In recent weeks, GOP senators have been forced into a difficult political dance as polling shifts in favor of Democrats: Tout their own response to the coronavirus outbreak without overtly distancing themselves from a president whose management of the crisis is under intense scrutiny but who still holds significant sway with Republican voters.

“It is a bleak picture right now all across the map, to be honest with you,” said one Republican strategist closely involved in Senate races who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss concerns within the party. “This whole conversation is a referendum on Trump, and that is a bad place for Republicans to be. But it’s also not a forever place.”…

The emerging consensus of several Republican strategists is that GOP incumbents should be able to hang on in states Trump won in 2016 if the president can hang onto those states himself. That list includes North Carolina, Arizona and Iowa, which Democrats are heavily targeting this cycle.

The flip side for Republicans is that states Trump lost in 2016 — such as Colorado and Maine — could be out of reach.