PPP polls of Iowa, Arizona, North Carolina, and Missouri revealed that four long-term Republican incumbents could lose their seats if they obstruct President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
-All these Senators start out with pretty mediocre approval ratings. John McCain’s approval is a 26/63 spread, Roy Blunt’s is 25/48, and Richard Burr’s is 28/44. Only Chuck Grassley within this group is on positive ground and his 47/44 spread is down considerably from what we usually find for him as he loses crossover support from Democrats because of his intransigence on the Supreme Court issue. Further making life difficult for this quartet is the incredibly damaged brand of Senate Republicans. Mitch McConnell is vastly unpopular in these four states, coming in at 11/63 in Iowa, 16/68 in Arizona, 16/69 in Missouri, and 19/65 in North Carolina. McConnell will be an albatross for all Senate Republicans seeking reelection this fall.
-Strong majorities of voters in each of these states want the Supreme Court vacancy to be filled this year. It’s a 56/40 spread in favor of filling the seat in Iowa, 56/41 in Arizona and Missouri, and 55/41 in North Carolina. What’s particularly important in the numbers is the strong support for filling the seat among independents- it’s 60/38 in Missouri, 59/37 in Arizona, 58/38 in Iowa, and 55/38 in North Carolina. Independent voters will be key to determining whether these incumbents sink or swim this fall, and they want the vacancy filled.
-What voters especially have a problem with is Senate Republicans saying they’re going to reject President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court no matter who it is. Super majorities of voters in all four of these states- 69/25 in Arizona, 66/24 in Missouri, 66/25 in North Carolina, and 66/26 in Iowa say that the Senate should at least wait and see who’s put forward before deciding whether to confirm or deny that person. Even Republican voters- 56/35 in Arizona, 54/38 in North Carolina, 52/37 in Missouri, and 50/39 in Iowa think their Senators are taking far too extreme of a position by saying they won’t approve President Obama’s choice without even knowing who that choice is.
-The Supreme Court issue really could make a difference at the ballot box this fall. Voters by a 34 point margin in Arizona and Missouri, a 21 point margin in North Carolina, and a 14 point margin in Iowa say that they’re less likely to vote for their Republican Senators this fall if they refuse to confirm a nominee to the Supreme Court no matter who it is. This is again something where we find the Republican Senators could particularly pay a price with independent voters. Independents in Arizona say 61/18 they’re less likely to vote for John McCain because of this issue, and it’s 55/16 for Richard Burr with them in North Carolina, 55/20 for Roy Blunt with them in Missouri, and 48/24 for Chuck Grassley with them in Iowa.
Earlier polls of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin showed that Democrats could beat four vulnerable blue state vulnerable Republicans due to the growing outrage over the Senate Republican plan to not consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
The new PPP polls reveal that the damage could be even worse than Republicans imagined. Long-serving red state incumbents like John McCain, Roy Blunt, and Richard Burr could lose their seats. Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley is also vulnerable in Iowa, because of the role that he is playing in obstructing Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
The combination of a Republican nomination of Donald Trump and the decision to obstruct Obama’s Supreme Court nominee could create an electoral tidal wave for Democrats, who may not only keep the White House but could come out of 2016 with a sizable Senate majority.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association