By Jim Ellis
Oct. 9, 2018 — CBS News and the YouGov international online pollster again teamed to test four key US Senate races as part of the former’s Battleground Tracker series and finds Republican and Democratic candidates both leading in two states. All of the polls were conducted between Oct. 2-5. The polling margin of error ranges from 3.4 to 3.9 percent. The responses were submitted online and not via live telephone operators.
Regarding the economy, 80 percent of the Arizona respondents believe the economy is very good (26 percent) or somewhat good (54 percent). Rep. McSally is viewed as the stronger candidate on immigration, crime, and gun policy. Rep. Sinema is considered to be the stronger candidate with regard to healthcare, which is the most important issue cited.
The respondents are breaking evenly about supporting or opposing President Trump, though his job approval is an upside down 46:53 percent favorable to unfavorable.
CBS/YouGov then surveyed Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D) chances of winning re-election in New Jersey (1,009 registered New Jersey voters). Here, the senator scores a 49-39 percent advantage, one of the better reported polls for him during this election cycle.
But, he continues to register very poorly on the question of personal integrity. In total, 71 percent of those sampled say that “honest and trustworthy” does not describe Sen. Menendez, while only 29 percent believe the phrase does apply to the veteran politician. Obviously, the majority of this rating is in response to Menendez being charged with federal corruption and feel that way even though the case against him fell apart and the government had to fold their case against him.
Despite the federal charges and millions of dollars being spent against him in advertising, Sen. Menendez is still the clear favorite for re-election as this CBS/YouGov poll indicates.
Their Tennessee poll gives Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) her largest lead in the Volunteer State race. According to this study of 1,002 registered Tennessee voters, Blackburn holds a 50-42 percent lead over former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D).
In this poll, Rep. Blackburn has a slight edge on all four issue areas tested, attempting to determine which candidate the respondents believe would do a better job of handling the particular policy area. The closest margin between the two candidates concerns healthcare where the congresswoman holds a 40-39 percent edge over the former governor. Her largest issue spread comes over the immigration issue where Blackburn holds a 15-point confidence factor advantage. She is also strong on crime and gun policy.
In Tennessee, President Trump fares well. He scores a 61:39 percent favorable job approval margin. By a 44-30 percent margin, the voters here would want to help keep the Senate majority in Republican hands.
Turning to Texas, 1,031 registered voters responded to the online poll. Here, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) has a 50-44 percent lead over Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) according to the CBS/YouGov Lone Star State survey. The Trump numbers here are virtually dead even. His job approval rating is 51:49 percent positive to negative, and the right track/wrong track series of questions are exactly 50-50 percent.
At this point, these polls place Sen. Menendez and Rep. Blackburn in the best positions to win. Sen. Cruz continues to hold a small lead in poll after poll, a spread that may increase for him as the election approaches. The Arizona race remains a clear toss-up, with Rep. Sinema holding a slight edge. The last month of campaigning will clearly define how these and so many other races conclude.