Three GOP senators dropped support for Republican nominee Donald Trump, and only one is suffering with voters, according to a new round of polling.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte pulled her support for Trump on Oct. 8: “I wanted to be able to support my party’s nominee, chosen by the people because I feel strongly that we need a change in direction,” Ayotte said in a prepared statement.
Ayotte’s race has always been close. The Democratic governor of New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan, held a 10-point lead in the beginning of August. But Ayotte closed the gap, earning an eight-point lead in September’s NBC/Wall Street Journal statewide poll.
“However, I’m a mom and an American first, and I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women,” Ayotte continued.
The University of New Hampshire released a poll Tuesday that revealed significant losses in the time since pulling her Trump support. Only 38 percent of likely New Hampshire voters planned to support the senator, compared to 46 percent who reported they planned to back Hassan. An additional Washington Post/Survey Monkey online poll revealed Hassan carried a five-point lead over Ayotte.
Sen. John McCain withdrew his support of Trump Oct 9, and is still doing fairly well, according to the Real Clear Average. He has a 16-point lead, netting an average 53.7 percent, compared to Democratic challenger Ann Kirkpatrick’s 37.7 percent average.
“I have wanted to support the candidate our party nominated. He was not my choice, but as a past nominee, I thought it important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set,” McCain said in a written statement. “I thought I owed his supporters that deference.”
“But Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy. ”
An Arizona Republican poll published Thursday revealed that McCain’s support has stayed largely the same within his own state since announcing he won’t back Trump. In fact, McCain can now count on 25 percent support from Democrats, according to the poll, although he only has a hair over 75 percent support from Republicans.
Perhaps McCain’s stability comes from his 53 percent support from Independent voters, a group Trump has continued to lose since early October.
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio also is doing well in the wake of a Trump rejection. Portman led Democratic challenger Ted Strickland by 13 to 18 percent in every poll since he spoke out against the Republican nominee. The high marks represent very little movement since Trump’s statements on his treatment of women were published.
Portman had a much more nuanced rejection of the nominee, adding that he doesn’t support Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and that he planned to support vice presidential candidate Mike Pence.
“While I continue to respect those who still support Donald Trump, I can no longer support him. I continue to believe our country cannot afford a Hillary Clinton presidency,” Portman wrote on Twitter Oct. 8.
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