Just days after the GOP’s big victory in NC-09, new polls in key battleground districts have Democrat incumbents in for the fight of their lives. Congressman Harley Rouda (CA-48) is already tied against Republican Michelle Steel. Meanwhile, Congresswoman Torres Small (NM-02) is already in a dead heat as independent and undecided voters break firmly towards a named GOP challenger.
Let me say it again: The GOP is in strong position to take back the majority next fall.
In case you missed it…
Poll: GOP Could Rebound in Orange County and New Mexico
Real Clear Politics
The Democratic tidal wave that washed over California last fall turned Orange County blue, but there are hopeful signs for Republicans that the floodwaters are receding.
A new poll shows top GOP recruit Michelle Steel (pictured) tied with first-term Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda, both pulling in 42% of active voters, with 16% undecided.
Just 28% of the voters polled in the survey, released this week to RealClearPolitics, said they want to re-elect Rouda while 42% said they want to give someone else a chance.
The congressman, who defeated 15-term incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in one of the most closely watched House contests last cycle, has yet to make a firm impression in the district, the figures also show. Forty-two percent of voters in the district say they don’t know who Rouda is or have an unfavorable opinion of him, while just 30% have a favorable opinion.
The survey was conducted by TargetPoint Consulting on behalf of the Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC devoted to electing House Republicans. The poll was conducted Aug. 10-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.
It’s never a good sign when an incumbent lawmaker is polling dead even with a challenger a year ahead of an election. And Republicans believe the numbers also demonstrate the strength of Steel’s candidacy, considering all the headlines over the last month about Democrats surpassing Republican voter registrations in the once conservative bastion of Orange County.
The district went for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a margin of 1.7 percentage points with Clinton winning statewide in California by 30 points.
Steel, an Orange County supervisor, is one of three Asian American Republican women running for Congress in California.
Republicans are also highlighting a ray of hope for a House pickup in New Mexico’s 2nd District. A new poll, also conducted by TargetPoint Consulting for the CLF, shows a tossup between Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small and a named (though undisclosed on a survey memo), female challenger. Torres Small eked out a win in the tight 2018 race.
In a head-to-head match-up, Torres Small leads just 45%-42% with 13% of voters remaining undecided. That three-point lead is within the poll’s margin of error. Among the 13% who are undecided, 36% said they preferred giving “someone else a chance” over reelecting Torres Small. Just 9% of undecided voters said they’d prefer to reelect her.
The bottom line, according to TargetPoint pollster Michael Meyers, is that Torres Small “is in trouble.”
“She remains relatively unknown among her constituents, opening herself to attack,” he wrote in the survey memo addressed to “interested parties.” “Moreover, voters want to give someone else a chance in Congress by an 11-point margin, and, even this early on, a named female challenger has the race within the margin of error.”