What’s Next for Lieberman

WHAT’S NEXT FOR LIEBERMAN….Taegan Goddard got a copy of the Connecticut exit poll and posted a few of the results. Here’s the most interesting one:

61% of voters rejected the notion of Lieberman running as an Independent candidate in the fall, something he has promised to do. 39% supported it. Moreover, one in five Lieberman voters does not think he should seek an Independent run in November.

Basically, then, all of Lamont’s supporters think Lieberman should stand down ? hardly a surprising opinion ? and 20% of Lieberman’s own supporters think he should stand down. Presumably, this means that 80% of Lieberman’s supporters still support him and plan to vote for him as an independent in November. If a substantial portion of Republican voters split their tickets and vote for him as well, he could beat Lamont.

That’s the conventional wisdom anyway, but I don’t think that’s how it will play out. The party apparatus is going to fall in line strongly behind Lamont (Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer lost no time in announcing their support this morning) and this will persuade some of Lieberman’s loyalist Dem supporters to switch sides. In addition, Lieberman himself is likely to become ever more shrill as time goes by, alienating some of his less dedicated followers. And Lamont himself, no longer stuck in a 2-way battle with Lieberman, is free to moderate his message and peel off some further Lieberman votes.

Basically, Lamont has the support of about 60% of Connecticut’s Democrats already, and it won’t be long before that’s up to 70% or more. That’s more than enough to win, and unless Lieberman is even less tethered to reality than it seems, he’ll figure this out pretty soon and bow out.

I hope he does, anyway. At this point, there’s nothing more he can do except hurt the party. He’ll find himself with precious little love from his former friends if he goes down that road too long.