The latest numbers from Public Policy Polling’s recent survey of Arkansas are out today, and they ain’t pretty for Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who’s commanding a tepid 36 percent approval rating in the state, with three potential GOP challengers—Sen. Gilbert Baker, Curtis Coleman and Tom Cotton—all within the margin of error in head-to-head match-ups. (Two of those dudes, Baker and Cotton, haven’t even announced they’ll be running at this point.)
Compounding the ugliness for Lincoln in today’s media mix is this sterling column from the Arkansas News Bureau’s David Sanders, who last week broke the news that Democratic state Sen. Bob Johnson was mulling a primary run against Lincoln. Sanders gets Johnson on the record talking about the whys and wherefores of his flirtation with higher office:
Johnson has concluded that part of Lincoln’s electoral troubles stem from the fact that she’s never become an adored Arkansas politician, like many of her predecessors who served in the U.S. Senate.
“Going to Washington doesn’t mean you have to stop being who you are — that is part of the problem, which adds to the pretentious phony-isms we get out of D.C.,” he said. “People don’t like functionaries.”
But, Johnson also observes the obvious. Her situation, he said, has been made worse by the fact that voters have become openly hostile to Washington incumbents.
“Sometimes candidates just get into a death spiral – an inverted roll – and can’t pull out of it,” he said. According to Johnson, Lincoln is caught up in a much larger problem, and a lot of incumbent politicians are in her situation.
“Death spiral”? Yikes. Hey, maybe this news will encourage another 8 to 10 people to jump into the race.
Blogger Jason Tolbert has more over at The Tolbert Report, as does Max Brantley at the Arkansas Times. Meanwhile, youngblood blogger Zack “Nick” Stovall says “Bah!” to you and your tiresome polling numbers, thereby affecting an air of hardened political cynicism not typically found in someone who only started shaving last week.
UPDATE: Sanders comes back with a blog post about Sen. Gilbert Baker, whom he says will jump into the race by announcing the formation of an exploratory committee on September 1. That’s Tuesday of next week, as of this writing. We’ll see. I hesitated to even point it up, so weary am I of Baker’s indecisive Hamlet routine on this question, so make of that what you will.