The poll used three different methods to help predict the race. In each model, Rouda is leading Rohrabacher.
“Rouda registers 46 percent support and Rohrabacher has the backing of 43 percent among all potential voters — that is voters who have participated in an election since 2010 or have newly registered to vote,” says the polling outfit.
In addition, Monmouth used a “historic midterm” model which showed Rouda leading 47 percent to 45 percent. Given Democratic enthusiasm evident in the 2018 midterms, Monmouth used “a model that includes a turnout surge in Democratic precincts,” which shows Rouda’s lead growing to 48-44.
The Orange County congressional district used to be a Republican stronghold. But Hillary Clinton carried this district, and all of Orange County, in the 2016 election, becoming the first Democrat to pull off the feat in 80 years. Rouda is hoping to capitalize on the momentum to oust a 15-term incumbent.
“Although Republicans have a natural registration advantage in this Orange County district, higher Democratic enthusiasm and divided voter opinion on Rohrabacher are making this a competitive race,” says Monmouth.
While both candidates receive the majority of support from voters of their own party, independent voters support Rouda by a huge margin: 49 percent to 31 percent.
Independents may be souring on Rohrabacher, thanks to a number scandals that have embroiled the congressman.
Rohrabacher’s zealous affinity for Russia has led to a significant amount of media scrutiny.
After 12 Russian operatives were indicted for crimes committed during the 2016 election, Rohrabacher rushed to claim that “we can’t blame Putin,” for these actions. Rohrabacher has repeatedly sided with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence community, going so far as to call U.S. intelligence agencies, “liars.”
As recently as April 2018, Rohrabacher was clinging to debunked conspiracy theories about how the hacking and theft of information from the DNC was an inside job, suggesting it was done by a DNC employee who was murdered. After the 12 Russians were indicted, Rohrabacher lied to the media, claiming he never advanced this conspiracy theory.
More recently, after a Russian spy Rohrabacher had met with was arrested, Rohrabacher ranted about the “deep state,” using language similar to statements made by Putin.
Russia isn’t the only area where Rohrabacher has courted controversy. Before the June primary, Rohrabacher advocated in favor of housing discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
Rohrabacher also voted to eliminate health insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and supported an “age tax” on residents aged 50-64 which would have increased their insurance premiums.
In the same week a poll came out showing him ahead, Rouda also released fundraising figures showing him massively outraising Rohrabacher.
Momentum seems to be on Rouda’s side in this competitive race.