Rep. Liz Cheney is positioned to handily lose the Republican primary for Wyoming’s lone House seat, according to a new poll. The poll, conducted by Mason Dixon Polling & Strategy, finds lawyer Harriet Hageman leading Cheney 52 percent to 30 percent among Wyoming Republican primary voters, well outside the poll’s margin of error of three percentage points. Eleven percent of voters remained undecided, while the remainder supported various minor candidates.
A scion of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, the younger Cheney has broken decisively with the current Republican Party in general and former President Donald Trump in particular. Cheney has characterized Trump as a threat to democracy and the rule of law, and voted to impeach him after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. She is also one of the two Republicans on the House Jan. 6 committee, along with Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Trump has sworn vengeance on the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him and endorsed Hageman as his choice to oust Cheney.
Republican primary voters gave Cheney strongly negative marks in the poll. Just 27 percent approved of her conduct in Washington, while two-thirds disapproved. Majorities of voters disapprove of her decision to serve on the Jan. 6 committee and of her performance on it. More than six in ten say that her opposition to Trump has impeded her ability to deal with “important Wyoming issues.”
Sensing that her standing with Republicans is untenable, Cheney has turned to a rather unorthodox voter group to save her in the GOP primary: Democrats. Wyoming has same-day voter registration, and according to the Casper Star-Tribune, “many Democrats and independents” plan to register as Republicans to back her, and Cheney has actively encouraged them to do so. According to the poll, most Democrats who do plan to register as Republicans and vote in the primary back Cheney and approve of her job performance.
However, Wyoming Democrats are not a plentiful voter base. In 2020, Trump took nearly 70 percent of the vote in the state, higher than any other. FiveThirtyEight’s Geoffrey Skelley analyzed Cheney’s situation and found that Democratic voters would not be able to save her unless she were at least competitive with Republicans. He said that in a scenario where Hagerman led Cheney by 10 points with Republicans only, she “would then need nearly 60 percent of the total Democratic primary voters to not only switch to vote in the GOP contest but to also vote for her.” She is down significantly more than that in publicly available polling that takes into account Democrats and left-leaning independents reregistering to support her. Mason Dixon managing editor Brad Corker said Cheney losing was “a forgone conclusion.”
Cheney has talked often and loudly about the need to concede electoral defeats. Come August 16, all indicators suggest she’ll have a chance to put her money where her mouth is.
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