I ran into Larry LaRocco at Netroots Nation in Austin, and after some back-and-forth banter about his race, he dared me to poll the race, claiming it would be within 10 points. I didn't believe him, but on a whim, I commissioned the poll anyway. The results:
Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 7/28-30. Likely voters. MoE 4.5% (No trend lines)
Risch (R) 42
LaRocco (D) 32
Rammell (I) 5
Undecided 17 ...
... LaRocco has a 43/22 favorable/unfavorable rating, with 35 percent not knowing who he is. Republican Jim Risch is at 45/26, with 29 percent unfamiliar with him. LaRocco is narrowly winning independents 38-35 with 16 percent undecided, while Republicans are really torn -- 21 percent undecided, probably agonizing over voting for Risch (who few seem to like in his party) or their soul mate Rammell. Right now, Risch gets only 64 percent of Republicans.
Given those numbers, and with 17 percent of all respondents undecided, this race is shockingly wide open.
Kos polled the presidential matchup, too, and found John McCain leading Barack Obama by 16 points - a far cry from the 39 percent with which George W. Bush beat John Kerry in 2004. "By running tighter, Obama makes it easier for down-ticket Democrats to win," Kos says. Read it all here.
Remember: LaRocco - an Army veteran - will unveil his veterans platform tonight at the Idaho Veterans for Obama kickoff, and he's set to attend a vets' picnic at Rock Creek Park in Twin Falls this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., too. Larry's been running hard for more than a year, engaging with voters, and taking Risch to task on the most pressing issues of the campaign. Expect this to get even tighter over the next three months.