Pickings will be plenty for conservative groups who want to pick off liberal US senators in the 1982 elections. Four of five liberals senators targeted in 1980 by the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC) went down to defeat. Only Alan Cranston of California survived what some observers see as the group's low-road, high-expense campaign tactics. Two incumbent senators considered but not included on the right-wing "hit list" -- Gary Hart of Colorado and Patrick Leahy of Vermont -- won six-year terms narrowly. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, also considered for targeting, lost.
On a test of liberal leanings by the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), these senators rated an average 71 on a scale of 100. But among the top six of the most liberal Democratic senators up for reelection in 1982, the average is slightly higher. And among 33 incumbents vulnerable two years hence, 21 are Democrats.
HEading the 1982 NCPAC list will likely be Howard M. Metzenbaum (D) of Ohio, whose ADA rating is 84 and who is considered politically vulnerable back home.
To counterbalance the right-Wingers, one of this year's targeted lossers, George McGovern of South Dakota, announced a Coalition for Common Sense to support progressive candidates in all states.m