Lieberman heads for the bottom

A Quinnipiac University poll released today found Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman's approval rating has dipped to its lowest mark ever.

By Vincent Rossmeier
December 18, 2008 1:45AM (UTC)
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Barack Obama's pre-inauguration approval ratings have held steady despite Republican attempts to link him to Rod Blagojevich's apparent attempt to sell a Senate seat. But not everybody who'll be heading back to Washington after Christmas enjoys approval ratings in the 70s. Republicans who want to keep attacking Obama -- a demographic that doesn't seem to include Newt Gingrich or John McCain -- should note  what has happened to Joe Lieberman.

In November, the Senate's Democratic leadership allowed the sorta-Democratic senator from Connecticut to keep his chairmanship on the Senate Homeland Security committee, even after Lieberman made headlines throughout the 2008 presidential campaign for his unyielding support of John McCain. But a Quinnipiac University poll released today suggests that Connecticut's staunchly Democratic voters haven't forgotten, nor forgiven, Lieberman for failing to back Obama.


According to the poll, Lieberman's approval rating dropped to its lowest mark ever, a scant 38 percent, with 54 percent of those polled disapproving of his job performance. This is down from the 46 percent approval rating he had in July.

In the article accompanying the poll, Douglas Schwartz, the Quinnipiac University poll director, said, "Sen. Joseph Lieberman appears to be paying a high price for his embrace of Sen. John McCain in the presidential race. This is the highest disapproval rating in any Quinnipiac University poll in any state for a sitting U.S. Senator -- except for New Jersey's Robert Torricelli, just before he resigned in 2002. Among those who say they voted for Sen. Lieberman in 2006, 30 percent now say they would vote for someone else if they could."

Wednesday evening, the Democratic State Central Committee of Connecticut will meet in Hartford to decide whether to rebuke Lieberman for his actions during the presidential campaign. Originally, two members of the committee had prepared a resolution that asked Lieberman to formally leave the party. But in the wake of the U.S. Senate's decision to keep Lieberman relatively unpunished for his support of McCain, the resolution has now been softened to a mere expression of disapproval. It is unclear if the measure will pass.

Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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Christopher Dodd D-conn. Joe Lieberman