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Poll: Davis Holds Large Lead in Top Illinois Contest

Davis greets Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka at Republican Day during the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., a top Democratic target this cycle, had a 19-point lead over his opponent with six weeks to go until Election Day, according to a poll conducted for his campaign and provided first to CQ Roll Call.  

Davis led Democratic rival Ann Callis, 55 percent to 36 percent, in the survey of the 13th District conducted by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies. Just 7 percent of voters were undecided.  

The poll found atmospherics in the district are also stacked against Callis, making it tougher for her to make up ground in the short amount of time left until the election.  

President Barack Obama's approval rating stood at just 38 percent in this Springfield-based seat in his home state.  

At the same time, the gubernatorial contest in the Land of Lincoln  could also drag Callis down.  

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn badly trailed Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner, with 30 percent to Rauner's 47 percent, according to the 13th District survey.  

Davis squeaked into office in 2012 by 1,002 votes — one of the slimmest margins of victory in the country. He entered the 2014 cycle with a target on his back.  

Democrats recruited Callis, a former judge from Madison County, and touted her as one of their best candidates.  

But Davis has had a visible presence in the district since he was first elected, and the poll showed he is known by 85 percent of voters in the district, with 41 percent of those voters viewing him favorably.  

Callis, who Democrats privately say has not lived up to expectations as a candidate, was familiar to 63 percent of voters and just 19 percent viewed her favorably in the poll.  

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is slated to go on air with an ad in the Champaign media market on Sept. 30 with a $670,000 cable and broadcast buy. The National Republican Congressional Committee has $1.44 million reserved in the St. Louis market. That buy also could be split with another competitive race in the neighboring 12th District.  

The poll surveyed 400 likely voters in the Springfield-based district via live telephone calls on Sept. 17 and Sept. 18. It had a margin of error of 4.9 percent.  

Illinois' 13th District is rated a Leans Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.  

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