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New poll shows Wendy Davis within seven points of opponent

Texas Sen. Wendy Davis greats supporters at her campaign headquarters on March 4, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas.
Texas Sen. Wendy Davis greats supporters at her campaign headquarters on March 4, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is within single digits of her Republican opponent in the Texas race for governor.

State Sen. Davis closed the gap to seven points in the first statewide poll since the Democratic gubernatorial primary earlier this month, according to results published this week by the Emerson College Polling Society. With a 42% favorability rating among residents, Davis could be within striking range of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who earned 49% support in the poll.

The survey was conducted among Texas residents between March 7 and 12.

Davis, who won the Lone Star State's Democratic primary for governor earlier this month against challenger Ray Madrigal, became a rising star in her party after she staged a 12-hour filibuster last June to protest restrictive abortion legislation. She raised $12.2 million in the last six months of 2013, a million dollars more than Abbott in the race for governor.

Davis has used her personal story as a young mother who overcame adversity to graduate from Harvard Law School as the centerpiece of her gubernatorial campaign. Abbott and his staff criticized Davis, however, for embellishing details about her biography. She tweeted in response, saying her competitor “sunk to a new low,” making personal attacks on her family, education and character.

Abbott came under fire last month for campaigning with the outspoken, aging rocker and conservative firebrand Ted Nugent, who recently compared the Obama administration to Nazi Germany and called the president a "subhuman mongrel."

Davis has drawn criticism from both her right and left for recent statements in support of expanding gun rights, a position viewed by many as having solely political motives. The current law in Texas bans residents from openly carrying handguns in public.

Davis and Abbott will face off in the state's gubernatorial election to replace current Gov. Rick Perry on Nov. 4.