January 14, 2006

Poll shows embattled DeLay trailing in Texas race

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Embattled Republican Tom Delay trails a
Democratic challenger for his seat in the U.S. House of
Representatives and is viewed favorably by only 28 percent of
people questioned in a poll of his Houston area district, the
Houston Chronicle said in its online edition on Saturday.

The survey of 560 registered voters conducted Tuesday
through Thursday found 30 percent favored former U.S. Rep. Nick
Lampson, a Democrat, compared with 22 percent for DeLay, who
has represented the district for 22 years.

The two are expected to square off in the November
election, although DeLay must first defeat three opponents in
the Republican primary in March.

Eleven percent said they would vote for former Republican
Rep. Steve Stockman, who has said he may run as an independent,
while 38 percent did not answer or said they would support none
of the candidates.

DeLay's political career has taken a nose dive since he was
indicted in Texas in September on campaign finance charges and
his friend lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty on January 3
to criminal charges in an influence-peddling scandal that has
tainted several former DeLay associates.

Although he has denied any wrongdoing, DeLay stepped aside
from his job as majority leader, the No. 2 Republican position
in the House, after the Texas indictment. He said on January 7
he would not try to regain the post.

Sixty percent of those polled said they viewed DeLay
unfavorably and 28 percent said they viewed him favorably.
Ninety-one percent said they had a lower opinion of DeLay than
they did last year.

"Those are the kinds of signs that no candidate wants to
have, especially one who still has legal battles coming up
before the primary," said Rice University political scientist
Bob Stein.

A DeLay spokeswoman said the results were "contrary to the
strong support we're seeing for Congressman DeLay throughout
the district."

The Chronicle poll, conducted by Stein and University of
Houston political scientist Richard Murray, had a margin of
error of plus-or-minus 4.1 percent.