Scandals take toll on DeLay’s re-election prospects

Scandal-ridden 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

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.

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

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.

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.