Dem polling shows Reps. Kline, Southerland trailing opponents

October 24, 2013

New Democratic polls conducted for House Majority PAC, the main super PAC working to elect Democrats to the House, show two of the PAC’s top targets trailing their Democratic opponents.

The surveys, shared first with The Hill, show Reps. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) and John Kline (R-Minn.) trailing their likely Democratic opponents among likely voters by three and four percentage points respectively.

Both Kline and Southerland are two of HMP’s nine Republican targets this cycle, and the super PAC started running ads this week against Southerland for voting against the deal to end the shutdown.

Conducted by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, the survey in Florida’s 2nd district gives Democrat Gwen Graham 44 percent support to Southerland’s 41 percent support. 

A generic Democrat fares about the same against a generic Republican, suggesting the outcome of the poll is reflective of an overall distaste with the GOP generally.

Southerland is also underwater in favorability, with 41 percent of respondents viewing him unfavorably while 39 percent view him favorably.

And a plurality, 42 percent, disapprove of his job performance, while only 36 percent approve.

Kline also trails the current Democratic frontrunner in Minnesota’s 2nd district, state Rep. Mike Obermueller, taking 38 percent to Obermueller’s 42 percent support.

And 42 percent of respondents view him unfavorably, while only 32 percent view him favorably. He sees similar numbers approving of his job performance — 31 percent — and disapproving — 40 percent.

PPP also surveyed respondents on a number of negative statements about the candidates, typically a type of polling used by campaigns to test the potency of various political attacks.

Both surveys indicate a prevailing anti-incumbent sentiment may be hurting the lawmakers. A plurality of voters in each district, offered two negative statements about the incumbents, choose the suggestion that they’re “part of the problem in Washington” as the more concerning of the two.

That echoes recent national polling that shows approval of Congress at historic lows. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll set approval at 12 percent, while 85 percent disapprove — the worst rating in 25 years.

Republicans appear to be suffering the most in the aftermath of the shutdown, and Democrats believe the backlash could produce electoral gains for them in the 2014 elections.

“Numbers don’t lie. Voters are clearly holding vulnerable Republicans accountable for shutting down the government and driving the country almost to the point of default,” said Andy Stone, Communications Director for House Majority PAC.

The survey of Kline’s district was conducted among 825 voters from Oct. 21-22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. The survey of Southerland’s district was conducted among 965 voters from Oct. 21-22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 points.