Friday, August 05, 2016

Trump May Start Dragging GOP Senate Candidates Down With Him

In follow up to a previous post this morning, a piece at FiveThirtyEight suggests that Paul Ran may be justified in his fears of what awaits the GOP in November.  I for one sincerely hope that November is brutal to the GOP.  Here are article excerpts:
Donald Trump doesn’t seem to have a good handle on what’s going on in the Senate races this year. After previously predicting that Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona would lose in the fall (Flake isn’t up for re-election this year), Trump went after Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire this week, saying, “I’m beating her in the polls by a lot.” But Ayotte is running ahead of Trump in New Hampshire, earning a higher share of support in her race than Trump is against Hillary Clinton in the Granite State.
In fact, Republicans in most Senate battlegrounds are running ahead of Trump in their states. That may last, increasing the chances that the GOP hangs on to their Senate majority. But it’s also possible that Trump begins to drag down his party’s down-ballot candidates.
Right now, Republicans hold 54 Senate seats to the Democrats’ 46. In order to take control of the Senate, Democrats need to pick up four seats if Clinton wins the presidency and five if she doesn’t.  Of the 34 Senate seats up for grabs in 2016, here are the 10 that are closest to changing parties, according to the current polling averages: Arizona,2 Florida,3 Illinois,4Missouri, Nevada,5 New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvaniaand Wisconsin. All these seats, with the exception of Nevada’s, are currently held by Republicans,
 Trump is doing far worse in these states than the Republicans running for Senate in them . . . . The only state where Trump isn’t doing at least 3 percentage points worse than his party’s Senate candidate is Wisconsin, where he is still running behind Sen. Ron Johnson at this time. On average, Trump is running nearly 7 percentage points behind the Republican candidates for Senate.
 Unless Trump’s position improves, Republicans will be able to maintain control of the Senate only if enough voters split their tickets, voting Republican for the Senate but not in the presidential race. . . . . But all those Republican candidates are leading by 5 percentage points or less. In the last presidential election cycle, 2012, a number of Republican Senate candidates faded down the stretch, and some, such as Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, lost healthy-sized leads as the summer turned to fall. In an era in which fewer people are splitting their tickets, the advantages currently enjoyed by the Republican candidates for Senate aren’t secure. If Trump’s troubles continue or worsen, he could take down these Republican candidates with them. . . . . If that happens across the country and Trump continues to trail, it could lead to a Democratic majority in the Senate come 2017.

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