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August 26, 2008

Walberg, Knollenberg Ahead, Barely

Two Michigan Republicans facing tough races lead their Democratic challengers according to a new poll, but in both cases, the incumbents are well under the crucial 50% mark, giving national GOP strategists another reason to worry.

The poll, conducted by Michigan-based EPIC-MRA for the Detroit News and four television stations, surveyed 400 likely voters in both the Seventh and Ninth Districts for margins of error of +/- 4.9%. The Seventh District poll, which tested Rep. Tim Walberg and State Senator Mark Schauer, was conducted 8/20-22. The Ninth District poll, which pitted Rep. Joe Knollenberg against former State Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters, independent candidate Jack Kevorkian (Yes, that Jack Kevorkian) and Libertarian Adam Goodman.

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Both incumbent Republicans have bad job approval ratings. Just 35% say they have a positive impression of Knollenberg's job performance, while 47% say they think of his performance in a negative light. Walberg gets a similarly anemic 32% positive to 43% negative rating.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $1.5 million in television airtime aimed at Walberg and $1.1 million targeting Knollenberg. If they drive down both incumbents' favorable numbers any further, Republicans may find themselves on the wrong end of the next poll.