Poll: Tight Senate races for Rubio, Toomey as Trump drags ticket

Story highlights

  • A Quinnipiac University poll finds close Senate battles in Florida, Pennsylvania
  • If Donald Trump continues sliding in the polls, he could pull down the rest of the ticket

(CNN)Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey are running neck-and-neck with their Democratic challengers, according to a new poll.

Rubio is edging out Rep. Patrick Murphy 48%-45% and Rep. Alan Grayson 49%-43% in Florida -- Grayson and Murphy face off in the August 30 primary -- according to a new poll Thursday from Quinnipiac University.
    Pennsylvania's Toomey, meanwhile, would lose to Democrat Katie McGinty 47%-44% if the election were held today, the poll found.
    The bright spot for Republicans looking to keep control of the Senate in November is Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who is pulling away from Democrat Ted Strickland, 49%-40%, according to the poll.
    Democrats need to pick up at least four seats in November to win control of the Senate, and the poll shows the Republican incumbents in these three swing states easily outperforming Donald Trump there. But if Trump continues his slide in the polls, he could pull down Portman, Rubio, Toomey and other vulnerable incumbents with him.
    "In each of the three key swing states, the incumbent U.S. senators seeking re-election are running better than Trump. But if Trump continues to lag behind in the presidential race, that will make it more difficult for GOP candidates, logic holds, up and down the ballot," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement.
    The latest Quinnipiac University presidential polling showed Clinton beating Trump 46%-45% in Florida, 49%-45% in Ohio and 52%-42% in Pennsylvania.
    Trump began trying to right his ship Monday, with a well-scripted economic policy speech in Detroit, but fell back into a habit of stunning comments, suggesting Tuesday that Second Amendment supporters possibly target Hillary Clinton and accusing President Barack Obama Wednesday night of being the "founder of ISIS."
    Republicans in swing districts or blue states have been largely running away from Trump, including Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Meg Whitman of California. But Republicans in conservative districts have largely stuck with Trump.