The White House has been trying to convince red state Democrats that it would be worse for their reelection chances if no health care bill passed and President Obama were seen as a failure, then if they could tout an acheivement. They note that Democrats killed health care legislation in 1994 and still lost Congress anyway.
But a new Zogby poll finds that Sen. Blanche Lincoln, one of a few Democrats who has not yet committed to voting to bring health care legislation to the Senate floor, would face a much tougher reelection fight in Arkansas in 2010 if she were to vote for the bill.
The poll finds that as it is, Lincoln holds a thin 41 percent to 39 percent lead over her potential Republican challenger, State Senator Gilbert Baker. But when pollsters followed up and asked how their support would change if Lincoln voted for the health care bill, suddenly it’s Baker who enjoys a comfortable 49 percent to 37 percent lead. Overall, that’s a 14-point swing against her just based on the health care vote.
Arkansans oppose the health care bill by an overwhelming 64 percent to 29 percent margin, and after pollsters explained what was in the legislation, that number grew to 68 percent to 26 percent.
A vote for the health care bill, in short, would be toxic for her reelection chances. It’s certainly something she must be thinking about as the Senate prepares for a Saturday night procedural vote to move the bill to the floor, which Republicans are sure to use against her as a vote for the bill itself.