Donald Trump's sagging poll numbers appear to be dragging down down-ballot Republicans, too, to the point where some GOP super PACs are openly pleading with voters to keep Republicans in office as a check on President Hillary Clinton. Clinton over the weekend lashed vulnerable Republican Sens. Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Richard Burr (N.C.) to Trump, urging voters in each state to repudiate Trump by electing the women challenging each incumbent. Thanks to polling shifts up and down the ballot, "Democrats now have a 73 percent chance of winning the Senate," says Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight, based on the site's "polls plus" forecast.
"Control of the Senate is coming down to six key states, with Democrats needing to gain four seats to win a majority if Clinton wins the White House," Enten explains. The Democratic challenger will likely win in Wisconsin and Illinois, he said, so they have to hold the open seat in Nevada and win two more of the five remaining tossups — Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — and momentum appears to be shifting in the Democrats' direction.
But even if the Democrats do win control, Chris Cillizza notes at The Washington Post, "it could be a blink before they are back in the minority." The 2018 map is "remarkably bad" for Democrats — they will be defending 25 seats, versus just eight for Republicans. "That's as lopsided an election cycle as you will ever see," Cillizza says, and it gets worse: 20 percent of the Democratic seats are in states Mitt Romney won in 2012, and the election will likely be in the first midterm of Hillary Clinton's presidency, a time when the White House party usually loses seats. That means, he said, "a President Hillary Clinton will have two years to work with a friendly Senate before things get much, much tougher for her in Congress." So there's some good news for Republicans.