Last year Republicans didn't even bother to run a candidate against Democratic Congressman Vic Snyder in Arkansas. Now with the political climate turning in the wrong direction for Democrats nationally, and particularly in the Natural State, it looks like he may be in for the toughest fight of his career to get reelected next year.
Snyder's approval rating is now 42%, with 46% of voters in the district disapproving of him. He's at a solid 75% in his own party but with independents the spread is 30/56 and with Republicans it's just 12/75.
A lot of Snyder's issues can probably be traced to overall feelings about his party. 54% of voters in the district disapprove of the job Congressional Democrats are doing, 52% disapprove of Barack Obama's job performance, and 50% express the feeling that Congressional Democrats are too liberal. Additionally 55% of voters say they're opposed to the health care bill the House passed last week with Snyder's support, including 91% of Republicans and 67% of independents. Snyder seems to be bearing the brunt of a lot of animosity toward national Democrats in his district.
The practical implication of all this is that the district looks like a toss up for next year. In possible 2010 match ups Snyder leads Tim Griffin 44-43, Scott Wallace 44-42, and David Meeks 45-42. Those close margins come despite the fact that none of the Republican candidates are well known- 67% of voters have no opinion about Griffin, 75% say the same of Wallace, and 78% are ambivalent toward Meeks.
The Republicans hold leads of 13-15 points among independent voters, continuing a trend being seen across the country this year that was particularly important in giving the GOP victories in races for Governor of New Jersey and Virginia.
Certainly a lot can change between now and next November, and Snyder has shown resilience in bad election years for Democrats in the past. But we polled Arkansas-2 because we thought it would be a good test case for whether the political climate is so bad for Dems right now that districts that haven't been in the top tier of competitiveness for years might be in play, and it looks like the answer is yes. We also intend to poll Rick Boucher's district in SW Virginia sometime between now and Christmas to see if a similar situation exists there.
Full results here