Sunday, May 16, 2010

Burns, Critz close

The special election to replace John Murtha looks to be headed for a photo finish, with Republican Tim Burns leading Democrat Mark Critz 48-47 in PPP's final poll of the race.

PA-12 provides a clear example of how dimly voters are viewing politicians and parties across the board right now. Hurting Critz's chances is that 55% of voters in the district disapprove of Barack Obama and 63% have an unfavorable opinion of Nancy Pelosi. But national Republicans don't do much better in the district with 60% of voters expressing a negative opinion of Congressional Republicans and 63% saying the GOP ran the country poorly while George W. Bush was President.

If Burns does pull out the victory on Tuesday night it will be more because of a continuing gap in interest between Democratic and Republican voters in the off year election than anything else. Critz is actually winning over more McCain voters (14%) than Burns is Obama voters (12%). This race is not an example of people who voted for Obama who are now unhappy with him and voting Republican. But those planning to vote on Tuesday report having voted for John McCain by 5 points in 2008, compared to his actual 1 point victory in the district. And among voters who say they're 'very excited' to vote in this election, Burns has a 60-38 lead.

There's been very little movement in the race since PPP polled it a month ago. The main difference is that negative campaigning has driven up both candidates' negatives by 10-11 points. Where Burns' favorability was a net +19 in April it's now just +8. And where Critz was previously at a net +7 it's now -6.

Critz is holding onto a 73-22 lead with Democrats which is not bad at all in a district where even voters within the party have a negative opinion of Pelosi. But Burns is up 87-10 with Republicans and has a 52-31 lead with independents.

This should be a very close race on Tuesday night.

Full results here


Unknown said...

I think you meant Burns is up 87-10. Second to last paragraph.

Tom Jensen said...

Thanks for catching that

Anonymous said...

The 2-point improvement for Critz is the same as the 2-point decline in disapproval of Obama and 1-pt improvement for Pelosi... Just may not be enough.

Anonymous said...

If Burns indeed wins by one point, some might be inclined to say that he didn't improve on McCain's margin, so it doesn't mean that things are going in the GOP direction, but they woud be wrong because this district is 63-29 Democratic, so with a conservative democrat, he might only win by one because conservative Dems might still vote with their party, had they nominated a liberal like>>>

Anonymous said...

<<< Continued: Like Obama, there would have been a big dropoff and might have been a Republican blowout. said...

Better luck in November Mr. Critz.

DeanOrff said...

I've been out there in the district canvassing Democratic voters for Mark Critz, and I've met exactly 1 Burns supporter out of over 200 I've spoken with. Many Dems have told me they can't stand Burns. Yet some of those same voters say "I'll think about it" when I ask for their vote for Critz.
My boss wants canvassers to be brief, but I'm dying to ask the undecided Democrats what's making them hesitate to declare support for Mark Critz. I can tell they're mad at Wall Street, but the Dem voters lack of enthusiasm for voting might be about to send another Republican Wall Street yes-man to Congress.
I've developed my own psychological profile of Dem voters in moderate-to-conservative districts over the years - they feel beaten down because they hear Democrats being torn apart every time they turn on their radio or TV or read letters to the editor. All the anti-Dem attacks infiltrate their minds with self-doubt. An 'us vs. them' message served me well as a Democratic phone fundraiser this past year, but the Critz campaign wants to sell him as independent-minded - his 'own man.' Democratic voters in districts like the 12th need some sort of psychological boot camp -- they need to toughen up their minds and hearts, realize they're in a war with both Republicans AND Wall Street interests and learn to love fighting....and the first step is to be more skeptical about the crap they hear coming from Republicans.

Anonymous said...

So, what about that Pittsburgh-Times Review poll conducted a week or so ago that showed Critz ahead by like 7-8 points?

Anonymous said...

Care to explain the terrible polling results? Seriously, a 10 point result difference.

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