Democrats are heading toward some big losses in this fall's midterm Senate races, polls say

Key Points
  • If midterm elections were held today, five Senate Democrats would lose to Republicans, according to new surveys by Axios/SurveyMonkey.
  • In six of the 10 states with seats up for grabs, President Trump's approval rating is higher than his national rating.
  • The election is still months away and several Republican candidates have yet to be named, so these numbers will most likely change.
Democrats are heading toward some big losses in midterm Senate races, polls say

If midterm elections were held today, five Senate Democrats would lose to Republicans, giving the GOP an even bigger edge in the chamber, according to new surveys from Axios/SurveyMonkey.

According to the results, Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana are trailing generic Republican candidates. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri trails the state's Republican attorney general, Josh Hawley, in her re-election bid. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota will face Rep. Kevin Cramer, although Axios polled Heitkamp's chances against a generic Republican candidate.

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As it stands now, Democrats have a better chance of improving their position, and possibly taking the majority, in the House this fall than they do in the Senate. An average of polls from Real Clear Politics shows that Democrats have a nearly 9-point lead over Republicans on a generic ballot.

The Senate is a different story, though. Republicans hold only a 51-49 edge in the chamber, but 26 of the 30-plus seats up for grabs belong to Democrats or senators who caucus on the Democratic side.

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In six of the 10 states polled in the Axios survey, President Donald Trump's approval rating is more than 50 percent, compared with his 43 percent national approval rating. A Real Clear Politics average of various polls' approval ratings for Trump stands at just under 40 percent.

Tester, Manchin and McCaskill are in the most danger, according to Axios. Their approval ratings are either below or only slightly above 50 percent. Of the five Democrats losing in the polls, only McCaskill and Heitkamp so far face a set candidate. Republican candidates running against Tester, Manchin and Donnelly have yet to be determined.

The survey found that Tester would score 42 percent of his state's votes, with 55 percent saying they would vote Republican. Manchin is at 43 percent, with 52 percent voting Republican. Donnelly has 45 percent of votes, with 51 percent voting Republican.

McCaskill is down 44 percent to Hawley's 52 percent.

The polling was closer for Heitkamp. The survey said she would garner 47 percent, versus 49 percent for a generic Republican challenger. Yet the Axios report did not mention Cramer, who announced his candidacy Feb. 16. The polls were conducted from Feb. 12 until March 5.

Read the full Axios report here.