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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Trump's rise in polls good news for Rubio in Florida

As Donald Trump's poll numbers have improved, so too has Republican chances of holding onto the majority in the U.S. Senate, according to Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball.

Sabato's Crystal Ball

As Donald Trump's poll numbers have improved, so too has Republican chances of holding onto the majority in the U.S. Senate, according to Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball.

19

September

Donald Trump’s rise in the polls is bad news for Democrats trying to retake the majority from Republican in the U.S. Senate.

Veteran political analysts Larry Sabato and Nathan Gonzales both say in new reports that there is a correlation to how well Trump does at the top of the ticket and how Senate races, like Florida’s will play out. Both have said for Democrat Patrick Murphy to beat incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio, he is likely going to need Hillary Clinton to win Florida solidly over Trump.

“Naturally, in an age with relatively little ticket-splitting, when Trump moves up, so do GOP chances to hold the upper chamber,” Sabato writes in his latest Crystal Ball this morning. “Democrats had counted on a big Clinton victory to lift them to at least 50 Senate seats, if not an outright majority.”

In August, Clinton led Trump in six consecutive polls, including one by 9 percentage points. But since then polls have showed a much closer race in the margins. At the same time, Trump has been rising, so too has Rubio’s hopes of winning re-election. Sabato and Gonzales, of the Rothenberg & Gonzales Report have upgraded Rubio’s chances and no longer consider Florida a pure toss-up as it has been for most of the summer. Both now give Rubio a slight advantage, based largely on Trump’s improvement in national polls.

Republicans currently have a 54-46 advantage in the Senate. If Clinton wins the White House, Democrats would need to pick up 4 U.S. Senate seats - and lose none they currently hold - to win the majority.

“Even if Donald Trump doesn’t win the race for the White House, losing competitive states by a close margin will improve vulnerable GOP senators’ chances of survival,” Gonzales wrote over the weekend.

For Sabato and Gonzales, the Democrats best chances for regaining the majority now is to beat Republican incumbents in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and hold onto Nevada, where Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is retiring.

That scenario could help Rubio Gonzales said  if Democrats divert resources from Florida to those states where they see a better chance of winning the majority.

[Last modified: Monday, September 19, 2016 10:22am]

    

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