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Connecticut against Joe Lieberman

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When Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic primary in 2006, he formed the Connecticut for Lieberman party and won the election as an independent. After the health-care debate, however, Connecticut seems to be for, well, anyone else:

Lieberman's overall approval rating is only 25%, with 67% disapproval. Democrats disapprove of him by 14%-81%, Republicans by 39%-48%, and independents by 32%-61%. Only 19% approve of his actions on the health care bill, with Democrats at 8%-80%, Republicans at 26%-55%, and independents at 30%-59%. Among those who support the bill, 84% disapprove of his handling of the issue, and in addition 52% of the people who don't support the bill also disapprove of Lieberman's actions.

"Joe Lieberman isn't popular enough with the Democrats or the Republicans to receive their nomination for the Senate in 2012," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "And since the independents don't like him much these days either it's hard to see how he'll be around for another term."

In a polarized political atmosphere, you have to pick a side. Infuriating everyone who supports the bill by nearly killing it and then infuriating everyone who doesn't support the bill by being the final vote for passage doesn't leave you with much of a base. That said, cap-and-trade, which Lieberman has been out front on over the past few years, is going to give him a chance to redeem himself. We'll see how he carries these lessons forward into that debate.

Photo credit: Harry Hamburg/AP.

By Ezra Klein  |  January 8, 2010; 9:32 AM ET
 
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Comments

CT is socially liberal, but generally fiscally conservative and does not have the government fetish that DC and other parts of the Northeast have.

If Lieberman runs against another "liberal's liberal" like Ned Lamont, he will destroy him.

Posted by: sold2u | January 8, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I think it's fair to report and analyze Lieberman's standing in his state... But 2012 is an awfully long way off, and voters have terribly short memories, despite the fact that this health care debate is a huge, huge issue.

Yes, he's unpopular. Right now. But to draw conclusions about the unlikeliness that he'll win re-election two years from now is premature, I'd say, no matter how much people hate him.

Posted by: TheFactsFax | January 8, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"That said, cap-and-trade, which Lieberman has been out front on over the past few years, is going to give him a chance to redeem himself."

I disagree. Cap-and-trade has (1) a slim chance of passage, and (2) does not arouse the level of passion that health care does. Lieberman is past redemption.

Posted by: pneogy | January 8, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Another note: I've heard a lot from the left about how Lieberman is done, or "past redemption," and how Moveon.org-ers are going to rally and force him out of office.

Making no judgment on the chances of success or merit of these attempts, I'd just say that the sentiment sounds a whole lot like the outrage over his Iraq War position, and yet, here he is, still a senator. Just sayin'.

Posted by: TheFactsFax | January 8, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"Making no judgment on the chances of success or merit of these attempts, I'd just say that the sentiment sounds a whole lot like the outrage over his Iraq War position, and yet, here he is, still a senator. Just sayin'."

Yes. And they succeeded in kicking him out of the Democratic party. This time he doesn't have Republicans to fall back on.

Posted by: adamiani | January 8, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Do these numbers, or will they, have any effect on his prospects for securing a super high paying insurance lobbyist gig come 2012?

Posted by: eglabe19 | January 8, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

In what way was he kicked out of the party?

Was he kicked out of the caucus? No. Did he lose his seniority-based committee assignments? Nope. Will he still get DNC and DSCC money? Probably.

Despite the left's outrage, it's painfully obvious that the Democratic leadership has a "if you can't beat him, join him" mentality about Lieberman.

For two elections now there were really important reasons to do that. In '06, he gave them 51 in the Senate. In '08 (once Franken was seated and Specter switched) he gave them 60. That could change if the Dem majority falls to, say, 55 or so, but nonetheless, those with the power, particularly in the White House, party leadership and Senate leadership seem painfully uninterested in ridding themselves of Lieberman. If the left wants revenge, those are the people to go after, along with Lieberman himself.

Posted by: TheFactsFax | January 8, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't it always going to be fairly tough for Sen. Lieberman to this seat again, given the somewhat extraordinary circumstances at play in '06? Is it possible that, along with pique, another motivation for Senator Joe is how he might be positioned for life after the Senate? At the very least, he had to have seen his political life flash before his eyes... So one wonders, especially with his wife's background, if there wasn't something a bit more self-interested in his maneuvering on HCR than vengeance and bad politics. There were SOME people in the world who were happy with his results.

Posted by: ebdansky | January 8, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"That said, cap-and-trade, which Lieberman has been out front on over the past few years, is going to give him a chance to redeem himself. We'll see how he carries these lessons forward into that debate."

Ezra, don't you have a clue how pompous you sound?

Ezra Klein teaching Joe Lieberman a lesson?

I don't think so.

How about a Ben Nelson post?

What if the language is dropped altogether from the final bill rather than being expanded?

Would Nelson still vote for passage?

Posted by: SisterRosetta | January 8, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

If you go to a restaurant and there's a dead rat in your soup, does it "redeem" the restaurant if the next dish served is delicious? How many rats in the soup does it take before you start looking not at the items on the menu, but the process in the kitchen? In America's Test Kitchen, Joe Lieberman is Chef Rat.

Posted by: jamusco | January 8, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman "redeem" himself? . . . Voters should just live and let live - forgiveness?
What comes next, Brit Hume goes on Hannity and says Joe should become an Evangelical Christian?

Posted by: WisconsinReader | January 8, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"CT is socially liberal, but generally fiscally conservative . . ."
Which helps Lieberman how? Opposing health care expansion because the economy is in recession not only isn't fiscally conservative, it's also just plain nuts.

Posted by: randrewm | January 8, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

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