Topeka Democrat Nancy Boyda said Friday she is leading Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun and that she has the poll to prove it.
Boyda and Ryun face off Nov. 7 in the contest to represent the 2nd Congressional District, which includes west Lawrence.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the race is on," Boyda said at a news conference. "David is beating Goliath. Grass-roots democracy is beating big money."
At the conclusion of the news conference, Ryun's campaign manager, Jeffrey Black, handed out a statement criticizing Boyda.
"This is a desperate attempt to revive a fading campaign," Black said.
The poll showed 42.5 percent favored Boyda; 41.2 percent favored Ryun and 16.2 percent were undecided. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4.6 percent.
The poll was conducted Monday and surveyed 456 likely voters randomly selected from a voter registration file list from the 2nd District. Poll officials said the sample represented the political makeup of the district.
Boyda said the only reason she revealed the data was that on Thursday a front page story in the Kansas City Star downplayed her chances against Ryun because she has received no funding from the national Democratic Party in Washington, D.C.
Boyda said it has always been her strategy to run independently of the national party.
"When I go to Congress, I want to represent the people of Kansas, not the Washington Beltway crowd," she said.
But Ryun's spokesman Black dismissed Boyda's poll claims.
"If any legitimate, scientific polling firm found these results, the national Democrats would not have written off this race as reported by the Kansas City Star on Sept. 14," he said.
State Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the polling company Infomark Research has a reputation for accuracy, and cited several instances of how it predicted winners in close races.
"This is a winnable race for Nancy Boyda," Hensley said.
But Black said internal polling by Ryun's campaign "shows drastically different results," though he didn't reveal details.
Black also said that Boyda's poll was skewed because 60 percent of the sample was women, when Election Day turnout is historically about 52 percent women.
But Boyda's campaign said Boyda was polling just as well among men as women.