GOP Nightmare Scenario

When I saw Fox News come out with its poll yesterday with Hillary Clinton opening up a 10 point lead over Donald Trump nationwide, I couldn’t help wonder whether some top Republicans might have gotten a heads up the day before, thus contributing to what we might call the ‘Reince Apoplectic’ freakout. Would they do that? Who knows. But c’mon, it’s Fox. Today we have three new state polls each showing big leads for Clinton. Michigan (Clinton +9), Pennsylvania (Clinton +11), New Hampshire (Clinton +15).

To be clear, these are all blue or purple states. Dems should be winning these, especially Michigan and Pennsylvania. (Though they come on the heels of polls that put Georgia and Arizona into the toss-up category.) But these are big leads. And in New Hampshire, at least in this poll, Trump’s woes appear to have pushed Hassan in a big lead (+10) over GOP incumbent Kelly Ayotte.

It is important to note that these are still polls coming on the heels of what most agree was a strong Democratic convention and what can only be called a catastrophic week for Donald Trump. So there’s an important distinction. I am not saying this is the nightmare scenario for the Republicans. But this is what it looks like. A cratering Trump campaign that pulls vulnerable and even not so vulnerable Republicans down with him, almost certainly ending the GOP’s senate majority and conceivably endangering the House majority as well.

The senate situation in Pennsylvania is more ambiguous. Among likely voters, Pat Toomey is only one point behind McGinty, more or less where the race has been. But among registered voters, he’s back 8 points. When a pollster provides a likely voter screen we use that number. But the large discrepancy suggests that in a high turnout election, Toomey could be in a perilous position.

Again, this is just a hint, a one day snapshot at a particularly bad moment. But a situation like this a bit later in the Fall is the GOP nightmare scenario. An all but disqualified Trump running ten or more points behind Clinton and dragging down numerous Republican Senators (and perhaps Reps too) down into the storm. Expect these numbers to put the current GOP freakout into overdrive.