As the March 13th special election approaches for Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, Gravis Marketing has released a new poll conducted February 13th through the 15th. State Representative Rick Saccone holds a 45.5%-40% lead over former Assistant United States Attorney Connor Lamb. The previous poll gave Saccone a larger 46.4%-33.7% advantage. The two polls used the same demographic weighting.
The managing partner of Gravis Marketing, Doug Kaplan points out that “each candidate is taking away a similar ratio of votes from the opposing party.” Saccone is taking 16.9% of Democrats while Lamb is taking 13.4% of Republicans. Lamb holds a 39.7%-31.6% lead among Independents. Kaplan said, “There are still a lot of undecideds for a likely voter sample at this point. There are certainly enough voters there to turn this into a narrow Lamb victory of a double digit Saccone win.”
Kaplan observes, “Trump is till reasonably popular in the district holding a 50.1%-41.5% approval. His tax reform law is also above water in this district by a 48.2%-36.4% split.” Kaplan continued, “With these numbers, it is a little surprising that the race is as close as it is. Trump is more popular in Pennsylvania’s 18th district than he was among the Alabama electorate in December.” The previous Gravis poll of Pennsylvania’s 18thdistrict was 54%-38.8% while the Real Clear Politics average at the national level was 40.4%-55.9%. Real Clear Politics currently has the President’s approval at 42.1%-53.4% nationally.
Unsurprisingly, Governor Wolf and Senator Casey are not very popular in this district. Casey has a 33.6%-39.4% approval spread, and Wolf is at 35.7%-43.1%. “Considering the partisan lean of the district, those numbers probably indicate Casey and Wolf are both above water at the statewide level,” said Kaplan.
The poll also tested a few social issues. The district narrowly supports recreational marijuana 46.4%-42.5% and opposes a 20-week abortion ban 45.2%-39.2%. There is broad opposition to gay conversion therapy with 67.8% of likely voters saying that it should be illegal compared to 9.9% who say that it should be legal. Voters approve of a transgender bathroom ban by 44.6%-37.6% margin. That margin grows when respondents were asked about a transgender locker room ban which is supported 49.3%-31.1%. Voters say they could not support a candidate accused of sexual misconduct by a wide 77.9%-22.1% margin. Former Congressman Tim Murphy resigned his seat after allegations arose that he pressured his mistress to terminate her pregnancy. This suggests Murphy may have had some trouble holding onto his seat this fall if he had not resigned.