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Connolly Far Ahead, His Poll Shows

Amy Gardner

Gerald E. Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and candidate for the congressional seat of retiring Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), released poll results today giving him a 23-point lead over Democratic rival Leslie L. Byrne.

Connolly's survey of 400 likely voters in the June 10 Democratic primary for the 11th Congressional District was conducted by Lake Research Partners and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

If the election were held today, 45 percent said they would choose Connolly, 22 percent chose Byrne and 1 percent selected Douglas J. Denneny. The survey did not include the fourth Democratic contender, Lori P. Alexander, who had not entered the race at the time of the survey.

The poll, conducted in early January, contrasted sharply with Byrne's survey, done around the same time and giving Byrne a 39 percent-29 percent lead over Connolly. Byrne's poll also gave Denneny 8 percent and gave Byrne a slight edge in name recognition, 94 percent to 92 percent, over Connolly.

Connolly said Byrne's poll is questionable for a couple of reasons: It's unlikely, he said, for Denneny to capture 8 percent of the vote this early in the campaign given his newcomer status to Fairfax County politics. Secondly, Connolly questioned the Byrne poll's name recognition numbers given that he just spent $1 million promoting himself last fall in his reelection campaign for chairman. Connolly said he thought even his name recognition number in Byrne's poll was too high.

Connolly's poll, in contrast, gives him 79 percent name recognition and Byrne 63 percent.

Joe Fox, Byrne's campaign manager, said Byrne "absolutely" stands by her numbers, and he said Connolly's dramatic numbers "defy credulity." Fox also questioned why Connolly waited so long to release his poll, which is out-dated by now.

"A poll is a snapshot in time," Fox said. "Even if those numbers are to be believed, they are two months old."

By Amy Gardner  |  March 10, 2008; 10:48 AM ET
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly , Leslie L. Byrne  
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