Charlie Brown, Tom McClintock in statistical dead heat, poll finds |

Charlie Brown, Tom McClintock in statistical dead heat, poll finds

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ” Polling data among voters in the 4th Congressional District show Democrat Charlie Brown and Republican Tom McClintock are in a statistical dead heat.

Among likely voters, Brown is ahead of McClintock by 2 percentage points, according to the poll, with 43 percent favoring Brown to McClintock’s 41 percent. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.38 percent. The survey of 500 likely general election voters was conducted Aug. 21-24. The 4th Congressional District includes El Dorado County.

In August 2006, the same polling firm, Benensen Strategy Group, had Republican Rep. John Doolittle ahead in the race by a 41 percent to 39 percent. Doolittle won by a similarly narrow margin, 49 percent to 46 percent. The survey also was of 500 likely general election voters.

“(Brown) is currently in a stronger position against McClintock than he was at the same stage in the 2006 campaign,” said Benensen pollster Pete Brodnitz.

A McClintock campaign spokesman said the poll was taken before the bounce the GOP has gotten nationally since the Republican National Convention and charged that Benensen is a Democratic polling operation. “All of our indicators are very positive; we are in a very strong position at this point in the race,” said McClintock spokesman Bill George. “We are not surprised that a Democratic pollster would give his Democrat a nice report.”

With less than two months before the election, the Brown campaign has ramped up its efforts to tie McClintock with Doolittle, who remains under investigation for his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Doolittle will retire from Congress at the end of the year and has maintained his innocence in any dealings with Abramoff.

On Monday, Doolittle’s former top aide, Kevin Ring, pleaded not guilty to a 10-count federal indictment that accuses him of conspiring with Abramoff to win assistance from congressional and executive-branch officials by giving them things of value and helping them skirt requirements to report those gifts.

Brown spokesman Todd Stenhouse noted Doolittle’s support of McClintock in a Capitol Hill fundraiser in April and says McClintock has “flip-flopped repeatedly” on whether he would continue campaigning with Doolittle.

“It’s time for Tom McClintock to come clean on whether he will campaign with or accept the endorsement of John Doolittle,” Stenhouse said in a statement.

George said Brown’s campaign would rather talk about matters other than the issues of the district. He also said there are no plans to campaign with Doolittle.

“It is typical of their campaign when they don’t want to talk about the issues that are important to the voters of the 4th District,” George said.

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