A new internal poll says that Republican congressional candidate John Archer is within striking distance of incumbent Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.

Loebsack is seeking a fourth term, but he’s running in a newly drawn district that includes Scott and Clinton counties for the first time. Archer’s campaign has sought to make the case that Loebsack is vulnerable, and they say the new poll shows that.

The poll, conducted for the Archer campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee, says Loebsack is leading 48 percent to 43 percent among likely voters. Ten percent of the poll respondents said they are undecided. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The Virginia-based Tarrance Group conducted the survey from June 25-27. It polled 400 people.

Forty-three percent of the respondents approved of the way Loebsack has done his job as a lawmaker, while 23 percent did not. Thirty-five percent did not have an opinion. Thirty-three percent said he deserved re-election, while 38 percent preferred a “new person.” The rest didn’t express a preference.

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Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District is considered favorable to Democrats. Even though Republicans have surpassed Democrats in voter registration figures statewide, there still are 26,000 more Democrats in the 2nd District than there are Republicans.

Together, the 24 counties in the district also have tended to vote Democratic in presidential elections.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which rates the competitiveness of congressional races across the country, said last month that Loebsack is the likely favorite in the 2nd District race. However, in a memo accompanying the poll results, the Tarrance Group said Loebsack should be considered one of the “more vulnerable” incumbents.

Meanwhile Tuesday, Archer got some fundraising help from former presidential hopeful Rick Santorum at a private home in Bettendorf. Archer has called Loebsack ineffective and faulted his votes on the health-care law and spending.

Loebsack, on the other hand, has pointed to Archer’s support for a House Republican budget that Democrats say is too harsh toward working people and Medicare. In an email to supporters Tuesday, Loebsack’s campaign said Archer would support the same “extreme” ideas as Santorum and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

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