Outside baseball: [Matheson and the] Blue Dogs oppose the public option because they are fiscally conservative. Inside baseball: [Matheson and the] Blue Dogs oppose the public option because the political climate of their district dictates opposition for re-election.
But results of a new DK-R2K poll challenge this assumption (h/t Josh Orton, emphasis mine):
Only 42 percent of Montana residents -- and 34 percent of Democrats -- said they favored the work Baucus had done in shepherding health care legislation through the Senate Finance Committee. Forty-four percent of respondents said they disapproved, according to the poll of more than 600 people in the state.If this trend holds (and reiterating Orton's own question), who are the Blue Dogs representing?
The results may be partially attributable to Baucus's apparent decision to craft legislation without a public option. Within Montana, 47 percent of the public supports creating a "public health insurance option," while 43 percent oppose it. Looking closer at the numbers, slightly less than one-quarter of Republicans (23 percent) support a public plan. Forty-eight percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats support the provision.
Even more revealing, the poll finds that in MT, Baucus is more popular among Republicans than Democrats now by a margin of 10-15 pts.