Less than two months before the general election, national polls continue to show Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump. The numbers also indicate that eight GOP senators are at risk of losing their seats to Democrats.
The most vulnerable senators are Arizona’s Martha McSally, Colorado’s Cory Gardner, Georgia’s David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, Maine’s Susan Collins, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, Montana’s Steve Daines and Iowa’s Joni Ernst.
Ratings published by the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan online newsletter that focuses on election and campaign analyses, suggest McSally’s re-election race against Democratic challenger Mark Kelly will most likely result in a loss for the Republican incumbent. The report categorizes the remaining seats, except Loeffler’s, as toss-ups.
Loeffler, a businesswoman elected to replace former Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson after his midterm resignation last year, is running for another full term in a special election involving multiple candidates, which some expect will yield unpredictable results. The Cook Political Report suggests a Republican will fill Loeffler’s seat, although not necessarily the congressional newcomer herself. Loeffler faced widespread criticism earlier this summer, after publicizing her lack of support for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s initiatives condemning racism and police abuse. She co-owns the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.
In Kentucky, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is campaigning for his seventh consecutive term in office, forecasts indicate he’ll win over Democratic candidate Amy McGrath. The race remains one to watch, given the growing momentum of McGrath’s campaign and McConnell’s standing as one of the nation’s most unpopular senators, according to polling. The fact that few published polls concern the outcome of Kentucky’s Senate race is also worth noting.
There are 35 Senate seats up for election this November, 23 of which are held by Republican. Democrats could assume control of the Senate by gaining four of those GOP seats, even if Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are re-elected. If Biden and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris are victorious, Democrats would take majority control of the Senate with three candidates gaining GOP seats. Both scenarios rest on the Democrats’ ability to successfully hold on to their party’s 12 Senate seats this November.
Recent polling data suggested that Republicans would have lost the battle for Congress if elections had been held at the end of last month. A Yahoo News/YouGov survey, which collected responses from 1,145 U.S. adults between August 21 and 23—following the Democratic Convention and leading up to the Republican Convention—showed half of participants would have cast votes for a Democratic congressional candidate. Close to 40 percent said they would have voted for a Republican candidate, while 9 percent were undecided. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Newsweek reached out to the campaigns of Republican senators mentioned in this article but did not receive replies in time for publication.