Friday, April 16, 2010

Unconventional Wisdom and Blanche Lincoln (? - Arkansas)

I like Arkansas. I like politics in Arkansas especially, because it makes politics in Texas seem absolutely rational.

Here is the conventional wisdom on the primary challenger of Blanche Lincoln for the nomination as the Democratic candidate for US Senator from Arkansas: Bill Halter. Lincoln’s more liberal opponent might do more poorly against a Republican nominee in November because he is, by his own admission, in favor of the Democratic initiatives that Blanche Lincoln has gone on record as being against. Being against them, resulting in her vote with the Republican Grand Opposer Party.

You might think that Bill Halter would have a more difficult time against a Republican opponent than Lincoln would, because Republicans and Independents might have a tougher time distinguishing between them, and a less difficult time distinguishing between a genuine liberal, and a Southern Republican (by definition, the quintessential Republican these days).

And this might give you pause in supporting him for that reason. Half a loaf, after all, is better than none.

But in that you would be wrong and to thank for that I give you the typical Arkansas voters who were recently polled in a Daily KOS/Research 2000 poll.

Now here is the thing: Halter still trails Lincoln in a primary match up, where he is seen as losing the nomination by 12% (45% to 33% with 16% undecided).

But then, when you compare how Lincoln would fare against each of the five (yes, count ‘em, five) Republicans who are vying for the nomination your head starts spinning.

I put it in a table for ease of viewing:

Get it? While Halter is the less desirable Democrat among likely Democratic voters, in the entire voter pool, he is the one who is less likely to get trounced by a Republican.

The liberal does better against Southern Republicans than the right-leaning centrist.

I love Arkansas. It presents us with the enigma that saw the election of Scott Brown (R - MA) to Teddy Kennedy’s senate seat. Given the choice between the Republican who sides with the right, and Democrats, yes, they still lean to the right, but less so with the liberal in the mix.

But really, I am wondering how much of this is blowback from the now infamous ”Louisiana Purchase” during the healthcare reform debate and backroom dealing. The sweetheart deal that Lincoln cut for her state in exchange for her vote on healthcare reform. My guess is Independents were the ones most outraged by that deal, and that restores some sense to an otherwise senseless set of statistics.

No comments: