Democratic challenger Harry Mitchell has taken a narrow lead in the race for the U.S. House in Arizona’s 5th Congressional District, according to an independent poll released by SurveyUSA on Wednesday.
That marks a major breakthrough for the former Tempe mayor and state senator who is running against six-term Republican incumbent J.D. Hayworth.
Mitchell had 48 percent support, while Hayworth had 46 percent, according to the poll of 643 likely voters, which was conducted Sunday through Tuesday.
Libertarian Warren Severin garnered 4 percent of those polled, and undecided voters comprised the remaining 2 percent.
The poll had a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points, so the Mitchell-Hayworth contest is within the survey’s sampling error, according to the New York polling firm.
“Prominent incumbent Republican J.D. Hayworth is in trouble,” according to an analysis by SurveyUSA.
As recently as Sept. 18, Hayworth held a 12-point advantage. By Oct. 16, that had dropped to a three-point edge, according to previous Survey-USA polls.
Mitchell has built his campaign on pledges to control the federal debt, support for comprehensive immigration reform and increasing funding for education.
Hayworth has championed closing the border, winning the war in Iraq and cutting taxes to lessen the burden on wage earners and to stimulate the economy.
Hayworth spokesman Brian Hummell said he doesn’t put much stock in the survey. “Polling at this juncture really doesn’t mean a whole lot,” he said.
The poll shows momentum is in Mitchell’s favor, said his spokesman, Seth Scott.