The full results won’t be out until tomorrow, but here’s a tantalizing tidbit from PPP’s recent findings surveying the Republican primary battle in Wyoming (via The Hill):
More than two-thirds of voters in Wyoming do not consider Republican Senate candidate Liz Cheney (R) a “Wyomingite,” the Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling said Monday.
“Only 31% of Wyoming voters consider Liz Cheney to be a Wyomingite,” PPP said in a tweet, teasing more detailed polling in the state that is set for release on Tuesday.
Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, last week announced she would mount a primary challenge against three-term incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi (R).
Her announcement has triggered a backlash amongst some Wyoming residents, and many allies of Enzi, who consider Cheney to be a carpetbagger.
Cheney, for her part, has shrugged off these charges as completely unfounded and distracting from the real issues of the campaign:
"I am a fourth-generation Wyomingite. My family first came here in 1852, walking the Mormon Trail in search of religious freedom. My great-grandfather settled here in 1907. Wyoming has always been home," Cheney told The Hill’s Cameron Joseph last week.
"In my experience, people who launch the carpetbagger charge do so to avoid talking about issues and substance. I intend to run a campaign worthy of the people of Wyoming, focused on policy and how we can defend the values that have made this state and nation great."
Cheney made her official announcement last week eliciting an unexpected response from her Republican opponent. Nonetheless, Sean Hannity has already endorsed her candidacy, which suggests her pathway to victory rests in large part on tea party and grassroots supporters, even though one of the most popular tea partiers in the upper chamber is proudly backing her opponent. Presumably, then, she will run to Enzi’s right on most issues save gay marriage, and rev up support among the base by criticizing the president's reckless policies (something she’s already starting to do).
Setting aside Enzi’s seemingly huge lead in the polls (which doesn’t mean a whole lot at this point) his striking popularity raises questions about Cheney’s decision to primary an incredibly well-liked incumbent. Question: Can Enzi even be beaten when his job approval rating is this high? Obviously Cheney wouldn’t have declared herself a candidate if she didn’t think she could actually win, but the differences between them, as Allahpundit writes, are more stylistic than substantive. That’s not to say I’m counting her out, of course, but ousting a super popular, conservative incumbent Senator from a red state is no easy task. I'll be interested to see if she can pull this off.