP interest in all five states surveyed.  Compared to early September, the number of Republicans feeling “extremely” interested in the upcoming election is up by 2 points in Arizona, up by 9 points in Indiana, up 8 points in both Missouri and North Dakota, and up 11 points in Tennessee.  In each state, Republicans are now just as likely as Democrats to say they are extremely interested — erasing an edge Democrats had in several states last month.

The battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court might explain increased interest in the election among Republicans.  And how incumbent Senate Democrats vote on Kavanaugh could tip tight races, especially in Missouri and North Dakota.  Voting against his nomination hurts more than helps the Democrats in those states.

However, the races are far from settled.

Only one of the Senate candidates has a lead outside the survey’s margin of sampling error.  And that same candidate is also the only front-runner above the important marker of 50 percent support from their electorate.

Starting with Arizona, here are the state-by-state results:

Arizona
Democrat Kyrsten Sinema tops Republican Martha McSally by a 47-45 percent margin in the Senate race to fill the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake. Last month, Sinema was up 47-44 percent (September 8-11).

Sinema is helped by strong backing among women (+9 points), voters under age 45 (+14) and Hispanics (+29).  She also enjoys greater party loyalty, as 91 percent of Democrats back her vs. 83 percent of Republicans for McSally.

READ THE COMPLETE ARIZONA POLL RESULTS.

However, McSally’s overall support is stronger, with 83 percent of her backers saying they are certain to vote for her compared to 71 percent of Sinema’s.

Veterans prefer McSally, a retired Air Force pilot, by a 25-point margin.  In addition, she leads among white voters (+5) and voters over age 45 (+4).

The two candidates are about equally liked.  For Sinema, 48 percent have a favorable opinion vs. 41 percent unfavorable.  For McSally, it’s 46-45 percent.

President Trump won Arizona by nearly four percentage points in 2016.  That’s in line with his current job rating, as 51 percent of the state’s likely voters approve, while 47 percent disapprove.

Indiana
Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly tops Republican challenger Mike Braun by two points (43-41 percent), while Libertarian Lucy Brenton takes 6 percent.  Eight percent are undecided.

That’s a reversal from early September, when Braun had a two-point edge (45-43 percent).

Men are more likely to back Braun by a 9-point margin, while women pick Donnelly by 11.

READ THE COMPLETE INDIANA POLL RESULTS.

Voters with a college degree support Donnelly by 10 points, while those without a degree go for Braun by 3 points. 

Strength of support is about equal: 77 percent of Braun’s backers say they are certain to vote for him.  It’s 74 percent for Donnelly. 

If Donnelly votes against Kavanaugh, 30 percent say it would make them more likely to vote for him, 32 percent say less likely, and 34 percent say no difference.

The Democrat announced he would vote against Kavanaugh on September 28, after Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that included testimony by Christine Blasey Ford on her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

While Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 19 points in Indiana, today Hoosier voters approve of his job performance by just 6:  52 percent approve, while 46 percent disapprove.

Missouri

The Missouri Senate race is all tied up at 43 percent apiece for incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican challenger Josh Hawley, while other candidates garner 8 percent and six percent are undecided.  Three weeks ago, McCaskill was up 44-41 percent (September 8-11).

The survey also finds the race tied, 46-46 percent, in a hypothetical two-way matchup.

READ THE COMPLETE MISSOURI POLL RESULTS.

Suburban women (+15 points) and voters under age 45 (+6) are more likely to back McCaskill. 

The gender gap is somewhat diminished, as McCaskill’s advantage among women stands at 4 points, down from 9 points last month. 

Hawley has the edge among men (+5 points) and rural voters (+22).

About three-quarters of both McCaskill’s (75 percent) and Hawley’s supporters (74 percent) feel certain they will back their candidate. 

McCaskill announced she would vote against Kavanaugh September 19, a week before Kavanaugh and Ford testified.

Among the 28 percent of voters who say they could still switch candidates, almost twice as many say McCaskill voting against Kavanaugh’s confirmation would make them less inclined to back her. 

In general, voters have mixed views of both McCaskill (48 favorable vs. 48 unfavorable) and Hawley (47-45 percent).

The president remains popular in the Show-Me State: a majority of 54 percent approves of the job Trump is doing, while 45 percent disapprove.  He won Missouri by 19 points. 

North Dakota

Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats this year, along with Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly.

The survey shows Heitkamp may be in the most difficult position, as Republican challenger Kevin Cramer now leads by 12 points (53-41 percent).  Last month, he was up by four (48-44 percent).

READ THE COMPLETE NORTH DAKOTA POLL RESULTS.

The shift comes mainly from declines in support for Heitkamp among women (was up by 7 points, now trails by 4), and voters with a college degree (was up by 7, now trails by 8). 

More Democrats back Heitkamp (94 percent) than Republicans back Cramer (87 percent), but in a state so red that Trump won by nearly 40 points, that isn’t enough. 

Strength of support is also with Cramer.  Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) of his supporters are sure of their vote, compared to 8 in 10 Heitkamp backers (79 percent).

Heitkamp remains undecided on Kavanaugh.  If she votes against his confirmation, twice as many say they would be less likely (34 percent) rather than more likely (17 percent) to vote for her. 

By a 64-35 percent margin, likely voters approve of the president.  That 29-point spread comes close to matching his 36-point margin of victory in 2016.

Meanwhile, Republican Kelly Armstrong (51 percent) leads Democrat Mac Schneider (34 percent) by 17 points for the state’s only House seat, which Cramer vacated to run for Senate.

Tennessee

The president held a rally Monday in Johnson City, Tennessee.  He won the state by 26 points, and voters there still love him.  Likely voters in the Volunteer State approve of Trump’s job performance by 60-39 percent.

READ THE COMPLETE TENNESSEE POLL RESULTS

That helps put Republican Marsha Blackburn ahead of Democrat Phil Bredesen by a 48-43 percent margin.  Blackburn’s 5-point advantage is inside the poll’s margin of error. 

Last month, she had a 3-point edge over Bredesen.  They are competing for the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker.

Women go for Bredesen by 5 points, while men are more likely to pick Blackburn by 17.  Among white men, her lead grows to 30 points. 

Bredesen stays in the game by garnering greater party loyalty (92 percent of Democrats back him compared to 82 percent of GOP for her), while also taking 10 percent of Republicans. 

About the same share of Bredesen (79 percent certain) and Blackburn (77 percent) supporters say they are certain to vote for them. 

Plus, roughly equal numbers have a positive view of both Blackburn (50 favorable vs. 41 unfavorable) and Bredesen (51-39 percent), who served as Tennessee’s governor from 2003 to 2011.

Governor Pollpourri

In the Arizona governor’s race, Republican incumbent Doug Ducey leads: 55 percent vs. 37 percent for Democrat David Garcia.  One in five of Sinema’s supporters (20 percent) split their ballot and back the Republican, Ducey, for governor.

By a 17-point margin, Tennessee likely voters back Republican Bill Lee (53 percent) over Democrat Karl Dean (36 percent) in the state’s gubernatorial race.  Fourteen percent of those backing Bredesen in the Senate race defect to support Lee, the Republican, for governor.

The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R).  The poll was conducted September 29-October 2, 2018 by telephone (landline and cellphone) with live interviewers among likely voters in Arizona (716), Indiana (695), Missouri (683), North Dakota (704) and Tennessee (666).  Results based on the full sample in each state have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.  Registered voters were randomly selected from a statewide voter file (except in ND where all eligible voters were included), and respondents answered screening questions about their likelihood to vote in the November elections.

President Trump, health care drive midterm elections

Less than three weeks until Election Day, voters are thinking most about health care, the economy, and reining in President Trump — and Democratic candidates are benefitting.

Currently, 49 percent of likely voters back the Democratic candidate in their House district and 42 percent the Republican, according to a new Fox News national survey.  That 7-point lead is unchanged from last month, and just outside the poll’s margin of error.  Nine percent will vote for someone else or are undecided.

"If the election were today, the House would most likely flip," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the poll with Democrat Chris Anderson.  "Republicans keep waiting for the national numbers to tighten, but they have been remarkably stable this campaign season."

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POLL RESULTS

Here's how we get there:

— Top issue: Health care.  While majorities of likely voters say the economy (54 percent) and President Trump (51 percent) will be "extremely" important to their House vote, more voters feel that way about health care (58 percent) — and that group prefers the Democratic candidate by a 24-point margin.  Meanwhile, a majority disapproves of how Trump is handling health care.

— Guardrails for Trump.  By a 53-41 percent margin, likely voters say having the next Congress be a check on the president is more important than helping Trump enact his policies.  In counties where the 2016 vote was close (Hillary Clinton and Trump within 10 points), a majority of 56 percent want a check on Trump, and Democrats lead the generic ballot in these counties by 12 points.

— Trump job performance.  The president’s job rating is underwater by 4 points (47-51 percent).  Trump gets net negative ratings on health care (-16 points), immigration (-14 points), Supreme Court nominees (-8), and border security and trade (both -7).  At a negative 22, race relations is his worst issue.  He receives positive marks for handling hurricanes (+2) and the economy (+6).

— The economy and family finances.  Fewer voters are confident in their personal financial future compared to 2015.  At that time, 73 percent felt certain.  Today, that’s 68 percent.  The ratings are highly partisan, as twice as many Republicans (41 percent) as Democrats (19 percent) feel “very” confident in their financial future.  Likewise, 73 percent of Republicans rate the economy positively, while 33 percent of Democrats agree.  Overall, views are mixed:  49 percent feel the economy is in excellent or good shape vs. 48 percent saying only fair or poor.

— Popularity contest.  More voters have a favorable view than an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party by 3 points, while the Republican Party rating is a net negative by 7 and President Trump is under water by 9.  The Me Too Movement rating is +16.

— Women.  There’s a wide gender gap, as women likely voters support the Democratic candidate by 18 points, while men back the Republican by 6.  Since 2016, white women have shifted from backing Trump by 9 points to backing the Democrat by 2 points today.  Democrats are up by 56 points among non-white women, by 35 points with women under age 45, and by 19 points among suburban women.

— GOP positions out of favor.  The only issue that draws clear support for the GOP candidate is border security, as those naming it as extremely important to their vote back the Republican by 23 points.  Seventy percent of likely voters favor a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently working in the U.S.  More like Obamacare (54 percent favorable) than the tax cut law (45 percent favorable) — plus health care (58 percent) is extremely important to more voters than taxes (44 percent) when it comes to their congressional vote.

— Kavanaugh.  Likely voters split over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court:  47 approve vs. 48 disapprove.  And the 46 percent saying Supreme Court nominations are extremely important to their vote are more likely to favor the Democrat by 7 points.

— Enthusiasm.  Voters who backed Clinton two years ago are more likely than Trump 2016 voters to say this election outcome is “extremely” important (by 14 points), more likely to be “extremely” interested (by 11 points), and also more likely than Trump voters to be motivated by enthusiasm for their candidate rather than by fear the other candidate might win (by 7 points).

— Motivation.  When asked to name what one issue will motivate them to vote this year (without the aid of a list), the top three mentioned by likely voters are health care (13 percent), reining in Trump (10), and the economy (9).  Next, it is Democrats getting control of Congress (8 percent), immigration reform (7), and border security (5).

— White voters.  Whites are more likely to back the GOP candidate by 8 points.  In 2014, they voted for the Republicans by 22 points.

— Certainty.  Groups with the largest number saying they are certain to vote include very conservatives (89 percent), voters ages 45+ (87), voters with a college degree (86), and suburban women (84).  Those with the lowest share certain to vote include Trump approvers (79 percent), voters without a college degree (77), and men under 45 (68).

Pollpourri

— Majorities of likely voters are “extremely” concerned about the affordability of health care (65 percent), denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions (62), and people losing health insurance (61).  Fewer say the same about a government takeover of health care (40).

"It's clear that every day the news is dominated by another political outrage or controversy is a missed opportunity for Democrats," says Anderson.  "Voters are broadly in agreement with Democrats on health care and the more focus on the issue the better for them."

— Two-thirds feel political correctness in this country has gone too far, including 82 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents, and 48 percent of Democrats.

— Overall, 51 percent feel extremely or very concerned political disagreements these days will lead to violence — and on that, roughly equal numbers of Democrats (52 percent) and Republicans (50 percent) agree.

— While ratings of Congress remain low, 23 percent approve, that’s up from 15 percent in January.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,007 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from October 13-16, 2018. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.  For the subgroup of 841 likely voters, the margin of sampling error is also plus or minus three points.

Fox News Poll: Trump approval remains high in Senate battleground states

A new round of Fox News battleground state polls proves we don’t call them battlegrounds for nothing.  With six days until the election, three of the five U.S. Senate races could go either way — and while Republicans hold leads in the other two, Democratic enthusiasm could still close the gap.

President Trump’s approval rating is at or above 50 percent in all.  Yet in only two, North Dakota and Tennessee, does a GOP Senate candidate hit 50 percent support.

In two other states, Arizona and Missouri, the candidates are tied.  The race in Indiana has reversed since early September — however, one in five voters there who currently back a candidate say they may still change their mind.

No doubt, there will still be movement during the campaign’s final days.

Here are the state-by-state results, starting with Arizona:

Arizona

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally tie at 46 percent apiece among Arizona likely voters.  Sinema was up by two points in early October and by three in September.

Hispanics prefer Sinema by 29 points, while rural whites favor McSally by 27.

CLICK FOR FULL ARIZONA POLL RESULTS

"Sinema's nearly two-to-one advantage among Hispanics means slightly higher Hispanic turnout than in the past could tip the race to the Democrat — but the data doesn’t suggest a surge,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News surveys with Republican Daron Shaw.

The survey finds the number of Hispanic voters extremely interested in the election trails interest among non-Hispanic whites by 15 points.

Both Sinema (88 percent) and McSally supporters (88 percent) have a high degree of vote certainty, and equal numbers of Democrats (50 percent) and Republicans (50 percent) are extremely interested in the election.

Ninety-three percent of Democrats back Sinema, while 85 percent of Republicans support McSally.   More Arizona voters identify as Republican than as Democrat by 10 points.

Five percent are still undecided about their vote in the Senate race.

The candidates are competing for the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

Trump won Arizona by nearly four points.  Currently, 52 percent of Arizona likely voters approve of the job he is doing, and 81 percent of Trump approvers are for McSally.

In the governor’s race, Republican incumbent Doug Ducey leads Democrat David Garcia by a comfortable 55-37 percent.

Indiana

Incumbent Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly bests Republican challenger Mike Braun by seven points among Indiana likely voters, 45-38 percent.  His lead is at the poll’s margin of error.  The race shifted since September when Braun was up by two points.  In early October, Donnelly was up by two.

Donnelly’s edge comes in large part from greater party loyalty and higher interest in the election among Democrats.  Fully 88 percent of Democrats back him vs. 80 percent of Republicans for Braun.  In addition, nearly 1 in 10 Republicans go for Donnelly.  Independents are about twice as likely to support the incumbent.

CLICK FOR FULL INDIANA POLL RESULTS

More Democrats (49 percent) than Republicans (43 percent) are extremely interested in the race.

Eighty-three percent of Donnelly supporters and 80 percent of Braun supporters feel certain of their vote choice.

Nine percent of Indiana likely voters are undecided.  Libertarian Lucy Breton takes five percent and that could be a wild card.

"Republican voters who flirt with Libertarian candidates tend to come home to the Republican candidate in the last few days,” says Shaw.

He adds, “Donnelly being under 50 percent bodes well for the less well-known challenger."

While Trump won Indiana by 19 points, more voters currently approve (50 percent) than disapprove (48 percent) of the job he is doing by just 2.  In early September, more approved than disapproved by 10 (54-44 percent).

Missouri

The Missouri Senate race is a toss-up.  Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill and her Republican challenger Josh Hawley tie at 43 percent apiece.

Another four percent support another candidate, and nine percent are undecided.

CLICK FOR FULL MISSOURI POLL RESULTS

The race was also tied, 43-43 percent, at the beginning of October.

McCaskill has a 10-point advantage in party support:  93 percent of Democrats back her compared to 83 percent of Republicans going for Hawley.  The preference among independents splits.

Men break for Hawley by four points.  Women favor McCaskill by three.

Whites with a college degree support McCaskill by 6 points, while whites without a degree go for Hawley by 16.

More Democrats than Republicans are extremely interested in the election (55 vs. 48 percent respectively).

The candidates also tie in a hypothetical two-way matchup: 45-45 percent.

Among the subgroup of extremely interested voters, Hawley is up by three points in the two-way matchup, while McCaskill is up by one point in the expansive ballot.

Fifty-four percent of Missouri likely voters approve of Trump’s job performance, which nearly matches his 57 percent of the vote in 2016.

Tennessee

Republican Marsha Blackburn is pulling away from Democrat Phil Bredesen in the race to fill retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s seat.

She is preferred 50-41 percent over the former governor among Tennessee likely voters.  That 9-point lead is outside the poll’s margin of sampling error.  She was up by five points in early October.

CLICK FOR FULL TENNESSEE POLL RESULTS

Blackburn’s advantage comes despite more Democrats (55 percent) than Republicans (48 percent) being extremely interested in the election — as well as greater party loyalty among Democrats.  Fully 92 percent of Democrats back Bredesen vs. 87 percent of Republicans supporting Blackburn.

It helps Blackburn that more Tennesseans identify as Republicans by a nearly 20-point margin.

There is a 35-point gender gap: women back Bredesen by 7 points and men support Blackburn by 28.

Eighty-eight percent of each candidate’s backers feel certain they will stick with their pick.

Trump remains popular in the Volunteer State.  He won 61 percent of the vote here, and 58 percent approve of his job performance.

In the Tennessee governor’s race, Republican Bill Lee leads Democrat Karl Dean by 54-37 percent.  Eleven percent of those backing Bredesen cross party lines to support Lee.

North Dakota

Democratic incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp trails Republican Kevin Cramer by nine points.  Cramer garners 51 percent to Heitkamp’s 42 percent among North Dakota likely voters.

In early October, Cramer had a 12-point lead (53-41 percent).  Even though the race has narrowed a bit, it is the second time the Fox News poll shows him above 50 percent.

Cramer’s lead is outside the margin of error.

CLICK FOR FULL NORTH DAKOTA POLL RESULTS

In a state that went for Trump by 36 points, Heitkamp is able to keep the race as close as it is thanks to greater support among Democrats.

Ninety-four percent of Democrats back Heitkamp.  Support for Cramer among Republicans stands at 85 percent.  The vote preference among independents goes in Heitkamp’s favor by a narrow three points.

Many more North Dakotans identify as Republican than as Democrat.

There is a 22-point gender gap, as Heitkamp is the choice for women by 1 point and men go for Cramer by 21.

By a 5-point margin, more Democrats (56 percent) than Republicans (51 percent) feel extremely interested in the election.

Among Cramer supporters, 92 percent feel sure they will vote for him, while 88 percent of Heitkamp supporters say the same.

Four percent are undecided about their Senate vote, and eight percent who currently support a candidate feel they could change their mind.

Heitkamp outperforms the other Democrat on the ballot this year.  Mac Schneider is running against Republican Kelly Armstrong to take the state’s lone House seat vacated by Cramer.  Armstrong leads by 55-33 percent.

Sixty-one percent of North Dakota likely voters approve of the job Trump is doing.  He won 63 percent of the vote in 2016.

The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R).  The poll was conducted October 27-30, 2018 by telephone (landline and cellphone) with live interviewers among likely voters in Indiana (722), Missouri (741), North Dakota (789) and Tennessee (718).  Results based on the full sample of likely voters in each state except North Dakota have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.  ND is plus or minus three points.  Registered voters were randomly selected from a statewide voter file (except in ND where all eligible voters were included), and respondents answered screening questions about their likelihood to vote in the November elections.  For Arizona, it is October 27-29 and 643 likely voters, plus or minus 3.5 points.

Fox News Poll: Republicans make gains in top Senate races

A new round of Fox News battleground polls shows a Republican trend in the fight for the U.S. Senate. The GOP candidates are helped by increased interest in the election among Republicans and pro-Donald Trump sentiment.

There’s been an uptick in GOP interest in all five states surveyed.  Compared to early September, the number of Republicans feeling “extremely” interested in the upcoming election is up by 2 points in Arizona, up by 9 points in Indiana, up 8 points in both Missouri and North Dakota, and up 11 points in Tennessee.  In each state, Republicans are now just as likely as Democrats to say they are extremely interested — erasing an edge Democrats had in several states last month.

The battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court might explain increased interest in the election among Republicans.  And how incumbent Senate Democrats vote on Kavanaugh could tip tight races, especially in Missouri and North Dakota.  Voting against his nomination hurts more than helps the Democrats in those states.

However, the races are far from settled.

Only one of the Senate candidates has a lead outside the survey’s margin of sampling error.  And that same candidate is also the only front-runner above the important marker of 50 percent support from their electorate.

Starting with Arizona, here are the state-by-state results:

Arizona
Democrat Kyrsten Sinema tops Republican Martha McSally by a 47-45 percent margin in the Senate race to fill the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake. Last month, Sinema was up 47-44 percent (September 8-11).

Sinema is helped by strong backing among women (+9 points), voters under age 45 (+14) and Hispanics (+29).  She also enjoys greater party loyalty, as 91 percent of Democrats back her vs. 83 percent of Republicans for McSally.

READ THE COMPLETE ARIZONA POLL RESULTS.

However, McSally’s overall support is stronger, with 83 percent of her backers saying they are certain to vote for her compared to 71 percent of Sinema’s.

Veterans prefer McSally, a retired Air Force pilot, by a 25-point margin.  In addition, she leads among white voters (+5) and voters over age 45 (+4).

The two candidates are about equally liked.  For Sinema, 48 percent have a favorable opinion vs. 41 percent unfavorable.  For McSally, it’s 46-45 percent.

President Trump won Arizona by nearly four percentage points in 2016.  That’s in line with his current job rating, as 51 percent of the state’s likely voters approve, while 47 percent disapprove.

Indiana
Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly tops Republican challenger Mike Braun by two points (43-41 percent), while Libertarian Lucy Brenton takes 6 percent.  Eight percent are undecided.

That’s a reversal from early September, when Braun had a two-point edge (45-43 percent).

Men are more likely to back Braun by a 9-point margin, while women pick Donnelly by 11.

READ THE COMPLETE INDIANA POLL RESULTS.

Voters with a college degree support Donnelly by 10 points, while those without a degree go for Braun by 3 points. 

Strength of support is about equal: 77 percent of Braun’s backers say they are certain to vote for him.  It’s 74 percent for Donnelly. 

If Donnelly votes against Kavanaugh, 30 percent say it would make them more likely to vote for him, 32 percent say less likely, and 34 percent say no difference.

The Democrat announced he would vote against Kavanaugh on September 28, after Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that included testimony by Christine Blasey Ford on her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

While Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 19 points in Indiana, today Hoosier voters approve of his job performance by just 6:  52 percent approve, while 46 percent disapprove.

Missouri

The Missouri Senate race is all tied up at 43 percent apiece for incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican challenger Josh Hawley, while other candidates garner 8 percent and six percent are undecided.  Three weeks ago, McCaskill was up 44-41 percent (September 8-11).

The survey also finds the race tied, 46-46 percent, in a hypothetical two-way matchup.

READ THE COMPLETE MISSOURI POLL RESULTS.

Suburban women (+15 points) and voters under age 45 (+6) are more likely to back McCaskill. 

The gender gap is somewhat diminished, as McCaskill’s advantage among women stands at 4 points, down from 9 points last month. 

Hawley has the edge among men (+5 points) and rural voters (+22).

About three-quarters of both McCaskill’s (75 percent) and Hawley’s supporters (74 percent) feel certain they will back their candidate. 

McCaskill announced she would vote against Kavanaugh September 19, a week before Kavanaugh and Ford testified.

Among the 28 percent of voters who say they could still switch candidates, almost twice as many say McCaskill voting against Kavanaugh’s confirmation would make them less inclined to back her. 

In general, voters have mixed views of both McCaskill (48 favorable vs. 48 unfavorable) and Hawley (47-45 percent).

The president remains popular in the Show-Me State: a majority of 54 percent approves of the job Trump is doing, while 45 percent disapprove.  He won Missouri by 19 points. 

North Dakota

Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats this year, along with Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly.

The survey shows Heitkamp may be in the most difficult position, as Republican challenger Kevin Cramer now leads by 12 points (53-41 percent).  Last month, he was up by four (48-44 percent).

READ THE COMPLETE NORTH DAKOTA POLL RESULTS.

The shift comes mainly from declines in support for Heitkamp among women (was up by 7 points, now trails by 4), and voters with a college degree (was up by 7, now trails by 8). 

More Democrats back Heitkamp (94 percent) than Republicans back Cramer (87 percent), but in a state so red that Trump won by nearly 40 points, that isn’t enough. 

Strength of support is also with Cramer.  Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) of his supporters are sure of their vote, compared to 8 in 10 Heitkamp backers (79 percent).

Heitkamp remains undecided on Kavanaugh.  If she votes against his confirmation, twice as many say they would be less likely (34 percent) rather than more likely (17 percent) to vote for her. 

By a 64-35 percent margin, likely voters approve of the president.  That 29-point spread comes close to matching his 36-point margin of victory in 2016.

Meanwhile, Republican Kelly Armstrong (51 percent) leads Democrat Mac Schneider (34 percent) by 17 points for the state’s only House seat, which Cramer vacated to run for Senate.

Tennessee

The president held a rally Monday in Johnson City, Tennessee.  He won the state by 26 points, and voters there still love him.  Likely voters in the Volunteer State approve of Trump’s job performance by 60-39 percent.

READ THE COMPLETE TENNESSEE POLL RESULTS

That helps put Republican Marsha Blackburn ahead of Democrat Phil Bredesen by a 48-43 percent margin.  Blackburn’s 5-point advantage is inside the poll’s margin of error. 

Last month, she had a 3-point edge over Bredesen.  They are competing for the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker.

Women go for Bredesen by 5 points, while men are more likely to pick Blackburn by 17.  Among white men, her lead grows to 30 points. 

Bredesen stays in the game by garnering greater party loyalty (92 percent of Democrats back him compared to 82 percent of GOP for her), while also taking 10 percent of Republicans. 

About the same share of Bredesen (79 percent certain) and Blackburn (77 percent) supporters say they are certain to vote for them. 

Plus, roughly equal numbers have a positive view of both Blackburn (50 favorable vs. 41 unfavorable) and Bredesen (51-39 percent), who served as Tennessee’s governor from 2003 to 2011.

Governor Pollpourri

In the Arizona governor’s race, Republican incumbent Doug Ducey leads: 55 percent vs. 37 percent for Democrat David Garcia.  One in five of Sinema’s supporters (20 percent) split their ballot and back the Republican, Ducey, for governor.

By a 17-point margin, Tennessee likely voters back Republican Bill Lee (53 percent) over Democrat Karl Dean (36 percent) in the state’s gubernatorial race.  Fourteen percent of those backing Bredesen in the Senate race defect to support Lee, the Republican, for governor.

The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R).  The poll was conducted September 29-October 2, 2018 by telephone (landline and cellphone) with live interviewers among likely voters in Arizona (716), Indiana (695), Missouri (683), North Dakota (704) and Tennessee (666).  Results based on the full sample in each state have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.  Registered voters were randomly selected from a statewide voter file (except in ND where all eligible voters were included), and respondents answered screening questions about their likelihood to vote in the November elections.

President Trump, health care drive midterm elections

Less than three weeks until Election Day, voters are thinking most about health care, the economy, and reining in President Trump — and Democratic candidates are benefitting.

Currently, 49 percent of likely voters back the Democratic candidate in their House district and 42 percent the Republican, according to a new Fox News national survey.  That 7-point lead is unchanged from last month, and just outside the poll’s margin of error.  Nine percent will vote for someone else or are undecided.

"If the election were today, the House would most likely flip," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the poll with Democrat Chris Anderson.  "Republicans keep waiting for the national numbers to tighten, but they have been remarkably stable this campaign season."

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POLL RESULTS

Here's how we get there:

— Top issue: Health care.  While majorities of likely voters say the economy (54 percent) and President Trump (51 percent) will be "extremely" important to their House vote, more voters feel that way about health care (58 percent) — and that group prefers the Democratic candidate by a 24-point margin.  Meanwhile, a majority disapproves of how Trump is handling health care.

— Guardrails for Trump.  By a 53-41 percent margin, likely voters say having the next Congress be a check on the president is more important than helping Trump enact his policies.  In counties where the 2016 vote was close (Hillary Clinton and Trump within 10 points), a majority of 56 percent want a check on Trump, and Democrats lead the generic ballot in these counties by 12 points.

— Trump job performance.  The president’s job rating is underwater by 4 points (47-51 percent).  Trump gets net negative ratings on health care (-16 points), immigration (-14 points), Supreme Court nominees (-8), and border security and trade (both -7).  At a negative 22, race relations is his worst issue.  He receives positive marks for handling hurricanes (+2) and the economy (+6).

— The economy and family finances.  Fewer voters are confident in their personal financial future compared to 2015.  At that time, 73 percent felt certain.  Today, that’s 68 percent.  The ratings are highly partisan, as twice as many Republicans (41 percent) as Democrats (19 percent) feel “very” confident in their financial future.  Likewise, 73 percent of Republicans rate the economy positively, while 33 percent of Democrats agree.  Overall, views are mixed:  49 percent feel the economy is in excellent or good shape vs. 48 percent saying only fair or poor.

— Popularity contest.  More voters have a favorable view than an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party by 3 points, while the Republican Party rating is a net negative by 7 and President Trump is under water by 9.  The Me Too Movement rating is +16.

— Women.  There’s a wide gender gap, as women likely voters support the Democratic candidate by 18 points, while men back the Republican by 6.  Since 2016, white women have shifted from backing Trump by 9 points to backing the Democrat by 2 points today.  Democrats are up by 56 points among non-white women, by 35 points with women under age 45, and by 19 points among suburban women.

— GOP positions out of favor.  The only issue that draws clear support for the GOP candidate is border security, as those naming it as extremely important to their vote back the Republican by 23 points.  Seventy percent of likely voters favor a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently working in the U.S.  More like Obamacare (54 percent favorable) than the tax cut law (45 percent favorable) — plus health care (58 percent) is extremely important to more voters than taxes (44 percent) when it comes to their congressional vote.

— Kavanaugh.  Likely voters split over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court:  47 approve vs. 48 disapprove.  And the 46 percent saying Supreme Court nominations are extremely important to their vote are more likely to favor the Democrat by 7 points.

— Enthusiasm.  Voters who backed Clinton two years ago are more likely than Trump 2016 voters to say this election outcome is “extremely” important (by 14 points), more likely to be “extremely” interested (by 11 points), and also more likely than Trump voters to be motivated by enthusiasm for their candidate rather than by fear the other candidate might win (by 7 points).

— Motivation.  When asked to name what one issue will motivate them to vote this year (without the aid of a list), the top three mentioned by likely voters are health care (13 percent), reining in Trump (10), and the economy (9).  Next, it is Democrats getting control of Congress (8 percent), immigration reform (7), and border security (5).

— White voters.  Whites are more likely to back the GOP candidate by 8 points.  In 2014, they voted for the Republicans by 22 points.

— Certainty.  Groups with the largest number saying they are certain to vote include very conservatives (89 percent), voters ages 45+ (87), voters with a college degree (86), and suburban women (84).  Those with the lowest share certain to vote include Trump approvers (79 percent), voters without a college degree (77), and men under 45 (68).

Pollpourri

— Majorities of likely voters are “extremely” concerned about the affordability of health care (65 percent), denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions (62), and people losing health insurance (61).  Fewer say the same about a government takeover of health care (40).

"It's clear that every day the news is dominated by another political outrage or controversy is a missed opportunity for Democrats," says Anderson.  "Voters are broadly in agreement with Democrats on health care and the more focus on the issue the better for them."

— Two-thirds feel political correctness in this country has gone too far, including 82 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents, and 48 percent of Democrats.

— Overall, 51 percent feel extremely or very concerned political disagreements these days will lead to violence — and on that, roughly equal numbers of Democrats (52 percent) and Republicans (50 percent) agree.

— While ratings of Congress remain low, 23 percent approve, that’s up from 15 percent in January.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,007 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from October 13-16, 2018. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.  For the subgroup of 841 likely voters, the margin of sampling error is also plus or minus three points.

Fox News Poll: Trump approval remains high in Senate battleground states

A new round of Fox News battleground state polls proves we don’t call them battlegrounds for nothing.  With six days until the election, three of the five U.S. Senate races could go either way — and while Republicans hold leads in the other two, Democratic enthusiasm could still close the gap.

President Trump’s approval rating is at or above 50 percent in all.  Yet in only two, North Dakota and Tennessee, does a GOP Senate candidate hit 50 percent support.

In two other states, Arizona and Missouri, the candidates are tied.  The race in Indiana has reversed since early September — however, one in five voters there who currently back a candidate say they may still change their mind.

No doubt, there will still be movement during the campaign’s final days.

Here are the state-by-state results, starting with Arizona:

Arizona

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally tie at 46 percent apiece among Arizona likely voters.  Sinema was up by two points in early October and by three in September.

Hispanics prefer Sinema by 29 points, while rural whites favor McSally by 27.

CLICK FOR FULL ARIZONA POLL RESULTS

"Sinema's nearly two-to-one advantage among Hispanics means slightly higher Hispanic turnout than in the past could tip the race to the Democrat — but the data doesn’t suggest a surge,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News surveys with Republican Daron Shaw.

The survey finds the number of Hispanic voters extremely interested in the election trails interest among non-Hispanic whites by 15 points.

Both Sinema (88 percent) and McSally supporters (88 percent) have a high degree of vote certainty, and equal numbers of Democrats (50 percent) and Republicans (50 percent) are extremely interested in the election.

Ninety-three percent of Democrats back Sinema, while 85 percent of Republicans support McSally.   More Arizona voters identify as Republican than as Democrat by 10 points.

Five percent are still undecided about their vote in the Senate race.

The candidates are competing for the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

Trump won Arizona by nearly four points.  Currently, 52 percent of Arizona likely voters approve of the job he is doing, and 81 percent of Trump approvers are for McSally.

In the governor’s race, Republican incumbent Doug Ducey leads Democrat David Garcia by a comfortable 55-37 percent.

Indiana

Incumbent Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly bests Republican challenger Mike Braun by seven points among Indiana likely voters, 45-38 percent.  His lead is at the poll’s margin of error.  The race shifted since September when Braun was up by two points.  In early October, Donnelly was up by two.

Donnelly’s edge comes in large part from greater party loyalty and higher interest in the election among Democrats.  Fully 88 percent of Democrats back him vs. 80 percent of Republicans for Braun.  In addition, nearly 1 in 10 Republicans go for Donnelly.  Independents are about twice as likely to support the incumbent.

CLICK FOR FULL INDIANA POLL RESULTS

More Democrats (49 percent) than Republicans (43 percent) are extremely interested in the race.

Eighty-three percent of Donnelly supporters and 80 percent of Braun supporters feel certain of their vote choice.

Nine percent of Indiana likely voters are undecided.  Libertarian Lucy Breton takes five percent and that could be a wild card.

"Republican voters who flirt with Libertarian candidates tend to come home to the Republican candidate in the last few days,” says Shaw.

He adds, “Donnelly being under 50 percent bodes well for the less well-known challenger."

While Trump won Indiana by 19 points, more voters currently approve (50 percent) than disapprove (48 percent) of the job he is doing by just 2.  In early September, more approved than disapproved by 10 (54-44 percent).

Missouri

The Missouri Senate race is a toss-up.  Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill and her Republican challenger Josh Hawley tie at 43 percent apiece.

Another four percent support another candidate, and nine percent are undecided.

CLICK FOR FULL MISSOURI POLL RESULTS

The race was also tied, 43-43 percent, at the beginning of October.

McCaskill has a 10-point advantage in party support:  93 percent of Democrats back her compared to 83 percent of Republicans going for Hawley.  The preference among independents splits.

Men break for Hawley by four points.  Women favor McCaskill by three.

Whites with a college degree support McCaskill by 6 points, while whites without a degree go for Hawley by 16.

More Democrats than Republicans are extremely interested in the election (55 vs. 48 percent respectively).

The candidates also tie in a hypothetical two-way matchup: 45-45 percent.

Among the subgroup of extremely interested voters, Hawley is up by three points in the two-way matchup, while McCaskill is up by one point in the expansive ballot.

Fifty-four percent of Missouri likely voters approve of Trump’s job performance, which nearly matches his 57 percent of the vote in 2016.

Tennessee

Republican Marsha Blackburn is pulling away from Democrat Phil Bredesen in the race to fill retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s seat.

She is preferred 50-41 percent over the former governor among Tennessee likely voters.  That 9-point lead is outside the poll’s margin of sampling error.  She was up by five points in early October.

CLICK FOR FULL TENNESSEE POLL RESULTS

Blackburn’s advantage comes despite more Democrats (55 percent) than Republicans (48 percent) being extremely interested in the election — as well as greater party loyalty among Democrats.  Fully 92 percent of Democrats back Bredesen vs. 87 percent of Republicans supporting Blackburn.

It helps Blackburn that more Tennesseans identify as Republicans by a nearly 20-point margin.

There is a 35-point gender gap: women back Bredesen by 7 points and men support Blackburn by 28.

Eighty-eight percent of each candidate’s backers feel certain they will stick with their pick.

Trump remains popular in the Volunteer State.  He won 61 percent of the vote here, and 58 percent approve of his job performance.

In the Tennessee governor’s race, Republican Bill Lee leads Democrat Karl Dean by 54-37 percent.  Eleven percent of those backing Bredesen cross party lines to support Lee.

North Dakota

Democratic incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp trails Republican Kevin Cramer by nine points.  Cramer garners 51 percent to Heitkamp’s 42 percent among North Dakota likely voters.

In early October, Cramer had a 12-point lead (53-41 percent).  Even though the race has narrowed a bit, it is the second time the Fox News poll shows him above 50 percent.

Cramer’s lead is outside the margin of error.

CLICK FOR FULL NORTH DAKOTA POLL RESULTS

In a state that went for Trump by 36 points, Heitkamp is able to keep the race as close as it is thanks to greater support among Democrats.

Ninety-four percent of Democrats back Heitkamp.  Support for Cramer among Republicans stands at 85 percent.  The vote preference among independents goes in Heitkamp’s favor by a narrow three points.

Many more North Dakotans identify as Republican than as Democrat.

There is a 22-point gender gap, as Heitkamp is the choice for women by 1 point and men go for Cramer by 21.

By a 5-point margin, more Democrats (56 percent) than Republicans (51 percent) feel extremely interested in the election.

Among Cramer supporters, 92 percent feel sure they will vote for him, while 88 percent of Heitkamp supporters say the same.

Four percent are undecided about their Senate vote, and eight percent who currently support a candidate feel they could change their mind.

Heitkamp outperforms the other Democrat on the ballot this year.  Mac Schneider is running against Republican Kelly Armstrong to take the state’s lone House seat vacated by Cramer.  Armstrong leads by 55-33 percent.

Sixty-one percent of North Dakota likely voters approve of the job Trump is doing.  He won 63 percent of the vote in 2016.

The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R).  The poll was conducted October 27-30, 2018 by telephone (landline and cellphone) with live interviewers among likely voters in Indiana (722), Missouri (741), North Dakota (789) and Tennessee (718).  Results based on the full sample of likely voters in each state except North Dakota have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.  ND is plus or minus three points.  Registered voters were randomly selected from a statewide voter file (except in ND where all eligible voters were included), and respondents answered screening questions about their likelihood to vote in the November elections.  For Arizona, it is October 27-29 and 643 likely voters, plus or minus 3.5 points.

Fox News Poll: Republicans make gains in top Senate races

A new round of Fox News battleground polls shows a Republican trend in the fight for the U.S. Senate. The GOP candidates are helped by increased interest in the election among Republicans and pro-Donald Trump sentiment.

There’s been an uptick in GOP interest in all five states surveyed.  Compared to early September, the number of Republicans feeling “extremely” interested in the upcoming election is up by 2 points in Arizona, up by 9 points in Indiana, up 8 points in both Missouri and North Dakota, and up 11 points in Tennessee.  In each state, Republicans are now just as likely as Democrats to say they are extremely interested — erasing an edge Democrats had in several states last month.

The battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court might explain increased interest in the election among Republicans.  And how incumbent Senate Democrats vote on Kavanaugh could tip tight races, especially in Missouri and North Dakota.  Voting against his nomination hurts more than helps the Democrats in those states.

However, the races are far from settled.

Only one of the Senate candidates has a lead outside the survey’s margin of sampling error.  And that same candidate is also the only front-runner above the important marker of 50 percent support from their electorate.

Starting with Arizona, here are the state-by-state results:

Arizona
Democrat Kyrsten Sinema tops Republican Martha McSally by a 47-45 percent margin in the Senate race to fill the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake. Last month, Sinema was up 47-44 percent (September 8-11).

Sinema is helped by strong backing among women (+9 points), voters under age 45 (+14) and Hispanics (+29).  She also enjoys greater party loyalty, as 91 percent of Democrats back her vs. 83 percent of Republicans for McSally.

READ THE COMPLETE ARIZONA POLL RESULTS.

However, McSally’s overall support is stronger, with 83 percent of her backers saying they are certain to vote for her compared to 71 percent of Sinema’s.

Veterans prefer McSally, a retired Air Force pilot, by a 25-point margin.  In addition, she leads among white voters (+5) and voters over age 45 (+4).

The two candidates are about equally liked.  For Sinema, 48 percent have a favorable opinion vs. 41 percent unfavorable.  For McSally, it’s 46-45 percent.

President Trump won Arizona by nearly four percentage points in 2016.  That’s in line with his current job rating, as 51 percent of the state’s likely voters approve, while 47 percent disapprove.

Indiana
Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly tops Republican challenger Mike Braun by two points (43-41 percent), while Libertarian Lucy Brenton takes 6 percent.  Eight percent are undecided.

That’s a reversal from early September, when Braun had a two-point edge (45-43 percent).

Men are more likely to back Braun by a 9-point margin, while women pick Donnelly by 11.

READ THE COMPLETE INDIANA POLL RESULTS.

Voters with a college degree support Donnelly by 10 points, while those without a degree go for Braun by 3 points. 

Strength of support is about equal: 77 percent of Braun’s backers say they are certain to vote for him.  It’s 74 percent for Donnelly. 

If Donnelly votes against Kavanaugh, 30 percent say it would make them more likely to vote for him, 32 percent say less likely, and 34 percent say no difference.

The Democrat announced he would vote against Kavanaugh on September 28, after Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that included testimony by Christine Blasey Ford on her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

While Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 19 points in Indiana, today Hoosier voters approve of his job performance by just 6:  52 percent approve, while 46 percent disapprove.

Missouri

The Missouri Senate race is all tied up at 43 percent apiece for incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican challenger Josh Hawley, while other candidates garner 8 percent and six percent are undecided.  Three weeks ago, McCaskill was up 44-41 percent (September 8-11).

The survey also finds the race tied, 46-46 percent, in a hypothetical two-way matchup.

READ THE COMPLETE MISSOURI POLL RESULTS.

Suburban women (+15 points) and voters under age 45 (+6) are more likely to back McCaskill. 

The gender gap is somewhat diminished, as McCaskill’s advantage among women stands at 4 points, down from 9 points last month. 

Hawley has the edge among men (+5 points) and rural voters (+22).

About three-quarters of both McCaskill’s (75 percent) and Hawley’s supporters (74 percent) feel certain they will back their candidate. 

McCaskill announced she would vote against Kavanaugh September 19, a week before Kavanaugh and Ford testified.

Among the 28 percent of voters who say they could still switch candidates, almost twice as many say McCaskill voting against Kavanaugh’s confirmation would make them less inclined to back her. 

In general, voters have mixed views of both McCaskill (48 favorable vs. 48 unfavorable) and Hawley (47-45 percent).

The president remains popular in the Show-Me State: a majority of 54 percent approves of the job Trump is doing, while 45 percent disapprove.  He won Missouri by 19 points. 

North Dakota

Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats this year, along with Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly.

The survey shows Heitkamp may be in the most difficult position, as Republican challenger Kevin Cramer now leads by 12 points (53-41 percent).  Last month, he was up by four (48-44 percent).

READ THE COMPLETE NORTH DAKOTA POLL RESULTS.

The shift comes mainly from declines in support for Heitkamp among women (was up by 7 points, now trails by 4), and voters with a college degree (was up by 7, now trails by 8). 

More Democrats back Heitkamp (94 percent) than Republicans back Cramer (87 percent), but in a state so red that Trump won by nearly 40 points, that isn’t enough. 

Strength of support is also with Cramer.  Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) of his supporters are sure of their vote, compared to 8 in 10 Heitkamp backers (79 percent).

Heitkamp remains undecided on Kavanaugh.  If she votes against his confirmation, twice as many say they would be less likely (34 percent) rather than more likely (17 percent) to vote for her. 

By a 64-35 percent margin, likely voters approve of the president.  That 29-point spread comes close to matching his 36-point margin of victory in 2016.

Meanwhile, Republican Kelly Armstrong (51 percent) leads Democrat Mac Schneider (34 percent) by 17 points for the state’s only House seat, which Cramer vacated to run for Senate.

Tennessee

The president held a rally Monday in Johnson City, Tennessee.  He won the state by 26 points, and voters there still love him.  Likely voters in the Volunteer State approve of Trump’s job performance by 60-39 percent.

READ THE COMPLETE TENNESSEE POLL RESULTS

That helps put Republican Marsha Blackburn ahead of Democrat Phil Bredesen by a 48-43 percent margin.  Blackburn’s 5-point advantage is inside the poll’s margin of error. 

Last month, she had a 3-point edge over Bredesen.  They are competing for the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker.

Women go for Bredesen by 5 points, while men are more likely to pick Blackburn by 17.  Among white men, her lead grows to 30 points. 

Bredesen stays in the game by garnering greater party loyalty (92 percent of Democrats back him compared to 82 percent of GOP for her), while also taking 10 percent of Republicans. 

About the same share of Bredesen (79 percent certain) and Blackburn (77 percent) supporters say they are certain to vote for them. 

Plus, roughly equal numbers have a positive view of both Blackburn (50 favorable vs. 41 unfavorable) and Bredesen (51-39 percent), who served as Tennessee’s governor from 2003 to 2011.

Governor Pollpourri

In the Arizona governor’s race, Republican incumbent Doug Ducey leads: 55 percent vs. 37 percent for Democrat David Garcia.  One in five of Sinema’s supporters (20 percent) split their ballot and back the Republican, Ducey, for governor.

By a 17-point margin, Tennessee likely voters back Republican Bill Lee (53 percent) over Democrat Karl Dean (36 percent) in the state’s gubernatorial race.  Fourteen percent of those backing Bredesen in the Senate race defect to support Lee, the Republican, for governor.

The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R).  The poll was conducted September 29-October 2, 2018 by telephone (landline and cellphone) with live interviewers among likely voters in Arizona (716), Indiana (695), Missouri (683), North Dakota (704) and Tennessee (666).  Results based on the full sample in each state have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.  Registered voters were randomly selected from a statewide voter file (except in ND where all eligible voters were included), and respondents answered screening questions about their likelihood to vote in the November elections.

President Trump, health care drive midterm elections

Less than three weeks until Election Day, voters are thinking most about health care, the economy, and reining in President Trump — and Democratic candidates are benefitting.

Currently, 49 percent of likely voters back the Democratic candidate in their House district and 42 percent the Republican, according to a new Fox News national survey.  That 7-point lead is unchanged from last month, and just outside the poll’s margin of error.  Nine percent will vote for someone else or are undecided.

"If the election were today, the House would most likely flip," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the poll with Democrat Chris Anderson.  "Republicans keep waiting for the national numbers to tighten, but they have been remarkably stable this campaign season."

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POLL RESULTS

Here's how we get there:

— Top issue: Health care.  While majorities of likely voters say the economy (54 percent) and President Trump (51 percent) will be "extremely" important to their House vote, more voters feel that way about health care (58 percent) — and that group prefers the Democratic candidate by a 24-point margin.  Meanwhile, a majority disapproves of how Trump is handling health care.

— Guardrails for Trump.  By a 53-41 percent margin, likely voters say having the next Congress be a check on the president is more important than helping Trump enact his policies.  In counties where the 2016 vote was close (Hillary Clinton and Trump within 10 points), a majority of 56 percent want a check on Trump, and Democrats lead the generic ballot in these counties by 12 points.

— Trump job performance.  The president’s job rating is underwater by 4 points (47-51 percent).  Trump gets net negative ratings on health care (-16 points), immigration (-14 points), Supreme Court nominees (-8), and border security and trade (both -7).  At a negative 22, race relations is his worst issue.  He receives positive marks for handling hurricanes (+2) and the economy (+6).

— The economy and family finances.  Fewer voters are confident in their personal financial future compared to 2015.  At that time, 73 percent felt certain.  Today, that’s 68 percent.  The ratings are highly partisan, as twice as many Republicans (41 percent) as Democrats (19 percent) feel “very” confident in their financial future.  Likewise, 73 percent of Republicans rate the economy positively, while 33 percent of Democrats agree.  Overall, views are mixed:  49 percent feel the economy is in excellent or good shape vs. 48 percent saying only fair or poor.

— Popularity contest.  More voters have a favorable view than an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party by 3 points, while the Republican Party rating is a net negative by 7 and President Trump is under water by 9.  The Me Too Movement rating is +16.

— Women.  There’s a wide gender gap, as women likely voters support the Democratic candidate by 18 points, while men back the Republican by 6.  Since 2016, white women have shifted from backing Trump by 9 points to backing the Democrat by 2 points today.  Democrats are up by 56 points among non-white women, by 35 points with women under age 45, and by 19 points among suburban women.

— GOP positions out of favor.  The only issue that draws clear support for the GOP candidate is border security, as those naming it as extremely important to their vote back the Republican by 23 points.  Seventy percent of likely voters favor a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently working in the U.S.  More like Obamacare (54 percent favorable) than the tax cut law (45 percent favorable) — plus health care (58 percent) is extremely important to more voters than taxes (44 percent) when it comes to their congressional vote.

— Kavanaugh.  Likely voters split over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court:  47 approve vs. 48 disapprove.  And the 46 percent saying Supreme Court nominations are extremely important to their vote are more likely to favor the Democrat by 7 points.

— Enthusiasm.  Voters who backed Clinton two years ago are more likely than Trump 2016 voters to say this election outcome is “extremely” important (by 14 points), more likely to be “extremely” interested (by 11 points), and also more likely than Trump voters to be motivated by enthusiasm for their candidate rather than by fear the other candidate might win (by 7 points).

— Motivation.  When asked to name what one issue will motivate them to vote this year (without the aid of a list), the top three mentioned by likely voters are health care (13 percent), reining in Trump (10), and the economy (9).  Next, it is Democrats getting control of Congress (8 percent), immigration reform (7), and border security (5).

— White voters.  Whites are more likely to back the GOP candidate by 8 points.  In 2014, they voted for the Republicans by 22 points.

— Certainty.  Groups with the largest number saying they are certain to vote include very conservatives (89 percent), voters ages 45+ (87), voters with a college degree (86), and suburban women (84).  Those with the lowest share certain to vote include Trump approvers (79 percent), voters without a college degree (77), and men under 45 (68).

Pollpourri

— Majorities of likely voters are “extremely” concerned about the affordability of health care (65 percent), denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions (62), and people losing health insurance (61).  Fewer say the same about a government takeover of health care (40).

"It's clear that every day the news is dominated by another political outrage or controversy is a missed opportunity for Democrats," says Anderson.  "Voters are broadly in agreement with Democrats on health care and the more focus on the issue the better for them."

— Two-thirds feel political correctness in this country has gone too far, including 82 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents, and 48 percent of Democrats.

— Overall, 51 percent feel extremely or very concerned political disagreements these days will lead to violence — and on that, roughly equal numbers of Democrats (52 percent) and Republicans (50 percent) agree.

— While ratings of Congress remain low, 23 percent approve, that’s up from 15 percent in January.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,007 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from October 13-16, 2018. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.  For the subgroup of 841 likely voters, the margin of sampling error is also plus or minus three points.

Fox News Poll: Trump approval remains high in Senate battleground states

A new round of Fox News battleground state polls proves we don’t call them battlegrounds for nothing.  With six days until the election, three of the five U.S. Senate races could go either way — and while Republicans hold leads in the other two, Democratic enthusiasm could still close the gap.

President Trump’s approval rating is at or above 50 percent in all.  Yet in only two, North Dakota and Tennessee, does a GOP Senate candidate hit 50 percent support.

In two other states, Arizona and Missouri, the candidates are tied.  The race in Indiana has reversed since early September — however, one in five voters there who currently back a candidate say they may still change their mind.

No doubt, there will still be movement during the campaign’s final days.

Here are the state-by-state results, starting with Arizona:

Arizona

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally tie at 46 percent apiece among Arizona likely voters.  Sinema was up by two points in early October and by three in September.

Hispanics prefer Sinema by 29 points, while rural whites favor McSally by 27.

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"Sinema's nearly two-to-one advantage among Hispanics means slightly higher Hispanic turnout than in the past could tip the race to the Democrat — but the data doesn’t suggest a surge,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News surveys with Republican Daron Shaw.

The survey finds the number of Hispanic voters extremely interested in the election trails interest among non-Hispanic whites by 15 points.

Both Sinema (88 percent) and McSally supporters (88 percent) have a high degree of vote certainty, and equal numbers of Democrats (50 percent) and Republicans (50 percent) are extremely interested in the election.

Ninety-three percent of Democrats back Sinema, while 85 percent of Republicans support McSally.   More Arizona voters identify as Republican than as Democrat by 10 points.

Five percent are still undecided about their vote in the Senate race.

The candidates are competing for the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

Trump won Arizona by nearly four points.  Currently, 52 percent of Arizona likely voters approve of the job he is doing, and 81 percent of Trump approvers are for McSally.

In the governor’s race, Republican incumbent Doug Ducey leads Democrat David Garcia by a comfortable 55-37 percent.

Indiana

Incumbent Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly bests Republican challenger Mike Braun by seven points among Indiana likely voters, 45-38 percent.  His lead is at the poll’s margin of error.  The race shifted since September when Braun was up by two points.  In early October, Donnelly was up by two.

Donnelly’s edge comes in large part from greater party loyalty and higher interest in the election among Democrats.  Fully 88 percent of Democrats back him vs. 80 percent of Republicans for Braun.  In addition, nearly 1 in 10 Republicans go for Donnelly.  Independents are about twice as likely to support the incumbent.

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More Democrats (49 percent) than Republicans (43 percent) are extremely interested in the race.

Eighty-three percent of Donnelly supporters and 80 percent of Braun supporters feel certain of their vote choice.

Nine percent of Indiana likely voters are undecided.  Libertarian Lucy Breton takes five percent and that could be a wild card.

"Republican voters who flirt with Libertarian candidates tend to come home to the Republican candidate in the last few days,” says Shaw.

He adds, “Donnelly being under 50 percent bodes well for the less well-known challenger."

While Trump won Indiana by 19 points, more voters currently approve (50 percent) than disapprove (48 percent) of the job he is doing by just 2.  In early September, more approved than disapproved by 10 (54-44 percent).

Missouri

The Missouri Senate race is a toss-up.  Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill and her Republican challenger Josh Hawley tie at 43 percent apiece.

Another four percent support another candidate, and nine percent are undecided.

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The race was also tied, 43-43 percent, at the beginning of October.

McCaskill has a 10-point advantage in party support:  93 percent of Democrats back her compared to 83 percent of Republicans going for Hawley.  The preference among independents splits.

Men break for Hawley by four points.  Women favor McCaskill by three.

Whites with a college degree support McCaskill by 6 points, while whites without a degree go for Hawley by 16.

More Democrats than Republicans are extremely interested in the election (55 vs. 48 percent respectively).

The candidates also tie in a hypothetical two-way matchup: 45-45 percent.

Among the subgroup of extremely interested voters, Hawley is up by three points in the two-way matchup, while McCaskill is up by one point in the expansive ballot.

Fifty-four percent of Missouri likely voters approve of Trump’s job performance, which nearly matches his 57 percent of the vote in 2016.

Tennessee

Republican Marsha Blackburn is pulling away from Democrat Phil Bredesen in the race to fill retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s seat.

She is preferred 50-41 percent over the former governor among Tennessee likely voters.  That 9-point lead is outside the poll’s margin of sampling error.  She was up by five points in early October.

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Blackburn’s advantage comes despite more Democrats (55 percent) than Republicans (48 percent) being extremely interested in the election — as well as greater party loyalty among Democrats.  Fully 92 percent of Democrats back Bredesen vs. 87 percent of Republicans supporting Blackburn.

It helps Blackburn that more Tennesseans identify as Republicans by a nearly 20-point margin.

There is a 35-point gender gap: women back Bredesen by 7 points and men support Blackburn by 28.

Eighty-eight percent of each candidate’s backers feel certain they will stick with their pick.

Trump remains popular in the Volunteer State.  He won 61 percent of the vote here, and 58 percent approve of his job performance.

In the Tennessee governor’s race, Republican Bill Lee leads Democrat Karl Dean by 54-37 percent.  Eleven percent of those backing Bredesen cross party lines to support Lee.

North Dakota

Democratic incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp trails Republican Kevin Cramer by nine points.  Cramer garners 51 percent to Heitkamp’s 42 percent among North Dakota likely voters.

In early October, Cramer had a 12-point lead (53-41 percent).  Even though the race has narrowed a bit, it is the second time the Fox News poll shows him above 50 percent.

Cramer’s lead is outside the margin of error.

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In a state that went for Trump by 36 points, Heitkamp is able to keep the race as close as it is thanks to greater support among Democrats.

Ninety-four percent of Democrats back Heitkamp.  Support for Cramer among Republicans stands at 85 percent.  The vote preference among independents goes in Heitkamp’s favor by a narrow three points.

Many more North Dakotans identify as Republican than as Democrat.

There is a 22-point gender gap, as Heitkamp is the choice for women by 1 point and men go for Cramer by 21.

By a 5-point margin, more Democrats (56 percent) than Republicans (51 percent) feel extremely interested in the election.

Among Cramer supporters, 92 percent feel sure they will vote for him, while 88 percent of Heitkamp supporters say the same.

Four percent are undecided about their Senate vote, and eight percent who currently support a candidate feel they could change their mind.

Heitkamp outperforms the other Democrat on the ballot this year.  Mac Schneider is running against Republican Kelly Armstrong to take the state’s lone House seat vacated by Cramer.  Armstrong leads by 55-33 percent.

Sixty-one percent of North Dakota likely voters approve of the job Trump is doing.  He won 63 percent of the vote in 2016.

The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R).  The poll was conducted October 27-30, 2018 by telephone (landline and cellphone) with live interviewers among likely voters in Indiana (722), Missouri (741), North Dakota (789) and Tennessee (718).  Results based on the full sample of likely voters in each state except North Dakota have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.  ND is plus or minus three points.  Registered voters were randomly selected from a statewide voter file (except in ND where all eligible voters were included), and respondents answered screening questions about their likelihood to vote in the November elections.  For Arizona, it is October 27-29 and 643 likely voters, plus or minus 3.5 points.