Research 2000, for Daily Kos, asked 600 Connecticut likely voters about whether they approved of Joe Lieberman or not. The answer was decidedly not (numbers in parentheses are from the summer):
QUESTION: Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Lieberman is doing as U.S. senator?
Approve 36% (45)
Disapprove 61% (43)
QUESTION: If the 2012 election for U.S. Senate were held today would you to reelect Joe Lieberman would you consider voting for another candidate or would you vote to replace Lieberman?
Consider someone else: 14%
The poll also shows that if the 2006 election were re-run for some reason, people would vote for Lamont over Lieberman.
Is this a useful poll? Well, some of it is. We already know that Sen. Dodd and Sen. Lieberman aren’t the most popular guys in Connecticut right now, if for different reasons (although I think there is a strong sense that they are more national political figures who happen to be from our state than two U.S. Senators who represent Connecticut. Massachusetts has this problem too), and this poll reinforces that.
Lieberman 2012 = Orchulli 2004?
The re-run of 2006 stuff shows the shift away from Lieberman, as well. His numbers now look suspiciously like those of the long list of failed, sad Republican senate candidates that the party has put forward since Lowell Weicker lost in 1988. Lieberman would get 35% of the vote in a re-run, mainly from Republicans and a third of independents. However, 61% of independents and 82% of Democrats would support Lamont, the Democrat, giving him a total of 59%.
Those are the sorts of numbers that have carried both Dodd and Lieberman to re-election for the past twenty years–2006 excepted. Take a look:
In 2004, Chris Dodd beat Jack Orchulli 67%-32%.
In 2000, Joe Lieberman beat Phil Giordano 63%-34%.
In 1998, Chris Dodd beat former Rep. Gary Franks 65%-33%.
In 1994, Joe Lieberman beat Jerry Labriola 67%-31%.
In 1992, Chris Dodd beat Brook Johnson 59%-38%.
Ever since 1988, when Lieberman beat Weicker by a very narrow margin, Democrats have been in the high 50s and 60s, while Republicans are stuck in the 30s. The only difference is that now Joe Lieberman is on the wrong side of this equation. The coalition of Democrats and independents that wins statewide elections for Democrats year in and year out (except for the office of governor) is now aligning against a man they’ve supported for two full decades.
2012 is so far away that it’s almost pointless to start thinking about it, but that 35% number comes up again as the number who would definitely re-elect him. Once again, he’d find support from a strong majority of Republicans (68%), about a third of independents, and only 20% of Democrats.
Therefore, in the minds of Connecticut voters, Lieberman already is a Republican, and it’s not helping him. What does this mean? 2012 is a long way away, obviously, but these sorts of numbers are an early warning sign for his re-election chances.
…If you can’t get enough Lieberman talk, go read Colin McEnroe’s piece about why we’re all still talking about him.