In a deep dive into recent Senate polls, we look at the ‘Trump Effect” on five Republican senators.


  • Ron Johnson (R) – Wisconsin
    • vs. Russ Feingold (D)
    • Current Poll: Feingold +10
    • Trump Effect: 45 percent of people less likely to vote for Ron Johnson

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Source: PPP Wisconsin

When asked if he was concerned about backing Donald, Ron Johnson said this: “Let me tell you precisely what I’ve said. I intend to support the Republican nominee. That’s what I’ve said. I intend to support the Republican nominee.”

Johnson’s statement of support appears to damage him most strongly among Independents, but surprisingly, even 18 percent of Republicans are less likely to support him because he backs Donald.


  • Kelly Ayotte (R) – New Hampshire
    • vs. Maggie Hassan (D)
    • Current Poll: Hassan +3
    • Trump Effect: 47 percent of people less likely to vote for Ayotte

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Source: PPP New Hampshire

“As she’s said from the beginning, Kelly plans to support the nominee. As a candidate herself, she hasn’t and isn’t planning to endorse anyone this cycle,” said Liz Johnson, communications director for Kelly for New Hampshire.” (Via UnionLeader.com.)

Ayotte’s tepid “support but not endorse” does not seem to have done her any favors in the polls – she actually fares worse with independents than Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.

Maggie for NH Press Secretary Meira Bernstein sent BNR this statement:

“Donald Trump is running a dangerous, racist and sexist campaign. While Ayotte’s support for Trump is extremely troubling, it’s not surprising given that Ayotte and Trump are clearly in agreement when it comes to critical issues such as their desire to defund Planned Parenthood, undermine Roe v. Wade and obstruct the Supreme Court confirmation process. All Granite Staters should be concerned that Ayotte has pledged to support Trump for Commander-in-Chief despite the judgement of national security experts and members of both parties who have said that he’s a danger to our country’s vital interests.

It’s also deeply concerning that Ayotte continues to trust Trump to appoint federal judges, including to the Supreme Court, even after Trump’s racist attacks on the judiciary in response to revelations that Trump University allegedly preyed on the elderly and our most vulnerable citizens. Granite Staters deserve a Senator who will stand up whenever they see racism, sexism or a threat to our national security. Unfortunately, Senator Ayotte is more concerned with supporting her political party than representing the people of New Hampshire.”


  • John McCain (R) – Arizona
    • vs. Ann Kirkpatrick(D)
    • Current Poll: Kirkpatrick +2
    • Trump Effect: 44 percent of people less likely to vote for McCain

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Source: PPP Arizona

“Because I’m a proud Republican. I am a Ronald Reagan-Teddy Roosevelt Republican and I support the Republican Party,” McCain said. “And the Republicans have chosen the nominee for the party. I think that makes sense.” (Via AZCentral.com.)

Voters do not like McCain’s support for the Republican nominee — he stands to lose a majority of Independents, and gains virtually nothing from endorsing Donald.

D.B. Mitchell, spokesperson for Ann Kirkpatrick’s campaign, told BNR:

“John McCain’s pledge to back Donald Trump shows just how much he’s changed after 33 years in Washington. Meanwhile, Arizonans know Ann stands up for them, whether it’s her unwavering support for comprehensive immigration reform, protecting Social Security and Medicare, or through her fight for equal pay for equal work. That’s why more and more folks are rallying behind Ann every day, and it’s why Arizona will choose a new leader in November.”


  • Pat Toomey (R) – Pennsylvania
    • vs. Katie McGinty(D)
    • Current Poll: Toomey +3
    • Trump Effect: 40 percent of people less likely to vote for Toomey

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PPP Pennsylvania

“Donald Trump was not my first choice. He wasn’t my second choice. But, you know, I don’t want to see Hillary Clinton take this country further to the left,” Toomey told a local radio station this week. (Via The Hill.)

20 percent of Republicans say Toomey’s position on Donald makes them less likely to support him.

Josh Levitt, McGinty’s campaign spokesman, told BNR:

“Donald Trump’s offensive and racist views have been front and center for many months now. Yet despite all of Trump’s hateful remarks, Pat Toomey has refused to disavow Trump’s candidacy and still hopes to support Trump for president. Pennsylvanians will hold Pat Toomey accountable for his unwillingness to stand up to Donald Trump and his offensive and outrageous views and proposals this November.”


  • Rob Portman (R) – Ohio
    • vs. Ted Strickland (D)
    • Current Poll: Portman +4
    • Trump Effect: 43 percent of people less likely to vote for Portman

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Source: PPP Ohio

Dayton Daily News: “Portman said he supports Trump’s support for rebuilding the military and believes Trump is the better option for ‘getting the country back on track in terms of economic growth.’ ‘I think it’s appropriate to support the Republican nominee,’ he said. ‘The people have made his choice clear.'”

Rob Portman experiences less of a Trump Effect from Independents and Republicans but a massive one from Democrats. Portman is between a rock and a hard place – if he disavows Donald, he loses the 37 percent of Republicans who are more likely to vote for him because of that support. If he maintains support for Donald, he will drive away a large number of Independents.