I'd heard a rumor on Friday about an upcoming Bob Stein/Richard Murray poll of the 22nd Congressional District. Here it is, and it ain't pretty for Tom DeLay.
Only half of those who cast ballots for DeLay in 2004 said they will do so again. And while a fourth of the 2004 DeLay voters still aren't sure whom they will vote for this year, almost 20 percent have defected to other candidates.
DeLay may be able to win back the undecided voters, Stein and Murray said. "When people lose faith in their previously supported candidates they go to a midpoint. They are parking themselves in the undecided column," Stein said.
In trying to get them back, DeLay starts with the disadvantage of a 60 percent unfavorable rating in the district he has represented for 20 years. Only 28 percent view him very or somewhat favorably, according to the poll.
That's barely half of the 50 percent favorable rating DeLay received in a poll conducted for the Chronicle last spring by Zogby International.
According to the new poll, 38 percent have changed their opinion of DeLay over the past year. And of those, 91 percent view him less favorably.
Only about half of likely GOP Primary voters now rate DeLay favorably, and only 39 percent are committed to voting for him in March.
When he last faced Republican Primary opposition in 2002, he won 80 percent of the vote.
His opponent that year, lawyer Michael Fjetland, is one of three candidates challenging him for the GOP nomination March 7. The others are former schoolteacher Pat Baig and lawyer Tom Campbell.
So far, the lukewarm support for DeLay among likely primary voters is not benefiting his Republican opponents, who together poll under 10 percent with the rest undecided.
There's no evidence that DeLay's dwindling support represents a tarnishing of GOP strength in the 22nd District, Stein said.
Forty-two percent identify themselves as Republicans, 27 percent as Democrats and 23 percent as independents. Republican President Bush enjoys a 55 percent approval rating in the district.
Stein and Murray said DeLay is likely to win the Republican primary, but not unscathed.
In the general election, he would face former U.S. Rep Nick Lampson, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary and polls highest among the probable November candidates. DeLay also may be challenged by former Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, who has filed as an independent. Stockman will need to petition for a place on the ballot.
If the general election where held today, DeLay would get 22 percent of the vote, Lampson 30 percent, and Stockman 11 percent. The remainder are undecided or support other candidates. The ballot also will include a Libertarian Party nominee and possibly another independent.
"Any vote Stockman gets is going to come out of Tom DeLay's hide," Murray said. "DeLay's November fate depends on what happens in the real world. He has to be acquitted."
Anyway. I'll have more on this later. The Houston Marathon goes right past my front door this morning, and we've got a family friend running in it, so I'll be back after it's over.
UPDATE: I drafted this last night before DeLayVsWorld had an analysis of the poll written. He's got one now that you should read.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 15, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack