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Dem-leaning group's poll shows Klein ahead of West

A new poll shows U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, a Democrat, ahead of Republican Allen West by 48 to 43 percent. The poll of about 500 voters was conducted Sept. 20-22.

The poll was done by Harstad Strategic Research and commissioned by "Project New West'' -- which doesn't relate to West's name and is a private research company based in Denver. The company's website says it is focused on eight states -- none of them Florida. Jill Hanauer, the president of Project New West, wouldn't disclose the client who paid for the poll but she described her clients as "Democratic-oriented." Hanauer worked for the Democratic National Committee in the past, according to the company's website.

Paul Harstad said neither campaign paid for the poll.

Here is what Harstad Strategic Research wrote in a memo about the poll:

Harstad Strategic Research conducted a telephone survey among 504 likely voters in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District from September 20 to 22, 2010. The survey was conducted for Project New West.

The survey shows Democrat Ron Klein leading by 48% to 43% for Republican Allen West, with 9% undecided.

Among the 71% of our sample who actually voted in the November 2006 midterm election, Klein’s lead holds at 48% to 43%.

Our sample accurately reflects the party composition of the district, with a 40% plurality of registered Republicans compared to 38% registered Democrats. Klein does much better among registered Democrats (ahead 82% to13%) than West does among registered Republicans (ahead 74% to 15%). But the pivotal bloc of Independents clearly leans toward Klein, preferring him by 51% to 38% for West.