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Monmouth University Polling Institute

CD08: Murphy v. Fitzpatrick

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Republican leads in bid to retake seat

In a rematch of the 2006 election for Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District, Republican Mike Fitzpatrick holds a 5 point lead over incumbent Democrat Patrick Murphy.  The Monmouth University Poll finds Fitzpatrick leading Murphy by 51% to 46% among likely voters in this district.

Murphy has served two terms in the House and originally attained the seat by defeating the then-freshman incumbent Fitzpatrick by just 1,500 votes.  Murphy went on to win re-election by 15 points in 2008.

“This district has a history of bringing back formerly defeated Congressmen.  Democrat Peter Kostmayer did it in 1982 and Republican Mike Fitzpatrick may do it again in 2010,” said Patrick Murray [MURRAY], director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

When 8th District likely voters are asked who did a better job as their Congressman, 43% choose Fitzpatrick, 40% choose Murphy, and 14% say both did equally well in the job.  However, Fitzpatrick is better liked among voters.  Just over half (51%) have a favorable view of the Republican to 32% who have an unfavorable opinion.  In comparison, 47% of voters have a favorable view of the incumbent Murphy, while 42% have an unfavorable one.  When asked specifically about Representative Murphy’s job performance, the results are 43% approve to 47% disapprove.

Overall, 65% of voters in Pennsylvania’s 8th District think the country is on the wrong track compared with 31% who say it is headed in the right direction.

President Barack Obama won this district by 9 points in 2008.  Today, though, 8th District voters give him a negative job performance rating of 40% approve to 55% disapprove.  Among those who voted for Obama two years ago, 81% say they will vote for Democrat Murphy, but 16% will cast their ballots for Fitzpatrick on November 2.  By comparison, 93% of John McCain voters from 2008 will support GOP nominee Fitzpatrick, versus just 7% who will vote for Murphy.

District voters are somewhat more likely to prefer having the Republicans (47%) rather than the Democrats (40%) in control of Congress next year.  They split on their overall view of the Republican Party – 44% favorable to 47% unfavorable – but have a dimmer opinion of the Democratic Party – 39% favorable to 54% unfavorable.  The Tea Party movement is also viewed negatively by voters in general – 42% favorable to 49% unfavorable.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by automated telephone interviewing with 646 likely voters from October 11 to 13, 2010.  This sample has a margin of error of ± 3.9 percent.  


The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.     If the election for United States Congress from Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District were today, would you vote for Mike Fitzpatrick the Republican, Patrick Murphy the Democrat, or some other candidate?   [At this moment, do you lean toward Mike Fitzpatrick or lean toward Patrick Murphy?]  [NAMES WERE ROTATED]


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

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

4.     Do you approve or disapprove of the job Patrick Murphy is doing as your Congressman?

5.     Who did a better job during their term as 8th district Congressman Patrick Murphy, Mike Fitzpatrick, or did they do equally as well?

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?


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 11-13, 2010 with a random sample of 646 likely voters in Pennsylvania’s 8th 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 3.9 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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- Monmouth University Polling Institute