Study Suggests Trump’s Endorsement Has Cost Multiple Republicans Re-Election

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Trump’s endorsements often helped spur voters to support the Democrat in a contest.

According to The Washington Post, a new research analysis suggests that President Trump – who often “brags about getting Republicans elected” – actually cost his party seats.

  • In the 2018 midterms, Trump’s endorsed candidates reportedly won only about half the time.
  • New research published in Legislative Studies Quarterly by Andrew O. Ballard and Michael Heseltine of American University and Hans J.G. Hassell of Florida State University indicates that “Trump actually cost his party seats, 11 in the House and four in the Senate,” wrote The Post.

The researchers wrote, “While President Trump’s public endorsements provided a financial boost to endorsed candidates, they also increased donor support of opposing candidates and were ultimately detrimental to candidates’ vote shares and likelihood of winning.”

  • To evaluate the effect of Trump’s endorsements, the analysis reviewed “district competitiveness, presidential election results, the region in which the contest was taking place and whether it was an open seat.”
  • The result was that “Endorsed candidates suffered worse electoral outcomes than those not receiving an endorsement — even in Senate races where endorsements led to increases in turnout...Candidates who received a presidential endorsement were less likely to win than those who did not.”

The researchers wrote that Republicans who performed well on election night in 2018 “did so in spite of and not because of a presidential endorsement from an unpopular president.”

Trump’s endorsements may “have done little to elicit engagement from voters on the Republican side, all the while creating a rallying effect around opposing candidates and increasing engagement among Democratic voters,” they conclude. “The story then from these findings is that presidential endorsements in 2018 indicated presidential backlash rather than presidential coattails.”

  • With data from the analysis, The Post reported that Trump’s endorsement was “enough to tip close Senate races in Nevada, Montana, West Virginia and Arizona to the Democrats.”
  • Ballard pointed out that what they learned was not necessarily specific to Trump himself, but “instead may have been an overlap of specific characteristics of the moment: ‘an unpopular divisive president using a relatively new and nationalized form of endorsing candidates’ — that is, Twitter — ‘in a polarized and nationalized electoral context,’” The Post wrote.

For Trump, the fact that this was “a function less of Trump than of the factors that surround who [he] is and how he operates politically,” might be consoling. “It may just be that he’s a particularly unpopular president who relies on a specific platform,” The Post continued. “Just the window he needs in which to continue to insist that he is delivering for his party.”

Read the full report here.

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