One race in particular that has caught my attention is Ed Chau- a democrat in the 42nd district, taking on incumbent Gary Miller.Chau is an attorney and his campaign recently released the findings of a poll taken by Lake Research in DC:

TO: Interested Parties
FR: Celinda Lake, David Mermin & Charles Blumenthal
DT: September 8, 2008
RE: Ed Chau v. Gary Miller Poll Memo – California’s 42nd

Celinda C. Lake

A Lake Research Partners survey[1] of likely voters in California’s 42nd Congressional District shows that Republican incumbent Gary Miller is weak and vulnerable to defeat by challenger Ed Chau in his 2008 bid for re-election.

Despite 10 years of incumbency, Miller is not well known in his district. Only 28 percent have a favorable impression of him with 13 percent having an unfavorable impression. Fully 59 percent of voters are unable to rate him, including 37 percent who never heard of him, and 22 percent with no opinion.

Gary Miller’s Re-Elect Number Is Only 28%.

Miller’s re-elect number is 28%, below 50%, the lowest re-election rate we have seen. Almost three quarters of the voters in the district are ready to replace Miller or are undecided on whether to re-elect or replace him. A majority (59%) do not know if they would support his re-election.

Miller’s ethics and corruption problems raise doubts for an overwhelming majority of voters. Corruption in Congress remains a strong theme that essentially disqualifies Miller in the eyes of the voters. Eighty percent of voters in the district say Miller’s ethics and corruption problems raise doubts for them (56% say serious doubts), making it the strongest hit on an incumbent we have seen this cycle, and indicating Miller is especially vulnerable on these issues.

Informed Final Head to Head
Democrat Ed Chau 44%
Republican Gary Miller 38%
Undecided Voters 18%

Provided with positive & negative information, Miller’s support dissolves, Chau takes the lead. Voters are deeply troubled by Miller’s ethics and corruption allegations. Chau takes a significant lead among voters; 44% to 38%, a large swing in support of Chau. Fully 33% of voters move from either supporting Miller or being undecided to supporting Chau.

In conclusion, Congressman Gary Miller has a weak public profile that is vulnerable to factual information on the allegations against him. With low name recognition and favorability, Miller has no armor to protect his image. He has a small base of political support, and he cannot count on help from a weakened president. In California, voters want change. Democrat Ed Chau has a unique profile that can make this an upset victory if he has the resources to communicate his message and define Miller.

[1] Lake Research Partners designed and administered this survey, which was conducted by phone using professional interviewers. The survey was conducted July 24-28, among 400 likely 2008 General Election voters in California’s 42nd Congressional District. The margin of error for the full sample is +/-4.9 percentage points.

This is pretty damning for a Congressman who has been in office since 1998. He doesn’t seem concerned about his re-election, which could prove to be fatal. He doesn’t even have a campaign website. I hope voters in this district are paying attention and doing their homework on Gary Miller as well as Ed Chau.

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