Democratic hopes of winning Senate fade as Trump proves less toxic for Republicans

The significant shift in the Senate battlefield appears to be the result of voters separating Trump — once considered so toxic that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) waffled about whether to support him — from Republicans running on the same ballot with him. That recognition could lead to more voters splitting their ticket between Clinton and a Republican House or Senate candidate.

“There is very much a feeling among voters that Donald Trump is sort of his own brand,” said Ian Prior, the communications director of the GOP-allied Senate Leadership Fund super PAC, citing internal research. “People don’t view him as this traditional Republican where he says something and that means that everybody else in the House or Senate must agree with him.”

Trump is also holding his own at the top of the ticket, with a new Washington Post/ABC poll showing him locked in a virtual tie with Clinton among likely voters, with Clinton leading 46 to 44 percent.

With six weeks until Election Day, a new map has emerged as Democrats trying to buck recent history in winning back the majority in a presidential election year. Over the past 60 years, the majority has only changed hands once in those 15 presidential elections — in 1980, when Ronald Reagan’s landslide swept Republicans into the Senate majority.