Republican down-ballot candidates worry a Trump slump will take them down with him

As President Donald Trump’s poll numbers continue to have wide swings that give little indication of how he might fare on Election day in just under four weeks, vulnerable Republicans in Congress, especially Senators, are beginning to worry that a Trump implosion could cost them the last check on Democrat power — the Senate majority. 

While some recent polls show that Trump is further narrowing the gap between himself and Democrat challenger Joe Biden, others show a gap so wide that it doesn’t seem he will be able to bridge it in a few weeks.

Which one is right? It’s enough to give a Trump supporter whiplash–or indigestion.

For their part, some Republican senators in tight races have seen some of their own poll numbers drop along with Trump’s — but if Trump’s numbers are wrong, one has to think that senators’ would be similarly inaccurate.

Republican strategist says election “thrown into chaos”

“The conventional wisdom among Republican strategists and pollsters was that a natural tightening tends to occur post-Labor Day,” longtime Republican strategist Ken Spain said. “The events over the course of the last few days have thrown that into chaos.”

Spain is referring to the release of information about Trump’s tax returns that the New York Times said indicated he paid little taxes in the leadup to the 2016 election, an uber-aggressive debate performance, and Trump’s coronavirus infection and hospitalization late last week.

New polls indicate that vulnerable Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC), Steve Daines (MT), Susan Collins (ME), Martha McSally (AZ) and Dan Sullivan (AK) could be even more vulnerable. If all five lose and no new Republicans win, the Senate will flip Democrat.

“These last three weeks have just felt terrible,” Ohio Republican strategist Jai Chabria said, accoridn. “It feels like the Democrats have momentum going into this last month, certainly, but I don’t think anyone knows what that means.”

Polls don’t tell the whole story

The Hill‘s John Feehery points out that the polls really don’t tell the whole story of the run-up to the election, however.

He points to high levels of enthusiasm on the part of Trump supporters, and corresponding low enthusiasm for Biden as being more instructive than polls–many of which have historically been skewed toward Democrats and ignored Republicans.

And sure, a lot of Democrats really hate Trump–but “positive energy, if you can generate it, beats negative energy,” Feehery said.

Feehery also said that Trump’s ground game has been far superior to Biden’s, which was non-existent until a few days ago. And while Biden may be out-fundraising Trump now, that is a recent development and Feehery didn’t think it would help Biden much this late in the game.

So there’s some hope during a time that can feel disheartening, if you listen to the rest of the media.

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