Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is in trouble with the voters, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. Former congressional candidate Rob Simmons is beating the senator 49 percent to 38 percent. Other challengers are also leading against the senator, including Linda McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment executive, who gets 43 percent to Dodd's 41 percent.
Perhaps the real story is about President Obama. According to poll director Douglas Schwartz, PhD, “Barack Obama is still popular with independents, but voters say that his support of Dodd won't affect their Senate vote.”
While Obama's personal popularity remains high, it doesn't appear he's able to nudge candidates up in the polls. Despite endorsing and campaigning for New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie still won handily. A last-ditch effort to help Creigh Deeds in Virginia had no visible impact on Republican Bob McDonnell's blow-out victory.
High negatives are involved with each of these Democratic candidates — Dodd especially, as Schwartz notes, “more than 40 percent of voters would vote for anybody but Dodd at this point.” But what good is a popular president if he can't help ailing candidates? And each of these candidates (perhaps excluding Deeds' bungled campaign) represents a fairly establishment approach to governance for Democrats — Corzine's union-pleasing, budget-busting perspective is shared by many of his Democratic colleagues, as is Dodd's fiscal profligacy on the Banking committee.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom of 2008, it doesn't look like America's been entirely sold on the Democrats' agenda.