Race to replace David Wu is tightening, says internal poll from Republican

Republican congressional candidate Rob Cornilles has released a poll that suggests he's narrowing the lead his Democratic rival, Suzanne Bonamici, holds just as ballots are hitting mailboxes throughout Oregon's 1st Congressional District.

Ballots in the general election are due back Jan. 31.

The poll, conducted for the Cornilles campaign by pollster Bob Moore, surveyed 300 likely voters in the district Jan. 11-12. Among them, 46 percent said they were planning to vote for Bonamici, 42 percent said they would vote for Cornilles and 10 percent were unsure. The pollster reported a 6 percent margin of error.

The results contradict two independent polls conducted earlier in the race that both put Bonamici ahead by 11 percentage points.

A poll conducted Dec. 22 through Jan. 4 for KATU by SurveyUSA contacted 650 registered voters and isolated 504 of them as likely voters. In the poll, Bonamici led the pack with 50 percent of the vote, while 39 percent supported Cornilles. SurveyUSA calculated a 4.5 percent margin of error. Its results are similar to a poll conducted Dec. 13-14 by Public Policy Polling for the Daily Kos and the SEIU, which surveyed 979 likely voters and found Bonamici to have support from 52 percent while Cornilles had 41 percent. In both earlier polls, 7 percent were undecided. In the Cornilles poll, 10 percent say they are undecided.

The poll, if it's accurate, is good news for Cornilles, who hasn't drawn the kind of national funding Bonamici has. News of the poll rattled across websites from Oregon to Washington, D.C. and Tuesday the Cornilles campaign announced a new television ad, the first in partnership with the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C.

Cornilles campaign manager Mary Anne Ostrom said the poll, the first since the end of the holidays, showed the campaign had momentum.

But Carol Butler, Bonamici's campaign manager, was skeptical of the results. 'It's inconsistent with everything else that's been seen in this race,' Butler said.

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