The six-term congressman is running in the most heavily Republican district of any incumbent Democrat — the newly drawn district would have given President Obama just 41 percent of its vote in 2008 — and two thirds of it is new territory for him. On top of that, national Republicans are high on Love as a candidate. But he has high name recognition in the state and has already proven his mettle by surviving the 2010 GOP wave in an even tougher district, albeit against a weaker candidate.

The Blue Dog Coalition co-chairman has also carved out a centrist reputation in the House, voting against Democrats' climate change and healthcare reform bills and recently announcing he would not be attending the Democratic National Convention, although he's promised to vote for Obama in the fall.

The Hill rates the race a "toss-up."

The poll of 379 registered voters in the district was conducted from June 15 through June 21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.