The Democrats were pretty happy with themselves last night. Internal numbers released by the Democrat’s New Majority PAC, who have spent $50,000 attacking Barbara Comstock in the 10th District, showed John Foust losing by two points in a head-to-head matchup. “Hooray!” they shouted because, hey, it could be worse. Here’s the rub: it’s an internal. And, not only that, it had absolutely no additional information aside from the head-to-head and total number of those polled. What does head-to-head mean? Whatever a campaign wants it to mean. It could be a genuine head-to-head matchup among the general population, it could be narrowed to head-to-head among those who can ID both candidate in the race. If it’s the latter, that means Foust is doing worse than Suzanne Scholte is against Gerry Connolly one district over.
But the Dems are the only ones rolling out their numbers. This morning, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the Republican counter to New Majority, released their numbers showing Barbara Comstock up by TWELVE going into the final full month of the campaign, and even gave actual details behind some other results, legitimizing the poll a bit more:
1. The political environment is grim for Democrats.
Just 25% of voters say the country is going in the right direction, while 64% say things are off on the wrong track. Fully 57% of voters disapprove of the job President Obama is doing, with 44% strongly disapproving.
Obama was competitive in this district. Democrats are relying on that sliver of a hope and prayer to think that Foust has a chance. But if a wave is forming, and it’s one that’s against Obama and Democrats in Washington, DCCC and others will be hitting the panic button quick.
2. Barbara Comstock is well-known and liked by 10th district voters, while Foust is still undefined.
Comstock is known by nearly nine in ten voters (87%), with a well-defined positive image, 39% favorable and only 24% unfavorable. At the same time, Foust’s name is recognized by under six in ten voters (59%). Only 21% say they have a favorable impression and 14% are unfavorable.
Foust was first on the air in mid-summer and didn’t face a primary challenge on his way to the party nomination. He had a head start in trying to define himself to district voters and so far he’s done a lackluster job. DCCC and others, on the other hand, have spent thousands attacking Barbara Comstock for months, and with little effect.
That’s why the Comstock campaign going on the air with ads like this this week is a big deal – Foust has to play catch up on telling the district who he is while also trying to balance with his constant attacks on Comstock.
3. In the race for the 10th Congressional District of Virginia, Barbara Comstock currently has a 12-point lead over John Foust.
Comstock Foust 3rd Party Undecided 46% 34% 7% 14%
Ouch. That’s a drubbing in a “lean” district.
4. A strong majority of respondents were less likely to support John Foust after hearing his recent campaign comments.
62% of the respondents and 70% of women respondents said they were less likely to vote for Foust based on this statement: “John Foust made sexist comments against his opponent who is a mother, legislator and attorney. John Foust said quote ‘I don’t think she’s even had a real job.’”
And there you have how Foust will be defined now through election day. He brought it on himself, attacking Comstock’s background and trying to be just a little too cute. And that’s where the NRCC comes to play, hammering Foust on his asinine comment:
John Foust is in trouble. One month to go and not only has he failed to seal the deal, but his handlers at New Majority and DCCC are going to be throwing good money after bad now through Election Day. With only a handful of weeks to go and a 10 point gap between them, Foust is going to regret his negative nasty campaigning as it comes back to define and ultimately burn him.