A new poll released Friday shows incumbent Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher with a nine-point lead over Democrat challenger Harley Rouda with just days to go before the midterm elections on November 6.
The poll, conducted by Thomas Partners Strategies, shows Rohrabacher with the support of 50.7% of likely voters in the 48th congressional district, compared to Rouda’s 41.6%. The margin of error is 4.7%.
Strategist John Thomas notes: “While California overall breaks in favor of Democrats and against Trump, CA-48 is proving to be the firewall holding back the blue wave.”
The poll is the first to show Rohrabacher with a statistically significant lead. A poll last month by Monmouth University Polling Institute last month showed Rohrabacher with a small lead, within the margin of error, and previous polls had shown the race as a dead heat.
Rohrabacher’s rise in the polls is remarkable, given that Rouda and his allies have outspent Rohrabacher many times over. Last month, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg dumped $4 million into the race against Rohrabacher, making the contest for the 48th district one of the most expensive in the country.
But Rohrabacher trounced Rouda in a debate, noting that the Democrat supported Medicare for illegal aliens. He also focused on issues of importance to local communities, such as discrimination against Asian-Americans in college admissions.
He even accompanied a busload of senior citizens to visit a marijuana dispensary to highlight his support for legalizing cannabis on the federal level.
Thomas elaborated on other factors helping Rohrabacher:
Trump is popular [in the district], Republicans are winning the generic ballot and there is a slight edge for the amount of voters who want Trump’s agenda to be pushed in Congress. This seat is proving reliably red with a large R+10 Republican registration advantage giving Rohrabcher a large cushion to absorb a generally unfavorable climate for Republicans nationally. Rouda is winning with No-Party-Preference voting bloc with 49.9% to Rohrabacher’s 42.9%. Rohrabacher is winning with women with a commanding lead at 51.8% to Rouda’s 40.9%.
The tsunami of negative ads attacking Rohrabcher have done damage to his favorables putting him underwater at 50.4% unfav to 41.7% fav. Despite poor favorability for a 29-year incumbent, Rohrabacher has been given life support from Donald Trump.
Rouda has attacked Rohrabacher for supporting closer relations with Russia, an attack that has faltered as the story of “Russian collusion” has faded from the headlines in recent months for lack of evidence.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.