The Columbus Dispatch’s Daily Briefing blog disclosed that apparently the Dispatch (wisely) has a policy about not writing about internal campaign polls because they are not (really?) inherently reliable. 

This, of course, didn’t stop Congressman Tiberi’s campaign from trying really, really, really hard yesterday to let you know just how awesome his campaign pollster said he is.

The Dispatch notes that Brooks internally campaign polling does show Tiberi ahead, but with a much smaller lead, but within striking distance.  Although I haven’t seen the numbers, my gut tells me Brooks’ poll is probably more accurate.  Brooks has been a Franklin County Commissioner, and therefore, is a known quantity in the district that has helped (in parts) to elect her.  Second, the district has a slight hint of blue that should favor her.  A slightly behind but within grasp of victory makes a lot more sense in this political environment than Tiberi’s poll which shows him with a larger than usual lead against unknown, underfunded Democratic opponents.

That out of the way, the Libertarian candidate, Travis Irvine, notes that both major-party candidates’ poll show him getting somewhere between 5% to 10% of the vote (Tiberi vs. Brooks’ polls).  This means that Mr. Irvine could play the role of a spoiler who might suddenly find support from Brooks’ campaign to include Mr. Irvine in any debates, and conversely give Congressman Tiberi’s campaign an interest to exclude him.

Would a Republican incumbent dare push to shut out a Libertarian candidate in this Tea Party environment?  Maybe more so than usual, actually.  But what kind of Tea Party backlash does Tiberi risk in so doing?  And can he afford it?

We’ll have to keep our eyes on this aspect of the race as it develops.  Curious.