Thursday, June 05, 2008

California 4: Brown's Poll Signals Tough Road Ahead

By Nathan L. Gonzales

As California state Sen. Tom McClintock (R) was on his way to a primary win over former Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) in the Golden State’s 4th district, a new poll released by the likely Democratic nominee, Charlie Brown, showed him leading both Republicans in hypothetical general election matchups.

A May 14-15 Benenson Strategy Group survey for Brown in California’s 4th District showed him leading McClintock 42 percent to 40 percent, and ahead of Ose, 38 percent to 34 percent. The poll of 400 likely voters had a 5-point margin of error.

Bearing in mind that Brown has been running in the district for three years and received almost 46 percent last cycle against embattled incumbent John Doolittle (R), the numbers show that Brown still has a long road ahead of him. Republicans had not even begun to set their sights on the Democrat because of their heated nomination battle.

Brown will need to open up a wider lead in a district that gave President Bush 61 percent in 2004, and he shouldn’t feel particularly confident in the current status of the race.

But not all open seat candidates face the same challenge. In Ohio’s 15th district, where another rerun candidate, Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D) lost to Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) by less than 1 percent in 2006, is in slightly better shape than Brown. A May 20-22 poll for Kilroy’s campaign, also by Benenson, gave her a 47 percent to 37 percent edge over state Sen. Steve Stivers (R). An Independent candidate received 5 percent.

Not only does Kilroy lead her Republican opponent by a wider margin, but she’s also running a better Democratic district. Bush won it narrowly 50 percent to 49 percent over Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004.

This item first appeared on on June 3, 2008. 2008 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.