Next month’s midterm elections could shatter three decades of political precedent.
Democrats look poised to retake the House, but Republicans appear likely to retain control of the Senate on Nov. 6.
That would be the first time since 1982 that a midterm election wave ended with such divergent results.
Political experts had to go that far back to find an instance when Democrats posted major wins in the House without scoring a significant win in the Senate.
Like many things in politics these days, President Trump is a driving force in the anomaly.
He boosts Republican chances in the Senate because he’s popular with white voters in rural areas, which is where many of the contested races are.
But he doesn’t help Republicans much in the suburban House races likely to decide control of the lower chamber.
“The personality of the president is playing … an outsized role,” said Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray.
While Trump’s approval rating has hovered around 40 percent before a recent uptick, he’s been consistently more popular in several dozen battleground races.
Pollsters from Siena College have talked to 35,000 voters around the country since Labor Day and found Trump’s job-performance average as high as 46 percent positive in areas with competitive contests.
In the Senate, Trump’s strength in rural areas is a shield against the Democratic surge.
Ten Democratic senators are battling for re-election in states that Trump won — and in five cases by more than 10 points.
By having to defend so many seats, Democrats are not likely to make gains in a Senate split 51-49 in favor of Republicans.
“I think we’re going to have a status quo Senate,” predicted Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan online newsletter.
While Democrats face uphill battles in North Dakota, Indiana and Missouri, Republicans face dogfights trying to hold on to Senate seats in Arizona and Nevada.