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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Posting regarding Lieberman hits all the right points

John Hartwell for Democracy for Connecticut wrote an excellent post regarding Senator Lieberman and why the possibility of him losing in a primary challenge could very well happen (especially if he votes for Samuel Alito).

The January 11th Quinnipiac poll was accompanied by a raft of articles which proclaimed that even though Connecticut voters didn't like the war in Iraq they favored the re-election of Lieberman by large margins (64% to 24%). So why should anyone think he's vulnerable?

Let's look at the "internals", the breakdown of more probing questions by sub-groups of respondents. The first cause for concern (if you're a Joe supporter) is that his approval rating as a Senator among all voters has fallen 11% over the past twelve months, while his negatives have risen by nearly the same amount.

It's clearly not good when you're on a downward slope, and while he's helped by starting out so high (Jan last year = 73%), when public opinion begins to turn it often accelerates and the bottom drops out suddenly. This could happen to Joe, especially if at this point he does something that focuses negative attention (like voting for Alito). In the past he might have been forgiven; now he risks a "tipping point" moment that puts him in a tailspin.

Ding! Congrats Hartwell, you win the big prize for properly analyzing the poll!

Iraq and Alito, a deadly combination. As I stated in a earlier post, Lieberman has angered a great deal of Democrats in the state and he's walking on very thin ice with many liberals and anti-war critics. If he gets one more group pissed off (and pro-choice people would be VERY PISSED OFF if he votes for Alito) then there is a real strong possibility that Lieberman will receive his walking papers.

The key is getting the nomination, and here the Quinnipiac poll speaks loudly. To the question of whether Joe should be nominated "or would you rather see the Democrats nominate someone else", 39% of Democrats chose the latter. When you cut the data by political philosophy, it's a dead heat with liberals: 47% for Joe, 47% against.

Think about it: with no obvious candidate in sight, 4 of 10 Democrats would like to replace Joe. It's often said in politics that "you can't beat somebody with nobody", but in this case "nobody" comes close to beating a three term, nationally known incumbent. What happens if you add someone credible to the mix?

[...]

Making the war the primary issue and tying Joe directly to Bush and the war is clearly the best strategy. A full 35% of CT Dems say they disagree with Joe on the war and will vote against him specifically because of this issue. We need 50+1 in a primary to defeat him, and without a candidate we already have 35%. That's a great start.

What about the other 46%? Most of those (33%) say that they disagree with Joe on the war but won't vote against him because of it, while 13% aren't sure how they'll vote. If we can persuade half of the latter group and only a third of the former to vote for an alternative, we're over the top. And we've got from now until August to make the case.
I couldn't of said it better myself.