An internal poll from the campaign of Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) appears to actually offer some good news for a Democrat in a competitive district this fall. The poll gives Kissell a 17-point lead over Republican challenger Harold Johnson. 

The numbers come from Kissell's pollster, Anzalone Liszt Research, and have him at 49 percent of the vote to Johnson's 32 percent. Third-party candidate Thomas Hill is polling at 7 percent. 

The Kissell campaign is taking the internal numbers as welcome news, given that election handicapper Charlie Cook rates the district a "toss-up" ahead of November. 

Johnson endured a nasty GOP primary earlier this spring, and North Carolina's 8th district was notably absent from the list of districts the National Republican Congressional Committee reserved TV time in earlier this month.