On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," election forecaster Harry Enten laid out why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to tamp down expectations for Republican performances in Senate contests this cycle — and why he particularly knocked his party's "candidate quality."
"Just go to Pennsylvania, for example," said Enten. "Mehmet Oz, 20 points underwater on his favorability. In Georgia, Herschel Walker, minus 5 points. Arizona, Blake Masters, 4 points underwater. And you see that in all those races that we mentioned where the Democrats are ahead, the net favorability of the different Republicans is underwater. Their unfavorable ratings are higher than favorable ratings. This is a long-standing problem with Republicans. We saw it in 2010 as well. They blew it then because they nominated bad candidates in the minds of the voters."
"You've got [Wisconsin's Ron] Johnson, an incumbent, but Oz, that was completely discretionary. That was their choice. Walker, completely discretionary, that's their choice," noted anchor Erin Burnett. Enten concurred, pointing out that Trump himself picked most of these candidates through his endorsements.
Another point to note, said Enten, is that while President Joe Biden's approval rating remains low, that has historically had little impact on the result of Senate elections in midterms.
"If you go back over time and say let's look at the Senate races or the Senate years in which the incumbent, the White House party did not in fact lose any seats or in fact gain seats and look at the president's approval rating in those years, we don't actually see that much of a relationship," said Enten. "You look at 1982, for example, Ronald Reagan was not anywhere close to 50 percent. In fact, Republicans held their grounding. You look just four years ago, Donald Trump was well underwater. What happened? Republicans actually gained two senate seats."
"There are years where the president's approval rating is high and the White House party holds or gains seats, but the relationship is not as straight as you might expect it to be," Enten continued. "At this point, even though Biden's approval rating is low, it's not shocking to me that Democrats are not only holding their grounding but if the election is held today, they might gain some seats."
Harry Enten on Republican Senate chances www.youtube.com