The Campaign Spot

A Primary Against Lincoln Is Threatening the Already-Doomed

Some lefty blogs are somewhat enthused about Arkansas’s lieutenant governor, Bill Halter, a Democrat, challenging Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary. It appears he’s aiming to challenge her from the left: “I cannot stand by while jobs are shipped overseas, seniors are pushed to the brink and big banks and insurance companies get bailed out while Arkansans are left to pay for a mess we didn’t create.”

But it’s not clear how much this would improve the outlook for Democrats; a threat to beat someone in a primary is not all that menacing to a candidate who already looks like toast in the general election.

Beyond that, it’s not clear how much room there is to Lincoln’s left among Arkansas Democrats. Yes, Lincoln’s approval is only at 51 percent among self-identified liberals, according to Public Policy Polling, but it’s lower among moderates (38 percent) and conservatives (10 percent). Comparatively speaking, it’s the liberals who like her. And even if Halter beats her, in general election match-ups, he performs even worse than Lincoln does, no matter who the Republican nominee is.

When 63 percent of Arkansas voters disapprove of congressional Democrats in general, their nominee will be in trouble, no matter who it is.