It is generally accepted that there are ten genuinely competitive Senate races in play in 2016 – nine in states that are held by Republicans (Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina) and one held by a Democrat (Nevada). Darryl Glenn is at least within shouting distance of Bennet in Colorado, but we have no recent polling of Colorado’s Presidential race to evaluate for the purposes of this comparison.
FiveThirtyEight took a look at the polls for these races on both the Presidential and Senate side, and put together this chart:
In every one of these states other than Wisconsin (where it is a virtual tie), Trump is underperforming the Republican Senate candidate by a significant margin. In the swing states that he needs to win worst (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida), he is trailing the Republican Senate candidate by a lot.
Trump likes to say that people are tired of politics-as-usual and politicians in particular. Maybe there is some truth to that. However much truth there is, however, there is more to the fact that people are way more tired of Donald J. Trump.
The bottom line lesson of this chart is that Senate Republicans – especially those in battleground states, have no reason to embrace Trump, and in fact many good reasons to run away from Trump. These Senate candidates do not need Trump to help them; Trump needs for them to help him. This would explain why Trump betrayed his base last night by publicly embracing Paul Ryan and John McCain – nobody is really enthusiastic about the popularity of establishment Republicans, but it’s hard to name one right now who isn’t more popular with his electorate than Trump is. And Trump knows it.
Trump rode to the nomination on the strength of the indestructable support of a very small slice of the population who believed (and who still believe) that they constitute a “silent majority.” Trump seems to be coming around to the hard realization that they are actually a small minority and that he will need the support of the mainstream Republicans he has long scorned in order to avoid a historic defeat.