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Lieberman Going Down in Connecticut

It was August 7, 2000 when Al Gore picked Joe Lieberman to be his running mate. In a little under three weeks on August 8, 2006, Joe Lieberman's 35-year political career as a Democrat is likely going to come to an end. That is an amazing fall from grace for someone who was just hundreds of votes shy from becoming Vice President of the United States - and who in all likelihood would be prepping his run for President next year - and is now fighting for his political existence. Lieberman is not only likely to lose his primary match up against anti-war insurgent Ned Lamont, but it is increasingly likely that his fallback position to win in the general as an independent is far from the sure thing he thought it was only 4-6 weeks ago.

Joe Lieberman's world is imploding in slow motion right in front of him and he and his campaign clearly have no clue what to do. Yesterday's Quinnipiac poll confirms private polling and shows Lamont surging ahead of the three-term incumbent, 51% - 47%, a 19-point swing from Quinnipiac's last poll only six weeks ago showing Lieberman with a 55% - 40% lead. To make matters worse, Quinnipiac's numbers have been running considerably more favorable towards Lieberman, as Rasmussen Reports' June survey had Lieberman ahead only 46% - 40% and was taken around the same time Quinnipiac pegged Lieberman's lead at 15.

It's clear Lamont has the momentum. The polls look to be playing catch-up to the anecdotal evidence that all of the energy is on the side of the challenger. Lieberman's other problem is that he is utterly unprepared to execute the organizational ground game needed to get his voters to the polls on a Tuesday in early August. Cake walk wins in 1994 and 2000, coupled with solid job approval numbers which mirror the state's other Democratic Senator Chris Dodd have bred an arrogance and complacency that is catching up with the Lieberman campaign big time. Suddenly, they are finding themselves in a battle for their political lives and they are nowhere near fighting shape.

The news that former President Bill Clinton will be campaigning with the Senator may give his campaign a boost. But the fact that they are bringing him into Waterbury which Lieberman should have already had locked up, as opposed to Fairfield County where Lamont is the strongest, shows just haw far Lieberman is on the defensive.

If he goes on to lose August 8th the question is whether he can get things turned around in time for the fall. Right now, both Quinnipiac and Rasmussen have him ahead in a three-way race, by 24 points and 15 points, respectively. But Lamont will almost assuredly get a huge boost from a win in the primary, and Lieberman will be burdened with the baggage of a humiliating primary rejection.

Incredibly, Joe Lieberman may feel worse the day after the election this fall than he did six years ago.