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Dueling Polls Released in Battleground House Race (Updated)

Southerland is one of this cycle's most vulnerable House Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Southerland is one of this cycle's most vulnerable House Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:07 p.m. | A new internal GOP poll showed Rep. Steve Southerland II had a six-point lead last week over his Democratic rival, attorney Gwen Graham.  

Southerland had the support of 45 percent of respondents, while Graham had the backing of 39 percent, according to the congressman’s campaign polling memo, a copy of which was obtained by CQ Roll Call.  

The pair are locked in a heated battle for Florida’s 2nd District, based in the Panhandle area.  

Both candidates were well-known in the district, reflecting the campaign’s massive television spending. Ninety-eight percent of those surveyed recognized Southerland, while Graham, the daughter of former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, had 92 percent name recognition.  

Additionally, Southerland raised $620,000 in the third quarter, a jump from his second-quarter haul  of $431,000.  

Although the campaign did not release a favorable/unfavorable breakdown of the candidates, the poll showed President Barack Obama remains unpopular in the district. Forty-two percent of those surveyed had a positive job approval of the president, while 53 percent were unhappy with his performance.  

The race is rated Tossup  by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. An August poll by a Democratic poll showed the race to be a dead heat.  

Adam Geller of National Research Group, Inc. conducted the survey of 400 likely voters on behalf of the Southerland campaign between Oct. 1 and 2. The margin of error was 4.9 percent.  

The poll’s sample included 34 percent of Republican respondents, 50 percent Democratic and 16 percent were Independent, unaffiliated or “other,” according to a campaign polling memo. Thirty percent of those sampled were reached via cell phone.  

The Graham camp responded with its own survey from Sept. 21 through 24 showing the Democrat leading Southerland by three percent.  

That survey showed Graham with 48 percent and Southerland trailing her at 45 percent.  

Graham had a net favorability rating. Forty-one percent of respondents had a positive view of her, while 30 percent had a negative view of her.  

Southerland fell just short of a positive favorability rating. Forty-three percent of those surveyed viewed Southerland positively, while 44 percent viewed him negatively.  

The poll was commissioned by the Graham campaign and conducted by John Anzalone and Zac McCrary of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. It was completed with live interviews among 500 likely voters. It had a margin of error was 4.4 percent.  

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