Hmmm … Republican Carol Platt releases poll showing she’s trailing Democratic incumbent Alan Grayson by just five points

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A central Florida congressional race between on-again/off-again U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and conservative Carol Platt is, maybe, polling tight.

Platt’s campaign Thursday released data from an internal poll showing her trailing Grayson by just five points. With just under three weeks remaining until Election Day, the poll shows Grayson getting 40 percent of the vote and Platt 35 percent. Marko Milakovich, an NPA candidate is pulling down 7 percent with 17 percent still undecided on the race.

The poll, conducted by Data Targeting, surveyed 305 likely general election voters. The survey was weighted to reflect the likely turnout for the District 9 race and reflects historical turnout percentages of Democrats, Republicans and Independents in the race.

“Many observers in Washington, DC and beyond have questioned its competitiveness and mistakenly evaluated the district on 2012 performance statistics when in reality the 2014 race will have a very different voter makeup mirroring much closer to that of 2010,” Platt’s campaign wrote in a press release. “That makeup, along with the tremendous work put forth by the Platt campaign and the incredible unpopularity of Alan Grayson has combined to make this one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the country.”

The poll found that 34 percent of respondents had a favorable rating of Grayson while 32 percent found him unfavorable; 17 percent have never heard of him. Only 4 percent of respondents reported a dislike for Platt, however 61 percent said they hadn’t heard of her.

“These numbers simply confirm what we’ve been hearing and seeing on the ground – District 9 is fed up with the representation they’re getting from Alan Grayson and they’re ready for someone new. We fully intend to win this race and will be working harder than ever in this final stretch.”

The poll showed only 34 percent of respondents thinking Grayson deserves another term while 44 percent indicated they think it’s time for someone new.

Platt’s lack of name recognition could hinder her performance in the upcoming election, but it also gives her a possible advantage over Grayson. While he could benefit from higher name recognition, those voters who are out of favor with the incumbent aren’t likely to change their minds. With a targeted effort reaching out to voters who don’t know Platt, she could win over some of them.

The poll, conducted on October 9 and 12, also asked respondents about the gubernatorial election. It shows former Governor Charlie Crist with a three point lead over incumbent Rick Scott with 39 percent favoring Crist and 36 percent for Scott. Libertarian Adrian Wylie pulled in 10 percent.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.