Cheri Bustos’ congressional campaign said Friday that a new internal poll shows her in a virtual dead heat with Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Ill.
The poll, conducted Monday through Wednesday, says Schilling now leads by two points, 47 percent to 45 percent. That’s within the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. It’s also down from the 13-point lead that a Schilling internal poll said he had in August.
“The race is rapidly moving in our direction,” Bustos campaign manager Allison Jaslow said.
The campaign would not release any other information about its poll. However, it said last month that once Bustos, a Democrat, began advertising and voters got to know her, the state of the race would change.
In August, the Schilling camp had said he led by a margin of
50 to 37. At the time, his pollster said Bustos was running out of time to make her case.
Schilling’s campaign dismissed the new poll Friday. Jon Schweppe, a spokesman, called it a fundraising tool and said the result “is simply not reliable.” Sunday is the end of the third quarter of fundraising for the campaigns.
The 17th District race is one of the most competitive in the country. Both Bustos and Schilling have launched TV ads since Labor Day. Their respective parties also have been busy with TV ads, mostly targeting the rival candidate.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the House Majority PAC, a Super PAC, have spent more than $1 million between them on the race, according to Federal Election Commission figures Friday. The National Republican Congressional Committee had spent $576,000 on the race so far, according to the FEC.
Nonpartisan analysts have called the race a tossup, even though the district’s makeup favors Democrats.
Schilling is seeking a second term, having been part of the Republican takeover of the House in 2010. Bustos, a former Quad-City Times journalist and hospital executive, is making her first run for Congress.