A new Democratic poll released Tuesday by congressional candidate Carolyn Long’s campaign shows incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is in vulnerable territory as she prepares to mount her fourth re-election bid.
Though the poll found that the incumbent has a sizeable lead over Long — largely due to name recognition — it also suggests Herrera Beutler’s advantage could fizzle as the 2018 midterms draw nearer.
Only 39 percent of voters approve of the Battle Ground Republican’s job performance, according to a survey conducted March 8-12 by Washington, D.C.-based Lake Research Partners.
Out of 400 likely midterm voters surveyed in Southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, just 38 percent of respondents said they would vote to re-elect Herrera Beutler, the poll found.
The poll found that 22 percent of voters would consider a different candidate, and 20 percent would vote to replace the incumbent. Nearly 20 percent of voters were undecided.
The live telephone survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
According to the poll, only 27 percent of the voters said they think Republicans in Congress are doing an “excellent” or “good” job.
The poll, conducted on behalf of the Long campaign, did not capture Herrera Beutler’s disapproval rating.
Lake Research Partners has a B+ pollster rating from FiveThirtyEight, an elections forecasting site that analyzes polling firms’ historical accuracy and methodology. The firm’s polls lean Democrat by 0.5 percent on average, according to the site.
The survey found that Long lacks initial name recognition, but she has plenty of room to improve. Long, a first-time candidate who teaches political science at Washington State University Vancouver, is vying with two other Democrats to win the party’s support in August.
Long trails Herrera Beutler 29 percent to 49 percent on an initial ballot, the poll found. But that margin narrowed to 41 percent to 45 percent after respondents were read positive profiles of both candidates and two short messages. (Lake Research Partners declined to provide the polling language used in the survey to The Daily News.) Independents also shifted to Long by a net of 30 points during the survey, according to the polling firm.
“I’ve been polling voters in swing districts for a long time, so trust me when I say that this is a winnable race and we’ve got the best chance with Carolyn Long,” Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, said in a press release accompanying the poll results.
Herrera Beutler’s office pushed back on the poll results in a statement Tuesday.
“We’re puzzled as to why the Democrats would want to release a poll that shows their candidate 20 points behind, but no poll is going to change Jaime’s approach to her job — she’s going to keep working hard to provide economic opportunity and security for the people of Southwest Washington,” spokeswoman Angeline Riesterer said.
Long fielded questions from potential Southwest Washington voters at a challengers’ forum in Longview last week. She’s competing in the state’s top-two primary against David McDevitt, a Vancouver businessman, and Dorothy Gasque, an Iraq war veteran and progressive activist.
McDevitt is running for the second time against Herrera Beutler, while Gasque is making her first congressional bid after gaining prominence as a national delegate for the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016.
Gasque’s campaign office reacted by knocking the poll results Tuesday, noting that the survey failed to include all three Democrats in the race.
“We are still very much in the primary,” Gasque said in a statement to The Daily News. “While our grassroots-funded campaign is unable to pay a D.C. consulting firm for polling, the name recognition we enjoy after campaigning for the last solid year across party lines has been tremendous.”
Since formally announcing her campaign on Nov. 30, Long has collected local and national endorsements while positioning herself as a pragmatist focused on finding areas of potential compromise. Gasque also has won multiple national endorsements for her progressive campaign platform and hard stance against corporate interests.
Long also demonstrated an ability to fundraise by garnering more than $34,000 in individual contributions through Dec. 31., according to Federal Election Commission filings. McDevitt, meanwhile, raised about $20,000 in individual contributions all of last year, and he’s also loaned his campaign $300,000. Gasque, who formally announced her campaign last June, raised $23,000 in individual contributions through the end of the year.
After raising $610,000 last year, Herrera Beutler’s campaign finished the reporting period with $515,000 cash on hand.
New quarterly campaign finance reports are due April 15.