Mucked-up Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) may be in more trouble than he thinks. A poll released today by Democrat Charlie Brown's campaign shows the two in a statistical dead heat. The poll -- the first to be made public in the race -- of 400 likely 4th District voters was conducted (August 29-31) by Benenson Strategy Group for Brown and shows Doolittle leading 41-39 with a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
Despite Doolittle's connections to the Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham scandals
, the conventional wisdom had Doolittle taking the district easily. CQ Politics rates the race
"Safe Republican," and the Cook Political Report has Doolittle as the likely winner. But this poll, although partisan, are the only numbers made public so far.
So Doolittle may have a real fight on his hands. And the conventional wisdom that the drip-drip of muck stories (Abramoff called
Doolittle his "hero"; Doolittle paid
his babysitters out of his campaign funds; Doolittle's wife takes a cut
of most big campaign donations) aren't having an effect on his campaign might just be wrong.
Perhaps most strikingly, the poll showed Doolittle, in a heavily Republican district, with just 42% of voters viewing him favorably, and 44% unfavorably. That put him behind other Republican leaders, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (69% favorable) and President George W. Bush (54% favorable).
Although Brown has plenty of fodder to run a campaign based on charges of Doolittle's corruption
(see the full accounting here
), he's also been running as an opponent of the Iraq War, where his son is serving as an Air Force captain. The poll showed that Iraq was the most important issue for voters.Update
: We'll be posting the full details of the poll soon.Update
: Here they are