A new poll from a Democratic pollster shows incumbent Tim Walz with a commanding 16-point lead in the First District, but Walz’s opponent Randy Demmer says the poll is way off base.

The poll, which gives Walz a 50-34 lead over Demmer, starkly contrasts a KAAL-TV ABC 6 NEWS/Survey USA poll conducted last week that gave Walz a slim 47-42 lead.

Democratic pollster Grove Insight conducted the new poll. The poll interviewed 400 likely voters and had a 4.9 percent margin of error.

The poll comes a day after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made a $276,000 ad buy in the First District, a sign that typically indicates a close race.

Demmer spokesman Jason Flohrs pointed to the ad buy to dispute the newest poll’s results. “With all the cash pressures on the DCCC, why would they be getting involved in a race that supposedly has a 16-point lead?” he said.

Gabby Adler, a DCCC spokeswoman, said Democrats have been confident from the beginning that Walz will prevail.

“The atmosphere is tough and we’re not taking anything for granted,” Adler said. “We are absolutely going to use our resources to the best of our ability to ensure this.”

It’s not clear who paid for the polling, which was requested by progressive research strategy firm Project New West. Jill Hanauer, president of Project New West, declined to say who asked them to conduct the poll.

Both the Walz campaign and DCCC said they did not request it.

A copy of the poll questionnaire provided to Hot Dish shows that after introductory likely voter questions, the poll asks favorability questions of Demmer, Walz and an undisclosed group that Hanauer said was a “progressive leaning national organization.”

The poll then asked respondents which candidate they are backing. Third party candidates were included and received 5 percent support, and 13 percent remained undecided.

Grove insight pollster Lisa Grove said the party breakdown for the poll was 36 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican and 26 percent independent. The district has a partisan voting index of R+1, according to the Cook Political Report.

Politico posted the memo sent out about the poll, which you can view here.

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