Observers of the 2016 election cycle have been baffled at the developments of this presidential campaign. Presidential party nominees are impacting other races, namely the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, according to a recently released Quinnipiac University Poll.
Registered voters answered the hypothetical question – if the election were held today – Democratic challenger Katie McGinty wins over Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey. Observers noted that Senate poll numbers are consistent with presidential nominees.
“Is Katie McGinty benefiting from Hillary Clinton’s 10 point lead over Donald Trump in Pennsylvania,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Is she engaging Sen. Pat Toomey in her own right, or is it a little bit of both? Any way you cut it, this first timer is giving the incumbent a run for his money.”
McGinty ran for governor in 2014, and failed to gain enough support to attain the nomination. She previously worked as a state and federal environmental policy official.
Toomey, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999 to 2005, has served in the US Senate since 2011. He is a businessman.
Among Republicans, Toomey leads 85 percent to 7 percent. McGinty takes Democratic votes 85 percent to 8 percent. Independent voters are divided, with 46 percent for Toomey and 44 percent for McGinty.
Analysis of the poll revealed that there are wider gender and racial gaps in Pennsylvania’s Senate race. Women are backing the Democratic challenger – McGinty, 52 percent to 38 percent; men support the Republican incumbent 51 percent to 41 percent; white voters break for Toomey 52 percent to 42 percent; and non-white voters go McGinty 71 percent to 12 percent.
Democrats need to pick up at least four seats in November to win control of the Senate, and the poll showed Republican incumbent Senators in three key swing states — Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania — easily outperforming Trump. But if Trump continues his slide in the polls, he could pull them down, as well as other vulnerable incumbents.
“At this stage of the campaign, Republican U.S. Senate candidates may be running against their own presidential nominee, Donald Trump, as much as they are against their Democratic opponents,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “In each of the three key swing states, the incumbent U.S. senators seeking reelection are running better than Trump. But if Trump continues to lag behind in the presidential race, that will make it more difficult for GOP candidates, logic holds, up and down the ballot.”
Overall, if the election were held today, voters would elect McGinty 47 percent to 44 percent, the poll found.
The latest Quinnipiac University presidential polling showed Clinton beating Trump 46 percent to 45 percent in Florida, 49 percent to 45 percent in Ohio and 52 percent to 42 percent in Pennsylvania.