ABC News: Senate polls tighten as border, crime grow as issues

The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has been dominating the politics of the week, as flight trackers, the White House, a Texas sheriff and his political opponents try to figure out what he has already done — and what he might do next.

But there are fresh signs of the political climate shifting yet again ahead of the midterms, in races far from Florida and from the U.S.-Mexico border.

A new Spectrum News/Siena College poll out of Wisconsin shows a virtual tie in the Senate race, with Democrat Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes at 48% and GOP Sen. Ron Johnson at 47%. That comes after Barnes and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers have been hammered by TV advertisements focusing on crime.

In Georgia, two new polls out Tuesday had Sen. Raphael Warnock now leading inside the margin of error against Republican Herschel Walker. Warnock has been criticized by his rival over urban crime rates and his support for the Biden administration’s economic and immigration policies.

Races in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada are also showing signs of getting tighter, with a range of Democrats forced onto the air playing defense on issues surrounding crime.

The recent burst of Democratic optimism — enough to shift conventional wisdom about their prospects of holding the Senate — appears to be dissipating. It comes as moves to transport migrants have put a new spotlight on the situation at the border.

Candidates aren’t necessarily embracing what the governors are doing, but they are leaning in on the kinds of issues raised by the focus on the border — including attempts to enter the U.S. illegally, fentanyl and drug smuggling, as well as crime in general.

It contributes to an issue set that Republicans like far better than the focus on abortion rights — and suggests that voters aren’t settled on what might determine their choices in November.

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