Local/State

Poll shows Etheridge trailing after video

Thursday, June 17, 2010

(YouTube)

Days after North Carolina Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) was seen in a video confrontation with a man with a camera on a Washington street, a new poll seems to indicate the incident has damaged him with voters.

The conservative leaning Civitas Institute released a flash poll Thursday that shows Etheridge slightly trailing Republican challenger Renee Ellmers.

Civitas said the poll of 400 registered voters in the 2nd Congressional District shows Ellmers leads Etheridge 39 percent to 38 percent. Twelve percent said they would vote for Libertarian Tom Rose and 11 percent said they were undecided.

The margin of error was plus or minus 5 percent - putting the candidates in a statistical dead heat. For full results from the poll, click here.

The video made national headlines Monday after it was posted on YouTube and was linked from the Drudge Report.

In the video, a group of men with cameras ask Etheridge if he supports the Obama agenda. His reaction was to grab one man's camera and then grab him by the wrist and neck while demanding to know who he was.

Etheridge has repeatedly apologized for the incident, calling it a poor reaction.

"All of us have bad days, but that's no excuse," he said.

Democrats have claimed the men in the video - whose faces were blurred - were conservative operatives looking to provoke the congressman. But Etheridge has said their identities were irrelevant and he would apologize to them if he knew who they were.

The incident has been a boon for challenger Ellmers who was relatively unknown before it happened. She's since gotten campaign donations from all over the country.

“With the mood of the voters in the second district, this was always going to be a tough race for Etheridge. However, the video confrontation has vastly complicated his efforts and has now put him in the national spotlight,” said Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca.

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