CNN Polls: Democrats hold the upper hand in Arizona, Tennessee Senate races

Democrats hold an advantage in two states that are critical to the party's chances of taking control of the ...

Posted: Sep 18, 2018 4:52 AM
Updated: Sep 18, 2018 4:52 AM

Democrats hold an advantage in two states that are critical to the party's chances of taking control of the US Senate, according to new CNN polls conducted by SSRS. The surveys show Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and former Gov. Phil Bredesen leading their Republican opponents for open seats Arizona and Tennessee, where sitting Republican senators are retiring.

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.

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Kyrsten Sinema

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Phil Bredesen

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Likely voters are a subset of registered voters in the poll and include those most likely to turn out based on a combination of self-reported intention to vote, interest in the election and past voting behavior.

Arizona and Tennessee are two of the four states where Democrats are widely seen as having at least some chance of picking up Senate seats in November's election. The others are Texas -- viewed as more of a long-shot - and Nevada -- generally viewed as the Democrats' best chance for a Senate pickup. In order for the party to have any shot at taking control of the senate, it's almost certain that at least one seat from Arizona or Tennessee would need to go Democrats' way.

Arizona has been a Democratic target for some time on account of its changing demographic profile, though the state hasn't voted for a Democrat in major statewide elections since Janet Napolitano's turn as governor in the Bush years. Tennessee has generally moved away from its more Democratic-friendly past. Those differences are readily apparent in the two states' impressions of President Donald Trump in the new polls. 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.

The Republican incumbents for these seats -- Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee -- have both been publicly critical of Trump. Approval ratings of the president are closely tied to preferences in the Senate race, according to the poll. Among those voters who disapprove of Trump's performance in Arizona, 85% back Sinema, while in Tennessee, 92% of those who disapprove of the president back Bredesen.

Democrats hope that a ticket topped by Bredesen, the state's former governor whose positive favorability ratings outstrip the negative by a 2--to-1 margin (52% favorable to 24% unfavorable among the state's registered voters), can outweigh the state's underlying Republican tilt. Blackburn, by contrast, splits public opinion, with 41% of registered voters viewing her favorably and 39% unfavorably, with 20% unsure. Bredesen's edge here is driven by cross-party appeal. Although his favorability ratings are underwater among Republicans, 28% of them have a favorable view of him, while just 9% of Democrats have a positive view of Blackburn.

In Arizona, both Sinema and McSally are viewed more positively than negatively, though more than 2-in-10 likely voters say they have no opinion of each Senate candidate.

Health care tops the list of voters' most important issues in both states, with 29% calling it tops in their Senate vote in Tennessee and 25% saying the same in Arizona. The economy follows in Tennessee at 22%, immigration lands third at 16%. In Arizona, immigration is next on the list at 22%, with the economy just behind at 20%. Voters who say health care is their top issue are broadly supportive of the Democrat in both contests, breaking for Bredesen over Blackburn by 71% to 21%, and for Sinema over McSally by 75% to 14%. Both economy and immigration voters favor the Republican in each state. Blackburn holds a whopping 50-point lead among immigration voters in Tennessee and a 10-point advantage among economy voters. In Arizona, McSally tops Sinema by 33 points among immigration voters and 24 points among those who call the economy the most important issue in their vote.

In both states, Republicans have the upper hand in the gubernatorial race. Governor Doug Ducey narrowly tops David Garcia in Arizona, 49% to 46%, while Republican Bill Lee leads Karl Dean in the race for Tennessee's open governor's seat by 52% to 43%. Ducey's recent appointment of former Senator Jon Kyl to fill the Senate vacancy created by the death of Sen. John McCain earns high marks among Arizonans, 50% overall approve of the appointment while just 24% disapprove. Approval rises to 60% among those most likely to turn out to vote.

The CNN Polls in Arizona and Tennessee were conducted by SSRS September 11 through 15 among random statewide samples reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. In Arizona, results for the full sample of 1,001 adults have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, for the subset of 854 registered voters, it is plus or minus 4.1 and for the 761 likely voters plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. In Tennessee, results for the full sample of 1,000 respondents have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. It is 3.9 for the sample of 852 registered voters and 4.3 for results among the 723 likely voters.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 154411

Reported Deaths: 3836
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
Covington127939
George126425
Winston124526
Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
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