A new poll suggests that tea party darling Michele Bachmann is in serious danger of losing her House seat to Democrat Jim Graves.
The poll, which was first shared with Salon, found that Bachmann now leads Graves, 48%-46%. Bachmann has gone from a 45%-41% lead with Independents to now trailing 52%-37%. The biggest indicator of how much voters have soured on Bachmann is that 57% of those surveyed gave a fair/poor job approval rating. Almost as many responded rated her as poor (35%) as did excellent/good. Respondents also had cool feelings towards Rep. Bachmann as a person. Forty one percent said they had warm feelings towards Bachmann while 46% expressed cool feelings towards the incumbent Republican.
After winning her 2010 bid for reelection by twelve points, her 2012 campaign is looking like a return to the norm. Bachmann first won election to the House in 2006 in a three person race by a 50%-42%-8% margin. Bachmann won another three way contest in 2008, 46%-43%-10%. Bachmann’s margin of victory in both 2006 and 2008 combined was less than her margin in the Republican wave year of 2010.
Even though her popularity is on the wane in her district, Rep. Bachmann will be difficult to beat because of the massive war chest ($15 million) she has accumulated. Bachmann also has been heavily supported and funded by the national Republican Party. Michele Bachmann is a right wing media darling who is welcome to go on Fox News, Glenn Beck, or any other conservative media outlet and beg for dollars at any time.
In both of her two previous close reelection contests, Bachmann benefited from vote splitting on the left. This year she is in a two person race in a non-Republican year. Rep. Bachmann faces several challenges that she has not faced in her previous contests. In 2012, Bachmann has to deal with existence of the soul crushing, enthusiasm killing Mitt Romney at the top of the ticket. She also has to deal with being one of the most prominent faces of the most unpopular House in history.
But it might be Bachmann’s national political ambitions that will be most responsible for her undoing. Nothing turns off the folks at home like the feeling that they are being used as stepping stones by their ambitious elected officials. Bachmann’s brief presidential campaign also put her right wing extremism on full display. Because of this, it will be nearly impossible for her to come back to the middle and court Independents after what took place on the national stage earlier this year.
If a three term right wing media darling like Michele Bachmann can find herself in such trouble less that two months before Election Day, dozens of House freshman tea party Republicans should be shaking in their shoes.
Suddenly, the idea of John Boehner handing the Speaker’s gavel back to Nancy Pelosi in January 2013 doesn’t seem so far fetched.