The Senate may very well shift over to Democratic control after the elections this November — which, it’s worth noting, Democrats have been trying to protect amidst the Coronavirus pandemic via lobbying for increased vote-by-mail, which could help protect people from the virus spreading at polling places. In the meantime, recent polls from Public Policy Polling have a full four incumbent GOP Senators losing to their respective likely general election challengers, and Dems nabbing each one of those seats along with holding onto their own could give them the majority in the Senate.
Those who are vulnerable and losing in recent polling include Maine’s Susan Collins, Arizona’s Martha McSally, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, and Colorado’s Cory Gardner. Heading into November, every one of those races is currently rated as a toss-up by the Cook Political Report, alongside a full four other GOP-held seats that are rated as just “leaning” Republican, which is the last category before toss-up status.
Public Policy Polling reports:
‘New PPP polls find Sara Gideon leading Susan Collins 47-43 in the Maine Senate race and Mark Kelly leading Martha McSally 47-42 in the Arizona Senate race. Additionally a PPP poll for a private client last week found Cal Cunningham leading Thom Tillis 46-41 in the North Carolina Senate race, and when PPP last polled the Colorado Senate race John Hickenlooper led Cory Gardner 51-38. This makes four Republican held US Senate seats where PPP has found Democratic challengers with at least a 4 point lead.’
Meanwhile, one of the “lean Republican”-rated seats is the Montana seat held by Steve Daines, who’s now being challenged by the state’s former Democratic governor Steve Bullock, who is widely popular. The others that lean Republican include the Georgia seat held by Kelly Loeffler, the Iowa seat held by Joni Ernst, and the Kansas seat that will be open this November because the incumbent Republican Pat Roberts is retiring.
It’s worth noting — neither McSally nor Loeffler were officially elected to their current seats, so their voter support is already questionable. McSally was appointed to serve a portion of the late John McCain’s final term until a special election could be held this year, while Loeffler was appointed to serve after her state’s Senator Johnny Isakson retired due to health issues. McSally consistently loses in polls measuring support in her race against Kelly, who’s a retired astronaut and the husband of the state’s former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who left office after a shooting injury and has been advocating for gun safety ever since. On average, Kelly leads by a full 7.5 percent in polls, according to RealClearPolitics. Although there’s not an overabundance of cataloged polling, the last time that McSally led was last year.
All of these races are, of course, unfolding in the shadow of the ongoing presidential race. Likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden consistently leads against Trump in polling. Trump has often explicitly tied his Coronavirus response to his public image, which has implications for his re-election chances, of course. Even if the virus soon completely disappears — which won’t happen, but still — the effects will still be in place.