Friday, June 4, 2010

2012 could see a wide playing field

If you think there are a lot of competitive Senate races this year just wait for 2012. We've found 9 of the 16 folks we've polled since October who are up for reelection next year with negative approval ratings.

It might be easier to start with the list of who's doing alright- the folks in positive territory in order of their net approval are Olympia Snowe (+15), Tom Carper (+13), Jeff Bingaman (+12), Herb Kohl (+10), Kay Bailey Hutchison (+3), and Jim Webb (+2)

Even within those folks who are doing comparatively well there's the potential for some competitiveness next time. Snowe's popular because Democrats like her and could have difficulty winning another Republican primary. Hutchison just showed she's capable of getting trounced in a primary and that could embolden a more conservative challenger to her, although it's doubtful such a candidate would be remotely on par with Rick Perry.

Most of the Senators with negative approval ratings aren't doing that badly given how unhappy voters are with politicians in general- it's quite possible that voters will like their 2012 challengers even less. Also most of them are Democrats and we're likely to see officials of that party have their numbers tick up as we get closer to the President's reelection campaign. Nevertheless none of these folks have numbers that will ward off strong challengers. Starting from the least bad approval numbers we've found to the worst this group includes Debbie Stabenow (-3), Bill Nelson (-3), Jon Kyl (-4), John Ensign (-6), Bob Casey (-7), Sherrod Brown (-7), Robert Menendez (-11), and Claire McCaskill (-13).

The one class of 2012 Senator we've found this year with truly atrocious approval numbers is Joe Lieberman, who posted a -42 spread at 25/67 when we polled on him back in January. Unless people really change their minds about Lieberman or he can find a way to get reelected with less than 40% of the vote he seems likely to be gone next time. Of course a big x-factor there is whether Republicans will run a serious candidate or let Lieberman be their defacto nominee again- but the Tea Party crowd seems unlikely to accept someone who voted for the health care bill in the end as its nominee.

Yes it's early- but in the summer of 2008 we identified Colorado, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Missouri as states that were likely to have competitive 2010 Senate races based on the approval numbers of the incumbents there and it has played out that way- so the kind of numbers we see now do show where the opportunities are for close contests. Whether they actually end up being so depends on candidate recruitment, shifts in the political climate, etc.

12 comments:

brian72975 said...

KBH will get absolutely hammered from both sides for credibility issues. She said she'd quit the Senate to campaign for Governor. Then she said, no, I'll quit after the campaign. Then she lost and said, no, I'll quit in 2012. Guess what -- wrong again.

Christian Liberty said...

2012 will expose the fragility of Democrat gains in 2006; and 2014 will expose the fragility of Democrat gains in 2008. In 2012 and 2014, Democrats will have to defend 41 Senate seats, more than one-third of them freshmen; Republicans only need to defend 23. And the 4 oldest senators (most likely to retire or even die in office) are all Democrats up in 2012 or 2014.

The potential for Republican gains is quite strong. As of November 2014, we may have our first ever 60-seat Republican supermajority. This would also be a much better reflection of American's political will, since 60% of Americans prefer conservative Republican positions on healthcare and immigration policy.

Anonymous said...

For the love of god, poll indiana senate! We are in deperate need of a non-ras poll! Please I beg of you!

Bluejoy said...

What about 2020? What is that looking like?

Christian Liberty said...

"Terrorism and federal government debt tie as the issues Americans say are most threatening to the future wellbeing of the U.S., of 10 issues tested. Americans are more likely to choose the Republican Party than the Democrats as better able to deal with both." (Gallup)

Anonymous said...

Christian Liberty, If Republicans win big in 2010, they will be the ones at the end of the public's anger as they try to phase out Medicare and Social Security and slap huge new sales taxes on the American people. 2014 and 2016 will be great years for the Democratic party.

Christian Liberty said...

Anonymous, you could not possibly be more wrong.

Americans will continue to plead for CONSERVATISM (the ideology of responsible adults). 2014 will be the repudiation of the class of 2008 Democrats. 2016 will be the reelection of the Republican president to his/her second term.

Christian Liberty said...

Anonymous, Democrats are the party of higher taxes that Americans will overwhelmingly reject. Americans will support cutting government and cutting taxes. Americans will support conservative policies. The only thing Republicans might possibly do wrong is not be conservative enough. America will either support Republicans or candidates who are to the RIGHT of the Republicans. The Democrats will be desperately weakened unless they embrace the CONSERVATIVE policies that Americans want.

philip.brower said...

What are Jon Tester's approval ratings?

philip.brower said...

Ben Nelson would also seem like a vulnerable incumbent.

Anonymous said...

Another 2 1/2 years of Obama will almost certainly sink the Democratic party's ship. Already Democratic candidates are increasingly trying to distance themselves from Obama and his liberal policies, along with the Democratic (party) establishment. And This country, in case you haven't noticed, is rapidly moving towards conservatism as it's political norm. Those candidates, Democrat and Republican alike who fail to follow suit will almost certainly perish. Unlike the 2008 elections, Democratic candidates, in general, dare not refer to themselves as being politically liberal or progressive, lest political suicide. I very much suspect that what happens this November will only be a warm-up to what will follow in 2012 and 2014. I am convinced that when its all said and done, we will see the end of the Democratic Party, as we now know it. Just watch and weap.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, I'm not asking you to actually run the polling, but someone like Snowe might look ok among general population, but for her that is irrelevant.

It's GOP-only voters. She may well win a general election, but not win a primary.

 
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