Senate Poll Results In Four States Suggest Voters Have ‘Nationalized’ The Midterm Elections

Voters in four separate states are signaling that local issues are less important to them this year than national ones.

A sign signaling where to vote sits in the foreground as people walk by it in the background.
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Voters in four separate states are signaling that local issues are less important to them this year than national ones.

Voters in at least four Senate races across the nation are saying that national issues, not local ones, are helping them to decide their votes in this year’s midterm elections.

CBS News reported the findings as part of its 2018 Battleground Tracker project. The news agency, which teamed up with the polling organization YouGov, is trying to keep a pulse on what’s driving voters to the polls in this year’s campaigns.

Tracking voters in four separate states, the CBS News/YouGov poll found Republicans leading in Texas and Tennessee, states they are attempting to defend against Democratic challenges. Incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is currently leading Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke by a margin of six points. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) is also leading Phil Bredesen (D-Tennessee) by eight points in the Volunteer State.

Two states in which Democrats are leading, however, include Arizona, where Kyrsten Sinema is presently ahead of her Republican opponent Martha McSally by about three points. A win for Democrats there would be a pickup in the Senate. In New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is leading Republican Bob Hugin by about 10 points.

No matter who wins in Arizona, however, history will be made: That state will be sending its first female Senator to Washington following the midterm elections.

Analysts at CBS News discovered within the poll series that voters in all four states are more interested in casting their ballots based upon prevalent national issues rather than local topics that could be of concern to them. By a two-to-one margin, the direction of the country is weighing in on voters more than what potential senators can do for their distinctive states, the data suggested.

President Donald Trump is also a major issue, according to the polling, although support for the chief executive is predictably falling along partisan lines. Democrats are motivated to support their candidates to become a check on the president, while Republicans are supportive of their candidates to help Trump pass more legislation that backs his agenda.

The recent debate over now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has also made its way into voters’ minds, although it’s less of a motivating factor than other issues in the poll: Kavanaugh’s controversial ascension to the high court seems to be a reinforcing issue to registered voters rather than a topic of concern pushing people to vote on its own.

The issue of Kavanaugh also falls primarily along partisan lines, and in states where Kavanaugh had higher likability, Republican candidates seem to be doing better, as is the case in Tennessee and Texas. In Arizona, where voters are divided on the issue of Kavanaugh, and New Jersey, where most voters didn’t want him to be confirmed, Democrats seem to be faring better.