GOP poll: Hardy can hold his seat

GOP Rep. Cresent Hardy, considered one of the more vulnerable incumbents in the country, is in a dead heat with Democratic state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, according to a new poll from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Hardy has 38 percent and Kihuen has 36 percent, meaning that about a quarter of the electorate chose a minor candidate or is undecided. The survey also shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton by 7 percent in the strongly Democratic district that President Obama twice won easily.

Whether or not you believe the poll, taken last week, it indicates the NRCC will not simply cede the seat to the Democrats and will, at least for now, try to help Hardy raise money. The survey by Harper Polling of 400 Congressional District Four likely voters has a margin of error of just under 5 percent. The polling memo is posted below, and I have seen the entire instrument, which has no push questions before the horse race and has reasonable demographic breakdowns (43-34, Democratic advantage when the actual registration numbers are 43-33.) Harper Polling is graded B-minus by the 538 site.

Kihuen still has to be considered the favorite, but the survey indicates neither candidate is well known -- an opportunity for both -- and that independents tilt toward Hardy. 

In the presidential race, those results are dissonant with the district's history, where Obama won by 10 and 15 points respectively in '12 and '08.