Rep. Heath Shuler, a Blue Dog Democrat, is leading his relatively unknown GOP challenger by just 12 points, according to polling conducted for the campaign of businessman Jeff Miller.
The survey showed Shuler at 46 percent and Miller at 34 percent, with 18 percent undecided.
The poll of 300 likely general election voters was conducted for Miller’s campaign June 1 and 3 by Public Opinion Strategies and had a 5.7-point margin of error.
A top Democrat in the state said the survey showed the incumbent’s strength. “A Republican poll showing Heath is up nearly two touchdowns on his opponent in a district that McCain carried in 2008? We’re going to use that to show how safe the seat is,” state Democratic Party Executive Director Andrew Whalen said.
Miller, who founded a nonprofit group to fly World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to tour the World War II Memorial and other sites, won the nomination in his six-way GOP primary on May 4.
But Miller has yet to show the fundraising strength he’ll need to compete against the well-known and well-funded incumbent.
According to reports filed just before the primary in mid-April, Miller raised less than $130,000 in about three months of campaigning. Shuler had nearly $1.3 million in the bank at that time.
Miller is likely to get a financial boost from an endorsement this week from the conservative grass-roots group FreedomWorks PAC, which is promising to help finance direct-mail, get-out-the-vote and other campaign efforts for Miller.
Sportscaster Would Run Strong Against Kissell
Rep. Larry Kissell (D) may have a serious fight on his hands in the battleground 8th district, but only if former sportscaster Harold Johnson wins the Republican runoff next week.
An automated survey from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling shows Kissell leading Johnson 41 percent to 35 percent.
But Johnson won’t be taking on Kissell unless he wins the runoff against businessman Tim D’Annunzio, who came in first in their six-way primary. D’Annunzio, a millionaire who many establishment Republicans believe to be too controversial to make a good general election candidate, trailed Kissell in a general election matchup by a much wider margin, taking 26 percent to the Congressman’s 48 percent.
The survey of 400 8th district voters was conducted June 10-13 and had a 4.9-point margin of error.
D’Annunzio topped Johnson by 4 points in the primary in early May, but after a series of attacks by Johnson and state party leaders, his favorability ratings have nose-dived. Just 19 percent said they have a favorable opinion of D’Annunzio, while 38 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
Among Republican voters, PPP said Johnson was favored in the runoff, 49 percent to 39 percent.