Friday, September 29, 2006

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%


Anonymous phillydem said...

I noticed the Casey-Santorum numbers too. And this is after the deluge of negative Santorum ads running on TV in our fair media market.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous looking italian said...

Two things:

Gerlach v. Murphy is in PA-06, and is Chester/Montco/Berks (w/ a smidge of Lehigh).

And the geographical sample for Keystone's PA-06 poll was embarrasingly bad. It had a 42-15 split for Berks and Montco, when turnout in the two counties in PA-06 averaged 30-30 in the last two cycles. Adjust the likely voter county crosstabs to '04 turnout, and Murphy is actually ahead.

Similarly (though not as poorly) the PA-07 poll also oversampled Weldon-friendly territory in Chester County.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

By actual registration, which is the model they used, the split is not bad. Although the state DoS doesn't show registration by congressional district, for the 3 counties, just the R/D split is 55/45 and for all registered voters is 47/38/15 R/D/I.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous dr. lerxst said...

Western Delaware county is very Weldon friendly too, though. I think Weldon, for the party-lemmings, will still win, although I hope not.

This is an interesting race because frankly the D party had very weak candidates and very little $ support. Interestingly, once they had a candidate like Sestak, the $ came in, a credible race run, and low and behold its not a cakewalk.

I wish I could see them debate. No way Curt doesnt lose his cool. he has a lot of votes and quotes to defend.

8:30 AM  
Blogger whynotus said...

I guess Joe Sestak is smiling because noone expected him to be this close at this point. The 45% is, I belive, greater than the % that Paul Scoles go last time out running with John Kerry. I guess Bush's popularity cpntinues to go down. If Sestak continues to get 24% of Rs (and that will probably grow close to 28 %) A good gotv by the delcodems and that campaigns will go a long way to sealing the deal. It will be close for Congress. The Senate is the real interesting number. Always thought 7th was real red, controlled by the last machine left--guess the big red machine slipped a cog, or is just too worried about sttae reps and state senator erickson.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

Think ChesCo is the last big red machine left in the 'burbs.

6:57 PM  
Blogger quadmom7 said...

Joe is smiling because the message is getting out. Against the tremendous weight of incumbency, Joe's intelligence, dedication and insight has reached a slim majority of voters in the district.
As the weeks unfold, and more voters begin to look at critical issues facing us, I believe more and more will be inspired by Joe's leadership, energy and vision.

5:02 AM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

Check out Mark Foley's PAC activity at Curt Weldon is one of its beneficiaries in the 2006 cycle to the tune of $1000.

7:52 AM  

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