NRCC memo: 'Even Steve Israel is in trouble'

Even incumbents viewed as safe like Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) should be worried about their jobs, National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director Liesl Hickey argues in a new memo.

ADVERTISEMENT
"To understand how bad the environment is for House Democrats, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel need only look at his own district, where a new poll shows that even he should be nervous," Hickey writes before rolling out new results from GOP pollster Harper polling that shows President Obama is unpopular in a number of Democratic-leaning districts including Israel's.

The automated NRCC polls found Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) trailing her GOP opponent in a head-to-head test, a big Republican edge in the generic ballot for retiring Rep. Bill Owens's (D-N.Y.) upstate New York swing seat, and middling numbers for Israel and Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Ore.) in their Democratic-leaning districts.

"Israel and his colleagues all enter the election year with incredibly weak approval numbers, and they will all be forced to run with an unpopular president spouting an unpopular agenda," Hickey concludes.

The memo argues President Obama's deteriorating poll numbers are expanding the House field for Republicans. It's unclear, however, whether the committee polled multiple districts and selected the data that would best prove its point.

Though the polling itself doesn't suggest real trouble for Israel or DelBene — both have personal approval ratings in positive territory —  it suggests Democrats should be nervous about Brownley and Owens's seat. Brownley, who won a hotly contested race in 2012, looks to be facing a tough race in a year where Democratic turnout will likely drop off in her suburban Los Angeles district. Owens's swing seat could also be tough for Democrats to hold. 

Here are the full polling toplines as provided by the committee:

 

Julia Brownley, CA-26 (PVI, D+4)

Generic Ballot

GOP: 45%

Democrat: 42%

Jeff Gorell/Julia Brownley Head to Head

Gorell: 44%

Brownley: 42% 

Brownley Job Approval

Approve: 32%

Disapparove: 32%

Brownley Reelect

Deserves reelection: 32%

Someone else: 42%

Check and Balance

Republican check: 48%

Democrat ally: 42%

Obama Job Approval

Approve: 38%

Disapprove: 52%

Harper Polling; January 28-29, 2014; N=586; MOE +/- 4.05%               

 

Steve Israel, NY-03 (PVI, D+2)

Generic Ballot

GOP: 43%

Democrat: 42%

Steve Israel Job Approval

Approve: 37%

Disapprove: 27%

Israel Reelect

Deserves re-election: 33%

Someone else: 36% 

Check and Balance

Republican check: 47%

Democrat Ally: 43%

Obama Job Approval

Approve: 39%

Disapprove: 52%

Harper Polling; January 28-29, 2014; N=623; MOE +/- 3.92%

 

Open, NY-21 (PVI, EVEN)

Generic Ballot

Republican: 46%

Democrat: 34%

Check and Balance

Republican check: 51%

Dem ally: 31%

Obama Job Approval

Approve: 32%

Disapprove: 55%

Harper Polling; January 27-28; N=1,005; MOE +/- 3.09%

 

Suzan DelBene, WA-01 (PVI, D+4)

 Generic Ballot

GOP: 46%

Dem: 43%

Suzan DelBene Job Approval

Approve: 34%

Disapprove: 32% 

DelBene Reelect

Deserves reelection: 36%

Someone else: 39%

Check and Balance

Republican Check: 47%

Dem Ally: 43%

Obama Job Approval

Approve: 40%

Disapprove: 51%

Harper Polling; January 27-28, 2014; N=779; MOE +/- 3.51%