There's also a more immediate reason why they [Republicans and the WH] need to stay the course. A recent poll of Republican voters commissioned by the Republican National Committee and reported on in yesterday's Los Angeles Times found that the best way the GOP could motivate its base in the upcoming election would be to contrast "the president's commitment to defeat the terrorists in Iraq" with the Democrats' supposed lack of commitment to that goal. (The quote is from pollster Fred Steeper's memo to Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.)
So we know with or without Lamont, the November 2006 plan was to attack Democrats as being weak on national security. But what were Democrats thinking when they voted yesterday? The CBS exit poll tells us something.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE WHO VOTE FOR?
Last three days 44% 54
Last week 49% 50
Last month or before 53% 46
Nearly eight in ten voters said they have voted in a Democratic
primary before, but one in five had not -- 20% say they had voted
before, but not in a Democratic primary. Those new Democratic primary
voters strongly supported Lamont, who received 62% of their vote.
Wow. Those 29,000 new registrants were key; Washington, take notice.
78% of Democratic voters disapproved of the decision to go to war with
Iraq, including 61% who said they strongly disapproved. Only 22%
approved of the decision. Six in ten of those who disapproved voted
But 60% of Americans overall think the war as its currently constructed is a mistake, according to CNN. It ain't just CT, so forget that canard about CT being so damned liberal. As the NY Times says,
The defeat of Senator Joseph Lieberman at the hands of a little-known Connecticut businessman is bound to send a message to politicians of both parties that voters are angry and frustrated over the war in Iraq. The primary upset was not, however, a rebellion against the bipartisanship and centrism that Mr. Lieberman said he represented in the Senate. Instead, Connecticut Democrats were reacting to the way those concepts have been perverted by the Bush White House.
Whose position is closer to the American people, Lamont or Bush? That's a no-brainer. Chuck Todd on Hardball says the Bushies fear the angry independent, the irate moderate, and he's exactly right.
Iraq dominated the campaign and the minds of Tuesday's primary voters.
Nine in ten said it was important in their vote, including 61% who
said it was very important to their decision. Another 32% said it was
That's not surprising in a Dem primary, but bipartisan polling overall clearly says Iraq is the national priority.
IS LIEBERMAN TOO CLOSE TO BUSH?
Lieberman’s association with Bush may have proved a political
liability. Nearly six in ten Connecticut Democratic primary voters
said that Senator Lieberman is too close to the President. While this
sentiment was most pronounced among liberals -– about seven in ten
said he is too close -– half of moderate Democrats and about three in
ten conservatives shared this opinion.
Seven in ten of Lieberman's voters did not think he was too close to
Association with Bush is a liability. and Lamont is not seen as a lefty:
Many of these Democratic primary voters saw Lieberman as too
conservative – 45% said so. Another 45% believe that Lieberman’s
positions on issues are about right. In contrast, six in ten
Connecticut Democratic primary voters said that Ned Lamont’s positions
on issues are just right. 29% said his positions are too liberal.
What about Lieberman's November run?
If Lieberman does decide to run as an Independent against Lamont and
Schlesinger in November, he may find that many Democratic voters will
choose their party’s candidate instead of him. In a hypothetical
three-way race against Lamont and Schlesinger, Lamont would earn 49%
of the votes of these Democratic primary voters, and Lieberman would
Among Lieberman voters, three out of four say they will support
Lieberman again under those circumstances; 16% are not sure, and 6%
say they will vote for Lamont. Lamont retains more of his voters; 88%
of them say they would vote for him in November.
Joe is not a shoo-in in November even amongst his own people. People still respect him, but he's too close to Bush, and thiat just killed him. But the message is that CT really isn't so terribly different than America. People can paint the state as if all of CT is Greenwich or Westport, but they've never been to Hartford or New Haven, big cities where Ned beat Joe.
The Republicans are in trouble. There is an irate middle, and they've just rejected a well-respected and heavily favored Senator who was too close to Bush. No wonder they'd rather this be 1972, but it ain't gonna work.