Republican nominee Bill Brawley is leading the State House District 103 race – which comprises Matthews, Mint Hill, and east Charlotte – against Democratic opponent Ann Newman according to a new SurveyUSA poll released today by the Civitas Institute.

According to the poll of 350 registered voters in that district, 45 percent of voters said if the election for state representative were held today, they would vote for Brawley who is looking to replace retiring Rep. Jim Gulley (R).  Thirty-nine percent said they would vote for Newman, and 16 percent said they were undecided.

Among voters who said they were most likely to vote in 2010, Brawley’s lead expands to 49 percent to 39 percent.

“House District 103 is one of those suburban swing districts that has been trending more Democratic over the past few years and, in fact, was carried by President Obama in 2008,” said Civitas Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes.  “However, the growing number of unaffiliated voters that swept Obama into office last year are now going solidly for Republican candidates.”

Brawley leads Newman 48 percent to 25 percent among unaffiliated voters in the district.

Both candidates are virtually unknown throughout the district – neither has garnered much name recognition among voters.  Brawley is seen favorably by five percent of the district’s voters while five percent also view him unfavorably.  Forty-four percent said their opinion is neutral and 45 percent said they have no opinion.

Newman has a net favorability rating +4 after having been seen favorably by seven percent of voters and unfavorably by three percent of voters.  However, 41 percent said their opinion is neutral and 48 percent said they do not have an opinion.

“With both candidates with very low name identification, the current political tide plays a prominent role in how these races are determined.  Currently, with the tide heavily with the Republicans, Brawley should be able to hold a seat that many consider one of the Democrats best chances for a pickup this year,” added Hayes.

House District 103 is rated as an R+3 district on Civitas’ North Carolina Partisan Index – an index that rates the relative partisan voting habits of individual legislative districts.  For more on the NCPI, click here.

For full results and crosstabs from the poll, click here.

The survey of 350 registered voters was taken June 19-21 by SurveyUSA on behalf of the Civitas Institute using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) method.  It carries a margin of error of 4.9%.

This SurveyUSA poll was conducted by telephone in the voice of a professional announcer. Respondent households were selected at random, using Random Digit Dialed (RDD) sample provided by Survey Sampling, of Fairfield CT. All respondents heard the questions asked identically. Where necessary, responses were weighted according to age, gender, ethnic origin, geographical area and number of adults and number of voice telephone lines in the household, so that the sample would reflect the actual demographic proportions in the population, using most recent U.S. Census estimates. In theory, with the stated sample size, one can say with 95% certainty that the results would not vary by more than the stated margin of sampling error, in one direction or the other, had the entire universe of respondents been interviewed with complete accuracy. There are other possible sources of error in all surveys that may be more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. These include refusals to be interviewed, question wording and question order, weighting by demographic control data and the manner in which respondents are filtered (such as, determining who is a likely voter). It is difficult to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. Fieldwork for this survey was done by SurveyUSA of Clifton, NJ.