Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is such a part of Miami-Dade's political firmament it's hard to imagine the moderate Republican losing her seat until she's ready to retire. But a new poll shows Ros-Lehtinen trailing a generic Democratic opponent by two points. Is this just a temporary manifestation of the anti-incumbent and anti-Republican feelings stirred up by the government shutdown (and we should note this poll was commissioned by MoveOn.org), or is Ros-Lehtinen really in trouble?
The new poll by Public Policy Polling shows that while 47 percent of her constituents approve of the job Ileana is doing, 42 percent do not.
In a head-to-head matchup with a generic Republican, 45 percent say they'd vote for Ileana while 47 percent say they'd vote for the Democratic.
Ros-Lehtinen may be catching flack from anger over the shutdown. Sixty-two percent of people in her district say that they "oppose Congress shutting down major activities of the federal government as a way to stop the health care law from being put into place."
In fact, in a bit of a push poll move the pollster later asked point blank, "Now that you know Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen supported the government shutdown, I'll ask you one more time: If the election for Congress were held today, would you vote for re-elect Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, or would you vote for her Democratic opponent?"
After that, only 42 percent would vote for Ros-Lehtinen. Fifty-three percent would vote for a generic Democrat.
A couple of notes on this:
1. Public Policy Polling is generally considered pretty reliable, but does only do commissioned work for Democrats and liberal groups. In this case that group was MoveOn.org.
2. PPP is spot polling the districts of several Republican congresspeople across the nation.
3. Obviously this is part of an effort to put pressure on Republicans to end the shutdown by scaring their more moderate members in less-than-airtight-safe districts.
4. Though, Ileana may very well be vulnerable at the moment, Democrats rarely field a well-funded Democrat against her. And by the time she's up for reelection next year, who knows how the shutdown will factor in by that point.