Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Trump Outperforms Senate Republicans

 When I was writing about Lindsey Graham earlier this week, I noticed that the South Carolina senator was actually running behind Donald Trump in the Palmetto State. This was somewhat surprising since Mr. Trump underperformed most Republican candidates in 2016 and it made me wonder how the president stacks up against other Republican incumbents.

This year, Republicans will be defending a total of 23 Senate seats. Here is how the current RealClearPolitics polling averages (or FiveThirtyEight when no RCP average is available) compare for each Senate race and the presidential election, along with each Senate race’s current rating from Cook Political Report:

Alaska – Likely R (no polls since July)
Sullivan (R) leads by five points
Trump (R) leads by three points

Arizona Lean D
McSally trails by five
Trump trails by three

Arkansas Solid R
(No Senate polls and no presidential polls since June)
Trump leads by two

Colorado Lean D
Gardner trails by eight
Trump trails by 10

Georgia Toss up
Perdue leads by three
Georgia special election Lean R
Loeffler leads by three
Trump leads by one

Idaho Solid R
Risch leads by 26
Trump leads by 25

Iowa Toss up
Ernst trails by three
Trump is tied with Biden

Kansas Lean R (open seat)
Marshall leads by three
Trump leads by nine

Kentucky Likely R
McConnell leads by eight
Trump leads by 18

Louisiana Solid R
No Senate polls
Trump leads by 11

Maine Toss up
Collins trails by seven
Trump trails by 15

Mississippi Solid R
Hyde-Smith leads by 10
Trump leads by 12

Montana Toss up
Daines leads by two
Trump leads by nine

Nebraska Solid R
No Senate polls
Trump trails by seven (this was a shocker)

North Carolina Toss up
Tillis trails by six
Trump trails by less than one point

Oklahoma Solid R
Inhofe leads by 20
Trump leads by 24

South Carolina Lean R
Graham is tied
Trump leads by eight

South Dakota Solid R
No polls

Tennessee Solid R (open seat)
No Senate polls
Trump leads by 13

Texas Likely R
Cornyn leads by eight
Trump leads by four

West Virginia Solid R
No recent polls

Wyoming Solid R (open seat)
Barasso leads by 29
No presidential polls

Of the polls where we have decent data on both races, the Republican candidate polled better than the president in seven cases. This does not include Idaho where James Risch fared only one point better than President Trump, a statistical tie. That leaves nine states where Donald Trump is running ahead of the Republican Senate incumbents.

It is also worth noting that Republican incumbents trail in five states, not counting South Carolina. Democrats need to gain a net of four seats to gain control of the Senate (three if Kamala Harris becomes president of the Senate) and Doug Jones’s seat in Alabama appears to be the only likely Democratic loss.

It is difficult to draw firm conclusions in the midst of the campaign but the polling currently shows a stark change in the nature of the Republican Party since November 2016. That year, Trump outperformed Republican senatorial candidates in only three of 12 races.

The data so far for 2020 is incomplete but shows that Donald Trump is far more accepted among red-state Republicans now than in 2020. This is true despite the fact that Joe Biden is a much more popular candidate than Hillary Clinton. With no polling in so many deep-red states, it will be interesting to watch the margins of the elections to see whether Trump maintains his edge over Senate Republicans.

Despite Mr. Trump’s unpopularity in the country at large, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Trump remains popular in red states. What is surprising is the extent to which Trump has become more popular than traditional Republicans. That truth underscores the fact that, even if Mr. Trump is shown the door by voters, his influence will be felt in the GOP for years to come.

Originally published on The Resurgent

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