Poll: Gilchrest With 60 Percent Negative Rating Among GOPers

Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), in the midst of a fierce Republican primary fight to hold onto his Eastern Shore-based seat, has also hit rock-bottom with many of his Republican constituents, according to a newly released poll.

The poll, commissioned by state Sen. EJ Pipkin’s campaign, shows 60 percent of likely Republican voters having a negative opinion of the nine-term congressman. That’s nearly doubly his approval rating of 36 percent. Only 29 percent of voters said they would definitely reelect Gilchrest, a dangerously low number.

And Gilchrest only receives 33 percent of the vote against two well-financed primary challengers. Pipkin and conservative state senator Andrew Harris each received 27 percent of the vote in the head-to-head matchup.

The poll, conducted between Dec. 18-19, surveyed 300 likely Republican primary voters in the district and has a 5.7 percent margin of error. It was conducted by the GOP polling firm, McLaughlin and Associates.

Gilchrest, known for his moderate voting record, has been taking increasing flak from conservatives, especially over his position on the Iraq war. He was one of only two Republicans who voted for Democratic-sponsored legislation (that President Bush vetoed) calling for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as early as last fall.

He also has been slammed by the anti-tax Club for Growth for supporting pork-barrel spending in television ads airing throughout the district.

But the presence of two credible primary opponents appears to be aiding the congressman’s re-election bid, according to the poll. Gilchrest only needs a plurality of the vote to win the nomination, and Pipkin and Harris appear to be splitting the anti-Gilchrest vote.