As the party tries to hold onto John Murtha's old Congressional seat here are some numbers that don't bode very well for Democrats- the enthusiasm numbers among the party's voters are exactly what they were in Virginia the weekend before Creigh Deeds went down to Bob McDonnell by 17 points.
38% of Democrats say they're very excited about voting in the special election while 29% say they are not very excited. When we had those numbers in Virginia the overwhelming thought was that it was due to Democrats being uninspired by Creigh Deeds' lackluster campaign. I'm not sure that the numbers in this case are really Mark Critz's fault so much as a reflection of unhappiness with the party in general. Democratic voters in this particular district aren't real high on the actions of any of their Democratic officials and that being the case it's not a big surprise that they're not enthralled with voting in this election.
There's been a lot of speculation that Critz might get bailed out in this race because it's the same day as the primary and the Democratic races for Senate and Governor in Pennsylvania are much more compelling than the Republican ones. But it's important again to remember that PA-12 Democrats are very different from national Democrats. There are a lot of voters who are going to be perfectly happy to go vote in the Democratic primary while also voting Republican for Congress- more than 20% according to our poll for this week.
I also think the Congressional race is going to end up being the main driver of turnout for this election rather than the primary contests, and with Republicans much more enthused about casting their ballots it just doesn't seem likely the Specter/Sestak race is going to give Critz a big boost. The race certainly looks like a tossup and is winnable for Democrats but there are a lot of bad signs for the party beyond the topline numbers.