Poll: Rep. Gerry Connolly, 2008 freshman class president, is in big trouble 

Fairfax County businessman Keith Fimian, who unsuccessfully ran against former County Board chairman Gerry Connolly for the congressional seat of retiring Republican congressman Tom Davis, has just released a poll giving him a five-point lead over Connolly, the president of the Democrats’ 2008 freshman class.

In a McLaughlin & Associates’ survey of 300 likely voters in Virginia’s 11th congressional district, pollsters found voters in a strong “very anti-incumbent” mood, with two-thirds (65 percent) saying the believe Washington is on the wrong track.

And they’re blaming Congress in general – and Connolly in particular - for the mess.

“Any incumbent who’s under 50 is in trouble,” pollster Jim McLaughlin told me from New York. “Connolly trails Fimian 40 to 35 percent. He went in as a very partisan Democrat, very anti-Bush and anti-Republican. But this isn’t that kind of district.”

Connolly’s votes for bailout spending and President Obama’s health care reform aren’t helping him any, McLaughlin said. “The 11th district is extremely affluent. Obama won it easily, but he ran as a moderate Republican there. Now he’s gone back on all the promises he made. It’s killing Democrats like Connolly. Voters understand that tax and spend policies are hurting them and hurting the economy.

“Many people are under the assumption that this district is more Democrat-leaning than it is. Right now, it’s definitely Republican-leaning,” McLaughlin said.

According to the poll, a generic Republican has a 19 point advantage over a generic Democrat candidate. Independents and undecided voters in particular have fled en masse from the Democratic Party, with two-thirds saying they would prefer a Republican to represent them in Congress.

“There’s no question that Keith Fimian is the kind of candidate who won in the Republican takeover of ‘ 94,” McLaughlin added.  “He’s not a career politician, he knows how to run a business and balance a budget. I really believe he will be the next congressman.”

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