Come, Let Us Look At More Senate Polling Numbers

LincolnNew polling numbers are out today on Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln and her various GOP challengers, this time from the lefty bloggers at Daily Kos. Let us take a closer look, shall we?

Kos’s numbers show Lincoln polling slightly better than she did in last month’s Public Policy Polling survey, but still showing a somewhat anemic 43-49 favorable/unfavorable split. None of the potential Republican challengers included in the poll (Gilbert Baker, Curtis Coleman, Tom Cox and Kim Hendren) showed particularly high name ID. (Full list of announced and rumored challengers is over here.)

I’m not entirely sure why Cox and Hendren were judged as poll-worthy candidates for this survey—Cox has not yet demonstrated much fund-raising acumen and Hendren has demonstrated nothing more than a penchant for embarrassing himself.

Gov. Mike Beebe continues to show commanding approval numbers—here boasting 66 percent favorables.

The Kos numbers also show higher support for the public option in Democrats’ health insurance reform packages, here claiming 55 percent giving the public option a thumbs up.

I notice that the Kos poll reports that they separated out for “likely voters,” which may explain, in part, any differences between this poll and the PPP numbers from a few weeks back. (By the way, anyone with more energy than I possess have any background on how the Kos polling stacks up in past? A track record would be helpful.)

A couple of additional stray notes:

  • My blogging counterpart Blake Rutherford makes the common-sense point in a recent post that polling numbers more than a year before the election tell us little. This is correct. At the same time, they do offer a helpful snapshot of where the race stands and where it could go, and they are, along with fundraising numbers, the only hard facts we have to look at this point, thus the attention we give them here. But yes, take them with a grain of salt.
  • There’s nothing magical about an incumbent polling below 50 percent. It’s not good, and it shows in this case that Lincoln is vulnerable, but weak polling numbers a year ahead of the election, before any money has been spent on advertising, do not necessarily mean “Lincoln Loses.” A lot of Republicans I talk to seem to forget this.
  • And don’t forget that Lincoln has an ungodly amount of money. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that before.
  • Lincoln was named last week as the head of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which is good news for her. Some commentators overplay the degree to which this leadership position helps Lincoln (*cough*Brummett*cough), but it certainly doesn’t hurt her. Still, leadership positions in Congress do not necessarily make one invulnerable, particularly when the political climate is turning against your party. (Ask Tom Daschle about that one.) This weekend analysis piece from the AP’s Andrew Demillo explores that question pretty effectively.
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