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Posted by on Jul 29, 2006 in At TMV | 9 comments

One Thing In Joe Lieberman’s Favor — But Will It Make A Difference?

Challenger Ned Lamont relies on his own big bankroll plus smaller contributors while Connecticut’s Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman gets a little help from his (well-heeled) friends.

But will any of it do any good? The AP’s take on the race isn’t good news for Lieberman:

Anti-war Democrats bailed in droves. Teachers unions left over vouchers. Men are drawn to his challenger, and women aren’t all that crazy about the incumbent, either.

Once, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut seemed on the brink of the vice presidency, a principled moderate in a party that didn’t always warm to them. Now, hewing to his support for the war in Iraq, he confronts a political abyss, abandoned by all groups but the poorer, older and less educated Democrats in his state.

“The last three times I voted for him, but I will never vote for him again,” Cheryl Curtiss of West Hartford, Conn., said recently of Lieberman as she waited for primary challenger Ned Lamont to speak at a campaign fundraiser.

“The war is the big piece,” said Curtiss, 52. “I don’t think it can be minimized. All of our tax dollars are going there. It’s killing Americans. It’s killing Iraqis. We went there on lies.”

Carolyn Gabel-Brett, in the same audience, said her disaffection with Lieberman began when he wouldn’t support a filibuster in the Senate to prevent Samuel Alito’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. The senator “does not support marriage equality,” she said, adding she is a lesbian who married her partner in a state-sanctioned ceremony in neighboring Massachusetts.

“I would have liked Joe to be better on the issues because I like the guy,” said state Rep. Christopher G. Donovan, House majority leader and the senior elected Democrat in Connecticut to support Lamont. “But you know, you only get to vote every six years.”

So based on this Lieberman’s opposition cuts deeper than just the war issue. MORE:

Six years ago, Lieberman swept to his third term with ease and, as Al Gore’s running mate, was nearly elected vice president at the same time. Now, with the war increasingly unpopular, the most recent public poll shows the primary race very close, with Lamont at 51 percent and Lieberman at 47 percent _ reflecting a narrow edge for Lamont and a dramatic decline from the senator’s 14-point lead in June.

Equally startling is the composition of the senator’s support. Doug Schwartz, survey director at Quinnipiac University, said Lieberman polled ahead of Lamont only among voters 65 and older, those with incomes of less than $30,000 a year, and those without a college degree.

Not good. If he was on television, with those kinds of demographics The Joe Lieberman Show would probably be canceled. This is NOT a statement of political preference; these demographics are not indicative of someone with a bright future in politics.

The polling also found that Lamont ran ahead among all other age and income groups “as well as among those with college degrees, Schwartz said. Lamont outpolled Lieberman among men, 56-44 percent. Fifty-one percent of the women surveyed backed Lieberman, to 47 percent for Lamont, a statistically insignificant difference.”

If Lieberman runs as an independent he’ll probably be re-elected, but even that could be iffy. The reason is that this data and other reports suggest that Joe Lieberman made a fatal error for a politician: no matter what his controversial stances on issues, he didn’t sufficiently cultivate his voters back home so he had a base of support strong enough to withstand part of the loss of the constituency that originally elected him. Political history has other examples of politicians who made this error.

All the blogs in the world writing about Lieberman and urging a Lamont victory would not have made much of a difference if he had mended his fences. The numbers show his fences were badly tattered. Has he gone out extensively in the hustings BEFORE election year and explained and defended his votes and stances? If these numbers are correct, it sounds like he didn’t. And if he did, he didn’t do it sufficiently.

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