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September 26, 2008

Battling Polls In Battle Creek

Seventh District football fans have too many options. Michigan State is on the district's northern edge, while the University of Michigan is in Ann Arbor, just east of the district. So it's only appropriate that the race to represent the district is as fierce as a battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy, awarded to the winner of the annual Wolverine-Spartan gridiron clash.

And like any good rivalry, the race for the Seventh District could come down to the last second. Two new polls conducted for the two candidates show it's anyone's game.

A poll conducted for Rep. Tim Walberg, a freshman Republican, shows the incumbent with a big lead. Conducted by National Research Inc., the poll surveyed 300 likely voters between 9/15-16 for a margin of error of +/- 5.7%. Walberg and State Senator Mark Schauer were tested.

General Election Matchup
Walberg..........50
Schauer..........40

Generic GOPer....46
Generic Dem......41

McCain...........55
Obama............40

But Schauer has his own markedly different poll. The Myers Research poll surveyed 500 likely voters between 9/24-25 for a margin of error of +/- 4.4%. Walberg and Schauer were tested.

General Election Matchup
Schauer..........42
Walberg..........36

Aside from horse race numbers, the two surveys differ most in the name recognition advantage Walberg enjoys. Walberg's poll shows him with a strong 57% favorable to 29% unfavorable rating, while Schauer is seen favorably by 33% compared with 18% who see him unfavorably. That means 49% of voters in the district don't know enough about the Democrat to rate him.

But what a difference nine days makes. Schauer has been on television in the time between the two polls, and his survey shows 67% of voters know him, compared with 76% who know Walberg. Schauer's poll shows Walberg with a problematic job approval rating; just 34% say the incumbent is doing an excellent or good job, while 46% say he's doing a fair or poor job.