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GOP poll memo claims double-digit lead for Kelly

A recent internal poll commissioned by Republicans found 3rd District GOP challenger Mike Kelly topping incumbent Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper (D-3) by 11 points, according to a memo by the pollsters.

The survey by Virginia-based firm The Tarrance Group found Kelly winning 48 percent of the vote in the northwest Pennsylvania district, compared to just 37 percent for Dahlkemper, according to the poll memo. The memo, from pollster Dave Sackett to Kelly’s campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee, paints Dahlkemper as a dangerously imperiled incumbent who is losing even a quarter of the Democratic vote.

The entire survey cross-tabs and questions were not available, making the poll impossible to independently assess. But if the poll memo is to be believed, Kelly’s paid media campaign during the competitive GOP primary has yielded significant name recognition, while Dahlkemper is suffering from an anti-Democratic environment that is particularly strong in the conservative leaning district.

The Tarrance Group’s survey of 305 likely voters, conducted July 20 to July 21, had a margin of error of 5.8 percent.

Click here to see the poll memo, which was first reported by Early Returns 2.0.

July 26, 2010 at 10:15 am

--pa2010.com Staff

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  1. John Taylor

    Jul 26th, 2010

    This is an ominous poll for a candidate whose campaign spokesman was telling the Butler Eagle that the race is over because of Dahlkemper’s huge cash-on-hand advantage and PAC fundraising edge. It is amusing but instructive to see that this story about the poll has been ignored by the pro-Dahlkemper Erie Times.

  2. Transplant

    Jul 26th, 2010

    Always take internal polling with a huge lump of salt. I do not believe this poll in the slightest until I see some corroboration. Dalhkemper COULD be in trouble, doubtless, but this poll seems too out of left field to be true.

    First of all, the memo says a quarter of Democrats are going to vote for Kelly (not just NOT for Dahlkemper). That seems highly unlikely. Also, the memo notices that there is no district gender gap, which also seems dubious at best with a FEMALE incumbent. It also claims a 67% name ID for Kelly, which would be decent numbers for an incumbent, let alone a neophyte politician (former Butler councilman isn’t the most well-known post) like Kelly.

    Finally, in my mind, the poll claims that 50% of poll respondents have a STRONGLY unfavorable impression of Nancy Pelosi. I’m not arguing that Nancy Pelosi is loved in PA-3. However, that enough people have an impression of her to have 50% strong disapproval, and 60% disapproval at all, is astonishing. I mean, Richard Nixon’s highest disapproval rating was only 66%, and George Bush’s was 71%. So to say the Speaker of the House would register a 60% disapproval deserves a skeptical glance.

    Need to see more polling before I believe this one. Also, Dahlkemper was named to the Frontline program last summer, so it is unsurprising to see the DCCC reserve air time for her. Eire is (relatively) cheap, so more bang-for-the-buck defending PA-3 than, say PA-7. (Sorry Mr. Lentz.)

  3. Transplant

    Jul 26th, 2010

    Also, Tarrance Group screwed up big-time for Tim Burns in the special election, and the margin of error in this poll is +-5.5 or so, with a sample size of about 300. That’s ridiculously small.

    So if Kelly’s poll has the split 48-37 Dahlkemper, it could be anywhere between 53-43 for Kelly and 42-32 for Dahlkemper.

  4. Spectator

    Jul 27th, 2010

    Did they only survey people currently at his dealership one Saturday afternoon?

  5. John Taylor

    Jul 27th, 2010

    The problem is, there is a lot of evidence on the ground that corroborates the poll. That includes the primary results, where Dahlkemper recieved an anemic vote against an unknown (and loopy)opponent. Outside of Erie County, her vote was barely two-to-one. Her support is very week.

  6. matt

    Jul 27th, 2010

    i have to agree with Transplant on this one. Incumbants don’t get a 67% name ID, let alone a newbie like Kelly. so unless they only polled in Butler that is highly unlikely. I also read in their release primary voters. So one has to wonder who they actually polled. There is no way that I can beleive Kelly has an 11 point lead without seeing supporting data.

  7. [...] news for Dahlkemper after an internal survey in late July from Kelly, a Butler County car dealer, showed him up 11 points. The battle between the two candidates is expected to be among the state’s most [...]

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