Freshmen Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello (VA-05) is in real danger of losing his seat according to a new SurveyUSA poll of likely voters. The poll has Republican challenger Robert Hurt aheada by double digits:
Robert Hurt (R) 58
Tom Perriello (D) 35
Jeffery Clark (I) 4
Perriello was always expected to have a very tough re-election campaign. True, Virginia’s 5th is a traditionally Republican-leaning district–Perriello barely won in 2008, a Democratic surge year, beating incumbent Virgil Goode by less than 800 votes, and that was with Obama helping to increase Democratic turnout in the state–but I doubt most political people thought the frosh Representative would be in this poor shape at this point. A challenger to be polling well over 50 percent is a very bad sign for Perriello.
Taking an anti-abortion stand and a supporting the Stupak amendment during the health care debate seems to have done basically nothing to help Perriello with pro-life voters. He wins only 18 percent of that group while Hurt nets 77 percent.
Not surprisingly, when faced with very bad poll numbers, the Perriello campaign chose the time-honored tactic of attacking the pollster, saying “SurveyUSA’s polls are useless.” It should be noted, however, that Nate Silver Ranks SurveyUSA as third most reliable among major polling organizations.