Report: Lieberman to announce retirement tomorrow

The Joementum’s been steadily slowing since Gore put him on the ticket and now he’s all but unelectable even in a deep blue state. No official word yet on his plans, but this site claims to have heard through the grapevine that he’s bowing out tomorrow and Politico’s now hearing the same.

Look at it this way: When he speaks at the next Republican convention in 2012, he won’t have to hold back.

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman — deeply unpopular with voters in his home state — is unlikely to seek reelection, a knowledgeable source tells POLITICO ahead of the senator’s announcement on Wednesday…

“After many thoughtful conversations with family and friends over the last several months, Sen. Lieberman made a decision about his future over the holidays which he plans to announce on Wednesday,” said Erika Masonhall, a Lieberman spokeswoman who declined to comment further…

Lieberman’s announcement comes on the heels of Tuesday’s declaration by Susan Bysiewicz, the former Connecticut secretary of state, that she plans to enter the 2012 Democratic primary field for Lieberman’s Senate seat. Rep. Chris Murphy also has expressed interest in the Democratic primary…

A Public Policy Polling survey conducted in late October put Lieberman’s approval rating among Connecticut voters at 33 percent.

PPP has a new post out revisiting its October numbers in light of this afternoon’s news. In 2006 he won with a majority of independents and massive support from Republicans. His standing among both groups has collapsed as foreign policy has faded as an issue, and with Linda McMahon possibly ready to jump in again and tea partiers eager to galvanize conservatives behind one of their own, there’s really no way to rebuild it. Essentially, he’d have to win a true three-way race, Murkowski-style, instead of the de facto two-man general election that took place between him and Ned Lamont four years ago. With his approval rating at 33 percent and the Democratic nominee likely to be a mainstream pol who’s acceptable to most of the state’s voters, he’d probably end up squeezed out in the general a la Crist than an upset winner a la Murky. In fact, the only real reason to run would be to siphon off votes from the Democrat and thereby tilt the race to the GOP. Which, given the endless bitterness between Liebs and the left, isn’t quite as far-fetched as it should be.

That makes two Democratic retirements in the span of about six hours. Unlike Conrad’s, this one almost certainly won’t end with a GOP pick-up, but having Lieberman in the Senate for the next two years and more unconcerned than ever with pleasing progressives means he could end up flipping our way on some key votes. Joementum! Meanwhile, with retirement questions are swirling on the Republican side too, Lugar reiterated today that he’s running and Hatch continues to talk tough despite coming in third in a hypothetical three-way race in Utah. (Huntsman leads with 48 percent, with Jason Chaffetz a distant second and then Hatch third.) Remember, per what happened to Bob Bennett last year, that only the top two finishers in Utah’s Republican caucus advance to a primary. If Huntsman and Chaffetz jumped in and these numbers held, Hatch would be gone as quickly as Bennett was.

Exit question: What’s the next Democratic shoe to drop? Smart money’s on Ben Nelson!