Tuesday, December 8, 2009

DeMint favored, not inevitable

Jim DeMint is favored for reelection, although it may not be quite as inevitable as expected.

47% of voters in the state say they plan to vote for DeMint next year, compared to 38% who say they'll choose his Democratic opponent. DeMint has his party pretty unified, as GOP voters say they'll go for him by a 79-7 margin. But he's earned little of the crossover support that colleague Lindsey Graham enjoys, with Democrats saying they'll vote against DeMint 77-9.

DeMint leads 45-34 with independents, a solid margin but not as large as the ones many Republican candidates across the country enjoy with that group right now. For instance North Carolina's Richard Burr, also up next year and widely viewed as one of the two most vulnerable Republican incumbents, has a 51-30 lead against a generic Democrat with independents.

44% of voters in the state approve of the job DeMint is doing with 29% disapproving and 27% with no opinion. He gets good marks from 62% of Republicans, 45% of independents, and 22% of Democrats.

Is DeMint vulnerable? He is below the 50% mark generally considered safe for an incumbent on the two key measures of job approval and generic ballot performance. His numbers are comparable to those of Louisiana's David Vitter (44-38 generic ballot lead) and North Carolina's Burr (44-40 generic ballot lead), widely seen as the two most vulnerable Republicans running for reelection next year. But national Democrats would have to put a lot of resources into the state to give DeMint a really tough battle and given the quantity of seats Democrats already hold that they're having to defend and South Carolina's strong Republican lean that seems unlikely to happen.

If they do decide to make a go of it though the poll suggests a potentially effective line of attack against DeMint. Only 29% of voters in the state think DeMint's main focus since his election has been advocating for South Carolina in the Senate, while 41% think his greater priority has been serving as a leader in the national conservative movement. A perceived lack of focus on local issues can come back to bite an elected official, as exemplified most recently by Elizabeth Dole's reelection loss in North Carolina last year. DeMint probably doesn't have too much to worry about right now, but his reelection isn't a complete slam dunk.

Full results here

1 comment:

Timothy said...

Wishful thinking here. However, if the democrat party wants to waste $$$ in South Carolina, so be it.

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