Donald Trump's recent slip in the polls has Republicans worried that their choice could become a hindrance in the Congressional races they need to win in order to maintain control of the House and Senate, The New York Times reported.
Trump's turnaround comes at a crucial time when Republicans must decide whether to standby their presidential nominee's comments or distance themselves from his erratic campaign.
Two senior Republicans, who maintained anonymity, told the Times that Trump's second debate with Hillary Clinton in St Louis on Sunday, will decide whether the congressional candidates will continue to back the billionaire businessman or "flee openly from their nominee."
Liesl Hickey, a Republican strategist involved in several House races in swing states, said she was unhappy with the rising unpopularity among independent voters as they believe him to be entering "unchartered territory."
"They are really starting to pull away from Trump," said Hickey, reports the Times.
Trump, who is still recovering from a roller coaster fortnight — after polls and pundits declared Clinton as the winner of the first debate, followed by his attack on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, and the New York Times revealing Trump not paying taxes — has left a number of Republican senators alarmed.
Trump's running mate Mike Pence too was only able to do little to calm the anxieties faced by Republicans as he faced Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in Tuesday's vice-presidential debate.
Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster told The Times, "Two weeks ago I would have said Republicans would hold control of the Senate, but there's just so many seats up and nobody is getting separation. It worries me that we're this close to Election Day and you're not seeing that separation, because it makes you wonder what kind of impact the top of the ticket has."
Meanwhile, other Republicans are hoping Trump can pull a rabbit out of a hat by holding Clinton to a narrow victory, and in the process sparing other Republican candidates in their race.
However, if Clinton wins and Tim Kaine becomes vice president, Democrats would need four seats to reclaim the Senate. Of the 34 seats that are up for grabs, Republicans held 24, and Democrats held 10. Both parties are confident that Republican incumbents in Wisconsin and Illinois are likely to lose, thus leaving the Democrats with just two slots to capture the majority if they retain the rest of their seats.
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