Poll: Democrats Lead In North Carolina, Arizona Senate Races

The surveys, conducted by Data for Progress, argue Democrats in close races should embrace fighting climate change.
A new survey from a progressive group says Democratic Senate candidates, such as Mark Kelly in Arizona, can embrace clean energy mandates with little political risk.
A new survey from a progressive group says Democratic Senate candidates, such as Mark Kelly in Arizona, can embrace clean energy mandates with little political risk.
Kevin Lamarque / reuters

A new set of polls from a progressive group shows Democratic Senate challengers in North Carolina and Arizona with healthy leads over Republican incumbents in those states, while challengers in Iowa and Maine have small leads in toss-up races.

The surveys from Data for Progress show Democrat Mark Kelly leading GOP Sen. Martha McSally, 47% to 38%, in Arizona, and Cal Cunningham leading Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, 49% to 41%, in North Carolina.

Two races elsewhere are tighter. In Iowa, Democrat Theresa Greenfield is earning 45% of the vote to Republican Sen. Joni Ernst’s 43%. And in Maine, Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon is leading now with 48% of the vote to 45% for Republican Sen. Susan Collins.

The surveys also show former Vice President Joe Biden leading against President Donald Trump by 10 percentage points in Maine, with smaller leads in North Carolina and Arizona. In Iowa, Trump is polling at 46% of the vote and Biden is at 45%.

Data for Progress argues that its data shows all four Democratic candidates should put the fight against climate change at the center of their campaigns, saying that the message can appeal to swing voters with little downside. Republicans have a 52-48 advantage in the Senate, but Democrats have targeted six GOP-held seats as they seek to win control of both houses of Congress in November.

“To retire Mitch McConnell as majority leader, candidates in key Senate races must embrace a bold climate agenda around strong clean energy standards, robust federal investment, and centered in justice,” said Jamal Raad, a former top aide to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee who co-founded the advocacy group Evergreen Action. “Democratic candidates must take it to Trump and Senate Republicans on their weakest issue.”

The poll found 54% of likely voters in the four states surveyed said they would be more likely to support a candidate who wants to move the country to 100% clean electricity by 2035, and 56% said they would be more likely to back a candidate who wants to invest $2 trillion in clean energy jobs over the next four years. A plurality of voters surveyed wanted Congress to make fighting climate change a “Day 1 priority,” while a majority supported the latest version of Biden’s climate plan.

Even when presented with Republican arguments, likely voters were still supportive of policies to battle climate change. Fifty-seven percent said they were more worried about “Republican politicians who protect corporate polluters,” while 43% said they worried about Democrats “beholden to environmentalists” who would raise taxes or kill jobs to stop climate change.

“There’s a common misconception that climate change is only a winning issue on the deep blue coasts,” said Julian Brave NoiseCat, Data for Progress’s vice president of policy and strategy. “Our polling shows that progressive climate action ― things like transitioning the electricity sector to 100% clean energy by 2035, not just some symbolic stuff around the Paris Agreement ― can help Democrats win the Senate in 2020. This marks a real turning point in the politics of the issue. And if Democrats can run on climate and win, they can pass laws and govern on it, too.”

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