Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Can Ruben Gallego Save Joe Biden's Bacon?

Joe Biden is under water in many of the key swing states. That has been widely reported and is causing Democrats to cry in their white wine. But something else is going on that is barely being reported at all: Democratic Senate candidates are leading and outperforming Biden in many states. Could they have coattails that could pull up Biden? Look at these states with Senate races:

Comparison of Senate and presidential races in key states

In seven of these 10 states, the Democratic Senate candidate is doing better than Biden, in many cases by double digits. For example, while Biden is 4 points under water in Arizona, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) is 6 points ahead of Kari Lake in the race. Split tickets are rare in modern elections, but these (very early) numbers suggest that many Arizona voters will pull the lever for both Donald Trump and Gallego. That seems very unusual. We suspect as we get closer to November, there will be fewer ticket splitters and either Gallego will rescue Biden or Biden will drown Gallego. There is at least a chance that toxic candidates like Lake will draw marginal Democrats to the polls and that will end up saving Biden's bacon.

But why does there appear to be so much ticket splitting now? One theory is that there are many young Democrats who are angry with Biden on account of Gaza, student loans, etc., but bear no ill-will against the Democrats running for the Senate. These voters might well come home to the Democratic Party in the end, however grudgingly. Another theory, however, is that the Republican Senate candidates, few of whom are incumbents, aren't well known and are not polling well yet but have room to grow as they throw millions of dollars into their campaigns. Still another is that ticket splitting is making a comeback, although in 2016 every Senate race went the same way as the presidential race and in 2020, all but one (Maine) went the same way. Our guess is that ticket splitting really isn't back in style, so it is #1 or #2.

Another factor is the undecideds. There are more undecideds in the presidential race than in the Senate races. This may well indicate that theory #1 is true: young voters are annoyed with Biden and haven't decided what to do, but are not annoyed with Gallego, Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), etc. This is something to keep an eye on. (V)

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