Halter gaining on Lincoln | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Halter gaining on Lincoln

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 3:12 PM

New polling from Daily Kos.

The short take: Sen. Blanche Lincoln continues to lose ground against Republican opponents; Democratic opponent Bill Halter has gained ground over December results and has edged up slightly on Lincoln in a primary contest.

Primary bottom line: Lincoln 44 Halter 31 Undecided 25.

But she's well short of 50, a dangerous spot for an incumbent, particularly when you consider that Lincoln grows ever more unfavorable, with unfavorables outweighing favorables 52-42. Halter enjoys a 46-27 favorable margin.

Kos says Halter is benefitting from a positive campaign so far and Lincoln's erosion has prompted her to go negative with a direct mail attack today. More commentary from Kos:

Compared to the December results, Lincoln has lost significant ground to her Republican opponents. Meanwhile, Halter is now even with all of the Republicans who aren't Rep. Boozman, clearly the best potential GOP candidate.

With Boozman, both Democrats run equally behind. But there's a big difference in the two potential races: Lincoln is the incumbent, and undecideds tend to disproportionately favor the challenger. That's why incumbents over 50 percent are considered safe -- because the undecideds aren't enough to flip a seat. (Look at the primary undecideds -- down seven points, Halter got five, Lincoln got two.) Given the hole Lincoln faces against the northwest Arkansas congressman, it's hard to see how she makes up that ground and wins the race.

On the other hand, a Boozman-Halter race would make Boozman the de facto incumbent -- he's been in Washington D.C. for 10 years now. In this environment, you want to be the outsider hitting the entrenched DC incumbent, and Democrats can do that with Halter as their nominee. And given the large number of people who still don't have an opinion about him, Halter has plenty of room to grow in a way Lincoln no longer can, further eroding Boozman's early advantage. That's why Lincoln runs worse against the no-name outsider Republicans vying for the seat compared to Halter. People like outsiders. Lincoln can't play that outsider game, and neither can Boozman.

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