Opinion Brief

Will Super Tuesday voters 'throw the bums out'?

Anti-establishment fever could see three big upsets in Tuesday's primary contests. Does it mean voters are declaring war on incumbents?

Voters in four states go to the polls on Tuesday to decide who will run in the midterm elections in November — and three establishment candidates are potentially facing defeat. Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) locked in tight races with lesser known challengers, while Trent Grayson, hand-picked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to run for a senate seat in Kentucky, is polling behind Tea Party-endorsed libertarian Rand Paul. Will the 2010 elections be about "throwing the bums out"? (Watch a Fox report about the primaries)

Expect lots of upsets: The polls show vote shares for 2010's incumbent candidates are diminishing, says Domenico Montanaro at MSNBC.com, and the departure of two "longtime lawmakers" — Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah and Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia — has "sent a new round of jitters through the ranks of Capitol Hill." The message is clear: In 2010, "incumbent" is a "dirty word."
"In primaries, 'incumbent' is a four-letter word"

Voters still trust incumbents: If there is an anti-establishment mood in the U.S., says Sylvia A. Smith in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, it hasn't "translated to ballot-box action." So far in 2010, 107 incumbents have been on ballots across America. "105 won renomination." Incumbents still have to go seriously wrong to lose.
"Incumbents still have advantage"

This could make Washington more divisive: Should "anti-Washington fever" prove decisive at Tuesday's polls, says Mark Z. Barabak in the L.A. Times, an "even more polarized Congress" is on the cards in November. The "small-government, anti-Washington" Tea Party will move the GOP further to the right, while Democrats unhappy at Obama will become more liberal. The upshot will be "louder, more ideologically motivated and more confrontational" lawmakers.
"Tuesday's primaries may be first expressions of voters' wrath"

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