Michael Barone

To put these numbers in perspective, it's highly unusual for an incumbent House member to trail a challenger in any poll or to run significantly below 50 percent. But these three Democrats are running 5 to 10 points behind Republican challengers, and none tops 40 percent.

At least they're running, which is more than can be said for Bart Stupak of Michigan 1, the chief sponsor of the anti-abortion amendment that he forced onto the House bill in November. Just hours before the March roll call, he was persuaded that an executive order, which he was assured Barack Obama would sign, would have the same effect.

Legal experts and strong abortion opponents disagreed. But Stupak cast a critical vote for the bill, as did five other Democrats widely referred to as "the Stupak five," who flanked him at his press conference. If these six votes had gone the other way, Obama would have been defeated.

Stupak promptly announced he was retiring after 18 years. Republican Dan Benishek is currently leading there by an average of 44 percent to 27 percent in five polls.

Two of the Stupak five, freshmen Steve Driehaus of Ohio 1 and Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania 3, are in dreadful shape. Driehaus trails by an average 51 percent to 41 percent in his Cincinnati-area district; Dahlkemper trails by an average of 45 percent to 37 percent in her Erie-area seat.

Another two are from West Virginia. Alan Mollohan, first elected in 1982, lost in the May primary; Nick Joe Rahall, first elected in 1976, won his primary and seems well ahead for November.

Doing best is Marcy Kaptur of Ohio 9, first elected in 1982. Her Republican opponent reportedly wears Nazi uniforms in World War II re-enactments.

But that's an exception. The rule seems to be that casting a decisive vote for Obamacare tends to be a career-ender.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM