Our model now shows Blanche Lincoln’s chances to be close to zero (technically, about 0.3 percent, which rounds down to zero). Bypassing an esoteric debate about whether the probability distribution should be more fat-tailed than we have it (if I could get 300:1 on Blanche Lincoln, I’d definitely take it), it’s not hard to see why she’s in trouble. She’s way behind, her approval ratings are terrible, the polling is robust, the GOP nominated a competent challenger, Arkansas is a red state, and the numbers in races with incumbents tend to be less amenable to dramatic last-minute comebacks than those with two newbies. If Democrats spend much money on her, they are potentially costing themselves a win somewhere like Missouri or North Carolina, or a hold in an Illinois or a Washington.
0.3 percent chance of winning. I’ve been down on Lincoln’s chances, and even I didn’t think things were that bad. It’s sad-she and the party establishment created this situation for themselves. Blake echoes what I’ve been saying for awhile:
What does it mean? Exactly what Mr. Silver says it does. Resources – from cash to surrogate appearances – disappear. The enthusiasm gap, which currently favors Republicans, widens. The DSCC writes it off, opting instead to focus on preserving other seats.
Those effects will trickle down. If Democrats perceive the Lincoln campaign as a lost cause and Gov. Mike Beebe as a slam dunk, it’s going to be difficult to drive Democratic turnout, something that both Chad Causey and Joyce Elliott will need to win.
Democrats have a problem on their hands-a self made one. We tried our best to get an electable candidate through the primary and the party establishment from the state on up to the national level did everything they could to stomp that one out. Now, for the sake of our down ballot races, we have to figure out how to fix this.
I still don’t think this is set in stone. If Lincoln can A) pull her base back together and B) cast Boozman as an unappealing choice, then she win, though it would be a very narrow one. Shaking up her staff isn’t a bad idea either. Still, the burden is on Lincoln and her team to do this-no one else can. And mark my words, if they drag the Democratic party to defeat in November, then the people that worked for Senator Lincoln will have a seriously hard time getting a job in Democratic politics after this. Still, if they fail to reach out, we have to find another way to bolster our down ballot candidates and to cut Lincoln off from the rest of the ticket to minimize the damage.