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Emily’s List poll: Southerland 44, Graham 42

Posted Sep 5, 2013 by William March

Updated Sep 5, 2013 at 03:57 PM

A poll in the congressional race between Rep. Steve Southerland and Gwen Graham shows her nipping at the incumbent Republican’s heels, trailing by less than the poll’s error margin.

The poll was done for Emily’s List, a political action group that supports Democratic women candidates, by Clarity Campaign Labs, a relatively new Washington-based polling and political consulting firm.

The firm is Democratic-oriented, as is Emily’s List, but Marcy Stech, Emily’s List spokeswoman, said it’s reliable.

“It’s a very credible poll. We do these types of polls routinely, and often use them for our own decision-making process,” Stech said. “We have every reason to believe this will be a very competitive race. It’s clear voters are losing faith in Steve Southerland.”

Southerland is a tea party-oriented Republican who unseated veteran Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd in 2010 in the Panhandle-based 2nd Congressional District. Southerland recently generated controversy by being instrumental in the defeat of the federal farm bill, which includes federal government support for various agricultural programs as well as the food stamp program.

Graham’s challenge to Southerland has become a cause celebre for Democrats statewide. She’s better positioned than most candidates would be to take on an incumbent because she’s the daughter of fomer Florida governor and senator Bob Graham, who has been helping her raise money statewide—including a fundraiser hosted by several prominent Democrats in Tampa.

The poll, using traditional random-digit-dial methodogy plus a cell phone sample, included 1,152 registered voters in the 2nd District Aug. 27-28, for an error margin of 2.85 points, Stech said.

Asked whether they would vote to re-elect Southerland or elect someone else, the respondents split 40-40 percent with 20 percent undecided. In a head-to-head matchup question, results were Southerland 44 percent, Graham 42 percent and “unsure” 14 percent.