According to the Public Policy Polling group, Max Baucus is, at 37%, the least popular Senator in America currently. That’s not a good place to be, even though he has three years to recover before re-election.
Things are definitely uphill for Max. If he can’t climb back up into positive territory, he’ll be an underdog against someone like Denny Rehberg or Steve Daines or perhaps Rick Hill (all depending on what happens in the Tester/Bullock races) in a 2014 general election. Based on the polling data just released, if the election were held today, any of these guys would beat Max.
Or, Baucus could even get a challenge in the primary, from either Brian Schweitzer, Steve Bullock (if he were to lose the Governor’s race and if Schweitzer took a pass), or maybe a darker horse like Linda McCulloch or even Denise Juneau.
These scenarios are all problematic for Max, according to the Public Policy poll. The survey says that Baucus is struggling even among Democrats. Predictably, the Super Committee involvement did not help him, and he was already feeling a hang-over from the healthcare debacle. The supercommittee debacle was tough luck, because Baucus at least tried to do the right thing in that situation and if anything is to blame, it was his horrible judgement to have ever gotten mixed up in the whole business. But no such thing can be said about healthcare reform, which was a corporate giveaway of the first order, with insurance companies coming out of it looking like a cat that just ate a canary.
Of course, the easiest scenario by which Dems will hold on to the Senate seat is if Schweitzer runs. The seat is clearly his for the taking if he wants it, and thus it’s hard to believe that Baucus would stay around and challenge him, given that Baucus trails the hypothetical contest 51-35, and given that this same Public Policy survey ranks Schweitzer as one of the nation’s most popular governors at 55%.
Plus if Schweitzer were the nominee, no idiot like Rehberg, nor any stiffs like Daines or Hill, could give Schweitzer any real trouble. In fact with Schweitzer as the nominee, he could potentially find himself in a situation where the GOP doesn’t field any opponent at all, just as Max got in 2008 when he was strong.
That’s right, Max had pretty decent numbers in 2008. So that’s something to keep in mind too: things can change pretty quickly, in all directions. You’re up, you’re down.