Democrats have been increasingly excited about targeting California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa this fall. But new polling from Issa's campaign, shared exclusively with Roll Call, shows the former House Oversight chairman holding a 9-point advantage over his Democratic challenger.
Issa led Doug Applegate, 48 percent to 39 percent. His lead has narrowed since a September internal poll put Issa ahead 14 points, 52 to 38 percent.
In early September, 52 percent of likely voters approved of the job Issa was doing, compared to 30 percent who disapproved. In this latest poll, Issa's approval rating has slipped slightly: 46 percent approved and 32 percent disapproved.
Applegate remained relatively unknown in Issa's poll. Twenty-two percent of likely voters had a favorable image of the Democrat, while 16 percent had an unfavorable view of him. In September, his favorable rating was 12 percent and his unfavorable rating was 2 percent. The campaign did not release Issa's image favorability.
Public Opinion Strategies surveyed 400 likely voters, about a third on cell phones, from Oct. 4-6. The poll, which had a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points, was conducted before last Friday's revelation of a 2005 video in which Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women.
The polling memo did not release results of the presidential ballot in the 49th District. The down-ballot effects of Trump's comments won't be known until more updated polling comes out at the end of this week, at the earliest.
Issa condemned Trump's remarks this weekend. "This type of behavior has no place in American politics, especially not from those seeking to lead our great nation," he wrote on Facebook. But he has not rescinded his endorsement of the GOP nominee or his place on Trump's National Security Advisory Council.
Applegate has been running an ad tying the congressman to Trump. “Just like Trump, Issa gamed the system to line his own pockets,” the ad says.
The wealthiest member of Congress, Issa was worth at least $254.65 million in 2014, according to Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress Index. He ended the three-month Federal Election Commission reporting period in June with nearly 30 times more money in his campaign account than Applegate.