Huffpost Politics

These Graphs Help Show Why This Key Senate Race Is Far From Over

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Another poll has given Republican Terri Lynn Land a slight edge in the race for departing veteran Democrat Sen. Carl Levin's (Mich.) seat -- a contest that recently landed on The Fix's list of the nation's 10 hottest midterm campaigns.

The latest EPIC-MRA poll, released Thursday, shows Land leading by 3 percentage points, 41 percent to 38 percent. The poll of 600 likely statewide voters was conducted Feb. 5 through Feb 11.

Land's campaign shared a press release Friday celebrating the latest poll results as the fifth straight polling victory over Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

"Terri Lynn Land is gaining support from Michigan families because they know they can trust her as a mom, small business owner and public servant to fight for them in Washington, D.C.," said Heather Swift, Land's spokeswoman.

But with a 4-percent margin of error in the most recent poll, the race is still tight.

"One thing that's important to note is that Land is not leading Peters," Susan Demas, a columnist and publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, told The Huffington Post, citing the margin of error. "Too often, we in the media forget that in our zeal to report who's winning and who's losing."

An analysis of polling in the Peters and Land race by HuffPost Pollster showed, with a few exceptions, that most victories fall within each poll's respective margin of error. The breakdown also reveals another interesting point: With the exception of results from EPIC-MRA and Rasmussen, all the polls from the Land-Peters race have come from partisan polling outfits. Earlier this week, HuffPollster broke down how Land's 5-point lead in a recent poll conducted by Harper Polling underrepresented urban voters, which could have impacted Land's margin of victory.

Peters' spokesperson Haley Morris sent The Huffington Post a statement that read, "Former RNC Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land and the Koch Brothers spent more than a million dollars in false attacks trying to distort Gary's record as a proven independent voice for Michigan middle class families and the race is still a dead heat."

The reference to spending by the Koch brothers refers to a million-dollar ad buy in January made by Americans For Prosperity. The multimedia ad, which has appeared on YouTube and local news channels, slams Obamacare as "hurting Michigan families" and accuses Peters of lying about Michiganders being able to keep their health care. Shortly after the Peters attack ad began running, the Michigan Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission requesting an investigation and accusing Land's campaign of illegally coordinating with super PACs. The Huffington Post first aired a video in August showing Land at an event where she references working with super PACS.

In addition to edging past Peters in recent polls, Land is also winning on the fundraising front. According to Land's spokeswoman, her campaign, which is partially self-financed, has raised at least $400,000 more than her opponent.

Nolan Finley wrote in the Detroit News that, in their quest to capture the Senate in 2014, Republicans view Michigan as a key opportunity.

"Despite its long blue-state track record in national elections, the GOP considers Michigan one of 10 states that will decide their chances of picking up the 51st Senate vote," he wrote.

This latest poll also offered good news for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who is running for reelection against Democrat Mark Schauer. According to the EPIC-MRA results, voters picked Snyder 47 percent to 39 percent, a lead of 8 percent.

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