WASHINGTON -- A new poll shows Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is statistically tied with Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.
Murphy actually has a narrow edge in the poll released Thursday by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. A survey of 400 likely general election voters in Florida's 18th Congressional district found that 47 percent would vote for Murphy if the election were held today versus 46 percent voting for West, with 7 percent undecided. The poll, conducted by Grove Insight, surveyed voters between Aug. 21 and Aug. 24.
Murphy's slight lead, however, is statistically insignificant given that the poll's margin of error is 4.9 percentage points and he only leads West by 1 point. But the poll's findings bode well for Murphy, who is still relatively unknown in the district and is nowhere near matching West's war chest. The Tea Party-backed Republican raised $2.3 million for the quarter ending in June, compared to Murphy's $507,000.
The poll also shows that little has changed among the district's voters over the past few months: a May poll showed West and Murphy tied at 45 percent.
West campaign spokesman Tim Edson dismissed the poll -- and The Huffington Post -- as anything to take seriously.
"If a left-wing blog like the Huffington Post is reporting it and the source is the DCCC, there is no doubt it’s a meaningless, contrived poll. I can’t blame you guys though--with Patrick Murphy melting down behind his father’s racist attack ads and refusals to debate, you have to try something to make him look credible," Edson said in a statement.
Murphy told HuffPost earlier this month that he knows he'll be out-raised and out-publicized by West, who is known for making controversial comments. But that's exactly why Murphy thinks he has a real shot at winning in November.
"Yup," Murphy said when asked if his biggest campaign asset is West himself. "Look, I've got no ego. Running against him is a big part of the race."
Political handicappers have rated Florida's 18th district as either a toss-up or leaning Republican.