Doherty Claims to Be Within Five Points of McCaul

Pollster claims GOP congressman has failed to capitalize on incumbency

Doherty (l) says he's closing in on McCaul
Doherty (l) says he's closing in on McCaul

Larry Joe Doherty, the Democratic challenger to District 10 Congressman Michael McCaul, claims he has poll numbers showing him within 5% of the incumbent.

We say "claimed" because it must be noted that the Goodwin Simon Victoria Research poll was commissioned by Doherty himself. But if the numbers are accurate, McCaul should be concerned: Pollster Donna Victoria writes that the Sept. 28-30 poll of 400 registered, likely voters puts McCaul at 43%, Doherty at 38%. That means McCaul has made no gain since GSVR's May poll on the race, while Doherty has picked up 4%. Eighteen percent were undecided, and the margin of error is +/-4.9%. Libertarian Matt Finkel was not presented by name as an option, but 1% said "other."

"McCaul has failed to capitalize on the biggest advantages of incumbency, and time is running out," Victoria writes in a memo to Doherty. "[T]he fact that McCaul has not used the intervening time [since May] to work his district or strengthen his position is baffling." (Actually, I can testify that McCaul has been working his district.)

Other claims by Victoria:

• 41% of those polled do not recognize McCaul's name.
• McCaul's job rating is 33% positive, 38% negative, and 29% unsure – a 9% rise in his negatives.
• 29% said they would vote to re-elect McCaul, 35% said they would vote for someone else, 37% were unsure.

Could the higher negatives possibly be the result of the current Wall Street debacle? The poll would have come just before McCaul cast a vote against the $700 billion bailout plan, which might win some support back, assuming voters are even aware of it.

But Doherty is determined to paint McCaul as part of the problem that led to the debacle in the first place:

"Voters responded strongly to McCaul's track record of backroom deals with special interests and lobbyists such as Wall Street having contributed more $500,000 to his campaign war chest," writes Doherty spokesman Jon Niven in a press release. "This type of pay-for-play politics is highlighted by McCaul's Congressional record of voting against comprehensive Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform, and his vote against doing away with golden parachutes for corporate CEO's."

As of this writing, we have not received a response to the poll from the McCaul campaign; I'll update if we get one.

For more on the TX-10 race, see this week's issue.

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Elections, Election 2008, Larry Joe Doherty, Michael McCaul

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