U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson holds a big lead over his Democratic opponent in Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.

But his GOP counterpart in the 1st District, Russ Fulcher, is only 8 percentage points ahead of Democrat Cristina McNeil, finds IPW pollster Dan Jones & Associates.

In fact, while the 1st District is very Republican, one would think that Fulcher would be doing better than just 35 percent of the vote.

A longtime GOP conservative officeholder, Fulcher won the Republican nomination with 43 percent of the GOP vote in a crowded field of seven candidates.

Some of Jones findings:

  • Simpson has 59 percent support in his 2nd District, which includes Boise.

  • Democrat Aaron Swisher has 23 percent support.

  • 10 percent of 1st District voters pick someone else.

  • And 9 percent don’t know.

So that race seems about over with nine weeks left of campaigning.

The 1st District is much more of a contest to replace Rep. Raul Labrador, who ran as a Republican for governor this year but lost in the primary, and so will leave the U.S. House the end of the year.

  • Fulcher gets 35 percent of the vote.

  • McNeil has 27 percent.

  • Libertarian W. Scott Howard comes in with 10 percent support.

  • Constitution Party candidate Pro-Life (that is really the candidate’s legal name) has 6 percent.

  • 2 percent mentioned someone else.

  • And 20 percent of voters – or a large one-fifth – said they don’t know who they will vote for Nov. 6.

That is a large “undecided” number so late in the election season.

McNeil, an Hispanic businesswoman, brings some diversity to the race.

And 1st District women clearly appreciate that.

McNeil gets 34 percent of the female vote compared to Fulcher’s 33 percent – so she is actually ahead of him among women. Twenty-two percent of women “don’t know” who they favor.

However, men favor Fulcher 38-21 percent. And only 17 percent of men are “undecided.”

  • Republicans like Fulcher; he gets 65 percent of the GOP vote. But 18 percent of Republicans are still “undecided.”

  • Democrats go for McNeil, 83 percent. And 13 percent of Democrats are “undecided.”

A critical demographic for McNeil are the independent voters, who don’t belong to any political party.

  • She gets 27 percent of the independents to Fulcher’s 20 percent.

  • But 26 percent – or a fourth – of independents are still “undecided.”

McNeil gets only 3 percent of the GOP vote. In a heavily Republican district, she likely needs more of that vote – plus the lion’s share of independent voters, to upset Fulcher.

Jones polled 315 adults in the 1st District from June 22-July 9. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percent.

In the 2nd District, Jones polled over the same timeframe 285 adults. That sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.8 percent.