| The new Quinnipiac Poll is out today, and the results are about what you might have expected. Senator Lieberman's popularity remains sky-high, with a 63%-25% job approval (including a ridiculous 71%-21% among Republicans). 63% of those polled believe Joe deserves to be re-elected. In a primary, 68% of registered Democrats would vote for the incumbent, while 13% would support Ned Lamont.
Those numbers look pretty bad. In fact, the poll director, Dr. Douglas Schwartz, had this to say:
Liberal Democrats unhappy with Sen. Lieberman's position on the war can't find much good news in this poll.
As a lifelong liberal Democrat, I have to disagree with the good doctor. Perhaps I'm looking at the poll through rose-colored glasses (unlikely since, let's face it, I'm hardly the biggest Nedhead on this site), but I think there's data in this poll that lays out an obvious, but fairly promising strategy for Lamont.
First off, as Genghis points out, no one seems to have any idea who Lamont is. He's been featured in a couple of articles in the papers, appeared in a few local news segments, but he hasn't spent any money introducing himself to the state yet. And the poll bears this out: 93% of Connecticut residents haven't heard enough about Ned to have an opinion of him. Only 8% can say the same about Joe. Among those who have an opinion of Ned, 3% of Dems approve of him and 2% disapprove. Of course, that sample is so small as to be completely meaningless. Frankly, and not to sound all DC-consultanty, but Ned needs to open up his wallet, put together a positive introductory TV spot, and make a big media buy, then see where these numbers are.
Surprisingly, even though only 3% of Democrats approve of Ned, 13% would vote for him in a primary. That's the "Anybody but Joe" vote, the people who would vote for any other warm body with a D after his name.
Other notes on Joe's numbers: his support among Republicans continues to be higher than among Democrats. Among Democrats, he has a 57%-30% job approval split, a 61%-31% "deserves to be re-elected" split, and 50% have a positive approval of him compared to 30% negative and 24% mixed. High, yes, but not ridiculously so (Dodd has a 70% job approval among Democrats).
The peripheral numbers also look great for a candidate running on an anti-war, anti-Bush platform. Bush's approval in the state has fallen to an all-time low of 31%, including 8% among Democrats (who are those people?? Did they poll Joe's immediate family?). Only 29% approve of Bush's handling of the war, including 9% of Democrats. Only 24% think going to war was the right thing to do, including 15% of Democrats. These are all the lowest finding the Q-Poll has reported. 25% of Democrats believe the war would be the most important issue in determining who to support in a primary. These numbers are, of course, also fantastic for our congressional candidates.
Long post short: it's early, Joe's numbers are high because for all intents and purposes, he still doesn't have a challenger anyone has heard of, and the Lamont campaign should move to increase Ned's name recognition ASAP. Laying the groundwork and meeting people in small groups is all well and good, but if they want to build a broad fundraising base, they need to convince people he has a shot. Which means they need to get his poll numbers up. Which means they need a paid media campaign to introduce Ned to the public. After that, we'll know where we stand.