Zogby: Obama May Be 'Toxic' for Democrats

Monday, 09 Aug 2010 08:27 PM

By David A. Patten

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Pollster John Zogby predicts President Obama will become "toxic" for Democrats on the campaign trail if incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet loses to state legislator Andrew Romanoff in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Colorado.

In an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview, Zogby says a loss by Bennet, a favorite of the Democratic establishment who has received strong personal support from the president, would send a clear signal to other Democrats, sharply truncating Obama's coattails come November.

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Despite the fact that President Obama and Democrats have invested heavily in Bennet, polls show Romanoff surging in recent weeks and capturing the momentum.

The race is statistically deadlocked and most pundits say the outcome will probably depend on which candidate gets his supporters to the polls.

Zogby said an upset by Romanoff over Bennet "could very well happen," adding, "And the problem unfortunately for the administration is going to be is that the president is seen as toxic. That's a problem."

A Romanoff victory would add to the administration's record of backing losers in high-profile elections, including Republican Scott Brown's upset win over Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, Gov. Bob McConnell's victory over Democrat Creigh Deeds in Virginia, and Chris Christie's stunning victory over former Democrat Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey.

Zogby predicted that a loss by Bennet could mean Obama will be far less visible on the campaign trail in November than an incumbent president should be. Already there are signs some Democratic candidates are distancing themselves from Obama on the campaign trail, although the president remains a prodigious fund-raiser for Democrats.

In a wide-ranging Newsmax interview, Zogby also discussed Tuesday's races in Connecticut, Georgia.

Zogby says Democrats should feel more confident about their prospects of winning in Connecticut, where popular long-time Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is vying to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd.

Tuesday's GOP primary in Connecticut will determine which Republican Blumenthal faces in November.

A new Quinnipiac poll suggests former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon is about to body slam her GOP rival, former Rep. Rob Simmons. McMahon has widened her advantage over former GOP Rep. Simmons to 22 points, 50 percent to 28 percent.

Simmons initially pulled out of the contest after faring poorly at the GOP nominating convention. But he decided to keep his name on the primary ballot and has resumed his political activities in recent weeks.

If McMahon wins, she would then face a far tougher cage match against Blumenthal in the general election.

Polls show McMahon gradually narrowing the gap against Blumenthal, whose candidacy was dinged by revelations in The New York Times that he had repeatedly claimed military service in Vietnam. Blumenthal has since apologized for his "misplaced words." Last week, a Quinnipiac poll showed McMahon pulling within 10 percentage points.

Zogby tells Newsmax.TV that Blumenthal remains strong, but warns more revelations of false statements would make his poll numbers plummet.

"I'm not going to predict a lock [for Blumenthal]," Zogby told Newsmax in the exclusive interview. "But he's certainly in good shape."

Zogby also discussed Tuesday's GOP runoff election in Georgia. Secretary of State Karen Handel, the gubernatorial candidate who has been endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is squaring off against former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, both endorsed Deal.

Palin, campaigning in Georgia for Handel on Monday, denied that she's promoting Handel because she is a woman.

"Now that is just so stupid and just so passe," Palin told the cheering crowd.

"Yes, she's a sista. [But] we're endorsing Karen because she is the best candidate for Georgia." Given the competing endorsements of several GOP national political heavyweights, Zogby said the Deal-Handel contest would be "really interesting to watch."

Asked which candidate has the advantage the fight for the GOP nomination for governor of Georgia, Zogby said: "Please don't put this in a Newsmax headline tomorrow. I'm going to say Karen Handel."


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