The latest Denver Post/Mason Dixon poll in the 4th Congression District shows incumbent Republican Marilyn Musgrave leading Democrat Angie Paccione by 10 percentage points. Reform candiate Eric Eidness was favored by 7%.
This is the fifth poll in the race released since mid-August (three independent, and one internal poll from each candidate). All show support for Musgrave in the 42%-46% range. All show support for Eidness in the 5%-8% range. Support for Paccione, which has ranged from 36%-42%, has been higher in two prior Survey USA/KUSA polls which have a low undecided percentage, than in the Mason-Dixon poll and Musgrave internal poll, which showed higher undecided percentages. Taken as a whole, these results are in accord with the conventional wisdom that undecided voters tend to strongly favor challengers over incumbents when pushed.
As the race stands, Paccione needs about 92% of of the undecided votes in the Mason-Dixon poll to win, which indicates that she is likely trailing in the race, if the poll is accurate. But, a 10 percentage point lead probably significantly overstates the extent to which Musgrave is really leading in this race, which is likely closer to 4-6 percentage points, assuming that two-thirds to three-quarters of undecided voters break for a challenger, which would be typical.
Mason-Dixon Poll Details
The Mason Dixon poll sampled 400 registered voters from October 3-7, with a margin of sampling error of +/- 5 percentage points.
Among Democrats, the split was:
Among Republicans, the split was:
Among unaffiliated voters, the split was:
The number of greatest concern to Paccione is the lack of a strong lead among independent voters, which is essential in the Republican leaning 4th Congressional District. Of course, the margin of error within a subsample like unaffiliated voters far exceeds that of the poll as a whole.
Musgrave internal poll (September 26-27):
Paccione internal poll (September 29):
Survey USA/KUSA polls (September 21st and August 16th):
Marilyn Musgrave (R) 46 (46)
Angie Paccione (D) 42 (42)
Eric Eidsness (Reform) 8 (8)
Undecided 5 (4)