Saturday, September 15, 2007

Novak: Kerry's Vulnerability

Today Bob Novak has his typical interesting Saturday read - if perhaps a little skimpier than usual. The most noteworthy item covers the apparent weakness of John Kerry to a GOP challenge:

Homeland security consultant Jeff Beatty, new to Republican politics, arrived in Washington this week with a Zogby poll showing him in a virtual tie with Democratic Sen. John Kerry in Massachusetts.

Republicans had not listed the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate as even faintly vulnerable for re-election in 2008. The Zogby poll gives Kerry 48 percent to Beatty's 45 percent -- a tie with a 4.1 percent margin of error.

That signifies Beatty's strength rather than Kerry's weakness, with Zogby showing Kerry far ahead of other possible Republican candidates. Kerry leads Andrew Card, President Bush's former chief of staff, 61 percent to 29 percent. Beatty -- a veteran of the FBI, the CIA and the Army's Delta Force -- frequently appears on television commenting on security questions.
The poll is not brand new; it was reported some weeks ago:
Mr. Beatty is the president of TotalSecurity.US, a company that specializes in strategic security and with clients including the Super Bowl, Rose Bowl, Olympics, MBTA and the Statue of Liberty...

In a poll released on his Web site yesterday, the public’s support of his campaign is growing, according to Mr. Beatty. The Zogby organization is showing that if the election were held today, Mr. Kerry would get 48 percent of the public’s vote and Mr. Beatty 45 percent.

“The electors have shown that they are ready to welcome a well-qualified Republican,” said Mr. Beatty.

He said he believes people will vote for him because they know Mr. Kerry was wrong on the war. He also said that the current senator is wrong on taxes, and that neglect has led to jobs leaving the commonwealth.
The full poll data is available on Beatty's website here. Note that in a simple 'horse race' question, Kerry beats him 58%-23%. It's only after being read Beatty's bio that the gap narrows so dramatically.

Beatty has run for office before; he was soundly beaten when he challenged Congressman Bill Delahunt just last year (by 65%-30%) . In his favor in this race however, is that Kerry isn't especially popular in Massachusetts anymore anyway. In the most recent approve/disapprove poll I can find (from April), Massachusetts voters approve of the job he's doing by a margin of just 54%-41%.

One thing is for sure: Kerry's opponent won't have much trouble raising money nationally. There are plenty of Republicans who would love to see his smug condescension and knee-jerk liberalism off the national stage.

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