Actions have consequences — and Sen. Ben “Call-Me-Judas” Nelson (D-NE) is finding that out.
To refresh everyone’s memory:
Nelson played Hamlet with his party, hemming and hawing on how he would vote on the Senate’s ObamaCare bill, pretending that what he cared about was the bill’s funding of abortion. Harry Reid desperately needed Nelson’s vote to make up the critical 60 votes needed for the bill to move from discussion to a floor vote. So, a deal was cut between the two: In return for Nelson’s “yes” vote, the federal government taxpayers of the other 49 states will forever subsidize pay for Nebraska’s Medicaid expansion, totalling an estimated $400 million. That’s Nelson’s 30 pieces of silver. Oh, the nefarious deal also just happens to be unconstitutional.
I just hope that the voters of Nebraska still remember that he sold us out when he’s up for reelection in 2012.
HEALTH CARE VOTE PUTS NELSON 30 POINTS DOWN IN REELECTION BID
The good news for Senator Ben Nelson is that he doesn’t have to face Nebraska voters until 2012.
If Governor Dave Heineman challenges Nelson for the Senate job, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows the Republican would get 61% of the vote while Nelson would get just 30%. Nelson was reelected to a second Senate term in 2006 with 64% of the vote.
Nelson’s health care vote is clearly dragging his numbers down. Just 17% of Nebraska voters approve of the deal their senator made on Medicaid in exchange for his vote in support of the plan. Overall, 64% oppose the health care legislation, including 53% who are Strongly Opposed. In Nebraska, opposition is even stronger than it is nationally.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters in the state believe that passage of the legislation will hurt the quality of care, and 62% say it will raise costs.
The House and Senate have passed different versions of the health care legislation and now will try to agree on a plan to pass early in 2010. Because every Democratic vote is required to pass the legislation in the Senate, Nelson’s vote is essential. If Nelson votes to block final passage of the health care plan, he would still trail Heineman but would be in a much more competitive situation.
When survey respondents were asked how they would vote if Nelson blocks health care reform, 47% still pick Heneman while 37% would vote to keep the incumbent in office. Twenty percent (20%) of those who initially said they’d vote for Heineman say they’d switch to supporting Nelson. Another six percent (6%) of Heineman supporters say they’re not sure what they’d do if Nelson stops the health care plan from becoming law.
If Nelson votes to block health care reform, 10% of all voters would prefer a third-party option. Most of those who would prefer a third choice initially said they would vote for Nelson.
Overall, 40% of Nebraska voters have a favorable opinion of Nelson while 55% have an unfavorable view. Those figures include 12% with a Very Favorable opinion while 34% hold a Very Unfavorable view.
Twenty-six percent (26%) say Nelson has done a good or excellent job in the health care debate. Forty-seven percent (47%) give him poor marks.
Forty-two percent (42%) say their senator has been too supportive of President Obama’s agenda while 13% say he’s not been supportive enough. Thirty percent (30%) say he’s got the balance about right.
Nelson is also one of the key players in the discussion about how abortion should be handled in the health care plan. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Nebraska voters say that coverage of abortion should be prohibited in any plan that receives government subsidies. Only six percent (6%) want coverage mandated, while 22% want no requirements either way.
Obama earned 42% of the Nebraska vote in 2008, and 38% continue to approve of his job performance. Sixty-one percent (61%) of Nebraska voters disapprove of how the president is performing.
Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.
This statewide telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters in Nebraska was conducted by Rasmussen Reports December 28, 2009. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.