The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is sharing a survey that shows Republican incumbent Bill Young polling below 50% in his race against Democratic newcomer Jessica Ehrlich.
In this poll, Young leads Ehrlich 49 to 35 percent, but this lead is tentative. Among voters who "know" who they are voting for, Young leads by just five percentage points.
The newly drawn 13th District is a classic swing district. In 2008, Barack Obama won 52% of the two-party vote; in 2004, George W. Bush also won 52% of this vote. When voters in this poll were asked about who they voted for in 2008, Obama led John McCain by four points -- identical to the actual margin.
Bill Young, having been elected in 1970, is the longest-serving Republican member of the U.S. House, and considered to be well-known in the Tampa Bay market. However, 17% of the new 13th District is new to Rep. Young. So while it is not surprising that 21% of his new electorate has never heard of Congressman Young, it is troubling that another 20% cannot rate him.
Rep. Young's favorable ratings are also worrisome. About one-third (32%) of the electorate rates him favorably, while 27% have an unfavorable view. This 1:1 ratio is not a good sign for a long-time incumbent.
The DCCC is quick to point out that, in addition to this apparent vulnerability, Young "only" has $325,000 cash-on-hand to defend his record -- the lowest amount he has had at this point in a campaign since 2002.