Dem poll: GOP Rep. Benishek trails by nine in Michigan

Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) trails challenger Gary McDowell (D) by nine points, according to a new Democratic poll.

The poll, conducted for the pro-Democratic House Majority PAC, AFSCME and the League of Conservation Voters, has McDowell leading Benishek by 49 to 40 percent. Though partisan polls should be viewed with some skepticism, that's a big shift from a two-point advantage Benishek had in an early poll conducted for the three groups.

The two are running in a rematch from 2010, when Benishek beat McDowell by a surprising 11-point margin in the rural, populist northern Michigan district. But national groups on both sides have said they expect a close race in the district, and are spending heavily to influence its outcome. The Hill rates the race a "toss-up."

The poll of 402 likely voters was conducted by Democratic pollster Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group from Sept. 18-20 and has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

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