A new poll shows warning signs for Republicans in Pennsylvania, one of the states most critical to determining which party controls Congress after November's elections.
With just under seven months until the midterms, Democrats have strong advantages both on the generic congressional ballot in Pennsylvania and in the race to hold on to Democratic Sen. Bob Casey's seat, according to a Muhlenberg College poll. In addition, a majority disapproves of President Donald Trump, and a plurality disapproves of the Republican tax law.
Much can change in the months before the elections, and the GOP hopes public opinion of its tax plan can improve and boost the party's midterm hopes. The single poll also does not capture public opinion at the level of specific House districts.
Republicans in recent days have pointed to a shrinking lead for Democrats on the national generic ballot, including a Washington Post-ABC News poll that found only a 4 percentage point advantage for Democrats. They have also highlighted an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that found 35 percent of Americans think Republicans are better equipped to handle the economy, while only 28 percent said Democrats are more suited.
Still, the Pennsylvania survey depicts a challenging environment for Republicans in one of the most important states for their effort to hold on to congressional majorities.
Earlier this year, House Democrats got a boost when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court revised a GOP-drawn congressional map. Under the new map, which Republicans have argued is unconstitutional, nonpartisan election handicappers consider at least five seats currently held by Republicans competitive. GOP incumbents are retiring from multiple Pennsylvania seats.
"With the recent redistricting in Pennsylvania, the strong Democratic advantage in the generic ballot is particularly significant and troubling for the GOP," said Christopher Borick, a political science professor and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.
Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from the state, had said he would retire after his term, but said Tuesday that he would resign in May. His resignation leaves open the possibility for a special election to fill his seat before November.
President Donald Trump won the state by less than 1 percentage point in the 2016 election, after former President Barack Obama carried it in both 2008 and 2012. Polls have suggested a shift toward Democrats in the swing state this year.
The National Republican Congressional Committee and Pennsylvania Republican Party did not immediately respond to requests to comment on the poll.
Here are some of the findings from the survey, which was taken between April 4 and April 12:
The telephone poll surveyed 414 voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 5.5 percentage points.
— Graphic by CNBC's John Schoen.