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New York: January Poll Showing Kuhl Ahead Is Leaked

For the second time in a week, a weeks-old poll showing a Republican Member who was recently placed on Roll Call’s list of 10 most vulnerable House incumbents in far better shape than many pundits and political professionals believe has been leaked to the media.

The poll on the re-election prospects of Rep. Randy Kuhl (R) was conducted by GOP polling firm McLaughlin & Associates Jan. 27 and 28. It showed Kuhl leading his Democratic challenger, former Navy officer Eric Massa, 46 percent to 26 percent, despite the fact that he beat him by just 2 points in 2006.

The poll of 300 likely voters had a margin of error of 5.7 points.

Last week, after appearing on Roll Call’s 10 most vulnerable list for the first time, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released a poll from mid-March showing him with a 21-point lead over business consultant Dan Seals (D).

In a memo, McLaughlin & Associates suggested that Kuhl will do well to attach himself to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). In the poll, taken when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) was still considered the strongest Democratic presidential candidate, McCain led Clinton in a trial heat, 47 percent to 36 percent, and his favorable ratings were far superior to Clinton’s. Kuhl’s 29th district is one of the few Republican strongholds in the Empire State.

“It is important to point out that Randy Kuhl has already defeated Eric Massa in 2006, and there is no reason to believe after looking at the numbers that the outcome will be any different come this November,” the pollster concluded.

But since the poll was taken, Kuhl’s fundraising has sputtered, and Massa has surpassed the incumbent. Through March 31, Massa had $565,000 in his campaign account to Kuhl’s $366,000.

— Josh Kurtz

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