Poll: GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter leads Dem opponent despite indictment

Poll: GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter leads Dem opponent despite indictment
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Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan HunterLobbying world Duncan Hunter granted delayed start to prison sentence over coronavirus New poll shows tight race in key California House race MORE (R-Calif.) holds a comfortable lead in his tough reelection race despite his indictment for alleged misuse of campaign funds, a poll released Thursday finds.

A new Monmouth University poll found that Hunter is ahead by 8 points in his race against former Obama administration official Ammar Campa-Najjar (D), 49 to 41 percent among all potential voters, those who have voted in an election since 2010 or are newly registered. Ten percent said they are undecided.

Hunter’s lead expands when using a historical midterm model, increasing his lead over Campa-Najjar by 15 points, 53 to 38 percent. When adjusting for a model where turnout surges in competitive parts of the district, Hunter also leads by 11 points, 51 to 40 percent.

Hunter and his wife are being charged with misuse of $250,000 in campaign funds and falsifying campaign records. Both have maintained they are innocent.

Earlier this month, the House Ethics Committee voted to create investigative subcommittees to look into Hunter and another indicted GOP congressman.

In Thursday’s poll, one in 10 voters who believe Hunter is likely guilty said they still plan to vote for him in November.

“One in ten voters in this district think Hunter is probably guilty of campaign fraud, but they are going to vote for him anyway. I know this is a deep red district, but you’ve got to wonder if this isn’t taking partisan loyalty to a new extreme,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Hunter’s San Diego-area district is a GOP stronghold that Democrats have been targeting in the lead up to November's midterm elections. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties MORE won in Hunter's district by 15 points in 2016.

Following Hunter's indictment, the Cook Political Report moved the race to "lean Republican." 

Voters are split over their opinion on Hunter, with 35 percent who said they hold a favorable opinion of the incumbent and 33 percent said they have an unfavorable opinion.

Trump has a positive approval rating in California's 50th Congressional District. More than half — 52 percent — said they approve of the job Trump is doing, while 42 percent said they disapprove.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 22 to 26 and surveyed 401 voters in the 50th district. The margin of error for the full sample was 6.9 percentage points. The margin of error for the likely voter model was 7.4 percentage points.