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Five Senate Democrats would lose to Republican candidates if the elections were held today and three have approval ratings under 50%, according to new Axios/SurveyMonkey polls. 

Expand chart
Data: SurveyMonkey polls conducted February 12-March 5, 2018. Poll Methodology; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: Democrats are defending 10 Senate seats in states that President Trump won in 2016. In six of those states, Trump's approval is higher than 50% (compared to 43% nationally). These numbers underscore how hard it will be for Democrats to pick up the two seats needed to win the majority despite Trump’s troubles. 

The most vulnerable senators are Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester in Montana and Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Each of their approval ratings is either under 50% or just above it, while Trump's is well above that in all three states.

The least vulnerable senators are Bill Nelson of Florida, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Trump's approval is at just 46% in Florida and Pennsylvania and 54% in Ohio.

But, but, but... With the election many months away and final Republican opponents not set, these numbers are likely to change as real GOP challengers get involved in the race. The approval ratings of each senator may give a better idea of where they stand with voters in their states.

By the numbers:

  • Trump’s approval is higher than the incumbent senators in six states (WV, ND, MT, IN, MO, OH). It’s higher than his national approval rating in all 10 states.
  • North Dakota voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton by a 36 point margin, but a generic Republican candidate would have just a 2 point lead over Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
  • Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin's narrow three-point advantage over a generic Republican candidate is underscored by outside conservative groups that have already spent millions of dollars in attack ads against her.
  • Sen. Casey in Pennsylvania is polling nine points ahead of his GOP challenger Lou Barletta, whom Trump has already publicly endorsed (though the president's approval rating in the state is 46%).

Stay tuned: We'll be polling next some of the GOP seats that are in play such as Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee.

Get more stories like this by signing up for our daily morning newsletter, Axios AM. 

Methodology: These SurveyMonkey/Axios online polls were conducted February 12- March 5, 2018 among a total sample of 17,289 registered voters living in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia, Montana, North Dakota.

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday endorsed the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12-to 15-year-olds, following the FDA's emergency use authorization.

Why it matters: Approval from the CDC panel was the final step needed before inoculations could be offered at any vaccination site for this age group.

  • Pfizer has said its vaccine is 100% effective at protecting against COVID-19 in a trial of more than 2,200 children between the ages of 12 and 15.

GOP lawmakers downplay Capitol riot at House hearing

Photo: Jon Cherry via Getty Images

Republican members of Congress sought to minimize the Capitol insurrection at a House hearing on Wednesday, with statements calling pro-Trump rioters "patriots" and other lawmakers falsely denying demonstrators were supporters of the former president at all.

Driving the news: The hearing comes shortly after House Republicans voted to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from leadership over her criticism of former President Trump's actions leading up to and on Jan. 6.

McConnell, McCarthy say 2017 tax law is "red line" in infrastructure talks

The top Republicans in the House and Senate told reporters after meeting with President Biden at the White House that "there is a bipartisan desire to get an outcome" on an infrastructure package, but stressed that revisiting the 2017 tax cuts is a "red line."

Why it matters: Wednesday marked the first time that Biden has hosted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at the White House.