Adding to Stephen Green’s Tatler post a few moments ago, Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb’s announcement today that he would not seek re-election makes it clear independents and centrists are continuing to run away from President Obama and for the exits. Virginia is considered a bellwether state and Webb’s decision not to run again strongly suggests that private, inside polling is showing the state moving away from President Obama and the Democrats.
The Webb decision comes on the heels of two other prominent centrists hanging up their hat. Since January, Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) have both said they too will end their long running terms.
Webb’s decision also suggests that despite the recent bump up in the polls, Webb calculated that President Obama would remain very vulnerable in the 2012 race and not be an asset for him at the top of the ticket. It also suggests that Obama’s recent tilt toward the center was not moving independent voters. Today’s Zogby International poll still shows Obama with only a 46% approval rating and a 53% disapproval.
Previously Webb called passage of ObamaCare a “disaster” for Democrats. “The healthcare issue really took away a lot of the credibility of the new leadership — Obama particularly — the Reid-Pelosi-Obama trio,” he told Politico recently. Despite trying to distance himself from Obama, Webb threw in the towel.