Danger, Bill Young: Dem poll shows incumbent under 50% in race against Jessica Ehrlich

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is sharing a new survey that shows Republican incumbent Bill Young polling below 50% in his race against Democratic newcomer Jessica Ehrlich.

In this poll, Young leads Ehrlich 49 to 35 percent, but this lead is tentative. Among voters who “know” who they are voting for, Young leads by just five percentage points.

The newly drawn 13th District is a classic swing district. In 2008, Barack Obama won 52% of the two-party vote; in 2004, George W. Bush also won 52% of this vote. When voters in this poll were asked about who they voted for in 2008, Obama led John McCain by four points — identical to the actual margin.

Bill Young, having been elected in 1970, is the longest-serving Republican member of the U.S. House, and considered to be well-known in the Tampa Bay market. However, 17% of the new 13th District is new to Rep. Young. So while it is not surprising that 21% of his new electorate has never heard of  Congressman Young, it is troubling that another 20% cannot rate him.

Rep. Young’s favorable ratings are also worrisome. About one-third (32%) of the electorate rates him favorably, while 27% have an unfavorable view. This 1:1 ratio is not a good sign for a long-time incumbent.

The DCCC is quick to point out that, in addition to this apparent vulnerability, Young “only” has $325,000 cash-on-hand to defend his record — the lowest amount he has had at this point in a campaign since 2002.                     

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.