With a 50-50 Senate heading into the election, record campaign spending, and 35 seats up for grabs, the battle for control of the U.S. Senate came down to tight races in states across the country. Republicans were defending 21 seats versus 14 held by Democrats.
As states in several pivotal states continued counting votes, Election Night 2022 came to a close with control of the upper chamber unclear.
Key governor’s races – with major implications for election administration, abortion and education – came down to the wire as well.
The Fox News Voter Analysis, a survey of more than 90,000 voters nationwide, highlights the central themes and demographic groups that defined these important races.
Arizona – Senate and Governor Races TBD
Arizona was one of the closest battleground states in 2020, and this year’s races for Senate and Governor were no different.
In the Senate race, Democrat Mark Kelly battled Republican newcomer Blake Masters. College-educated voters and women formed the core of Kelly’s support. He also won the lion’s share of moderates, and even won the backing of roughly one-in-ten Republicans.
Masters kept the election close by racking up solid margins among Whites without a college degree, gun owner households and rural voters. He also won suburban voters by 6 points, thanks to a 24-point advantage among suburban men.
Arizona’s Hispanic voters, a pivotal voting bloc, went for Biden by 19 points in 2020. The Democratic margin in the Senate race this year was almost identical.
Roughly half of voters were concerned that Kelly’s views were too extreme, but there was notably more concern about Masters.
Voters were nearly as concerned about Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake’s views (60% concerned, 40% not concerned). But she was able to keep the race closer among moderates (who backed Democrat Katie Hobbs by 21 points) and win suburban voters by a slightly wider margin (+9 points) than Masters.
While the debate over abortion was important in Arizona, immigration and border security were an even greater focus – perhaps unsurprising in a border state. Voters overwhelmingly favored increasing security on the southern border, an issue that helped Republicans up and down the ballot.
Nevada – Senate Race TBD
As Election night came to an end, all eyes were on Nevada. And at the end of the night, the winner in the state’s crucial Senate race was still up in the air.
Hispanics, who make up about 16% of the electorate in Nevada, are an important group, and they went for Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto by about 20 points.
Cortez Masto pulled in support from other key groups including younger voters, union households and urban voters.
At the same time, Republican Adam Laxalt garnered support from White voters, older voters and rural voters.
Suburban voters broke evenly between the two candidates.
Party control of the Senate was one of the major issues at stake for voters in the Silver State. Over half of voters said it was the single most important factor to their vote for senate, and these voters leaned toward Laxalt.
A similar number, about half of voters, said that inflation was the single most important factor to their vote for senate. These voters broke for Laxalt, but the 25% who prioritized the Supreme Court overturning Roe backed Cortez Masto by a wide margin.
Wisconsin – Senate TBD
Incumbent Republican Ron Johnson found himself in a close race against his Democratic challenger, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.
Democrats sought to link Johnson tightly to former President Trump – who endorsed him. This may have had an effect, as Wisconsin voters’ view of the former president is not great – close to 6 in 10 have an unfavorable opinion of him.
Johnson did well among the third of voters who describe themselves as MAGA Republicans. He also did well with White men without a college degree and conservatives.
If elected, Barnes would be the first Black senator from Wisconsin, and Black voters backed him with 87-10%. Voters under 30 also backed Barnes, as did liberals. Almost all voters who identified themselves as Progressives went for the Democrat.
Suburban voters broke slightly for Johnson 50% to 48% for Barnes. These are voters who went for Biden in 2020, so this is a shift in Republicans’ favor. Parents also went for Johnson.
Schools were an issue in the campaign, with a focus on controversial curricula. More than half of all voters said they thought schools were spending too much time teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity – these voters broke for Johnson by almost 4 to 1.
But the economy was by far the top issue – close to half of voters said it was their top concern and they broke for Johnson by more than 2 to 1. Abortion voters went heavily for Barnes, but only about 1 in 10 said it was their top issue.
Nine in ten voters said which party controls the Senate was an important factor to their vote – these voters were leaning toward Johnson.
When it comes to enthusiasm, supporters on each side seemed to be equally keen when it comes to their candidates, with more than half giving their guy a big thumbs-up.
The party that holds the White House hasn’t defeated a senator of the opposing party in Wisconsin since 1962 – it remains to be seen if that holds true in 2022.
Pennsylvania – Fetterman Wins Senate (Dem Pickup)
The contest to succeed retiring Republican Pat Toomey pitted Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz against Oprah Winfrey-endorsed Democrat John Fetterman. Oz appeared to pull close in the final weeks of the campaign, but Fetterman managed to pull out a victory.
Fetterman bested Oz among liberal voters, college women and black voters.
Oz did well among white non college voters, Republicans and conservatives.
Fetterman’s health was an issue in the campaign after he suffered a stroke in May, while Oz faced accusations of being a carpetbagger, having lived in New Jersey for years. One key to Fetterman’s win: more voters were confident he was healthy enough to do the job if elected than were confident that Oz was familiar enough with the state to serve effectively.
Fetterman’s supporters were also more enthusiastic than Oz’s, with more than half describing themselves that way compared to only about 4 in 10 who said they were enthusiastic about Oz.
Finally, the gender gap worked in Fetterman’s favor – Oz narrowly won men, while women backed Fetterman by about 10 points.
Ohio – Vance Wins Senate, GOP Hold
Democrat Tim Ryan tried to keep President Trump on the ballot in this year’s Ohio senate race, attacking his Republican opponent J.D. Vance as too close to the former president. In a state Trump carried in 2020 with more votes than any presidential candidate in history, this may have been a tricky ploy to carry off – especially in a year where economic concerns and a foul mood about the direction of the country under a Democratic president took precedence.
Vance’s strongest groups included men, White evangelicals, and Whites without a college degree.
The suburban vote broke close to half and half – 48% for Ryan and 52% for Vance. In 2020, the suburbs went for Biden, 50-48%. The flip was thanks to suburban men, who went for Vance 60-39% after backing Trump 53-44% two years ago.
Ryan bested Vance among Black voters, White college women, and liberals.
Economic concerns were top-most among Ohio voters’ minds. The economy was the number one issue for more than half of them, and they went more than 2 to 1 for Vance. More than 9 in 10 said inflation was an important factor in who they voted for – these voters went for Vance by more than 10 points. Voters also blamed Biden for inflation, with a majority saying it was his policies that caused it to skyrocket. These voters went overwhelmingly for Vance.
Biden was also a drag on Ryan, as close to half said he supports the president too much. For Vance, about 4-in-10 said he was too close to Trump. Less than 4-in-10 Buckeye voters approve of the job Biden is doing as president.
New Hampshire – Hassan Wins Senate (Dem Hold), Sununu wins Governorship (GOP Hold)
The close Senate race in New Hampshire pitted one-term senator Democrat Maggie Hassan against retired army general Republican Don Bolduc. Hassan pulled off a win with support from women, younger voters, and college educated voters.
Moderates make up a third of the electorate in New Hampshire, and they broke for Hassan by about 30 points, helping her to secure a win.
Roughly six-in-ten voters overall were concerned that Bolduc’s views were too extreme, while just over four-in-ten said the same about Hassan.
Notably, voters were less concerned that Republican Governor Chris Sununu’s views were too extreme – helping him to easily slide into another term as governor, beating out Democratic challenger Tom Sherman.
More than one-in-ten voters (12%) split their ticket and supported Hassan for Senate and Sununu for governor.
Georgia – Senate TBD, Kemp Wins Governorship (GOP Hold)
Georgia can’t decide if it’s blue or red. Once again, Raphael Warnock may be headed to a runoff to try to secure a win in this closely contested Senate race for the seat he won in a 2020 runoff.
Incumbent GOP governor Brian Kemp won his rematch against Democrat Stacey Abrams.
Key groups in the Senate race:
Men favored Walker by 4 percentage points; women backed Warnock by 3.
Voters without a college degree broke for Walker by 5; those with a degree favored Warnock by 7 percentage points.
White evangelicals backed Walker 81% to 17% for Warnock.
Moderates gave Warnock an advantage, 64% to 33%
Just about all Georgia voters said they considered party control of the Senate important when casting their votes.
In a campaign that was rocked by controversial claims about Walker’s honesty/qualifications/ties to Trump, how do voters view the candidates? In a nutshell.
More than half said Warnock has the right experience. That’s more than felt that way about Walker.
More than half felt Warnock has strong moral values. That’s more than said Walker does.
About half said each candidate is too extreme in his political views.
In addition, close to half thought Walker supports Trump too much of the time.
On the governor’s side, a rematch of the 2018 race – Democrat Stacy Abrams again challenged Republican Brian Kemp, who won last time by 1 percentage point. At the time, Abrams challenged the outcome and didn’t concede for 10 days. This year, she admitted defeat before midnight.
Kemp kept men, seniors, and white evangelical voters in his column – and won among women. He narrowly lost Hispanics (46-53%).
Kemp re-opened early during the COVID pandemic, drawing ire from many, including then-President Trump. Half said the way schools responded to COVID-19 was about right.
Finally, when all is said and done, Georgians were confident votes will be counted accurately.
North Carolina – Budd Wins Senate (GOP Hold)
In a competitive race in North Carolina for the open Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr, Republican Congressman Ted Budd defeated Cheri Beasley, but she gave him a run for his money.
White Evangelicals gave Budd 85% of their votes.
Men favored Budd, 54% to 44% for Beasley.
Seniors broke for Budd, 54% to 45%.
White voters without a college degree preferred Budd, 72% to 25%
Budd, a gun store owner, was popular among voters who have guns in their homes, which is almost half of the houses in North Carolina.
North Carolinians like their guns, but they do favor stricter gun laws. Beasley carried three-quarters of those who want stricter gun laws.
Budd co-sponsored a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks. A strong majority of voters in North Carolina favored a nationwide law guaranteeing access to abortion, but almost one-third of them voted for Budd anyway.
Had the campaign continued longer, it may have turned out differently – Beasley won among late deciders.
Florida – Rubio Wins Senate (GOP Hold), DeSantis Wins Governorship (GOP Hold)
Two Republican incumbents were re-elected tonight in Donald Trump’s new home state, where around four-in-ten label themselves “Maga Republicans.” GOP Senator Marco Rubio easily held off a challenge from Democrat Val Demings.
Considering how Florida voters feel about Biden in general (four-in-ten approve of his job overall), Floridians are complimentary of his hurricane relief efforts.
Not as accepting of his policies at the border, though.
Floridians want law enforcement increased at the U.S-Mexico border.
In the race for Governor, Republican Ron DeSantis cruised to re-election over Democrat Charlie Crist. Not surprising since almost six-in-ten approve of the job DeSantis is doing as governor.
DeSantis won (56-43%) among Hispanic voters; especially strong among Cuban-Americans who gave him three-quarters of their votes. In his 2018 contest, DeSantis lost Hispanics 54-44%.
White voters with college degrees gave DeSantis an 56%-43% edge. That hurt Crist, as Democrats depend on those voters. Whites without college degrees broke heavily for DeSantis.
DeSantis gets high marks, higher than Biden, on handling hurricane relief.
Not as many approve of his decision to send migrants up north.
The Fox News Voter Analysis is a survey of more than 90,000 voters and 20,000 nonvoters conducted October 31 through November 8. Full methodological details are available here.