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FiveThirtyEight: Trump May Drag Down GOP Senate Candidates

Image: FiveThirtyEight: Trump May Drag Down GOP Senate Candidates

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By    |   Thursday, 04 Aug 2016 10:42 AM

Republicans are fighting to retain control of the Senate, but their presidential candidate may hurt their chances.

There are 34 Senate seats in play in the Nov. 8 election. Democrats need a net gain of five if Hillary Clinton loses the race for the White House, and four if she wins. There are 10 Republican-held seats in states that are most prone to swinging Democrat, according to FiveThirtyEight, and in each, Trump is polling worse than the GOP Senate candidate.

Trump lags behind Clinton in eight of the 10 states, only leading in Arizona and Missouri, which haven't been won by a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996. Trump's divisiveness could hurt his fellow Republican candidates if voters are reluctant to split their ticket, voting for the Republican Senate candidate but not the GOP presidential nominee.

A WBUR-FM poll of the New Hampshire general election shows Clinton firmly in the lead, 47 percent to 32 percent, while GOP incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte trails her Democratic opponent, Gov. Maggie Hassan, 50 percent to 40 percent.

A pollster for MassINC, which conducted the July 29 – Aug. 1 survey for WBUR, told FiveThirtyEight that he viewed the results "as evidence that Trump is hurting her."

But Trump thinks he's "doing very well in New Hampshire," and claims he's leading Ayotte in polls, although he doesn't specify which ones, in an interview with The Washington Post.

Trump made waves earlier this week when he refused to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan or Sen. John McCain for re-election, two of the highest-ranking Republicans in Washington.

He did praise Ryan's primary challenger Paul Nehlen, a businessman who leapt to Trump's defense over the billionaire's controversial remarks about a Gold Star family who appeared during the Democratic National Convention to criticize Trump.

Speaking to the Post, Trump didn't refer to Nehlen by name, but said that Ryan's "opponent is a big fan of what I'm saying — big fan. His opponent, who's running a very good campaign, obviously, I've heard — his opponent sent me a very scholarly and well-thought-out letter yesterday, and all I did was say thank you very much for your very nice letter."

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Republicans are fighting to retain control of the Senate, but their presidential candidate may hurt their chances.
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2016-42-04
Thursday, 04 Aug 2016 10:42 AM
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