Republicans’ worries do not stop at the White House. The top of the ticket and the dynamics of this particular election cycle have left them vulnerable in the Senate as well.
Unlike the last two elections, this time around, Republicans have to defend 23 Senate seats compared to the Dems’ 10 — those numbers were reversed the last two elections. That is a natural disadvantage. However, when considering their party’s nominee, it becomes even more concerning.
Two of the races that have received the focus of both parties — in North Carolina between incumbent Senator Richard Burr and Deborah Ross, and in Pennsylvania between incumbent Pat Toomey and Democrat Katie McGinty — are increasingly looking in danger for Republicans.
In North Carolina, Ross has pulled ahead in the race over the past month. “The race between incumbent Sen. Richard Burr and Deborah Ross has gone back and forth for months,” said Peter A. Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “She carries the narrowest of leads into the final days of the campaign.”
Where it becomes worrisome for the Republican is not only that Ross is trending up, but also that she holds a large lead over him in the early vote, 60 percent to 35, according to the Quinnipiac poll. Burr does hold an advantage among independents, however, where he gets 46 percent support compared to Ross’s 43 percent.
North Carolina is a key battleground state and a ‘checkmate’ state for GOP presidential nominee — a state he has to win if he hopes to win the election. This Senate race may ultimately turn on the top of the ticket.
In Pennsylvania, Katie McGinty appears to have pulled ahead in the popular vote. Quinnipiac showed her to be narrowly leading by a margin of 48 to 47 over the Republican incumbent.
Like Ross, McGinty is not only slightly ahead, but has been trending up. “Katie McGinty closes the gap and sends a shiver through the GOP. It’s a tossup for what many thought was a safe Republican Senate seat six months ago,” said Tom Malloy, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Similar to the North Carolina race, Toomey has a narrow lead among independent voters, however, by a margin of 49 to 48.
More concerning for Toomey is the fact that Quinnipiac appears to show the race to be closer than it is. The RealClearPolitics shows McGinty leading by an average of 5 percent.