The coming GOP storm | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 20, 2010

The coming GOP storm

Posted By on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 9:19 AM

More bad polling numbers for Sen. Blanche Lincoln:

It's Rasmussen, which leans heavily Republican, but still....

Boozman 65 Lincoln 27.

I"ve updated this item substantially as the initial post prompted quite a few phone calls.

The big question now is whether this poll result is about more than Lincoln. Does it reflect problems for the entire Democratic ticket? Is it a product of deep dissatisfaction in Arkansas with President Barack Obama? The evidence says yes. Nothing less than the end of Democratic Party dominance of Arkansas may be at hand.

A Republican of my acquaintance says internal polling he's seen is so good he doesn't believe it. (And now a second source with access to numbers has buttressed this account.) The numbers portend a Republican tidal wave in Arkansas in November. The numbers are so good (or bad, depending on your point of view) that Gov. Mike Beebe might be in peril (one recent poll had him under 50 percent and within the margin of error, though still leading). That Shane Broadway could lose the race for lieutenant governor. That Twilight Zoner Mark Martin has a shot at secretary of state over Pat O'Brien, who'll be saddled with his work for Obama. That Mike Ross will be the sole Democrat standing in Congress and his numbers aren't that good. That Republicans gain five seats in the state Senate (a seven-seat sweep by one source's estimation). That they move their number to 40 of 100 in the House. (And I forgot to mention initially that a GOP rebellion is brewing in the House over spending under Speaker Wills, a potential election-influencing controversy.) Should this all turn out to be true, Arkansas likely becomes Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi — majority Republican — in 2012. The old contract will be broken forever.

I can't rattle off any obvious indicators that argue this forecast is wrong, not with some trusted Democratic sources now saying, yep, we're seeing the same numbers. I know this: The tried-and-true Democratic Party strategy of rolling out the street money for a good black vote won't solve what ails the party this year. You could call it revolt of the rednecks, I suppose, to invoke a famous book title. Traditional Democratic voters won't be staying home with their granddaddy's party this year.

I don't care what disaffected liberals say. Blanche Lincoln isn't 27 percent bad, not against Dr. No. If the numbers in her race are anywhere close to true, they must be indicative of a broader movement, Anti-Obama and to at least some degree racist, yes. But it is also about the poor economy and the successful job Republicans did on selling health care legislation as a disaster, despite its obvious benefits for this poor state. But it's a lot about Obama.

Take this national poll for example: It shows those who disapprove of the job Obama is doing are going to vote Republican 82-4. EIGHT-TWO TO FOUR! There are some variations when voters come to individual candidates, but the trend is still overwhelming. Obama started his term way down in Arkansas. It has only gotten worse. And there's not much evidence in Arkansas of an effective effort to counter that in Arkansas races, outside of Beebe's deep treasury. Poor recruitment. Poor candidates. Poor fund-raising. An ineffective party structure. Lack of message. It all plays a role

Good ad from Sen. Lincoln just out. It fairly raps Boozman for his warm remarks about privatizing Social Security and Medicare and for his support for the ruinous "Fair Tax", but it could be too little too late.

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