New Poll: Dead Heat in Pennsylvania Special Congressional Election

Democrat Connor Lamb, right, and Republican Rick Saccone are prepped before the taping of their first debate in the special election in the Pa., 18th Congressional District at the KDKA TV studios, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh. The debate was recorded in the afternoon and scheduled to be broadcast …
AP/Keith Srakocic

A new Emerson College poll shows the race in the March 13 special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District is a dead heat between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone.

Democrats see the tight race in a district that President Trump won by 19 percent in 2016 as another indication that a “Blue Wave” is coming in the November 2018 Congressional midterm elections that will give the Democrats the 24 seat net gain they need to take back control of the House of Representatives and restore Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Speaker.

The poll, conducted between March 1 and March 4, shows Democrat Lamb leading Republican Saccone by a 48 percent to 45 percent margin. The poll has a 4.8 percent margin of error, so the results show a statistical tie between the two candidates.

“It’s voter excitement that might put Lamb over the top,” the Emerson College Polling Society said in a statement about the poll released on Monday:

When asked about level of excitement among voters about the election, 63% of Lamb voters reported being very excited compared to 53% of Saccone voters. Lamb voters also are paying more attention to the race, with 47% reported paying a lot of attention, compared to 42% of Saccone voters.

Lamb has a positive image in the district, with 48% saying they have a favorable opinion and a 33% unfavorable rating – 15% of voters had heard of him but had no opinion. Saccone is not as popular with a 44% favorable and a 40% unfavorable rating – 15% of voters had heard of him but had no opinion. . .

Trump won the district 58% to 39% in 2016, and Mitt Romney fared equally well in 2012 with 58% of the vote to 41% for President Obama. Trump currently has a 47% job approval in the district with 43% disapproving, despite 46% of the district being registered Democrat. Similarly, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi only has a 20% approval rate, with 57% disapproving.

The March 13 special Congressional election in Pennsylvania appears to be following the same pattern that has seen Democrats win a number of special elections in state legislatures around the country over the past six months: High levels of energy and engagement, both in terms of money and volunteer activity, from liberal Democrats juxtaposed against low levels of engagement from conservative Republicans.

Last week, conservative icon Richard Viguerie warned that, unless something changes and conservative Republicans nationalize the coming midterm elections, Democrats could gain the upper hand in the House of Representatives in January 2019.

“It does not look good for conservatives,” Viguerie told Breitbart News, adding, ” The reason I say that, and I’ve studied this extensively and I’ve written and discussed it with maybe 100 national conservative leaders, the Left is setting records in terms of adding support for their organization, growing their donors, money they’re raising.”

“The Left, many of their organizations are growing 200, 300, 500 percent. As an example, the ACLU, a one hundred year old liberal organization, year in and year out they raise about five and a half million dollars. In the twelve months after Trump was elected, they raised 93 million dollars. A high percent of that money, in fact, most of it, is going to be spent in 2018 directed at Republicans. They’re going to spend five million plus dollars in Florida alone, a state that allows convicted felons to vote. So that’s going to add four or five hundred thousand Democrat voters to the rolls in Florida, and Trump only carried Florida by 125,000 votes,” Viguerie continued.

The Democratic Party and the Republican Party have both focused significant financial resources on the Pennsylvania special election between Lamb and Saccone.

“As of the most recent financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on December 31, Lamb has outraised Saccone by a $560,000 to $214,000 margin,” Breitbart News reported last month:

But Republicans are providing financial support to Saccone through party organizations.

“The House Republican campaign arm has begun a $2 million TV offensive and is aggressively pressing party lawmakers to help fund the candidate. Bliss’ group, Congressional Leadership Fund, is deploying dozens of field staffers, who braved frigid winds last weekend as they canvassed for votes,” Politico reported earlier this month.

And last week, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) launched a 30 second television spot on Tuesday blasting Lamb for opposing middle class tax cuts and standing with House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), as Breitbart News reported.

The outcome of this special election in eight days will be sure to set the narrative for the next several months in the lead up to the November midterm elections.

Should Democrats win in Pennsylvania with Conor Lamb, it will give credence to the notion that a highly energized left wing of the Democratic Party is on its way to taking back the House of Representatives. Should Republicans win with Rick Saccone, the premise of “inevitability” of a coming “Blue Wave” that Democrats and the media have been touting will be dealt a severe blow.


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