Poll: Lincoln v. Halter | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Poll: Lincoln v. Halter

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Daily Kos has polled a potential Blanche Lincoln-Bill Halter matchup. (Kos is a progressive blogger, but his polling operation is straightforward and has a good track record.)

It's 42-26 Lincoln with 32 percent undecided. Up for grabs in other words, and that's with near universal name recognition for Lincoln. Halter has better favorable/unfavorable numbers and a marked edge among independents. Her numbers plummet when Democratic primary voters are asked how they'd respond to her participation in a Republican filibuster.

Lincoln scores better against Republicans in the Kos poll than in the Rasmussen survey -- ahead of all, though statistically even with Gilbert Baker. And she polls stronger in horse races against Republicans than Halter does. But Kos says:

On first blush, this appears to give Lincoln the better general election numbers, but the internals argue otherwise. Note how the Republican numbers are nearly identical versus both candidates. The only thing that changes is the intensity of support for the Democratic candidate, and that's because there are more undecideds when the lesser-known Halter is polled.

In all these matchups, the biggest bloc of undecideds are Democrats. If they turn out (a challenge in and of itself given how demoralized Democratic voters are), they will come home to Halter. I'd further argue that Democrats will be more likely to turn out for Halter than they will for Lincoln, who is working overtime against Obama and her Senate Democratic colleagues.

The other big undecided bloc are independents. As noted above, Halter already has better favorability numbers among independent voters. And given the anti-incumbency mood around the country this cycle, particularly pronounced among independent voters, the fresh-faced outsider (Halter) is likely to have more of a fighting chance to get those voters than Lincoln, the entrenched DC incumbent.

Incidentally, this poll shows that Lincoln's health care obstructionism, rather than bolster her standing in Arkansas, is actually hurting her. She has slid against her Republican opposition, losing ground with all groups -- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Her clumsy bungling of the health care issue stands in stark contrast with her more subtle colleague, Sen. Mark Pryor, who remains in positive favorability territory, 48-38.

Message: Be a Democrat, Sen. Lincoln. It's better for you in more ways than one. Another analysis here.

Full Kos commentary follows:

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 11/30-12/2. Likely voters. MoE 4% (9/8-10 results)
Democratic primary (No trend lines, MoE 5%)
Lincoln (D) 42
Halter (D) 26
Undecided 32


Rumors abound that Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is considering a primary challenge against obnoxious Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln. Lincoln's approval ratings among Democrats are 62 favorable, 32 unfavorable. For Halter, they are 55-11, a far better spread. And while a third of Democrats don't know enough about Halter to have an opinion, Lincoln has almost universal name ID (94%).

But even better for Halter are the favorability numbers among independents -- 37-55 for Lincoln, 32-24 for Halter (with 44% having no opinion).

We asked the Democratic sample what would happen if Lincoln joined a Republican filibuster against the health care reform plan currently being debate in the Senate:


If Senator Blanche Lincoln joins a Republican filibuster of the Democratic health care reform plan, for whom would you vote for in the  Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate if the choices were between Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter and U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln?
Lincoln 37
Halter 27
Undecided 36


Given that 84 percent of like Arkansas Democratic primary voters support the public option, one can see how this apostasy would negatively affect her primary chances. 42% for an incumbent in a primary that would be dominated by activist-type Democrats is brutal for Lincoln. 37%? If Halter runs, and Lincoln decides to follow through on her promises to fight against the Senate Democratic health care plan, then there's no way she gets past the primary. It's that simple.

But what about the general election matchups?


Lincoln (D) 42 (44)
Baker (R) 41 (37)
Halter (D) 34
Baker (R) 42


Lincoln (D) 44 (45)
Coleman (R) 39 (37)
Halter (D) 35
Coleman (R) 40


Lincoln (D) 45 (46)
Cox (R) 31 (29)
Halter (D) 36
Cox (R) 32


Lincoln (D) 46 (47)
Hendren (R) 30 (28)
Halter (D) 36
Hendren (R) 31


On first blush, this appears to give Lincoln the better general election numbers, but the internals argue otherwise. Note how the Republican numbers are nearly identical versus both candidates. The only thing that changes is the intensity of support for the Democratic candidate, and that's because there are more undecideds when the lesser-known Halter is polled.

In all these matchups, the biggest bloc of undecideds are Democrats. If they turn out (a challenge in and of itself given how demoralized Democratic voters are), they will come home to Halter. I'd further argue that Democrats will be more likely to turn out for Halter than they will for Lincoln, who is working overtime against Obama and her Senate Democratic colleagues.

The other big undecided bloc are independents. As noted above, Halter already has better favorability numbers among independent voters. And given the anti-incumbency mood around the country this cycle, particularly pronounced among independent voters, the fresh-faced outsider (Halter) is likely to have more of a fighting chance to get those voters than Lincoln, the entrenched DC incumbent.


Incidentally, this poll shows that Lincoln's health care obstructionism, rather than bolster her standing in Arkansas, is actually hurting her. She has slid against her Republican opposition, losing ground with all groups -- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Her clumsy bungling of the health care issue stands in stark contrast with her more subtle colleague, Sen. Mark Pryor, who remains in positive favorability territory, 48-38.


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