Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thoughts on Doyle

Usually when an incumbent decides not to seek reelection it's bad news for their party. But if the Politico report that Jim Doyle will not run for a third term is true, that's good news for Democratic hopes of holding onto the Governorship in Wisconsin.

The only incumbents up for reelection in 2010 we've polled on across the entire country so far this year with weaker numbers than Doyle were Senators Roland Burris of Illinois and Jim Bunning of Kentucky. That's not company you want to keep.

A June survey we conducted found 60% voters in the state disapproving of Doyle with only 34% giving him good marks. He trailed both Scott Walker and Mark Neumann in prospective contests by 48-40 and 42-41 respectively.

There wasn't much doubt those Republican leads had a lot more to do with Doyle than they did with Walker or Neumann. Both of them are unknown to a plurality of voters in the state with just 33% holding a favorable opinion of Walker and only 26% viewing Neumann positively.

Perhaps Doyle could have come back and been reelected- his approval numbers weren't all that good throughout most of his first term either and that didn't stop him from earning a second one. But there was no doubt he had built up a lot of baggage to be trailing a couple relatively unknown Republicans as a two term incumbent in a Democratic state, and the party may be better off next year with someone new at the top of the ticket.

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