If the elections were held today, of the ten incumbent Democrat Senators running for re-election this fall, five would lose to their Republican opponents and likely two more, meaning Republicans could pick up 7 of 10 Democrat Senate seats or more.
This is according to a new Axios/Survey Monkey poll.
In the poll, Trump’s approval rating tracks strongly with Republican candidate polling. All five of the states in which the Republican is leading his Democrat opponent, President Trump’s approval rating is over 50%. President is also polling at 54% in Ohio where Republican challenger Renacci is trailing the Democrat incumbent by five points. I look for Renacci to overcome that gap and win the seat in November.
Both Pennsylvania and Florida could be surprises. Both were strong for Trump in 2016. I see Pennsylvania as a tossup and I believe Rick Scott, with far better name recognition, exposure, track record, and a better organized and funded campaign will win the Florida seat currently occupied by Bill Nelson.
On a side note, I expected Joe Manchin of West Virginia to have switched parties already. Not switching is hurting him terribly. Since Manchin’s election in 2012, West Virginia has gone deep red, thanks in large part to President Trump’s reviving the dying coal industry. I see no way he gets re-elected as a Democrat. If he switches parties and wins the primary, if there is one, his chances of re-election are good. Manchin, currently a moderate Democrat, bucked his party several times over the years, voting with Republicans.
I see 7 of the 10 seats swinging to the Republican side this fall, which would be very bad news for Democrats and would put the Republicans within just two seats of the magic 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority.
According to Axios….
Why it matters: Democrats are defending 10 Senate seats in states that President Trump won in 2016. In six of those states, Trump’s approval is higher than 50% (compared to 43% nationally). These numbers underscore how hard it will be for Democrats to pick up the two seats needed to win the majority despite Trump’s troubles.
The most vulnerable senators are Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester in Montana and Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Each of their approval ratings is either under 50% or just above it, while Trump’s is well above that in all three states.
The least vulnerable senators are Bill Nelson of Florida, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Trump’s approval is at just 46% in Florida and Pennsylvania and 54% in Ohio.
But, but, but… With the election many months away and final Republican opponents not set, these numbers are likely to change as real GOP challengers get involved in the race. The approval ratings of each senator may give a better idea of where they stand with voters in their states.
By the numbers:
- Trump’s approval is higher than the incumbent senators in six states (WV, ND, MT, IN, MO, OH). It’s higher than his national approval rating in all 10 states.
- North Dakota voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton by a 36 point margin, but a generic Republican candidate would have just a 2 point lead over Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
- Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s narrow three-point advantage over a generic Republican candidate is underscored by outside conservative groups that have already spent millions of dollars in attack ads against her.
- Sen. Casey in Pennsylvania is polling nine points ahead of his GOP challenger Lou Barletta, whom Trump has already publicly endorsed (though the president’s approval rating in the state is 46%).