On election day, which is less than 24 hours away, Senator Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who serves as the majority leader of the Senate, has a big lead over his Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath.
The Democrats, who view McConnell and his leadership in the Senate as one of the biggest obstacles to their legislative agenda, have put tens of millions of dollars into McGrath’s campaign. But although he has raised more than $88 million in donations – over $30 million more than the GOP incumbent reported in mid-October – it seems unlikely that McGrath will dethrone the “Grim Reaper. McConnell has proudly used the nickname to describe his efforts to block and flout democratic legislation.
The latest survey by Morning Consult shows that McConnell is slightly more than 11 percentage points ahead of McGrath, a former navy fighter pilot. The GOP legislator is supported by 51.1 percent of Kentucky voters, while the Democrats are only 39.8 percent behind him. McConnell’s lead is well outside the margin of error of the poll, which is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Another survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy in October found that McConnell is supported by 51 percent of likely Kentucky voters, while 42 percent favored McGrath with 9 percentage points in favor of the Republican incumbent. The margin of error for this survey was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Surveys by the Bluegrass Community and the Technical College at the end of October showed similar results. McGrath fell by 10 percentage points, with McConnell supported by 50 percent of registered voters. Only 40 percent supported the Democratic candidate. The only public poll showing that McGrath had a slight lead over McConnell came from RMG Research in June. McGrath was supported by 41 percent of registered voters and McConnell was supported by 40 percent – a one-point lead for the Democrats.
Although McConnell has low approval rates nationwide, he benefits from the fact that he represents a deeply conservative state. President Donald Trump won Kentucky with a lead of almost 30 percent over former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, while the Democratic’s current candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, appears to be doing slightly better in the state of Kentucky, but is still double-digit behind Trump in recent polls.
Although it is likely that McConnell will keep his seat in the Senate, the Democrats still hope to remove him as majority leader by turning over enough GOP-held seats to take control of the upper chamber of Congress. Cook’s political report currently rates two seats held by Republicans as facing their Democratic challengers, while seven others are classified as “undecided. One Democrat-held seat, that of Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, is classified as facing its Republican challenger.
To take control of the Senate, the Democrats must win at least four seats. Republicans currently hold 53 seats, while 45 Democrats and two independents hold caucuses with their Democratic counterparts. The Senate forecast of FiveThirtyEight shows that the Democrats have a 75 percent chance of taking control of the upper house of Congress. According to the Economist forecast, the Democrats have a slightly better chance at 81 percent.