No lie! Poll shows Joe Wilson trailing in reelection bid
The survey by Public Policy Polling found Democratic challenger Rob Miller leading the five-term Republican lawmaker by 44 percent to 43 percent. The numbers had Democrats cheering, and at least one pollster offering a new view of the contest in the heavily Republican South Carolina district.
It is all part of the fallout of Wilson yelling “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during his address to Congress on Wednesday night on healthcare reform.
“In a matter of seconds Joe Wilson turned himself from a safe incumbent into one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country for 2010,” said Dean Debnam of Public Policy Polling, which conducted the survey of 747 voters in the congressman’s district.
But Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which tracks congressional races, downplayed the importance of the poll and predicted Wilson would rebound against his liberal challenger in the conservative district.
“This is just a snapshot in time. The bad news for Rob Miller is that the election is 14 months away,” Wasserman said, noting a lot is certain to happen between now and then.
Last year, Wilson defeated Miller, a former Marine turned small businessman, by 54 percent to 46 percent.
Wilson’s verbal attack on Obama provided a big boost to Miller’s fundraising.
In two days, he raked in more $875,000 from 24,000 contributors, according to the House Democratic campaign committee.
But Wilson, who became an overnight hero to many conservatives, has also enjoyed a financial lift. He pulled in about $700,000, said a spokesman for the House Republican campaign committee.
Snared in a political firestorm, Wilson is fighting back. He posted an appeal for support and money on his campaign website that says “Joe Wilson is Under Attack — Stand with Joe Today.”
“I should not have disrespected the president during his speech. But I am not sorry for fighting back against the dangerous policies of liberal Democrats,” Wilson says in the spot.
“Will you stand with me today and help me fight back against liberal attacks by making a donation to my campaign?”
Reuters photo by Jim Young (Wilson after yelling out “You Lie” during Obama’s speech Sept 9, 2009)