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October 24, 2017

To: Interested Parties


From: Ben Tulchin and Ben Krompak; Tulchin Research
Re: Survey Finds Democratic Challenger Harley Rouda in Dead Heat with
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

A new Tulchin Research poll of likely November 2018 voters in Californias 48th Congressional
District finds a statistical dead heat in a hypothetical general election between Republican
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Democratic Harley Rouda, who is mounting a strong
challenge to the long-time incumbent. Rohrabacher currently leads Rouda in a head-to-head
match-up by just 4 points within the surveys margin of error and Rouda takes the lead once
voters hear more information about the candidates. The poll finds that Rohrabacher is viewed
negatively by plurality of his constituents and that Donald Trump is very unpopular. The poll
additionally finds that Russian President Vladimir Putin is universally unpopular with voters in
the district, posing a unique challenge for Rohrabacher, who Politico famously dubbed Putins
favorite congressman because of his long history of supporting the Putin regime.

Rohrabacher and Rouda are Statistically Tied

Our poll finds Rohrabacher in a weak position for an incumbent member of Congress. He is
fairly unpopular and currently polling at beneath 50 percent of the vote and within the surveys
margin of error of businessman Harley Rouda in a general election match-up. Rohrabacher
attracts just 48 percent of the vote while Rouda, a first-time candidate, attracts 44 percent of the
vote with the remaining eight percent undecided.

CA-48 Initial Vote: Rohrabacher & Rouda in Dead Heat


Sep 30 - Oct 5, 2017
Harley Rouda 44%
Dana Rohrabacher 48%
Undecided 8%
Rouda Rohrabacher -4

Rouda Takes the Lead and Outperforms Party After Voters Hear More About the
Candidates

Asked generically whether they would be more likely to support a Democratic or Republican
member of Congress, voters in this historically Republican-leaning Orange County-based
district choose a Democrat by a two-point margin (42% to 40% who say they would vote for the
Republican). Rouda demonstrates the ability to realize and exceed this potential in general
election, taking a four-point lead in our poll (with 50% to 46% for Rohrabacher) once voters hear
positive information about both candidates.

220 Sansome Street, Suite 1360 San Francisco, CA 94104 (415) 576-1072
Tulchin Research Poll Results 2

Rouda Takes the Lead Over Rohrabacher, Exceeds Generic Democratic


Performance in an Informed Vote
Generic House Vote: Initial Candidate Vote: Revote After Positives:
Democrat vs. Republican Rouda vs. Rohrabacher Rouda vs. Rohrabacher

Democrat 42% 44% 50%


Republican 40% 48% 46%
Undecided 17% 8% 4%
Democrat -
+2 -4 +4
Republican

Rohrabacher is Underwater with His Constituents While Trump is Deeply Unpopular and
Putin is Toxic

Rohrabachers weak performance in the horserace extends from an unusually weak profile for
an incumbent. Our polling finds Rohrabacher is viewed unfavorably by a plurality of voters in his
district, with just 4 in 10 (39%) viewing him favorably, to 44 percent of voters who view him
unfavorably (-5 net favorable). Rohrabachers path to re-election is further complicated by
President Donald Trumps deep unpopularity in the district and by his own high-profile support
of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Voters Hold Unfavorable Opinions of Trump, Rohrabacher


Sep 30 - Oct 5, 2017
Total Favorable 39%
Dana Total Unfavorable 44%
Rohrabacher
Net Favorable
-5
(Favorable Unfavorable)
Total Favorable 41%

Donald Trump Total Unfavorable 58%


Net Favorable
-17
(Favorable - Unfavorable)
Total Favorable 6%

Vladimir Putin Total Unfavorable 87%


Net Favorable
-81
(Favorable - Unfavorable)

Trump, with whom Rohrabacher is closely associated, is viewed unfavorably by nearly 6 in 10


voters (58%) and very unfavorably by nearly half (48%) of voters. Meanwhile Putin proves a
universally unpopular figure as he is viewed unfavorably by 87 percent of voters, including
nearly two-thirds (65%) who view him very unfavorably, and is viewed highly negatively by
Democrats (96% unfavorable), independents (92% unfavorable), and Republicans (77%
unfavorable).

Conclusion

Our poll finds that Rohrabacher faces a challenging path to reelection as he is viewed
unfavorably by a plurality of voters in his district and is currently drawing less than 50 percent of
the vote and in a statistical tie with a first-time candidate. Additionally, Rohrabachers reputation
as Vladimir Putins favorite congressman and his close affiliation with Donald Trump present
significant obstacles for his campaign. Democrat Harley Rouda begins the race in a very
Tulchin Research Poll Results 3

competitive position and has a compelling profile that resonates strongly and moves undecided
voters. Given these findings, Rouda stands an excellent chance of defeating Rohrabacher in a
general election and winning the seat.

Survey Methodology: From September 30-October 5, 2017, Tulchin Research conducted a


telephone survey among 401 likely November 2018 voters in the Californias 48th Congressional
District using live professional interviewers and calling both landlines and cell phones. The
margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.89 percentage points.