Kissell touts poll showing him in the lead

Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), who was drawn into a much tougher district by a GOP gerrymander, is circulating a poll conducted for his campaign that shows him leading his opponents by double digits.

While the district now leans strongly Republican, Kissell holds a 10-point lead over GOP front-runner Richard Hudson, 46 percent to 36 percent.

The poll is good news for Kissell, but he's a top Republican target and is in for a tough race. That he's touting a poll showing him under 50 percent shows how vulnerable he is.

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Kissell was one of North Carolina Republicans' chief targets in redistricting: his district went from one that would lean 2 percentage points Republican in the average election to one that would leans 12 points towards the GOP, a huge swing. The poll shows that 43 percent of voters would be more likely to vote for an unnamed Republican candidate, while 36 percent would be more likely to vote for an unnamed Democrat, showing Kissell's name helps him in the area.

He's only represented a bit more than half of the new district — something the poll memo argues is a positive, saying he has more room to grow there as he introduces himself to new voters.

The poll of 500 likely voters was conducted March 15 through March 20 for the Kissell campaign by Democratic pollster Anzalone Liszt Research, and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.