An interesting feature of this election cycle is that a number of Republican candidates may win because of tailwinds provided by Republican candidates. Or, if you listen to more hopeful Democrats, they may lose because of voters who vote for one party’s candidate for an office and the other party’s candidate for another office.
This ticket-splitting, which used to be commonplace in the United States, has become rare. In this cycle, however, it seems likely that national issues — inflation, crime, border security — combined with some help from other Republicans on the ticket will provide the margin of victory for a handful of Republican candidates. (RELATED: The Stars Will Align For Republicans In November. Here’s Why)
In Ohio, for example, Gov. Mike DeWine, now ahead by an average of 18%, is going to win by 20 points. As a result, it is very difficult to imagine that J.D. Vance (now up by an average of 2% and having led in surveys since middle August) will not win by at least 5 points. While there will be some who split their votes, there is no survey data that suggests one in five Ohio voters are prepared to do so.
In Arizona, Kari Lake is running an impressive campaign and is likely to win by five or six points (she leads by an average of 1.8% and has led in the last 11 public surveys dating to the middle of September). That should be enough to pull Blake Masters (still behind by an average of 2.5%) over the finish line.
Keep in mind, there are probably more than a few voters in Arizona who are reluctant to tell researchers that they intend to vote for Lake. Also, it seems unlikely that anyone prepared to vote for Lake will then be prepared to vote for Sen. Mark Kelly.
In Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson, in the wake of making crime the topic in his race, has been consistently ahead of Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in surveys (by an average of three points) for the last six weeks. Keeping in mind that Johnson pulled then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to victory in Wisconsin in 2016 (while Trump won by 22,000 votes out of about 2.8 million cast; Johnson won his race by about 75,000 votes).
Johnson knows how to win close races in Wisconsin, and he knows how to help ticket mates. Tim Michels (currently in a dead heat) will win the governor’s race, but it will be very close.
In Nevada, the candidates seem to be drafting off each other. Adam Laxalt is going to win the Senate race by two or three points (he has led in surveys since early September), and Joe Lombardo leads in the governor’s race by an average of 1.3% (and has led in multiple surveys since mid-August).
In Georgia — the race where voters are most likely to split their tickets and where such a thing would be consequential — Gov. Brian Kemp will win by 10 or 12 points. It is possible, but not likely, that Herschel Walker will run 10 points behind Kemp. Obviously, if the Senate race in Georgia goes to a runoff, there will be no ticket splitting at all.
Interestingly, there do not seem to be races where Democrats on the ticket are providing tailwinds to their fellow partisans.
There are, however, races where the Republicans are poorly organized enough that they are unlikely to help each other. In Pennsylvania, which has been trending more Republican than the rest of the nation for a few cycles, it is likely that Dr. Mehmet Oz will win the Senate race by one or two points, while Josh Shapiro, the Democratic attorney general, will probably win the governor’s race by those same few points.
Finally, it is worth thinking about the national issue set as a tailwind in two particular races. In New York, Lee Zeldin has run an extraordinary race and has captured the anxiety of New Yorkers, especially those in New York City, about the crime, violence and lawlessness that has settled over that city. The incumbent has been slow to respond, and Mr. Zeldin may win that race, a race in which he trailed by 18 points as recently as Sep. 1.
Similarly, in Michigan, Tudor Dixon, essentially given up for dead by the national party and all the smart folks, also discovered the power of the issue of crime (apparently, if you’re scared, not much else matters). Ms. Dixon may win a race in which she trailed by 16 points as recently as 60 days ago.
Finally, in Oregon, the Republican candidate for governor, Christine Drazan, may become the first Republican governor in Oregon in 35 years. It should come as no surprise that her campaign has offered up a steady dose of concern about crime, which is of course especially powerful given the immediate example of lawless Portland.
Michael McKenna is the president of MWR Strategies. He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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