There is all sorts of buzz about Senator Chris Dodd’s political future. All sorts of speculation over whether a year’s worth of bad polls will persuade his fellow Democrats to persuade him to retire for the good of the party. We’ve all read the scuttlebutt that some Democrats prefer the state’s most popular Democrat, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, arguing he would be able to beat Rob Simmons and Linda McMahon, something polls show Dodd can’t do…even in this Democratic state.
In a recent article on politico.com, Doug Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University poll, made sure to mention that Blumenthal’s job approval rating is currently 78 percent — 38 percentage points higher than Dodd’s. “Certainly the Democrats would be better off if Richard Blumenthal was their candidate and not Dodd,” Schwartz said. “Blumenthal is the most popular statewide elected official in Connecticut.”
When I read that I couldn’t help but wonder if Schwartz is adding a Blumenthal element to the next round of polling, expected to be released toward the end of January. So far there have been no hypothetical Blumenthal matchups in the Q-U polls, but what if…
What if a poll shows Blumenthal handily beating Linda McMahon and Rob Simmons and still shows Senator Dodd still losing to both those Republicans? No doubt the whispers will grow louder from Democrats that the party needs a new candidate for the senate to keep the seat in their hands.
Many Democrats are worried about their own chances in 2010 if Dodd is on the slate. The party last won the governorship in 1986, and sees next year as a realistic chance to grab the state’s highest office. But, whoever ends up the Democratic nominee for governor can expect to be linked to Senator Dodd in negative campaign ads. The GOP will hire the best agency to put together ads featuring grainy black and white images of Dodd and the gubernatorial candidate with sinister music playing in the background. Let’s use Susan Bysiewicz as an example here. The ad’s narrator will call Bysiewicz and Dodd friends and she’ll have her name mentioned in the same sentence as “VIP mortgages.” The editors will insert an old shot of Bysiewicz and Dodd together at an event, and if she was photographed with him in Iowa or New Hampshire, expect to see that snapshot used over and over again.
When Democrats talk privately about Senator Dodd being a drag on the ticket, images like that come to mind.