Gov. Sam Brownback is touting a new campaign poll giving him a one-point lead, showing just how competitive the Kansas gubernatorial race has become.

Brownback's campaign released an internal poll Tuesday showing him up a point over his Democratic challenger, state House Democratic leader Paul Davis, 43 to 42 percent. That would be within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent, making the race a statistical dead heat.

“It is clear, the Democrat base has come together quicker than the Republican base,” wrote pollster Pat McFerron in the introduction to the poll. “However, there is clearly more room for the Republican base to grow.”

For a conservative Republican running for re-election in a deep red state, such a narrow lead is rarely cause for celebration.

The race for the governor's mansion in Kansas wasn't supposed to be this interesting, but Brownback has struggled amid complaints about his aggressive style.

And while the Kansas electorate leans Republican, it isn't averse to electing Democrats governor either. Before Brownback was elected in 2010, Democrats Mark Parkinson and Kathleen Sebelius served as governor.

The telephone poll, conducted for Brownback's campaign by Cole Hardgrave Snodgrass & Associates from Aug. 17-20, surveyed 500 likely voters. It was conducted with live interviews to cell phones and land lines.