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New poll: Martinez besting Diaz-Balart

DENVER - Talk about a convention bump! A new poll done by Survey USA for Capitol Hill's Roll Call finds Raul Martinez leading Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart by 2 points.

"In a head-to-head matchup with Raul Martinez, the colorful and controversial mayor of Hialeah, Diaz-Balart received 46 percent while the Democrat garnered 48 percent," Roll Call reported.

The poll of 632 likely voters was taken Aug. 24 to 26 for Roll Call by Survey USA, an automated opinion research firm. Voters were allowed to respond in English or Spanish. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Diaz-Balart's campaign said its internal polls "consistently" show Diaz-Balart maintaining a "substantial lead among all significant sectors of the electorate."

"Our own polling, using live bilingual interviewers provides us with the confidence that Congressman Diaz-Balart holds a solid lead over his challenger," said David Hill of Hill Research Service.

But Roll Call says the "poll suggests that the Democrats’ hunch that the South Florida electorate is changing might be true. Not only was Diaz-Balart locked in a tight race with Martinez, but Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) were tied in the poll, with each getting 48 percent of the vote."

The poll comes as Martinez got face time Tuesday night at the convention, joining seven other top Democratic prospects on the stage. The results mirror an earlier poll done by Bendixen & Associates that suggested opportunity for Martinez among non-Cuban Hispanics in the district.

"Indeed, Cuban-Americans represented the backbone of the incumbent's support," Roll Call said. Diaz-Balart led Martinez among Cubans, 70 percent to 28 percent. Non-Cuban Hispanics preferred Martinez, 56 percent to 37 percent.

Martinez, who is still in Denver, is making the most of his trip to the Mile High CIty. He got top-billing in a Bloomberg News story about Democratic congressional recruiting efforts.

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