One of the Senate’s most powerful Democrats faces a tough re-election battle going into the 2010 midterm elections. Recent polling by Rasmussen Reports finds Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., trailing most of his likely Republican rivals for re-election. Meanwhile, analysis by the Cook Political Report has moved his race from being a toss-up into the leans Republican category.
Dodd, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, has found himself overshadowed by ethics questions related to two mortgage loans he received from Countrywide Financial, which collapsed in 2007 amid the outset of the subprime mortgage crisis.
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“It’s been obvious since the start of the cycle that Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd would face toughest campaign of his long political career,” writes Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report in her most recent entry on the race. “Still, it is increasingly clear to both independent analysts and Democratic leaders that Dodd is just too badly damaged to have a decent shot at getting re-elected, almost regardless of who wins the Republican nomination.”
The senator has also personally acknowledged he faces an uphill battle.
The Cook Political report says Democratic leaders may decide to pressure Dodd to step aside and accept the end of his nearly 30 years in the Senate.
Rasmussen’s Dec. 9 poll found Dodd trailing his leading rival, former GOP Rep. Rob Simmons, by a 48-35 margin. These numbers mark a slight improvement for Simmons since Rasmussen’s last poll of the race in September.
Similarly, Linda McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, leads Dodd by a 44-38 percent margin. The senator’s weakness in his battle for re-election is further highlighted by the fact he holds a one-point lead over long-shot GOP candidate Peter Schiff, president of Euro-Pacific Capital, by a 40-39 percent margin.
The poll, however, found the healthcare plan may not be as big of a problem for Dodd’s re-election as it could be for other Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections because voters are almost evenly divided on the issue with 48 percent in favor and 51 percent opposed.
Dodd would lose big against all three of his likely Republican challengers among voters who currently have health insurance and have worries about losing it should healthcare reform pass. He would lose to Simmons by 18 points, McMahon by 11 points, and Schiff by six points among those voters.
However, he would win by double digits among those voters who currently lack health insurance.
President Barack Obama’s increasing unpopularity nationwide likely would not be much of a factor in the Connecticut race because Rasmussen found he enjoys a strong 57 percent overall approval rating.
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