by Max Brantley
It didn't do to have an independent (but Democratic leaning) polling firm come out with a robopoll showing U.S. Blanche Lincoln trailing any of the assortment of unknown Republicans who've stepped up to oppose her next year.
So today comes a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee poll, which, as the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes:
... suggests that Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) is in better shape than many political analysts seem to believed. The poll, which was conducted by Pete Brodnitz, shows Lincoln at 50 percent against her two main Republican challengers. Lincoln leads state Sen. Gilbert Baker, who is expected to be the nominee, by a 50 percent to 37 percent margin, and holds a 51 percent to 37 percent edge over state Sen. Kim Hendren. Lincoln's favorable numbers also sit at 50 percent, a respectable if not particularly strong place for an incumbent to be. "Despite months of attacks from both the extreme right and the extreme left, and now from the insurance industry...Senator Lincoln remains well- positioned for re-election in 2010." writes Brodnitz in a polling memo obtained by the Fix. Republicans have made Lincoln a major target in 2010 due to the state's GOP lean; Sen. John McCain (R) carried it by 20 points last November. This data suggests that while Lincoln is far from out of the woods, she is not in the same level of trouble as Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).
No mention of poll questions or methodology. A Republican source claims people who received calls for this poll report that the preferential question was posed after some softening up of Baker -- whether poll-takers knew of favors his family had received during the LuCA scandals and his advocacy of the good character of a man convicted in a rape/kidnapping case.
This means the poll wouldn't be an uninfluenced measure of opinion. But, folks, neither is an election. Is Lincoln willing to go negative? I think this suggests the answer. And it still nets only 51 percent, with none of the negative the other side is sure to throw.
UPDATE: The DSCC has now leaked on me. The summary of the poll findings, but not the survey itself or full crosstabs, which would be more interesting.