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midterm madness
October 31, 2018

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) is still holding onto his hotly contested Senate seat — but barely.

In recent polls, the Democrat has generally fallen close behind his Republican opponent Mike Braun. But an NBC News/Marist poll published Wednesday shows Donnelly with a two-point lead, 48-46, over Braun. Still, that's not a lead Donnelly can be confident in, seeing as the poll's margin of error was 5.5 percentage points for likely voters.

Donnelly has long been seen as a vulnerable Democrat, seeing as President Trump decisively won the state in 2016. Half of the state's voters approve of the president, the poll also showed. Donnelly refused to support Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, which could be why his chances of winning have dwindled in recent polls, reports RealClearPolitics.

Democrats would need to hold onto Donnelly's seat if they're looking to flip the Senate this fall, especially since several other red-state Democrats' chances are looking shakier than Donnelly's. There is one positive for Donnelly in this poll: He has 63 percent support among Indianans who've already voted.

The NBC News/Marist poll was conducted from Oct. 24-28 and surveyed 931 Indiana adults, 496 were likely voters. The margin of error is 5.5 percentage points among likely voters. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 17, 2018

President Trump's appeal to seniors may not be working out as well as he'd hoped.

A Morning Consult/Politico survey published Wednesday found that among voters whose number one concerns are Social Security and Medicare, 52 percent said they would vote for a Democratic candidate in a congressional election if it were held today, compared to 33 percent who said they'd vote for a Republican. No specific candidates were named; voters were just asked generally which party they'd favor.

The poll also found that among voters who prioritize Social Security and Medicare, 60 percent disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president, while 37 percent approve. In the 2016 election, 53 percent of seniors voted for Trump. Additionally, the majority of these seniors' issues voters, 65 percent, say the country has gotten off on the wrong track. Overall, Social Security and Medicare was the second most prevalent issue — 17 percent consider it a top priority, coming in only behind the economy.

Respondents were polled in the days following a USA Today op-ed Trump wrote, in which he promised to defend Medicare and Social Security from "the radical socialist plans of the Democrats." The president argued Democrats would eviscerate the programs, disproportionately affecting seniors. Fact-checkers debunked many of Trump's claims, and it seems senior issue voters weren't buying it either. Seniors historically have skewed Republican, notes Morning Consult, but analysis suggests the demographic is coming around to Democrats' pledge to push Medicare-for-all.

The Morning Consult/Politico poll was conducted from Oct. 11-14 by speaking to 1,959 registered voters online. The margin of error is 2 percentage points. Brendan Morrow

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