Democrat Conor Lamb leads Republican Rick Saccone in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, according to a new Monmouth University Poll released a day before voters cast their ballots.
Lamb started the race as an underdog against Saccone in a district that President Donald Trump won by 20 points in 2016. Lamb and Saccone are vying to replace Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned 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. Murphy ran uncontested in 2016 and 2014 and defeated his Democratic challenger by a 64 to 36 margin in 2012.
Lamb, a 33-year-old lawyer and former assistant U.S. attorney and Marine captain, is ahead of Saccone, a 59-year-old Air Force veteran and longtime state representative, using three different turnout models, according to Monmouth.
Lamb leads 51 to 45, with 3 percent undecided and 1 percent voting for third party candidates, “if turnout yields a Democratic surge similar to voting patterns seen in other special elections over the past year,” Monmouth finds.
“Using a historical midterm lower turnout model,” Lamb holds a 49 to 47 lead, according to Monmouth. If there is a higher turnout, such as in a presidential election year, Lamb is ahead 51 to 44, according to Monmouth.
A poll by Monmouth last month showed Saccone ahead in all three circumstances. He had a 49 to 46 lead in a surge model, 48 to 44 in a higher turnout model and 50 to 45 in low turnout.
“This district has voted overwhelmingly Republican in recent elections, but a large number of these voters have blue-collar Democratic roots. Lamb seems to have connected with them,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Lamb holds a net positive 53 percent favorable and 33 percent unfavorable rating, while Saccone is at 47 percent favorable and 43 percent unfavorable.
The poll of 503 registered voters was conducted March 8 to 11. It has a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percent. You can see the full results of the poll below:
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.
Two other recent polls showed Lamb in the lead, while a …read more