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October 01, 2008

Brown Leading McClintock

Republican retirements weren't supposed to hurt this badly, according to National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Cole, because most of the retirees were in districts with overwhelming GOP advantages. That's why a new poll showing Rep. John Doolittle's seat in California in jeopardy should scare Republicans.

The poll, conducted by Research 2000 for DailyKos, surveyed 400 likely voters 9/23-25 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. State Senator Tom McClintock, a Republican, and 2006 Democratic nominee charlie Brown were tested among a sample made up of 43% Republicans, 33% Democrats and 24% independents and others.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Brown .........46 / 86 / 13 / 49 / 42 / 50
McClintock....41 / 7 / 72 / 33 / 46 / 36

McCain........51 / 12 / 83 / 48 / 54 / 48
Obama.........39 / 81 / 6 / 39 / 36 / 42

McClintock, a conservative who represents a district 400 miles south of Doolittle's Fourth District, is still feeling the effects of having won a bitter primary against ex-Rep. Doug Ose. About twice as many Republicans as Democrats are crossing party lines to back Brown, and the Democrat has a big lead among independents.

Brown also boasts higher ratings than McClintock, with 44% of district voters viewing him favorably and 25% viewing him unfavorably. McClintock is seen positively by 41% of respondents and negatively by 35%, likely still a hangover from the battle with Ose.

But 46% could indicate Brown's ceiling in a very Republican district. It's the same percentage he took in 2006 against Doolittle, who won with 49% of the vote. Also complicating Brown's plans, McClintock is a far better candidate than Doolittle would be, given ethical issues that plagued the incumbent.