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New Poll Gives GOP Slight Edge in Three Crucial States

By    |   Sunday, 26 October 2014 01:16 PM

New NBC News/Marist polls show Republicans may take control of the Senate for the first time in eight years, but many of the poll leads are within the surveys' margin of error and GOP candidates have not yet locked down some of the races.

According to the polls, released on Sunday, Republicans hold slight advantages in Arkansas, Colorado, and Iowa, with the North Carolina race still in a dead heat, reports Politico.

An independent candidate is in a tie with the GOP incumbent in Kansas, the polls reveal, while in South Dakota, Republican Mike Rounds is leading by double digits.

Montana, West Virginia, and South Dakota are all considered tied up for Republicans, but the GOP will need to pick up three wins out of Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Out of the six states, North Carolina is still a toss-up while the other five lean Republican.

Meanwhile, Republicans may still need to pick up seats if they lose Georgia, which appears headed for a runoff race; Kansas, or Kentucky, Politico reports.

In Arkansas, the NBC/Marist poll shows Republican Rep. Tom Cotton is running two points ahead of Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, at 45 percent to 43 percent. Third-party candidates are splitting five percent of the vote and seven percent of likely voters are undecided, meaning the race could still flip either way. The poll of 621 likely voters, conducted Oct. 19-23, carried a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

Cotton received higher favorability ratings in the poll. He was viewed favorably by 46 percent and unfavorably by 43 percent, compared to voters who view Pryor, a two-term incumbent, unfavorably by 49 percent and favorably by 41 percent.

Pryor also appears to be hindered by President Barack Obama's sinking popularity ratings. Only 34 percent of the voters, and one-quarter of white voters, approve of Obama's job performance, the poll revealed.

In the Arkansas governor's race, Republican Asa Hutchinson was ahead of Democrat Mike Ross by three points.

In Colorado, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall are in a virtual tie, with Gardner ahead by 46 percent to 45 percent. Three percent of the 755 likely voters polled said they favor another candidate, and five percent remain undecided.

The poll carries a 3.6 percentage point margin of error.

The Latino vote will be vital in the election, with Udall leading that segment by four points in the poll. Udall, who has made women's issues a focus in the campaign, leads female voters by 11 points at 51 to 40 percent, with Gardner leading men by 15 points at 53 percent to 38 percent.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is seeking a second term in office, came out ahead of challenger Bob Beauprez, a former Republican representative, with a 46 percent to 41 percent lead.

In Iowa, the 772 likely votes polled gave GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst a three-point lead over Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, putting the race inside the poll's 3.5 percent margin of error, reports Politico.

Five percent of likely voters said they prefer another candidate or were undecided.

Each candidate nabbed 90 percent of their party's voters, but Ernst has an eight-point edge among independents.

Meanwhile, men are backing Ernst by 12 points, at 54 percent to 42 percent, and Braley leads female voters by 49 percent to 44 percent, the poll said.

Voters gave Ernst a tied favorability rating, at 44 percent, while Braley had a 39 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable rating.

In the governor's race, Republican Gov. Terry Branstad appears headed for a sixth term, leading Democratic challenger Jack Hatch by 59 percent to 36 percent.

In the Kansas race, independent Greg Orman is running even with GOP Sen. Pat Roberts. Orman has not said which party he will caucus with if he is elected, reports Politico.

Four percent of the voters said they favor Libertarian candidate Randall Batson, and seven percent of the voters remain undecided.

Orman has a huge Democratic backing, taking 81 percent of those polled, but also took 15 percent of Republicans. In addition, 60 percent of the independents picked Orman.

Roberts has a negative favorability rating of 43 percent to 46 percent, the poll shows, while Orman's rating was positive at 42 percent to 37 percent. However, 18 percent of the likely voters said they do not yet have an impression one way or the other with Orman.

In the governor's race, Democrat Paul Davis came out ahead of Gov. Sam Brownback by just one point, but carried three out of five independent voters in the poll of 757 likely voters, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

North Carolina's poll put Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis at a 43 percentage point each tie, giving Libertarian Sean Haugh seven percent and leaving six percent undecided.

However, there was a large gender gap, giving Tillis 11 points among men and Hagan 10 points among women. But there is also a "marriage gap" in play, with wedded women giving Tillis a seven-point margin and unmarried women giving Hagan a 57 percent to 28 percent lead.

Both Hagan and Tillis have negative image ratings, the poll said, with Hagan's percentages at 41 percent to 48 percent and Tillis' at 40 percent to 44 percent.

The poll surveyed 756 likely voters and has a plus or minus 3.6 percentage point margin of error.

The South Dakota poll
of 540 likely voters, with a 4.2 percentage point margin of error, gave former GOP Gov. Mike Rounds a 14-point lead over Democrat Rick Weiland, with 16 percent of respondents picking independent Larry Pressler, who held the Senate seat as a Republican for 18 years, reports Politico.

Rounds took 78 percent of the Republicans responding, compared to 9 percent for Pressler, but among independents, Rounds and Pressler are running even.

Republican incumbent Gov. Dennis Daugaard appears headed for reelection with a 39-point lead over Democrat Susan Wismer, the poll revealed.

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New NBC News/Marist polls show Republicans may take control of the Senate for the first time in eight years, but many of the poll leads are within the surveys' margin of error and GOP candidates have not yet locked down some of the races. According to the polls, released on...
midterms, elections, GOP, lead, polls
Sunday, 26 October 2014 01:16 PM
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