Beto O'Rourke
Credit: Beto O'Rourke/Flickr

With the 2018 midterms only a week away, I thought it might be helpful to start the day with a few tidbits of news about what’s happening out there.

* The first comes from Quinnipiac, where Ted Cruz’s lead over Beto O’Rourke has been reduced from 9 points to 5.

Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz clings to a narrow 51 – 46 percent likely voter lead over U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger in the Texas Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today.

This compares to a 54 – 45 percent Cruz likely voter lead in an October 11 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University Poll.

Today, O’Rourke leads 56 – 40 percent among independent voters and 96 – 2 percent among Democrats. Republicans back Cruz 96 – 3 percent.

Men back the Republican 56 – 39 percent, as women go Democratic 52 – 45 percent. White voters back Cruz 67 – 30 percent. O’Rourke leads 86 – 12 percent among black voters and 60 – 36 percent among Hispanic voters.

* A new NBC/Marist poll in the tight Arizona senate race has the Democrat increasing her lead.

Fueled by advantages among Latinos, Independents and women, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema holds a 6-point lead over Republican Martha McSally in Arizona’s key Senate contest, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll of the state.

Sinema, a Democratic congresswoman, gets support from 50 percent of likely voters, while McSally, a GOP congresswoman, gets 44 percent. A combined 6 percent are undecided or prefer someone else.

In September’s NBC/Marist poll, Sinema’s lead over McSally was 3 points in this head-to-head contest, 48 percent to 45 percent.

* Eric Levitz suggests a reason for why Latinos may be tuning in and turning blue.

As for why Latino voters might take an even dimmer view of the GOP now than they did in 2016: During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump focused the bulk of his nativist appeals on the (supposed) scourge of illegal immigration. But once in office, many of his administration’s most consequential policies have hurt immigrants who had been legally residing in the United States. Between his cancellation of the Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and revocation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from Central American and Haitian immigrants who had been living in the U.S. for decades, President Trump has attempted to take the legal right to reside in America away from 1 million of our country’s longtime residents.

* Along those same lines, Pew Research finds that it’s not just undocumented Hispanics who are worried about deportation.

* In order to highlight voting patterns, FiveThirtyEight took at look at what would happen to Congress if only members of the following groups voted: women, men, nonwhite voters and white voters by education level. From the most extreme to the least, here’s how they stack up:

Nonwhites: 388D/47R
Women: 275D/160R
White with no college degree: 268R/167D
Men: 249R/186D
White with college degree: 233D/202R

* Emily Sugerman reports on the trend in state legislative races.

* Riding the “blue wave,” Democrats are vying to take between four and 14 state houses this November. And while all eyes may be on the congressional elections, experts say these state races are where the “Year of the Woman” could truly resonate…

The surge in female candidates is almost entirely due to Democratic women: Of the nearly 3,400 women running for state legislatures this year, almost 2,400 of them are Democrats. And while Republicans currently control the vast majority of state legislatures, it’s Democrats who are expected to make the most gains this year.

* It will probably become rare to get good news from this Supreme Court, but it happened on Monday.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rebuffed a bid by Republican legislators in Pennsylvania to reinstate a congressional district map struck down by that state’s top court as unlawfully biased in favor of Republicans.

A new state electoral map, devised by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after it invalidated the Republican-drawn districts in January, is seen as giving Democrats a better shot at gaining seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 congressional elections in which President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans are seeking to retain control of Congress.

* Finally, #44 is all in on this one.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.