Welcome to the power of social media in politics. The video of Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC) manhandling the young man, repeatedly growling, “Who are you?” and grabbing his wrist and neck, has been viewed millions of times on YouTube. And it has put the 14-term Democratic congressman’s job at risk.
A few days after the incident, a SurveyUSA poll showed GOP nominee Renee Ellmers leading Etheridge by one point, 39 percent to 38 percent in North Carolina’s Second Congressional District. When asked if they had seen the video or hear or read anything about it, 84 percent of the 400 registered voters polled said they had, and 45 percent said it made them less likely to vote for Etheridge, while 39 percent said it made no difference, and 14 percent said it made them more likely to vote for him.