A Byrne Poll in the 11th
The congressional campaign of Leslie L. Byrne has released details from an internal poll showing her in a statistical dead heat with fellow Democrat Gerald E. Connolly.
The two are competing in the June 10 primary along with two others, Doug Denneny and Lori P. Alexander, for the Democratic nomination in the 11th Congressional District, where incumbent Tom Davis is retiring. The winner will face Republican newcomer Keith Fimian in the fall in an increasingly blue-leaning district that includes much of central Fairfax County and a part of Prince William County.
According to an internal memo issued by the campaign, Connolly is ahead of Byrne 37 percent to 34 percent among likely Democratic primary voters -- a statistical dead heat given the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
The numbers represent a dramatic contrast to Connolly's most recent internal poll, conducted in April, which put the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors 20 points ahead of Byrne. Connolly's previous poll, conducted in January, showed a 23-point margin.
Byrne's latest numbers even contrast with her own January poll, which put her 10 points ahead of Connolly.
"With 20 days to go it's an absolute dead heat," said Byrne campaign manager Joe Fox. "Leslie Byrne has momentum and is in position to win this primary."
When asked about the fact that Byrne's apparent lead has actually shrunk since the campaign's last poll in January, Fox said: "Voters pay attention at different times. These numbers are fluid from one month to the next. But the bottom line is there are less than three weeks left and it's a dead heat."
Connolly campaign manager James Walkinshaw said Byrne's latest poll is no more credible than her last, which gave unknown newcomer Doug Denneny 8 percent of likely voters' support.
"That poll was so ridiculous that it casts serious doubt on what they've released now," Walkinshaw said. He added: "It also sounds like Gerry Connolly is surging. They had us down by 10 points in January. Now they have us up by three. I don't think any of it's accurate, but it is interesting that Gerry Connolly is surging in Leslie Byrne's own internal polling."
May 21, 2008; 5:25 PM ET
Categories: Amy Gardner , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly , Leslie L. Byrne , Polls
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