Republicans Hit The Panic Button As Polls Show They Could Lose The Senate Too
The idea that the Senate might be up for grabs wasn’t even being debated a few weeks ago. However, with the November election just around the corner, polling continues to strike fear in the hearts of Republicans.
President Trump’s approval rating has fallen in a series of recent polls, fueling concerns among Republicans that an already dire election season is turning worse at precisely the wrong time.
To make matters worse, a Democratic advantage in enthusiasm; a double-digit lead for Democrats in the generic ballot; and historical trends – suddenly have GOP leaders on edge in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is warning Republicans that their majority in the upper chamber is at risk with eight weeks to go before the election.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, McConnell described the electoral landscape as “very challenging” and warned of the “storm” Republicans face in the first midterm election since President Trump took office.
“Almost every election two years into any new administration the party of the presidency loses seats. They don’t always lose the body, but almost always loses seats. And so we know that this is going to be a very challenging election on the Senate side,” McConnell said.
A new CNN poll found Trump’s approval plummeted 6 points over the past month to just 36 percent, and more than half a dozen other nonpartisan surveys showed a similar downward path.
Pollsters and strategists say the numbers are particularly unusual because the president’s approval ratings have suffered even as the economy has thrived.
Republicans fear an even more precipitous drop could spell doom for House and Senate candidates across the country in an election season that is defined by the president.
“The further south it goes, the more worrisome it becomes,” said Whit Ayers, a GOP pollster who has advised Senate and House candidates for decades.
Inside the White House, officials have long acknowledged there is a good chance the House could change hands in November.
But they privately admit that the Senate is also at risk.
If Republicans don’t have a majority in the Senate they will have almost no recourse in stopping laws from making their way from the House to the Senate, as the filibuster that used to force a 60-vote supermajority on the most important matters was eliminated by Republicans.