Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll

Democrats are leading their Republican opponents in crucial Senate races in Arizona, North Carolina and Michigan as the parties battle for control of the upper chamber this November. 

A new New York Times-Sienna College poll indicates Republican candidates in tight down-ballot races may be feeling repercussions from recent controversies surrounding the handling of the coronavirus, the economy and growing civil unrest over police brutality and systemic racism.

The poll shows former astronaut and gun control activist Mark Kelly (D) leading Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad Health care group launches M ad campaign hitting Trump in battleground states Senate outlook slides for GOP MORE (R) by a 47-38 margin in the Senate race in Arizona, a state that will also be a key battleground in the presidential contest. Another 16 percent of registered voters are undecided or say they would vote for someone else.

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The Arizona Senate race, which will decide who fills the final two years of the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain Senate outlook slides for GOP Juan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll MORE’s (R) term, is a top pickup opportunity for Democrats. A number of polls have shown Kelly leading, in some case by double digits, and surveys also put presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Tammy Duckworth is the epitome of the American Dream Mexico's president uses US visit to tout ties with Trump MORE ahead of President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE

The same New York Times-Sienna College poll shows Biden leading Trump by a 48-41 margin.

Democrats credit a burgeoning Hispanic population and rising distaste for Trump in the suburbs with boosting their chances of winning the state’s 11 electoral college votes for the first time since 1996.

The Cook Political Report rates the Arizona Senate race as a “toss-up.” 

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations Democrats awash with cash in battle for Senate MORE (R), who is running for a second term in North Carolina, is also trailing his Democratic challenger, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham, albeit by a smaller margin. The new poll shows Cunningham with a 42-39 lead among registered voters, with 19 percent saying they’re undecided or would vote for someone else. The poll’s results are within the margin of error.

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The same poll found Trump trailing Biden by 9 points in the Tar Heel State.

The Cook Political Report rates the North Carolina Senate race as a “toss-up.”

Michigan Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersHealth care group launches M ad campaign hitting Trump in battleground states The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark Senate outlook slides for GOP MORE (D) also has a 10-point lead over his Republican challenger, businessman and former combat veteran John James, leading him by a 41-31 margin. However, a whopping 29 percent of voters remain undecided or say they would vote for someone else.

Besides Alabama, where Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is viewed as particularly vulnerable, Michigan represents the next best chance for the GOP to go on offense in the battle for the Senate. However, James has not led in a single mainstream poll to date. 

The Cook Political Report rates the Michigan Senate race as “lean” Democratic.

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Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, though control of the upper chamber is increasingly seen as being in play as the GOP plays defense in a slate of states with only a couple of pickup opportunities. 

Besides Arizona and North Carolina, Democratic candidates are putting up stiff challenges to Republican incumbents in Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine and Montana, providing the party with a number of paths to the Senate majority.

The New York Times-Sienna College surveyed 650 registered voters in Arizona, 610 registered voters in Michigan and 653 registered voters in North Carolina from June 17 to 22. Each state’s results have a of error of about 4 percentage points.