Poll shows Democrats leading in three key Senate races

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., speaks during a campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Charlotte, N.C, March 2. Tillis is calibrating his ties to Trump as he tries to find the right path for reelection in a closely divided state. (Mike McCarn/AP photo via Courthouse News)

(CN) — New polling data released Friday shows Democrats leading in three U.S. Senate races by five percentage points or more, putting the Republican Party at risk of losing its majority in that chamber.

The poll of likely voters in Arizona, Maine and North Carolina conducted by The New York Times and Siena College shows GOP senators in those three states trailing behind Democratic challengers with just 45 days left before the November elections.

The polling also found that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has secured a nine-point lead over President Donald Trump in Arizona and a 17-point lead in Maine. The presidential race was nearly tied in North Carolina, with Biden polling at 45% compared to 44% for Trump.

In a report Friday, The New York Times attributed the polling results to Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Maine, 60% of the voters polled said they trusted Biden on the issue of the pandemic compared to just 35% who said they trusted Trump. Arizona also favored Biden by a significant margin of 16 percentage points.

North Carolina voters said they preferred Biden over Trump by 52% to 41%.

Voters in North Carolina did rate Trump favorably with regard to his ability to manage the economy and said they preferred him on matters of national security and law and order.

However, Biden came out ahead on maintaining law and order in Arizona and bested Trump on every issue tested in Maine.

The loss of Republican Senators Martha McSally in Arizona, Susan Collins in Maine, and Thom Tillis in North Carolina could send control of the chamber back to Democrats if Biden is elected president and Senator Kamala Harris, his running mate, could cast tie-breaking votes as vice president.

Voters across the three states expressed marked enthusiasm for having the same party control both the White House and the Senate.

In Maine, 70% of those polled said they thought it would be better for the country if one party controlled both the White House and Senate. 68% of those polled in Arizona and 66% in North Carolina said they agreed.

According to the poll, Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut running against McSally, is ahead by 8 points in Arizona, maintaining his lead despite having to apologize for making a racist joke in the same week the survey was conducted.

Democrat Cal Cunningham has a 5-point lead over first-term Republican Senator Thom Tillis in North Carolina and Sara Gideon leads by 5 points in her race against Senator Susan Collins in Maine.

The poll found that voters may be on track to punish Collins for her association with the president. Fifty-five percent of voters surveyed said they disapproved of Collins’ vote against impeaching Trump and her vote to approve Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court.

The poll was conducted by phone between Sept. 10 and 16 and has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points in Arizona, 5.1 percentage points in Maine, and 4.3 percentage points in North Carolina.

A total of 1,969 likely voters were surveyed across the three states, with 653 in Arizona, 663 in Maine, and 653 in North Carolina.