Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Recent Developments Confirming 2010 Political Trends…

Three articles - all from Politico - today seem to give weight to important trends we’ve been discussing looking forward to the 2010 midterm elections.

Irritated Arkansas Liberals

We’ve been talking quite a lot about the unsatisfied liberal base of the Democratic Party, and how it may be the greatest threat to Democratic candidates this year. Nowhere is this more evident - apparently - than in Arkansas, where Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln is under pressure from both right and left.

From the article:

Even before Lincoln announced her opposition to the public health insurance option, she had frustrated Arkansas progressives with her opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act. Some in the African-American community, meanwhile, have complained that the senator hasn’t been aggressive enough in promoting black judges to the federal courts.

While, according to some state political observers’ estimates, liberal voters account for only 15 percent to 25 percent of the voting public in Arkansas, their unrest has further imperiled her political standing as the sole Southern Democratic senator up for reelection in 2010.

Polling shows Lincoln’s support from liberals in the state has fallen precipitously in recent months. A survey in late August by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling showed Lincoln with 66 percent approval among voters who identified themselves as liberal. By November, another PPP survey found her approval among that group dropping to 50 percent.

The disaffection from the party base comes as a slew of public polls show Lincoln badly trailing several prospective GOP opponents. A Rasmussen Reports poll out last week showed Lincoln receiving less than 40 percent against four separate Republican contenders — an ominous sign for an incumbent.

“I think that anger on the left — as small a group as it may be — is a serious problem for her,” said John Brummett, an Arkansas News columnist who is a longtime observer of the state’s political scene. “In a close race — which this is going to be — an invigorated base is vital.”

Apparently, labor leaders and others are waiting to see if Lt. Gov. Bill Halter will challenge Lincoln in a primary. Halter is expected to be more appealing to the liberal base of Arkansas’s Democrats.

Open Seat in Michigan for GOP?

Politico is also reporting that moderate Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) is considering a bid for Michigan’s open gubernatorial race. Knowing he’d do better in a general election than a primary, Stupak says he’s waiting to see how the rest of the field looks before entering the race.

But by leaving the house, it could easily mean a GOP pickup in what’s likely to be a GOP year.

From the article:

Democrats would have trouble holding on to his first district seat, which includes a conservative northern swath of the Wolverine state and the Upper Peninsula. DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) has called Stupak about running for reelection to the House, Stupak said.

As we’ve mentioned before, Democratic retirements for political advancement could mean trouble holding on to the lower seats. Just across Lake Michigan, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) decided to sacrifice a gubernatorial run in part - no doubt - because it could have been a possible Republican win in his current district.

A Conservative Base with No Reservations

Meanwhile, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will be holding their annual convention with Glenn Beck as their keynote speaker.

It should almost sound strange that the premier Washington beltway group of the right would be addressed by a conspiracy-theory-holding, populist-inspiring mouthpiece. Yet Washington conservatives are becoming increasingly warm to the Tea Party movement, hoping it can deliver them votes in November.

By listening to a Tea Party conservative like Beck, they hope to be able to tap into this movement.

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