The special election for the vacant Pennsylvania 18th congressional district will be held Tuesday, March 13. Recent polls show that the race between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb will likely be tight.
Saccone and Lamb are vying to replace Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned on October 21, 2017, after it was revealed that he encouraged a woman he was having an affair with to have an abortion, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The district is located in Western Pennsylvania and includes parts of Allegheny, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
The last three polls show both Lamb and Saccone near or within the margin of error. A victory for Lamb would be an upset. President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 20 points in the 2016 election. Murphy ran uncontested in 2016 and 2014 and defeated his Democratic challenger by a 64 to 36 margin in 2012.
The race has drawn national attention. Former Vice President Joe Biden came to the district last Tuesday to campaign for Lamb, while Trump held a rally on Saturday for Saccone. Lamb has outraised Saccone by a 5 to 1 margin, pulling in $3.3 million in contributions to Saccone’s $703,000, but outside groups have spent $9.1 million to boost Saccone’s candidacy, compared to $1.1 million in outside spending for Lamb, according to Politico.
The Cook Political Report recently moved the race to a “toss up,” according to PA Politics.
“What’s made the race so close, many Republicans admit, is that Lamb has simply proven to be a stronger candidate than Saccone,” the report says.
Here are the most recent poll numbers:
RABA Research: Lamb +4 (March 6-8)
RABA Research conducted a poll of 707 likely voters between March 6 to March 8 in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district.
According to its website, RABA, which stands for “Red America, Blue America,” was founded in 2016, and is a “bipartisan group of political professionals who have worked for candidates, issues, organizations, and corporations across the globe.”
The poll group found 48 percent of respondents would vote for Lamb, 44 percent would vote for Saccone and 9 percent are not sure whom they would vote for. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.
The same poll found that 44 percent of respondents approve of Trump’s performance, 48 percent disapprove and 9 percent are not sure.
Talking Points Memo first reported on the poll and noted that of the respondents polled, 41 percent said they were Democrats, while 40 percent said they were Republicans in what is a solidly Republican district.
“That could be a sign that the survey’s sample is a touch too Democratic, and that its likely voter screen might be a bit too tight. But it could also be capturing the very real signs of a Democratic wave — a huge disparity in voter enthusiasm from one party to the other,” TPM wrote.
Gravis: Saccone +3 (March 1-5)
A Gravis Marketing poll of 911 registered voters was conducted between …read more