A new poll in Rhode Island shows deep problems for Patrick Kennedy, son of Ted, who is an eight term incumbent.

The poll, by WPRI TV station, showed only 35 per cent of voters in his district would vote to re-elect him, while he has a 56 per cent unfavorable rating.

Kennedy also faces a well-financed Republican challenger for the first time in the shape of State Rep. John Loughlin, who announced his campaign yesterday

This is the best-financed challenger he’s faced since the first time he ran, and his favorability numbers are way down.

“Congressman Kennedy could have a very competitive race,” said WPRI-12 pollster Joe Fleming.

Laughlin came out guns firing against the beleaguered Kennedy.

 "We’ve got a congressman who’s not connecting with voters or the people. He’s pushing policies that are diametrically opposed with needs of people - to get the economy going and create jobs. We can’t afford it anymore.”

Loughlin, who is a 50-year-old National Guardsman, has hired key personnel Eric Fehrnstrom and Peter Flaherty from the Scott Brown campaign to help in his race. The pair was among Brown’s top consultants.

Tim Grilo, chairman of Rhode Island’s Democratic Party, said he is still very confident.

“I expect the voters will send Congressman Kennedy back to Washington to represent them with the same passion and experience he’s brought to the job over the last eight terms,” he said.

Kennedy has admitted to being bipolar, and has fought with the Rhode Island bishop Thomas Tobin over his abortion stance.

Kennedy’s financial standing is a lot better, as he raised $756,000 for the campaign last year.