There’s not going to be any way to know which party will be the majority in either the U.S. House or U.S. Senate in the next Congress until we get there. A new set of polls measuring voter sentiment in relation to important Senate races across the country have the Democratic and Republican candidates neck-and-neck.
Although they’re not presently expected to mount enough of an insurgency to lead the Senate come 2019, Democrats are well within striking distance in three states that would be crucial to a majority — Florida, Arizona, and Indiana. Florida and Indiana’s up for grabs seats are currently held by a Democrat but among those considered at times the most vulnerable, while Arizona’s seat is currently held by a Republican, the retiring and often attention getting Jeff Flake.
In Florida, the newest CBS polling has incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson tied with his opponent Republican Rick Scott, each maintaining 46 percent of the overall support. Taking the broad picture of the race into account, respected statistics journalism site FiveThirtyEight currently gives Nelson a 5 in 7 chance of pulling off a victory, despite the potentially unsettling new poll numbers released by CBS. He’s ahead in the majority of polls released so far, with under two weeks left to go.
There’s a second race widely watched in Florida at present — the contest to be the state’s next governor. Trump-backed Republican Ron DeSantis is aiming to replace Trump ally Rick Scott and keep Democrat Andrew Gillum out, who himself has already bucked expectations via his come-from-behind Democratic gubernatorial primary victory.
Elsewhere, according to CBS, incumbent Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly is ahead of Republican challenger Mike Braun by only three percent, which is within the poll’s margin of error. FiveThirtyEight gives him a 2 in 3 chance of holding onto his seat in the U.S. Senate, which would certainly help the Democrats in their quest for a majority. If they don’t lose any of their numerous seats up for grabs this year, they need two pick-ups.
Among those they’re targeting is the seat Republican Jeff Flake is vacating in Arizona. CBS has Democrat Kyrsten Sinema three percent ahead of her Republican challenger Martha McSally, which is within the margin of error just like Donnelly’s leading margin in Indiana.
Besides Arizona, Democrats are also trying to pick up Senate seats in Nevada and Tennessee, in addition to holding onto the ones they’ve already got.
In Nevada, FiveThirtyEight thinks incumbent Republican Dean Heller will pull off a victory over challenger Jacky Rosen, but it’s close enough for them to call it a toss-up.
Meanwhile in Tennessee, they estimate that Republican Marsha Blackburn will win in the race to replace retiring Republican Bob Corker, keeping former governor and Democrat Phil Bredesen out of Congress.
Although they might not be the Senate’s majority party come 2019, they’re almost certainly going to be the majority in the House, with an estimation from FiveThirtyEight of dozens of new Democrats assuming positions in the body via the midterms.
That represents a significant block to President Donald Trump’s agenda.
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