GOP Hold on Rust Belt May Not Be Firm

June 18, 2018 Updated: June 18, 2018    

The big story of President Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral victory was his breaking through the “blue wall,” flipping the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa from the Democratic to the Republican column.

Recent polling data, and some electoral losses, call into question whether the GOP will be able to turn Trump’s victories into a continuing advantage.

In Ohio, a recent Quinnipiac poll shows the Democrat incumbent for senator, Sherrod Brown, has a 17-point lead (51-34) over Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.

Part of the challenge facing Renacci is name recognition: 50 percent of Ohio voters don’t know who he is, according to the poll.

Ohio currently has a Republican governor, John Kasich, with a 53-36 job approval rating. In the race to succeed him, the Democrat Richard Cordray leads State Attorney General Mike Dewine by 42-40.

In Pennsylvania, a Franklin and Marshall College poll shows Democratic Sen. Bob Casey leads Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta by 17 points, 44-27. In the governors’ race, the Democrat Tom Wolfe leads the Republican Scott Wagner by 19 points, 48-29.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has warned that Republican dominance in the state may be coming to an end, following several losses. In special elections on June 12, Democrats flipped a state Senate seat. In January, they also took a Republican state Senate seat.

In April, the Democrats won a seat on the state’s Supreme Court for the first time in 23 years, with the Democrat beating the Republican by double digits.

That month, Walker wrote in a tweet: “Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI. The Far Left is driven by anger & hatred—we must counter it with optimism & organization. Let’s share our positive story with voters & win in November.”