Rep. Murphy down double-digits in new poll

Two-term Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) is down big to former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), according to a new poll out Thursday on the race in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District.

The new Franklin and Marshall poll gives Murphy a 14-point lead among likely voters in a race that's a rematch of the 2006 contest in the district in which Murphy first ousted Fitzpatrick during a favorable year for Democrats. 

Fitzpatrick leads Murphy 49 percent to 35 percent among likely voters in the poll.

President Obama's popularity is also a factor in this race. Even though Obama won the 8th District over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) two years ago, his approval rating is now less than 40 percent in the district. 

Murphy had an easy go of it in 2008, winning reelection with 57 percent of the vote over Republican Tom Manion. But Fitzpatrick poses a much tougher test for the incumbent this fall. Murphy defeated Fitzpatrick by less than 2,000 votes to win his first term in '06.

Fitzpatrick has already been the beneficiary of help from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which launched an independent expenditure ad targeting Murphy last week.