PHOTO: This ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce praises Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) for opposing the union card check legislation. Lincoln describes herself as a moderate blue dog Democrat.
On Tuesday, Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) may become the third U.S. Senator this year to be defeated for renomination. Senators Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Bob Bennett (R-UT) have already been rejected by their political parties.
A Research 2000/Daily Kos survey poll out today shows Lincoln, the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, losing to Lieutenant Gov. Bill Halter by a 49% to 45% margin. The same firm had the race tied a week ago, and this was the third poll which gave Halter the lead. Lincoln was ahead of Halter on primary night three weeks ago, but she was forced into a run-off because a third candidate received 13%.
The turnout on Tuesday will be far lower than on primary night, which will be an advantage for Halter because the most committed voters want a change. During the past two months, labor unions and members of liberal activist groups have spent more than $5 million backing Halter.
Groups such as Moveon.org, Progressive Change, Daily Kos and Democracy for America have provided over 60% of Halter’s budget and Moveon.org alone has raised $2.1 million for the liberal Lt. Governor.
Labor unions spent more than $5 million in the primary, and so far they have spent $2,405,745 in the runoff. This does not include hidden expenditures for mail, phones and other GOTV efforts. Lincoln provided the final vote to pass Obamacare, but that is not good enough for labor and the liberals.
They are blaming the Senator for killing the health care public option (she promised to lead a filibuster to stop it), as well as cap and trade. The liberal groups refer to Lincoln as “Bailout Blanche” and as a DINO (Democrat in Name Only).
Moveon.org claims Lincoln is protecting corporate interests and her vote in favor of TARP is frequently mentioned. They call TARP a “massive no-strings attached bailout for Wall Street,” and claim Lincoln “is stopping the Obama agenda.” However, President Obama fully supports Lincoln and has recorded a TV ad for her.
Former President Clinton visited the state on her behalf. Labor is upset because Lincoln will not support the union card check legislation, and the Service Employees International Union responded to the Obama endorsement with a point by point rebuttal.
If Lincoln does win on Tuesday her prospects this November are dismal according to a survey by the Markham Group. No U.S. Senator has ever been re-elected with similar poll numbers. Lincoln has a 34% job approval rating and 56% disapproval. Her favorability is even worse, at just 32%, compared to 57% unfavorable.
Her favorability and approvals are down eight and seven points, respectively, from the same poll just three months ago, while her unfavorables and her disapproval each rose by 11. That’s a net loss of nearly 20 points on each rating, and the rising negatives are particularly notable. President Obama’s approval in the poll is 37%, versus 61% disapproval. In 2008, Obama received only 39% of the Arkansas vote.
The bottomline is that this Democratic seat is now listed as “Safe Republican” by every political rating agency. Rep. John Boozman (R-AR) has been on Capitol Hill for a decade and has at least a 15 point lead over both Democrats. If Halter does win the primary, Boozman says he would be an even easier target in November.
As of now, Halter performs better than Lincoln in the head to head match ups with Boozman, but the main reason is because Halter’s views are not well known. Boozman would receive 66% of the vote against Lincoln and 60% against Halter.
However, many voters do not realize Halter is significantly to the left of Lincoln, and is definitely out of step with the current Arkansas viewpoint. Halter is emphasizing his strong support of Obamacare, but it is opposed by 72% of Arkansas residents. There are four congressional districts in the state and three of them are represented by Democrats. Republicans have an excellent chance of capturing three seats, and they could possibly gain all four.