Arkansas' 2nd Congressional District and the state of South Dakota probably don't have a whole lot in common, other than the way they voted for President last year. John McCain took AR-2 54-44 and took South Dakota 53-45.
They also both have Democratic members of Congress who are likely to face their strongest challenges in a while next year. We released polling data on Vic Snyder's situation last month and we'll be putting out Stephanie Herseth Sandlin stuff in the morning.
Snyder and Herseth Sandlin diverged on the health care bill in the House last month- he voted for it, she against.
Looking at it purely from a getting reelected standpoint and not from what's right for the world she cast the right vote and he didn't.
Let's go inside the numbers:
-Among people who support the House health care bill, Snyder leads principal opponent Tim Griffin 86-3. Herseth Sandlin, despite voting against it, leads her chief competitor Chris Nelson by an 81-6 spread with those folks. So Snyder is doing eight points better on that front.
-Among people who don't support the House health care bill, Snyder trails Griffin 73-14. With that same group in South Dakota Herseth Sandlin trails Nelson 57-27. So she is doing 29 points better than Snyder on that front.
Herseth Sandlin faces very little in the way of recriminations from her base in spite of her vote, while Snyder now has little in the way of crossover support in the wake of his.
As you can imagine the sum result of that is that while our polls show both incumbents more vulnerable than normal Herseth Sandlin is in a stronger position than Snyder. I'm by no means suggesting that's all because of their health care votes but it certainly could be part of the equation.
I hope a strong health care bill passes and I greatly admire Snyder for his vote- it was politically courageous. But given that the bill passed the House anyway I'm willing to cut Democratic members who voted it against there a great deal of slack if it's the difference between being around in 2011 or not.