President Trump's national approval rating is still historically low — 39.8 percent in the RealClearPolitics average and 40.2 percent at FiveThirtyEight — but "as state-by-state polling of Trump's approval rating shows, the national mood really isn't so national," Nathaniel Rakich notes at FiveThirtyEight. "Voters in different corners of the country differ in how deep their anger runs — and at whom it's directed. ... To take control of the Senate, it doesn't much matter how Democrats perform elsewhere if they can't win both Nevada and Arizona and defend red-state Democrats in places like Missouri and Indiana." According to a new poll by Axios and SurveyMonkey, that could be very difficult for Democrats to pull off.
"Five Senate Democrats would lose to a Republican candidate if the election were held today and three have approval ratings under 50 percent," Axios says. Moreover, out of the 10 states Trump won and where a Senate Democrat is up for re-election, Trump's approval rating tops 50 percent in six of them — West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio. The most vulnerable Democrats, according to the survey, are Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Jon Tester (Mont.), and Claire McCaskill (Mo.).
"With the election many months away and final Republican opponents not set, these numbers are likely to change as real GOP challengers get involved in the race," Axios says, but they "underscore how hard it will be for Democrats to pick up the two seats needed to win the majority despite Trump's troubles." SurveyMonkey and Axios conducted the online poll Feb. 12-March 5 among 17,289 registered voters in the six states above plus Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Axios did not provide a margin of error. Peter Weber