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August 1, 2014

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Politics:

Democrat Erin Bilbray encouraged by poll results for campaign against Rep. Joe Heck

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Erin Bilbray

A poll commissioned by Erin Bilbray’s campaign shows the candidate for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District lacks name recognition but her resoundingly Democratic message may resonate with voters.

An independent Washington, D.C.-based polling firm called 400 voters in the district, which encompasses Henderson and Summerlin, in late April and asked whether they’d vote for Bilbray or Republican Rep. Joe Heck. Initially, those polled sided with Heck, a two-term incumbent, by a margin of 8 points, with 30 percent of those polled undecided.

But after pollsters read a paragraph outlining each candidates’ biographies and platforms, some voters changed their minds; enough to give Bilbray a slight lead in this poll, 42 percent to Heck’s 41 percent. The poll has a 4.9 percent margin of error.

“Bilbray moves into a narrow lead after voters hear both candidates’ positive messages, indicating that she is well positioned to win this toss-up race if she can raise the resources needed to communicate to 3rd District voters,” the poll summary reads.

Heck's biography read to voters outlines the fact he opposes the 2010 Affordable Care Act and sponsored legislation to streamline the federal workforce. Bilbray's biography outlines her experience with nonprofits and campaign promise to end tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas.

The results were exactly what Bilbray’s campaign was hoping to hear. The poll was leaked Tuesday after the campaign held a conference call with donors and strategists to discuss its findings. Campaign manager Erica Prosser said she’s happy with the results.

“We’re very encouraged by the numbers,” she said in an interview.

This is the first poll to be made public for the campaign. It differs drastically from The Washington Post’s election analysis, which rates Heck’s seat as 95 percent safe.

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