Democrats today released a poll that indicates congressional challenger Raul Ruiz is within striking distance of Rep. Mary Bono Mack.
The poll – funded by Democracy for America and conducted by Public Policy Polling – found Bono Mack is leading 47 percent to Ruiz’s 44 percent. Another nine percent of the 1,281 likely voters surveyed said they were undecided.
The spread between Ruiz and Bono Mack is roughly equal to the the poll’s 2.74 percent margin of error.
The poll, conducted last week, will inevitably rally Democratic support for Ruiz, an emergency room physician who is in his first political bid.
But Republicans will be quick to point out that Democrats have expressed similar optimism around Bono Mack’s previous opponents.
The Palm Springs Republican often beats her opponents by double-digit margins. Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, her 2010 challenger, came closest but still lost by more than 9 percentage points in a year when a third-party challenger was on the ballot.
Republicans have not publicly released any polling in the district.
Bono Mack and Ruiz are campaigning for the new 36th Congressional seat. The redrawn district, which includes the entire Coachella Valley, gives Republicans a small advantage in terms of voter registration.