Lieberman Looks Weak

Things aren't looking good for Joe Lieberman in the Nutmeg state.

By a narrow 48 - 45 percent margin, voters disapprove of the job Sen. Joseph Lieberman is doing and give him a negative 43 - 49 percent favorability. Republicans approve 75 - 20 percent. Democrats disapprove 70 - 21 percent and independent voters split 48 - 46 percent.

By contrast, State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal gets a 79 - 12 percent approval rating and 71 - 13 percent favorability rating. Republicans approve of the Democrat 66 - 25 percent. Democrats approve 85 - 6 percent and independent voters approve 81 - 10 percent.

If Sen. Lieberman faces Blumenthal in 2012, the Democratic challenger has an early 58 - 30 percent lead. Republicans go with Lieberman 67 - 23 percent while Blumenthal leads 83 - 9 percent among Democrats and 55 - 29 percent among independent voters.

This isn't the greatest survey ever. It would be significantly more helpful if in addition to a head-to-head matching Lieberman against Democrat Richard Blumenthal there were also a three-way matchup featuring those two along with a Republican (perhaps Chris Shays), because it's not entirely likely that there wouldn't be a GOP nominee in the race. That said, an incumbent who is polling at 30 percent in a named matchup, and trailing by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, is not in a strong position. I'm skeptical that these numbers will move Lieberman to figure out that he would be better served by actually representing the interests of his constituents -- but they should nevertheless serve as a wake up call to Lieberman that his current course has him on the path to ignominious defeat.

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Lamont-Lieberman: One Year Out

Today marks the first anniversary of the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary in which Ned Lamont crashed the gates, defeateing three-term incumbent and establishment favorite Joe Lieberman. Though Lieberman managed to secure another term by running a third party candidacy fueled in no small part by Republican donors and voters (70 percent of GOP voters in the state backed Lieberman over their own party's nominee in the general election), it would be worth looking back towards the 8/8/2006 primary and the general election -- particularly among Democrats -- to see if Connecticut voters have any second thoughts about sending Lieberman back to Washington.

So what we'd like to see at this point is fairly simple. In the next poll from Quinnipiac of the Hartford Courant or whoever else does polling in the state of Connecticut, we'd like to see voters asked whether they still stand by their decision to vote elect Joe Lieberman. This question could follow a statement about Lieberman's strong support for George W. Bush's Iraq escalation or his calls for military action against Iran, but maybe not also. Perhaps a balanced question that pits Lieberman's long service or committee chairmanship or perceived centrism against his overt hawkishness would be more to their liking. Who knows.

Now I do know that I, for one, would be someone who would admit to having different feelings today than a year ago. Mind you, I was no vocal supporter of Senator Lieberman, either in the primary or the general election. That said, I thought that the specter of a primary challenge would force him to come home to the base and moderate some of his hard right positions, particularly in the area of foreign policy. Clearly, I was wrong in this belief.

So will The Courant or Quinnipiac go ahead and do what they should do? If you'd like to do your part to cajole them, send a polite and courteous email to either pollinginstitute@quinnipiac.edu or jfrank@courant.com (Upate: email address fixed) letting them know exactly what type of question you'd like to see them ask on this subject. Perhaps one email, or one blog post won't sway their opinion. But, then again, if enough voices call out, perhaps they will listen.

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