So claims the Russell brigade, per an internal poll conducted before Redneckgate.

“The Democrats did not poll the race because they thought it was a non-issue, and the Republicans for the same reason. So we’ve done some internal polling,” Russell’s campaign manager, Peg Luksik, told National Review Online. “What we’re finding is that even three weeks ago Mr. Murtha’s support was hovering right around 50 percent, which for a gentleman who has a 63 percent voter-registration edge, that’s a significant softening of the support that he has typically enjoyed.”

And the internal poll Luksik is citing was taken three weeks ago, before Murtha’s insulting comments. According to Luksik, the response to their campaign since then has been overwhelming. “At this point the biggest problem we’re having is keeping up with the demand for everything we can possibly give folks,” she said. “People are now saying ‘who is this Mr. Russell?’ We’re now hearing from Democratic committee people, and folks are saying to us, ‘I have voted for Mr. Murtha my whole life and I’m not voting for him this year.’”

That same poll (again, before the racist/redneck stuff) showed Murtha up 14, thanks partly to most district voters not knowing who Russell is. Here’s his donation page; whether it’s worth contributing to a guy down double digits instead of to, say, Chris Shays, I leave to your judgment. Exit question: Anyone else finding themselves more and more convinced of the wisdom of term limits?