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 KellyMark KellyPoll: Sinema approval higher among Arizona Republicans than Democrats Documentary to be released on Gabby Giffords's recovery from shooting Kelly pushes back on Arizona Democrats' move to censure Sinema MORE (D) leading Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Business groups, sensing victory, keep up pressure over tax hikes Kelly raises million in third quarter 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 McCainPoll: Sinema approval higher among Arizona Republicans than Democrats Meghan McCain: COVID-19 battle made me doubt if nation will recover from pandemic Biden's year two won't be about bipartisanship  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 BidenNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Clyburn predicts Supreme Court contender J. Michelle Childs would get GOP votes Overnight Defense & National Security — US delivers written response to Russia MORE ahead of President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world 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 TillisSenate Republicans press federal authorities for information on Texas synagogue hostage-taker Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law There is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections 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 PetersDemocrats ask for information on specialized Border Patrol teams Democrats make final plea for voting rights ahead of filibuster showdown Michigan Republican John James 'strongly considering' House run 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.