Senate map 'historically difficult' for Dems, says pollster

Pollster Dan Cox in an interview that aired Tuesday on "What America's Thinking" said that the Senate midterm map for Democrats is "historically difficult" this year. 

"The map was never that favorable to Democrats to begin with," Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, told Hill.TV's Joe Concha. "It was a historically difficult map for them in places like Missouri, Arizona, North Dakota. They're trying to compete in places like Georgia and Texas, but those are kind of longshots."

"If you look at Texas, in particular, there has been so much tension on this race, but if you look at the polling, every statewide race, the Republican is leading," he continued. 

While Democrats appear to have a strong chance of taking back the majority in the House, Republicans appear poised to hold on to the Senate.

Democrats need 23 seats to regain control in the Lower Chamber and FiveThirtyEight.com gives them a nearly 86 percent chance of taking the House. But the Senate map provides a difficult challenge.

Democrats are defending Senate seats in ten states that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE won in 2016 and already needed to pick up two more seats to gain the majority in the Upper Chamber. FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Democrats only a 16 percent chance to win the Senate.

Some closer Senate races have shifted to the right in recent weeks.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Monday showed Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship Lawmakers condemn Apple, Activision Blizzard over censorship of Hong Kong protesters The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's impeachment jeopardy deepens MORE (R-Texas) leading his opponent Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeSuper PAC seeks to spend more than million supporting Yang Krystal Ball rips media for going 'all-in' on Buttigieg's debate performance The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges MORE by five points in their race, while Republican Josh Hawley has a slim lead over Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillIranian attacks expose vulnerability of campaign email accounts Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Ocasio-Cortez blasts NYT editor for suggesting Tlaib, Omar aren't representative of Midwest MORE (D-Mo.) by an average of two points in Missouri's Senate race, according to Real Clear Politics.

RealClearPolitics average of polls also gives challenger Mike Braun (R) a slim edge in Indiana against Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyWatchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (D).

— Julia Manchester