Remember how having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket was going to put all those vulnerable GOP senate seats in play? Good times…
The hopes of congressional Democrats that presumptive Republican Donald Trump’s presidential run will hurt incumbent Senate Republicans might be just that – hopes. A new Qunnipiac Poll Thursday finds three incumbent Republicans in key swing states comfortably leading their Democratic challengers.
The poll shows that Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Rob Portman of Ohio are not only fending off their Democratic challengers but, in some cases, they’re widening their leads.
Rubio leads Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., by 50-37 percent, a 6-point gain since Quinnipiac’s last poll of Florida voters in June. Rubio is also ahead of Rep. Alan Grayson, another potential Democratic challenger, 50-38 percent.
“Democrats made fun of Sen. Rubio when he opted for a last-minute re-election bid in Florida, but he may be on the way to the last laugh, having quickly opened double-digit leads over both Democratic challengers,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
In Ohio, Portman leads former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland by 47-40 percent. Quinnipiac’s survey differs from a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll released Wednesday that showed Portman and Strickland tied at 44 percent.
In Pennsylvania, Toomey holds a double-digit advantage over Democrat Katie McGinty 49-39 percent.
Curiously, these are the three states Trump needs to flip in order to win the election. Rubio still deserves a lot of blame for having needlessly put his senate seat in play by running his vanity presidential campaign. But if the polls show him crushing his opponent, the chances of Trump taking Florida are very good. More interesting, both Portman and Toomey are colorless, off-the-rack Republicans essentially interchangeable with dozens of others — if they’re ahead, the Democrats have a major problem.