Senate Update: GOP Candidates Are Doing Better Than Trump — And May
Democrats are still modest favorites to retake the Senate. They have about a 67 percent chance of winning a majority, according to the FiveThirtyEight polls-only and polls-plusforecasts. That advantage comes even as GOP Senate candidates are running ahead of Donald Trump in their states — much more than Republican Senate candidates compared with Mitt Romney four years ago.
Trump, of course, is losing to Hillary Clinton. In the 29 states with a Senate race (and at least one poll),1 Clinton leads by about 2 percentage points in the FiveThirtyEight polls-only adjusted polling average. In those same states, the Republican Senate candidate is leading the Democratic candidate by about 3 points, on average.
Republican Senate candidates are running ahead of Trump
As the table makes clear, it’s not as if one outlier is skewing the data. Nineteen of the 29 GOP candidates are doing better in their states than Trump. Only in blue states like Connecticut, New York and Oregon is Trump running consistently ahead of his down-ballot party-mates. Trump, on the other hand, is running well behind Republican candidates for Senate in traditionally red states like Arizona, Idaho, South Carolinaand Utah.
And, most importantly, the same is true in most of the Senate races that will most likely decide control of the chamber: Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Of those key states, only in Missouri (with Democrat Jason Kander’s strong campaign) and Indiana (with Democrat Evan Bayh running for his old seat) is Trump outpacing the down-ballot Republican.
In 2012, in contrast, Mitt Romney did considerably better than Republican Senate candidates. In the 32 Senate races that pitted a Democrat against a Republican,2 GOP candidates lost by about 8 percentage points, on average. Romney lost by about 3 points in these same states.3 And again, it’s not one outlier causing this difference. Romney did better than Republican candidates in 21 of the 32 races.