A Jacksonian Republican sweep?
By: MICHAEL BARONE
Senior Political Analyst
11/16/09 4:48 PM EST
Sometimes a poll result slaps you in the face. That was the case for me when I saw Public Policy Polling’s results in the 2nd congressional district of Arkansas. PPP has the incumbent, Democrat Vic Snyder, leading three unknown Republicans (two-thirds to three-quarters of respondents could not describe their feelings toward them) by margins of 44%-43%, 44%-42% and 45%-42%. No, it doesn’t matter which Republican got the best score. The news here is that a seven-term Democratic incumbent, an intelligent man (he has earned an M.D.) with no disqualifying personal characteristics or accusations of scandal (so far as I know) is running significantly below 50% and is essentially tied with three unknown Republicans.
Snyder was first elected to the House in 1996, when the Bill Clinton was sweeping to reelection (Little Rock is in the 2nd district), by a 52%-48% margin. A coattails victory, perhaps: Bill Clinton was carrying the district 55%-37%. Since then Snyder has won with solid percentages, 58% in 1998 and 2000, 93% in 2002, 58% in 2004, 61% in 2006 and 77% in 2008 (when, as in 2002, he had no Republican opponent). But now, PPP tells us, Snyder’s job rating is 42%-46% negative, and 55% of 2nd district voters (and 67% of Independents) oppose the health care bill the House passed and Snyder voted for while only 32% favor it.