Senate Guru AR-Sen: Lincoln Leads Despite Weak Numbers

Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-WalMart) manages to lead Republican challengers despite weak personal numbers thanks to the largely unknown GOP cast of characters, according to a new Research 2000 poll:

Favorable-Unfavorable
Blanche Lincoln (D) 43-49
Gilbert Baker (R) 14-13
Curtis Coleman (R) 12-13
Tom Cox (R) 8-7
Kim Hendren (R) 6-9 Lincoln v. GOP
Lincoln v. Baker 44-37
Lincoln v. Coleman 45-37
Lincoln v. Cox 46-29
Lincoln v. Hendren 47-28

Senator Lincoln has a net negative approval rating and can’t top 50% against even the most unknown of Republican challengers.  In other words, she’s in trouble.  What might help her?  Appealing to Democrats!  That’s right.  Almost one in three Arkansas Democrats (29%) according to the poll actively disapproves of Senator Lincoln.  Meanwhile, we see that 55% of Arkansans, including 81% of Democrats in Arkansas, approve of a public option as part of health care reform.  Instead of talking down the public option using misleading Republican talking points, Senator Lincoln could improve her standing by supporting the public option.  In other words, Senator Lincoln’s position on health care reform is both cowardly and politically disadvantageous.

Lincoln is part of one of two traditions among Arkansas Democrats.

In the rich political history of my state, there have been two kinds of Democrats, the more common, conservative, pro-big business Republican-lite wing that includes much of our current delegation, former Senator John McClellan and indeed the majority of Arkansas political figures; and then there’s the populist, more progressive minded, reform wing of the party that yours truly identifies with that includes such notable figures as Dale Bumpers, David Pryor (Mark’s dad, though how Mark ever came out of David’s dna I’ll never understand), J. William Fulbright, Hattie Caraway, and, of course, Bill Clinton.  For awhile there, it looked like Blanche might end up being one of the later rather than the former, but, sadly, we were wrong and she’s left a bad taste in the mouths of the majority of Democrats.  Still, she’s not going to lose.  We’ll hem and haw and stamp our feet for a bit, but at the end of the day we’ll reelect her, especially over the nuts she’s running against.

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