Normally, I leave the off-season Senate race tracking to the Senate Guru. But he points to a wacky poll on Arlen "Scottish Haggis" Specter that I thought worth sharing.

Pennsylvania voters approve 56 – 30 percent of the job Sen. Arlen Specter is doing, with Democratic approval at 62 – 26 percent, higher than the Republican support of 55 – 33 percent and 49 – 35 percent backing from independent voters.

But by a narrow 43 – 40 percent margin, voters say Sen. Specter does not deserve to be reelected. Republicans split 42 – 42 percent, as do Democrats 41 – 42 percent, while independent voters say no 45 – 36 percent.

"Pennsylvania voters are sharply divided over whether Sen. Arlen Specter should be reelected next year, with Republicans almost as negative as Democrats, probably because the GOP Senator is one of only three from the party supporting President Barack Obama’s Stimulus Package," Richards said.

"But Specter always has been politically controversial and has needed votes from both parties to stay in office."

So Pennsylvanians like their "offal" Senator (I just know I’m going to catch heat from my PA relatives for that), but they don’t necessarily want him re-elected. Specifically, Democrats approve of Specter, as do Republicans (but much less so).

Most interesting, though, this archetypal representative of the mushy middle really doesn’t excite Independents–precisely the group that such mushy middle-dom is supposed to entice. 

What would David Broder say?



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.