Senate Election 2018 Polling Update: A snapshot of election polls in competitive races released between October 27th and November 5th, 2018*

November 6, 2018 admin 0 Comments


Thirty-five seats are on the line during tomorrow’s mid-term election. The Democratic Party faces greater partisan risk in 2018, as they are defending 26 seats while Republicans are only defending nine. Additionally, the Democratic Party must defend seats in 10 states that supported Donald Trump (R) over Hillary Clinton (D) in the 2016 presidential election. Republicans are defending just one Senate seat in a state won by Clinton — Nevada. Democrats must pick up two Senate seats in order to win control of the Senate and their options for pick-ups are all contentious.


The battle for the open Senate seat in Arizona appears to be very close as we near Election Day. Most recent polls give the Democratic challenger the edge, but the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls only gives her an advantage of 1.2 points. If Sinema is able to pull out a victory, this may be one of two seats Democrats are poised to pick-up in the Senate.


The battle for Sen. Nelson’s (D) seat in Florida has been one of the most polled contest in 2018, especially over the last couple weeks. For the most part, these polls have continuously had Nelson on top, but only by small margins. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls gives Nelson an advantage of 2.9 points. This is one of a handful of competitive seats that Democrats need to hold onto if they are to have any hope in winning back the Senate.


Compared to the contest in Florida, there has been very little polling out of Indiana in the battle for Sen. Donnelly’s (D) seat. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls gives Donnelly a slim advantage of 0.4 points. It remains to be seen if any new polling comes out that was conducted over the last weekend before Election Day, but for now, this race is the definition of a toss-up and another seat Democrats need to hold onto to win back control of the Senate.


Tina Smith (D) appears to enjoy a lead in the high single digits in the special election for the seat formerly held by Al Franken. The race is much closer than that of the other Senate seat up for election in Minnesota this year held by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D).


Polling for the Senate race in Missouri has picked up over the last week of the campaign. The contest appears to be very close with the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls giving the Republican challenger, Josh Hawley an advantage of half a percentage point. Polls from this race over the last three months have produced tied results in seven polls, more than any of the other races this cycle. If the polls are any indication of how tight this contest might be, we may not know the winner of this race right away.


Although targeted by Republicans as a Senate seat they were hopeful at picking up, with the limited polling out of Montana, Sen. Tester (D) has never trailed in any poll released to date. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls gives Tester an advantage of 4.5 points.

New Jersey

The latest polls out of New Jersey show a large lead for the embattled incumbent even though early-cycle showed greater competition for Sen. Menendez’s (D) seat.


The race for the Senate seat in Nevada appears similar to the race in Arizona. Polling has been split, as we have seen a number of polls with the Republican incumbent ahead and a number with the Democratic challenger on top. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls gives Rosen (D) an advantage of 1.2 points.

North Dakota

Sen. Heitkamp (D) surprised everyone with her victory six years ago. Recent polls from this contest suggest it will be quite a shock for her to win reelection now. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls gives the Republican challenger an advantage of 11.4 points.


The race in Ohio appears to have tightened slightly on the eve of Election Day, but Sen. Brown (D) has never trailed in any of the polls and has mostly enjoyed a double-digit lead.


Polls for the open Senate seat in Tennessee have coalesced as of late for the Republican candidate, Marsha Blackburn. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls gives her an advantage of 5.2 points.


Polls out of Texas for Sen. Cruz’s seat have been fairly consistent and he has never trailed in this contest. The Real Clear Politics average for recent polls gives him an advantage of 6.5 points.

West Virginia

Polling out of West Virginia gives Sen. Manchin (D) a modest lead in his reelection bid. Although we haven’t seen much polling conducted for this contest, Sen. Manchin has enjoyed leads ranging from 5 to 11 points.

* Polls are typically released publicly within a few days to a week after being fielded.


(i) = incumbent

LV = Likely Voters

RV = Registered Voters

IVR = Interactive Voice Response, a completed automated poll in which the live interviewers are replaced with recorded prompts, and respondents give answers by speaking to the computer or pressing a key with their choice. This methodology can only call landlines.

By Chris Gallup, Director at KRC Research and Weber Shandwick, Washington, D.C.

Edited by Helen McCarthy