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Monmouth University Polling Institute

CD07: Meehan v. Lentz

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Republican nominee holds narrow lead; but both GOP and Dem Party disliked

In the race to succeed Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania's 7 th Congressional District, Republican Pat Meehan holds a narrow 4 point lead over Democrat Bryan Lentz.  The Monmouth University Poll finds Meehan leading Lentz by a 49% to 45% margin among likely voters in this district.

Meehan, a former U.S. Attorney garners personal ratings of 44% favorable to 26% unfavorable.  State Representative Lentz gets similar ratings of 37% favorable to 25% unfavorable.

President Barack Obama won this district by 13 points in 2008.  Today, though, 7 th District voters give him a negative job performance rating of 44% approve to 50% disapprove.  Among those who voted for Obama two years ago, 77% say they will vote for Democrat Lentz, but 16% will cast their ballots for Meehan on November 2.  By comparison, 88% of John McCain voters from 2008 will support GOP nominee Meehan, versus just 8% who will vote for Lentz.

Overall, 61% of voters in Pennsylvania's 7 th  think the country is on the wrong track compared with 36% who say it is headed in the right direction.

"This district mirrors the national mood.  Voters are disappointed with the way the country has gone over the past two years and blame both political parties, but they have to choose someone," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

District voters are somewhat more likely to prefer having the Republicans (47%) rather than the Democrats (40%) in control of Congress next year, even though a majority have a negative view of both parties - 38% favorable to 53% unfavorable for the GOP and 40% favorable to 54% unfavorable for the Democrats.  The Tea Party movement is also viewed negatively by voters, 37% favorable to 51% unfavorable.

It's not clear how Joe Sestak would have fared had he decided to run for re-election to the House rather than pursue a U.S. Senate seat.  Likely voters in the 7 th  are split on the outgoing Congressman's job performance - 46% approve to 42% disapprove.  Similarly, the district is divided on how they will vote for U.S. Senate - 49% say they will support Sestak in his bid for higher office while 46% will vote for Republican Pat Toomey.

The Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by automated telephone interviewing with 670 likely voters from October 4 to 6, 2010.  This sample has a margin of error of ±  3.8 percent.

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.     If the election for United States Congress from Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District were today, would you vote for Pat Meehan the Republican, Bryan Lentz the Democrat, or some other candidate?   [At this moment, do you lean toward Pat Meehan or lean toward Bryan Lentz?]  [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

[QUESTIONS 2 AND 3 WERE ROTATED]

2.     Is your general opinion of Pat Meehan favorable, unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of Pat Meehan?  

3.     Is your general opinion of Bryan Lentz favorable, unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of Bryan Lentz?

4.     If the election for United States Senator from Pennsylvania were today, would you vote for Pat Toomey the Republican, Joe Sestak the Democrat, or some other candidate? [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

5.     Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Sestak is doing as your Congressman?

6.     Are things in the United States going in the right direction or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

7.     Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?

8.     Who would you rather see in control of Congress next year – the Democrats, the Republicans, or does it make no difference?

[QUESTIONS 9 AND10 WERE ROTATED]

9.     Is your general opinion of the Democratic party favorable or unfavorable?  

10.   Is your general opinion of the Republican party favorable or unfavorable?

11.   Is your general opinion of the Tea Party movement favorable or unfavorable?

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey.  The poll was conducted on October 4-6, 2010 with a random sample of 670 likely voters in Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District.  The sample was drawn from a list of households with voters who cast ballots in at least two of the last four general elections and further screened for those who say they are either “certain” or “likely” to vote in this November’s election.  The voter list was obtained from Aristotle, Inc. and automated voice interviewing services were provided by Survey USA in Clifton, New Jersey. 

For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.  Sampling error increases as the sample size decreases, so statements based on various population subgroups, such as separate figures reported by gender or party identification, are subject to more error than are statements based on the total sample.  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.  

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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