A poll conducted for an environmental organization and released Wednesday showed House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R) trailing both of his potential Democratic challengers in head-to-head matchups.
The poll also showed that 52 percent of the residents in the Republican-leaning 11th district would prefer to vote for someone other than Pombo, while only 35 percent said they would definitely and probably vote to give him an eighth term.
The poll of 402 likely voters was conducted May 1-3 by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research — a Democratic firm — for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. It had a 4.9 percent error margin.
In the poll, airline pilot Steve Filson (D) beat Pombo 49 percent to 41 percent in a head-to-head matchup. Wind turbine manufacturer Jerry McNerney, the 2004 Democratic nominee who took just 39 percent of the vote then, was leading Pombo 46 percent to 42 percent.
“Congressman Pombo’s standing with voters in California’s 11th district has deteriorated significantly and on many levels,” pollsters Ben Tulchin and Katie Muehlenkamp wrote. “In fact, his poll numbers are as bad, if not worse, than any of his colleagues in Congress and there is a very real possibility that he can be defeated this November.”
Ed Patru, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Pombo would be fine come November, noting that he had more than $1 million in the bank, far more than either of the Democrats.
“Richard Pombo is ahead in resources, and the picture will change dramatically once he’s on TV setting the record straight,” Patru said. “It will certainly change after voters get to know his eventual opponent.”
Meanwhile, the League of Conservation Voters and the California League of Conservation Voters announced Wednesday that they would run an independent expenditure campaign on behalf of Pombo’s opponent in the June 6 Republican primary, former Rep. Pete McCloskey (R).
— Josh Kurtz