A new KSTP poll shows U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann with a nine-point lead over her Democratic challenger, Jim Graves.
If the election was held today, 50 percent of sixth district residents polled said they would vote for Bachmann, compared to 41 percent for Graves. Nine percent were undecided in the SurveyUSA phone poll of 598 likely voters. The poll, which was conducted Oct. 9 through 11, has a 4.1 percent margin of error.
These are the first public poll numbers from the sixth district since a September poll from the Graves campaign that showed him within two percentage points of Bachmann.
In response, the Graves campaign released another internal poll, taken between Oct. 3 and 4 by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research that again showed Graves within two points of Bachmann.
Last week's poll, the campaign said, showed Bachmann with 47 percent support and Graves at 45 percent. The poll sampled 403 likely voters and has a margin of error of 4.9 percent. The campaign's August poll showed Bachmann leading Graves 48 percent to 46 percent. In June, the campaign said, its internal polls showed Bachmann up by 48 percent to Graves' 43 percent.
he poll found that much of Bachmann's lead came from the district's male voters. Bachmann leads by 18 points among men, while Graves leads by 1 point among women.
Graves, a wealthy hotel CEO, remains a relatively unknown quantity to many district voters, according to the poll: 45 percent of likely voters had a neutral to no opinion of Graves. Bachmann, who is running for a fourth term in Congress, is a known quantity -- 40 percent hold a favorable opinion, 40 percent view her unfavorably and 20 percent have a neutral or no opinion.
The poll results come the same day the Democratic Congressional Committee upgraded the sixth district to its list of competitive "Red-to-Blue" districts where they believe a Democratic challenger has a shot at unseating a Republican incumbent.
The poll also showed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney carrying the district 53 percent to 36 percent, if the election was today.