by Bill Smith: When polling numbers shows a senior senator in difficulty against potential candidates over a year out from the election, the news is bad news for that senator. And that is what is being projected for Arkansas' U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln who is up for election in 2010 and has been feverishly raising funds and avoiding the public at town halls and TEA Parties in Arkansas. Public Policy Polling latest polling data released August 26th shows that Obama campaigning for Sen. Lincoln in in Arkansas would sink her race. While Barack Obama's National approval rating of 52%, in Arkansas, Obama has only a 40% approval rating. And that is expected to continue to fall in Arkansas. In fact, the polling numbers showed that a majority of voters in Arkansas think Rush Limbaugh has a superior vision for the country than Barack Obama.
Blanche Lincoln's approval rating has dropped 9% since March. Currently, Lincoln has 36% approval rating and a 44% disapproving rating of the job she’s doing. Currently, with no candidates formally filed for office against her, she's in a statistical tie against three potential Republican opponents. And there are as many as eight candidates considering running against her.
Gilbert Baker leads her 42-40, Curtis Coleman has a 41-40 advantage, and Tom Cotton trails Lincoln slightly 40-39. The numbers of course are more a reflection on Lincoln's unfavorable standing than that of the Republicans at this time.
“You couldn’t get a clearer indication that the national momentum is with Republicans right now than a poll showing some guys with single digit name recognition running even with an incumbent Senator,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “This is going to be a very closely contested race if the eventual Republican nominee does a good job of raising money.
Other indicators of running against Lincoln is that 53% of the people polled were women. In addition, 48% of those polled identified themselves as conservative, and 39% as moderate, leaving 12% of her liberal friends. At the beginning of 2009, voters returned Senator Pryor to a new six term without opposition; however, , his approval rating, although higher than Lincoln, is now only 47% with a disapproval rating of 32%. The voters disappointment with a previously considered "more conservative" Sen. Pryor may weigh heavily on voters in 2010 when considering returning a more liberal Senator Blanche Lincoln .
There is a growing "vote the bums" out feeling among the voters in Arkansas. Also, in Arkansas, continued open endorsement and support of Senator Lincoln by incumbent State constitutional officers (Governor, Lt. Governor, etc.) may place them at risk in 2010 if viable conservative candidates step forward to oppose them.
As summarized by Tom Jensen, Public Policy Polling, "Clearly Lincoln could be beaten, but there are several reasons why she might survive too. The first is that none of her potential Republican opponents have shown the ability yet to raise the money to run a strong campaign. Whoever emerges as her opponent is also going to need to be able to keep their foot out of their mouth, something that's been a problem for some potential foes. The second is that Democrats nationally are in a recession right now and that goes a long way toward explaining these numbers.. . . Republicans have an opportunity here but it remains to be seen whether they can take advantage of it."