Rep. Schilling cracks 50 percent mark in internal poll

The same poll had Obama leading Mitt Romney in the district by 51 to 41 percent, showing that Schilling could have the ability to run ahead of Romney by a few points, which could make a big difference in the fall.

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But Bustos's name identification was at just 51 percent to Schilling's 86 percent in the district, meaning she has a lot more room to grow — and national Democrats and EMILY's List, a group that backs pro-abortion-rights Democratic women, are likely to help her in a big way this fall.

The poll was conducted by the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies from May 20-22 and has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

"Despite running in a district that was drawn to favor Democrats and where the President leads by ten points, Bobby Schilling begins this race in a strong position," writes pollster Glen Bolger.  "However, make no mistake, Democrats drew this seat with the goal of making Schilling a one-term Congressman and will presumably invest significant resources to do so. In order for Schilling to maintain his double-digit lead, the key will be to have the financial resources to define Bustos before she (and her national Democratic allies) can define herself."

On cue, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fired back against the poll — though they didn't question Schilling's numbers.

"“he number Congressman Schilling should be concerned with is his 93 percent lockstep partisan voting record with Washington Republicans to score political points instead of creating jobs," said DCCC spokesman Haley Morris.

The Hill rates this race as leaning Democratic.

This post was updated at 1:35 p.m.