Why Is This Man Smiling?
Two surprises from Keystone Polls taken in the Philadelphia suburbs. In a poll of Delaware/Chester Counties' 7th District, the poll shows Joe Sestak in a dead heat with incumbent U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon. Among likely voters, it is Sestak 45% to Weldon's 44%, though keep in mind that the plus/minus in this poll is 4% or so.
Frankly, I would have thought that Weldon would be ahead in this race by 8 points or more at this stage in the campaign, given his 20 years as the incumbent in this district -- where 58% of the voters identify themselves as Republicans. However, only 37% of the voters say Weldon deserves re-election, while 49% believe it is time for a change.
The poll was done by Dr. Terry Madonna's crew at Franklin & Marshall College. Here is a link to the F&M web page that links to the polls, though I must warn you I was unable to call up the .pdf for the 7th.
Another surprise in this poll: Bob Casey's 17-point lead over incumbent Rick Santorum in the 7th. It was Casey 49%-Santorum 32%. Carl Romanelli (who was booted off the ballot this week) got 3%, while 16% DNK. In 2000, Santorum won Delco, which comprises most of this district, by a margin of 54%-44% over Ron Klink.
In the Bucks/Montco 6th District, incumbent Jim Gerlach had a 7-point lead over challenger Lois Murphy. It was Gerlach 45%-Murphy 38%-DNK 17%. Again, there is a margin of error in excess of 4 points. This is the race that most folks thought was competitive for the D's because Murphy came so close two years ago. There is room for the challenger to grow, though, because 30% of the voters said they were still making their mind, even if they did go for one candidate or the other in the initial questioning.
The contest is much closer in the U.S. Senate race in this congressional district. It was Casey 42%-Santorum 40%-Romanelli 2%-DNK 16%