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Friday, August 04, 2006

PA-06: Dead Heat

Posted by DavidNYC

Lois Murphy's campaign just released a new internal poll (likely voters, no trendlines):

Murphy (D): 42
Gerlach (R-inc.): 41
Undecided: 17
(MoE: ±4.1%)

Obviously, few details apart from the top-line numbers have been released, but the poll was conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang, which I understand to be a pretty reliable outfit. Hopefully we'll learn more about the MoE, etc., soon. [UPDATE: MoE, voter type, and undecided percentage all added, via Polling Report. Also, Gerlach has a 37-46 job approval rating according to this poll.]

In any event, if you followed House elections closely last time, you may recall that Lois Murphy was one of the "DKos Dozen" candidates, sort of a predecessor to the netroots list.You may also remember that Lois Murphy suffered one of the most heart-breakingly narrow losses, losing just 51-49 (less than 7,000 votes out of over 300K cast). She raised a ton of money and ran an excellent campaign - and she's doing that once more this year. She is one of my favorite candidates this cycle, and I've long felt she is our single-best chance of beating a Republican incumbent. If we win only one seat this year, we'd win PA-06.

The flip-side, of course, is that if we do poorly in PA-06, we're almost certainly doomed - which is why, needless to say, I'm glad to see this poll showing the race so competitive. You may recall my cash-on-hand competitiveness chart: Lois Murphy is at the very top of the list, one of only four Dems who actually has more money on hand than her opponent. She'll need every penny, though: This campaign got started incredibly early, and Gerlach has been working furiously trying to tarnish Murphy's name.

But Gerlach himself is being dragged down by the Bush anvil. And, near as I can tell, Murphy has run a picture-perfect campaign. There's still a long, hard slog ahead in PA-06 - just like there is in every race throughout the country - but I feel very good about this race.

Posted at 01:51 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Technorati

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being that this is an internal poll, it actually makes me feel not so great. Gerlach is supposed to be one of the most vulnerable congressmen, and if an internal poll has a dead heat, then an independent poll i would think would have gerlach a few points ahead. Now with Lucas, Hill polling 10 points ahead and Chris Murphy even with Nancy Johnson, I was expecting Murphy to be 5 points ahead or so

Posted by: yomoma2424 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 02:12 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm not sure I believe the common idea that an internal poll, because it is "biased," ought to show a greater lead than an independent poll. I mean, the idea behind internal polling is to get an accurate view of a race.

So yes, there may be reasons to try to pad it. But there are also reasons to try to be as precise as possible.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 02:48 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I wouldn't sweat it too much, yomoma; some internals are "better" than others, to be sure. This may be one of them.

Posted by: James L. [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 02:49 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm with yomama. Gerlach is widely considered the MOST vulnerable incumbent Republican in the country. If the best Murphy can do is a one-point lead in an internal poll, it's a little discouraging. Looks like the avalanche isn't quite where we need it to be yet because an election night where Jim Gerlach isn't declared defeated by 8:30 is an election night where the Democrats don't win back the House.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 03:23 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I have no problem with the accuracy of the poll, but am a bit disappointed with the results.

The recent NPR poll showed that in the 23 most competitive seats, Dems overall lead by 10 points and were running 16 points ahead of the results of 2004. Perhaps that made me feel too optimistic, but with PA-06 sitting in everyone's top ten and Murphy having lost by 2 points in 2004, but I believed that Murphy would be further ahead.

Still, a tie with a first-term incumbent, more money, a democratic year, etc. all make it look good for Lois.

Posted by: hilltopper [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 03:30 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Just a little tid bit from someone that has a little access. Gerlach's numbers are about the same in his internal polling.

Posted by: ModGOP [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 5, 2006 05:56 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

If that were true, then wouldn't Gerlach be leaking those numbers?

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 5, 2006 06:09 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

My thinking is that Gerlach wouldn't want to release any numbers unless they show him with a significant (~5%) lead. I'm not sure why it would be to his advantage to say that the race is neck-and-neck.

Posted by: James L. [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 5, 2006 12:45 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Gerlach is already running ads on some Philly networks. I just saw one this morning on NBC10 before I left the house. Hopefully this will burn up some of his money, without gaining much ground.

Posted by: Downstate Delaware Liberal [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 7, 2006 12:06 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment