In Toss-Up Senate Races, Progressive Issues Are Making A Difference
With control of the Senate up for grabs, the outcome of this election does more than just jeopardize any chance to make progress in Congress during the next two years. It also risks rolling back the progress we have made on a number of important progressive issues. A GOP Senate would bring back the same top-down, trickle-down economic policies that have already failed our country and could roll back progressive policies like the protection of clean air, immigration reform and the Affordable Care Act.
Indeed, with just one day to go, the race for Senate control couldn’t be tighter. New polls in Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, and North Carolina released today by CAP Action and conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) find that each race is within the margin of error.
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While the races themselves are neck-and-neck, these polls also find that voters show strong support for progressive issues such as equal pay, a minimum-wage increase, women’s health and economic security, and common-sense gun laws. The support for these issues is pushing voters away from Republican candidates. Here are a few examples:
Voters are punishing candidates that oppose laws to ensure equal pay for equal work. By large margins, they are more likely to vote for candidates that support paycheck fairness and less likely to support candidates that do not. Kansas, for example, is a deep red state, but among likely voters in the 2014 midterms, 41 percent are less likely to vote for Republican Senator Pat Roberts while just 18 percent are more likely. That’s a 24 percentage point gap in voter support. The graphic below lays out this trend in the Kansas Senate race and similar dynamics in North Carolina and Iowa:
Here’s what happens when politics meet kitchen table economic issues: Republican candidates are hurt.
- In Georgia, Democrat Michelle Nunn supports raising the minimum wage to $10.10. Her opponent, David Perdue, does not. 69% of likely Georgia voters say they could not support their own family on a minimum wage income. Among that group, Michelle Nunn leads David Perdue 54-41.
- In Kansas, Greg Orman supports raising the minimum wage to $10.10. His opponent, Sen. Pat Roberts, does not. 78% of likely Kansas voters say they could not support their own family on a minimum wage income. Among that group, Greg Orman leads Sen. Pat Roberts 52-39.
- In New Hampshire, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen supports raising the minimum wage to $10.10. Her opponent, Scott Brown, does not. 75% of likely New Hampshire voters say they could not support their own family on a minimum wage income. Among that group, Jeanne Shaheen leads Scott Brown 57-37.
Gun Background Checks:
Last year, Senators Kay Hagan and Jeanne Shaheen vote in favor of comprehensive background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Now, they are being rewarded by voters in their respective states who are more likely to vote for them based on their support for common-sense gun laws. Meanwhile, Kansas voters are not happy with Pat Roberts’ vote against the background check bill last year: 39 percent are less likely to vote for him because of it, while just 22 percent are more likely.
Be sure to follow live Election Day coverage on ThinkProgress, which has reporters and video teams on the ground in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Virgina, and Ferguson, Missouri, contributing to an ongoing liveblog now and throughout tomorrow. And stay tuned for more election analysis from us as the ballots begin to be counted.
BOTTOM LINE: We know the majority of Americans are with us on these issues, and our new polls go beyond the horserace to indicate that they are making a difference in close races. But with the Senate majority hanging in the balance, the election result depends on whether these voters really get to the polls. So vote!
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