Dem campaign arm: Poll numbers slipping for vulnerable Republicans
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is needling three vulnerable Republicans for their party’s refusal to hold a hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, arguing the move is hurting them with voters.

“By disregarding one of the most fundamental responsibilities of their jobs, Senate Republicans are further endangering their fragile Senate majority,” the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee wrote in a memo shared exclusively with The Hill.


“After weeks of scathing editorials from newspapers in their home states and a two-week recess that was dominated by Supreme Court headlines, vulnerable Republican senators are starting to see the effects of their obstruction in their slipping poll numbers.”

The memo highlights local news articles from Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteBottom line Bottom line Bottom Line MORE’s New Hampshire, Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Democratic proposal to extend 0 unemployment checks Senate Democrats offer plan to extend added jobless benefits during pandemic Senators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls MORE’s Ohio and Patrick ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general MORE’s Pennsylvania that tie sinking poll numbers to the Supreme Court debate. Ayotte will square off this fall against Gov. Maggie Hassan (D), while Portman will face former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and Toomey will be running against Katie McGinty (D). 

In New Hampshire, a WMUR poll found that Ayotte’s net favorable rating had dropped 13 points since February. Sixty percent of voters said Merrick Garland deserves a hearing and vote, and the survey center responsible for the poll said the senator's position on the Supreme Court is “one possible reason for Ayotte’s declining popularity.”

For Ohio, the DSCC points to a poll conducted by pollster Geoff Garin, who previously served as a strategist to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSusan Rice sees stock rise in Biden VP race Democrats try to turn now into November The Memo: Unhappy voters could deliver political shocks beyond Trump MORE’s 2008 presidential campaign and to the super-PAC supporting Obama’s reelection. That poll found a similar 59 percent of Ohio voters calling for a hearing and vote on Garland.

And Pennsylvania’s surveys showed a similar trend of voters wanting hearings and votes, which the group has tied in part to a rise in Toomey’s unfavorable ratings of 12 points since 2015 in a March Franklin & Marshall College poll.

The Democratic campaign committee plans to release the memo on Thursday, the day that the nominee would have had a hearing if historical averages held.

Senate Republican leaders have vowed not to confirm Garland or any other Obama nominee, arguing that voters should have a say in the process by electing the next president.

Democrats have bristled at that logic, arguing that the voters picked Obama for a four-year term and that the Senate should act.

The Democrats are on the offensive for control of the Senate, needing to win just four seats to secure the majority if the party retains control of the White House. The party is defending just 10 seats, mostly in safe races, compared to the 24 GOP seats up for grabs, with as many as eight of those competitive.