Our Pennsylvania poll this week found Bob Casey's approval rating in negative territory at 31% approving and 38% disapproving of his job performance. That's yet another data point suggesting a very tough cycle for Democrats on the Senate front in 2012. Last week we found Claire McCaskill at 38/51 in Missouri, two weeks ago we found Sherrod Brown at 32/39 in Ohio, and four weeks ago we found Bill Nelson at 37/40 in Florida. In New Jersey and Virginia polling last fall we found Bob Menendez at 34/45, and although we found Jim Webb in positive territory we also found him losing a hypothetical contest to George Allen.
Do all these upside down approval numbers mean these folks are going to lose? Not necessarily- this may be a low water point for Democrats and things could be completely different by 2012. What the data does suggest is that few of these folks are going to coast to reelection- they may win but they're going to have to fight pretty hard for it.
That's a big contrast from the Republican Senate class of 2004. Lisa Murkowski, John Thune, Tom Coburn, Johnny Isakson, and Jim DeMint are all coasting to reelection now after first being elected then with only David Vitter and Richard Burr facing serious opposition.
Democrats really need to cut their losses this year because it is not going to be a favorable playing field the next time around.