Ned Lamont keeps climbing. And Joe Lieberman keeps sinking. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Lamont leading Lieberman by 13 points, 54 to 41 percent among likely Democratic voters, less than a week before the August 8 primary. To put the recent poll in perspective, Lamont’s swung from a 46 point deficit to an 13 point lead in three months.

When asked why they’re voting for Lamont, 94 percent of respondents cited Lieberman’s steadfast support for the war in Iraq as one of the reasons (50 percent) or the main reason (44 percent).

Lamont is not a single-issue candidate, as Lieberman has repeatedly tried to suggest. But even if the primary was only about Iraq, so what? Too many politicians in both parties have failed to respond to the deep anger about the war that so many Democrats, and Americans, feel.

Iraq is the primary reason why America is less respected and less safe in the world. And it’s a major reason why our government isn’t even trying to invest in America anymore. On the stump Lamont frequently cites the $250 million a day price tag from the war and the money we could be spending on health care, education and job creation.

In a recent article, John Nichols compared Lamont to Bobby Kennedy in 1968, “who opposed the war but offered a far broader promise of reform and renewal–for the Democratic Party and America. Kennedy’s 1968 campaign, with its emphasis on fighting poverty and making real the promise of the American dream for all Americans, argued that the expensive war in Southeast Asia was robbing this country of the resources and energy required to achieve progress at home. Lamont offers an updated version of the Kennedy message.”

Lamont is no RFK. But Iraq is the central issue for our country today. Politicians who don’t recognize that reality may finally pay the price at the ballot box.