Yes, Brian Bilbray is in serious trouble and the NRCC is freaked out for good reason. You may recall that there was speculation that the huge new NRCC ad buy was in response to bad numbers from a poll the GOP had in the field. The latest poll from CA-50 shows that the NRCC should be worried. It is Lake, Snell, Perry, Mermin & Associates internal poll for Francine Busby's campaign that shows Busby is opening up a lead (May 12-15, 400 likely June Runoff voters, +/- 4.9)
The poll memo has lots of good news for Busby:
BRIAN BILBRAY 40% FRANCINE BUSBY 47%
The NRCC is throwing everything they have at Busby and the attacks are only going to get worse. But all indications are that Busby is in position to pull out an upset win, if she has the resources necessary to make it to the finish line. Help Busby win this special election, it could change the entire tone and storyline of the 2006 midterms.
There are several indicators of Busby's strength, as well as structural factors that will work to her advantage:
The bottom line is that even in the face of attacks, Busby has continued to have strong support in this Republican-leaning district, and now leads Bilbray. Nonetheless, Busby has not yet reached the critical 50% mark, and we expect the race to narrow.
- Busby's favorability has increased to 53% while Bilbray's has remained stagnant at 48%. There are nearly twice as many voters with a strongly favorable opinion of Busby (33%) than Bilbray (18%). Both candidates are universally known.
- Busby leads despite the significant Republican registration advantage reflected in our sample of 50% Republican to 32% Democrat.
- A clear and expanding majority of independent voters supports Busby over Bilbray, and Bilbray's share of Republican votes has continued to deteriorate since our early polls.
- Busby holds an even wider edge among those voters deemed most likely to vote based on their past voting record.
- Attacks on the moderate Busby as being "too liberal" have failed and have limited credibility coming from a lobbyist.
- Although Republicans will clearly outnumber Democrats in the 50th CD, Democrats could form a disproportionate share of the electorate in June, as the run-off election is scheduled to be on the same ballot as the heavily contested Democratic primary for Governor.