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Poll: Snyder’s approval rating 42 percent

A new poll suggests U.S. Rep Vic Snyder could face a tough re-election fight next year.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Public Policy Polling’s survey of 400 voters in Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District found that 42 percent approve of Snyder’s job performance, compared to 46 percent who disapprove.

The poll also showed the Democratic incumbent leading three potential Republican opponents by only slight margins — margins that are smaller than the poll’s 4.9 percent margin of error.

Snyder, first elected to the U.S. House in 1996, did not draw a Republican challenger in 2008.

Other statistics from the poll: 54 percent of voters in Snyder’s district disapprove of the job congressional Democrats are doing; 52 percent disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance; 50 percent say congressional Democrats are too liberal; and 55 percent say they’re opposed to the health care bill the House passed last week with Snyder’s support.

“Snyder seems to be bearing the brunt of a lot of animosity toward national Democrats in his district,” the pollsters said in their report on the results.

Not all Democrats fared poorly, however. The poll showed that 70 percent of voters in the 2nd Congressional District approve of Gov. Mike Beebe’s job performance, compared to 20 percent who disapprove.

The telephone poll was conducted Nov. 11-13.


Fatherhood a political liability?

Jason Tolbert reports that in a speech Wednesday to the Central Arkansas Young Republicans, congressional candidate Scott Wallace said sitting U.S. Sen. Vic Snyder and fellow Republican candidate Tim Griffin are “vulnerable” because of their family situations.

Snyder is the father of 10-month-old triplets. Griffin has a young daughter, and his wife is pregnant.

From Tolbert’s report:

Wallace said, “Vic needs to be at home and needs to be a dad.” He went on to say that “Griffin is even more in this boat than Vic.” Wallace said that he told Griffin in a phone conversation a couple week ago, “The worst thing you can do is be elected and be a part time dad.” He said that Griffin told him his wife was completely supportive of his candidacy but Wallace said that would change once Griffin was in Washington and not available to help with the children. Wallace held that his situation with grown children better enables him to meet the travel demands of a Congressman …


Griffin suspends daily news roundup

Former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin today suspended the daily news roundup on his Web site, The Griffin Room.

Griffin tells the Politics in Arkansas blog his decision to suspend his “Arkansas Morning” roundup is related to his decision, announced Monday, to seek the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, next year.

“I’m focusing all my time on that (the campaign),” he said.


Health care town halls

U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, says he’ll hold a town hall meeting on health care reform Friday, and U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder’s talk on health care next Tuesday has been moved to a bigger venue in Little Rock. 

Boozman’s event will be 10 a.m. Friday at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale.  Boozman’s office says the forum will feature a short discussion with health care professionals, after which Boozman will take questions from the audience.

The congressman says he plans to hold additional town hall meetings in Fort Smith and Harrison later this month.

Meanwhile, Snyder, D-Little Rock,  says his talk on health care, set for noon Tuesday, has been moved from the Clinton School for Public Service to the Wally Allen Ballroom at the Statehouse Convention Center. 

Hecklers shouted down Snyder and fellow Democratic Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, at a health care forum last week at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.


Beebe: Health care debate should be civil

Public debate over health care reform is healthy but should be civil, Gov. Mike Beebe said today.

The subject came up while Beebe was fielding calls on his monthly radio program, “Ask the Governor,” on the Arkansas Radio Network. A caller asked if Arkansas would be able to “push back” if a reform bill ultimately passed by Congress contains unfunded mandates for the states.

“I read or saw where both Congressman (Vic) Snyder and Congressman (Mike) Ross got some push-back the other day,” Beebe said, referring to a public forum Wednesday at Arkansas Children’s Hospital during which audience members heckled and jeered at the two Democratic congressmen.

On Thursday, Sen. Blanche Lincoln criticized the rowdiness of audience members at recent public meetings on health care. Lincoln told reporters Thursday that efforts to disrupt public forums are “un-American,” though she later said she should not have used the term.

“I think the debate on this is healthy, as long as it’s a civil debate,” Beebe said today. “I think people are scared, I think people are unsure, I think people are uncertain. Part of the whole democratic process is to voice those concerns to your elected representatives, and I think that is going on and I think it should go on. Again, I hope it goes on in a civil and constructive fashion.”

Beebe told the caller Arkansas would have to comply with any federal mandates, but he added, “We need to slow down a second here, because first of all, I don’t think anything that they’re talking about right now is necessarily what you’re going to see come out of Congress, based upon what I keep hearing.”

Beebe said there is “a whole lot of information out there that’s scaring the heck out of a lot of people,” including rumors that seniors’ health care will be cut off or rationed.

“It’s not going to happen, in my opinion, and if it does I will be one of the most shocked people around. I just cannot see that occurring,” he said.


Republican Meeks may challenge Snyder

Republican David Meeks has formed an exploratory committee and Web site to gauge a possible race against Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, for Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District seat.

Meeks, of Conway, formed the Web site whoisdavidmeeks.com to allow people to “find out who I am, what I believe, and how to get involved in the campaign,” the site states. The Web site also provides links to Meeks’ Facebook page and Twitter account, as well as information about his positions on various issues, upcoming events and ways to volunteer.

He is scheduled to speak today at 11:30 a.m. at a meeting of the Faulkner County Republican Women.

Meeks would be vying for the seat Snyder has held since 1997. Snyder, responding to rumors that he may not be seeking re-election, has stated definitively that he intends to run in 2010.

Snyder has been criticized in ads by the National Republican Congressional Committee for his vote to block an investigation into when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., learned about waterboarding by the CIA.


Three more for Christmas

Sorry, Santa. The stork beat you to the Snyder household this Christmas.

Congressman Vic Snyder announces that his wife, the Rev. Betsy Singleton Snyder, gave birth today to three baby boys — Aubrey, Wyatt and Sullivan. The babies weighed 3 pounds, 15 ounces; 4 pounds, 10 ounces; and 4 pounds, 15 ounces, respectively. They join the Snyders’ 2-year-old son, Penn.

The Democrat from Little Rock reports the triplets were delivered this morning by Caesarian section and are expected to remain in the hospital for about three weeks before going home.


Democratic rallies set

Bill Clinton’s sweep through his native Arkansas tomorrow and Saturday on behalf Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama and the rest of the party’s election ticket is set.

The former president, along with Gov. Mike Beebe and former Arkansas Govs. and U.S. Sens. Dale Bumpers and David Pryor, will headline a get-out-the-vote rally at 5 p.m. Friday at the corner of Fourth and Main streets in North Little Rock.

The quartet will follow Saturday with an 11:30 a.m. rally in downtown Pine Bluff and a 1 p.m. appearance in Jonesboro. They’ll be joined at various stops by Democratic Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, along with Democratic Congressmen Marion Berry, Vic Snyder and Mike Ross.

Obama has not visited Arkansas since an October 2006 appearance in support of Beebe and other state Democrats. Republican John McCain has visited the state twice since becoming the GOP presidential nominee. Former Arkansas and U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton headlined a rally for Obama in Little Rock two weeks ago.


Arkansas Poll

Arkansans appear ready to back John McCain for president on Nov. 4, according to results of the annual Arkansas Poll released Thursday.

The poll shows McCain with a 51 percent to 36 percent lead over Barack Obama among registered voters. The poll by the University of Arkansas has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

Results of the comprehensive survey can be found at the Arkansas Poll Web site.

When asked about Initiated Act 1, which would prohibit unmarried couples living together from adopting or foster parenting children, 55 percent of respondents said they opposed the measure proposed by the conservative Family Council.

Arkansans do seem to like Lt. Gov. Bill Halter’s proposal for a state-run lottery to fund college scholarships, with 65 percent of those polled saying they favored Proposed Constitutional Amendment 3.

An overwhelming 56 percent of respondents said the economy was the most important issue facing Arkansans today. Last year, about 29 percent cited the economy as the key issue,

“In our 10 years of polling, no issue has ever been ranked that high,” said Janine Parry, a UA political science professor and director of the Arkansas Poll.

Also, only 27 percent of Arkansans said they approved of the job President Bush is doing. That’s substantially down from the president’s first year in office, when 87 percent approved of his job.

Approval ratings for other politicians were: Gov. Mike Beebe, 74 percent; Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., 54 percent; Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., 56 percent; Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, 50 percent; Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, 57 percent; Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, 52 percent; and Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, 62 percent.


Esquire endorsements

In addition to naming Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., as one of the nation’s 10 best lawmakers, Esquire magazine in its November issue endorsed Pryor and all four House members from Arkansas for re-election.

The publication made picks in 482 races across the country. Its pick for president was Barack Obama.

No one in Arkansas faces major party opposition. Like Pryor, Reps. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, John Boozman, R-Rogers, and Mike Ross, D-Prescott, have Green Party opponents. Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, is unopposed. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., is not up for re-election.

Here are Esquire’s comments associated with the endorsements of Arkansas congressmen:

For Berry : ” … We feel all incumbents should be opposed. In this case, however, farmer/congressman Berry is a good fit for this Delta district.”

For Boozman: “The privately reasonable politician in John Boozman too often gets drowned out by the publicly reactionary one. From the draconian LEAVE act — as xenophobic a piece of immigration “reform” as we’ll see in this lifetime — to the childish GOP sit-in on offshore drilling, he consistently picks the worst issues on which to take a partisan stand. Arkansas ought to have at least one Republican in its delegation. But Boozman needs a strong opponent in ’10.”

For Ross: “When FEMA parked 10,000 trailers destined for Katrina victims in a field in Ross’ district, he demanded that they be moved — not because they were an eyesore but because they’d sink into the mud if it rained. That’s the sort of local knowledge that underlies good governance.”

For Snyder: “Would Arkansas elect to a seventh term a guy who supports needle-exchange programs, opposed the Iraq war, supports abortion rights and opposes the embargo of Cuba? Yep. So would we.”

The November Esquire is on newsstands now.