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Michigan: Democratic Poll Shows Trouble for Dan Benishek

Updated 6:25 p.m. | A new Democratic poll showed that former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D) led Rep. Dan Benishek (R) by 9 points in the race for Michigan’s 1st district.

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they backed McDowell, while 40 percent supported Benishek.The poll was commissioned by House Majority PAC, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the League of Conservation Voters.

Both candidates are well-known in the district. Eighty-six percent of respondents were able to identify Benishek while 74 percent knew who McDowell is.

The poll was conducted Sept. 18-20 by Fred Yang of Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group. It surveyed 402 likely voters and had a 4.9-point margin of error.

This is a rematch from 2010, when the two candidates vied to replace retiring Rep. Bart Stupak (D).

Updated 6:25 p.m.

Benishek campaign spokesman Raffi Williams emailed with a comment on the poll, questioning its legitimacy. He twice called it “bogus.”

He went on to note that the poll’s sponsors were McDowell’s “Washington liberal allies” and that it was an attempt “to distract voters from the fact that” McDowell has supported the economic policies of former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.

“Instead of wasting time on bogus polls, Dr. Benishek is working hard on the issues that matter to Northern Michigan like job growth and reining in Washington’s big spending,” Williams added.

Williams said the poll did not match up with the polling he has seen, but he was unable to provide his campaign’s internal numbers.