The Washington Post is proud to partner with The Washington Post in bringing our originally reported insider political news to a wide audience of decision makers and opinion leaders across the country.

Close it

Meehan up four points in new poll

Meehan up four points in new poll

Republican Pat Meehan is holding a narrow four-point lead over Democrat Bryan Lentz just weeks before Election Day, in the latest indication that the 7th Congressional District remains fiercely competitive.

In a Monmouth University poll released Thursday, Meehan garners 49 percent of likely voters, compared to 45 percent for Lentz. Just seven percent of voters are undecided or prefer another candidate. The survey was the first public poll taken of the open-seat race in suburban Philadelphia, where Meehan, a former U.S. Attorney, and Lentz, a two-term state lawmaker, have been battling fiercely. Both campaigns have long expected a close race.

Despite Meehan’s lead, the results have to be heartening for Lentz and his supporters. He is outperforming the generic congressional ballot in the district, and is nipping at Meehan’s heels despite facing an opponent who was better-known from the start thanks to years as Delaware County District Attorney. Meehan’s lead is just outside the margin of error, and the poll did not include independent candidate Jim Schneller, a conservative who can presumably pull votes from Meehan. If internal Democratic polling echoes the public survey, it’s likely that the party’s congressional campaign committee will invest heavily in the race.

But there’s downside for Lentz, too. Meehan is expected to carry a significant financial advantage into the closing weeks of the race. And while Lentz has already been on TV with relatively modest ad buys for weeks, Meehan has saved his campaign war chest for a media blitz that could eventually swamp Lentz off the airwaves.

Fifty percent of likely voters disapprove of President Obama’s job performance, and both parties are viewed unfavorably by a majority of respondents.

“This district mirrors the national mood,” Monmouth University polling director Patrick Murray said. “Voters are disappointed with the way the country has gone over the past two years and blame both political parties, but they have to choose someone.”

In another finding that could foreshadow some trouble for Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak, he is leading Republican rival Pat Toomey by only three points in the 7th, within the margin of error—despite the fact that the survey was taken in the district he represents.

Meehan remains better known, but that gap is not what internal polling demonstrated months ago. Thirty percent of likely voters don’t have an opinion, compared to 37 percent who say the same of Lentz. Meehan enjoys higher favorability ratings, and echoing findings in battleground districts across the country, he has significantly more strength among independent voters. Meehan leads among male voters, while Lentz holds a smaller edge with women.

The survey of 670 likely voters, conducted Oct. 4-6, had a margin of error of 3.8 percent.

Click here to see the poll.

Correction: This article originally misstated President Obama’s approval ratings as reported by the poll. Fifty percent of respondents disapproved of his job performance, and 44 percent approved, not the other way around.

October 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm

--Dan Hirschhorn

Tags: , , ,


comments [45] | post a comment

  1. sue

    Oct 7th, 2010

    LIKELY voters-means whatever results you want you can manufacture. Look at the demographics at the end of the poll!

  2. J. Hughes

    Oct 7th, 2010

    Dan you misread the poll, it says 50% disprove of Obama and 44% approve.

  3. Rick

    Oct 7th, 2010

    This is tremendous news for Lentz and Oxman hasn’t even started running Lentz ads. Schneller could be the deciding factor here with the winner under 50%. I guess Meehan’s debate performances have hurt him badly.

  4. Dan Hirschhorn

    Oct 7th, 2010

    Hey J. Hughes,

    Right you are, a sloppy error on my part. We’ll append a correction.

    Thanks so much for pointing out, and for reading.

    Dan Hirschhorn

  5. linda

    Oct 7th, 2010

    Pat’s ads haven’t started yet either. I’m sure lentz’s hypocrisy will be exposed. you know big reformer…anti tax…won’t take per diem…. The only thing that will happen then is a lentz response ad with more pictures of bryan in a beret….ooooh I can’t wait.

  6. 1994 Again

    Oct 7th, 2010

    The Meehan camp has a bottomless pit of money for TV ads. They will remind voters that Lentz has been a reliable Dem vote in Harrisburg for higher taxes and more spending while the state’s economy has fallen apart. Why send this guy to DC to be a reliable vote for Obama and Pelosi, especially when only 44% of voters in the district approve of the president?

    Lentz will drown in the GOP tidal wave.

  7. Ryan_in_DelCo

    Oct 7th, 2010

    Problem with the poll is that the district is roughly 47% Republican and 41% Democratic in terms of registration. This poll says it is 38% to 35%. This means the Republican lead is probably closer to 8%.

  8. E. Allen Snuffin

    Oct 7th, 2010

    How come this story doesn’t mention the voting differential from Meehan’s internal polling back in June. That showed that Lentz was down 21 points. Now he’s only down 4? That’s a huge swing in momentum…

  9. David Diano

    Oct 7th, 2010

    No. Likely voters has a pretty specific meaning, as opposed to merely “registered” voter.

    It’s a non-presidential Federal election.

    Statewide turnout will be just over 50% for Dems and close to 60% for Republicans and about 30% for Independents. (That’s being generous to the Dems as well.) Many conservative Dems (around 20%) going to vote for Toomey. Even if 20% of Republicans vote for Sestak, the 20% of Dems is a bigger number.

    Sue, at the Sestak office, you are targeting “likely” voters yourselves. Who are you trying to kid? You are probably basing it on past turnout stats. (That’s how EVERYBODY does it.)

    Some pollsters actually ask: “Are you likely to vote?”
    However, you don’t need that. You can just take the registered voters. Multiply Republicans by 60%. Dems by 50% and everyone else by 30%.

    I think it may be that Toomey comes off as articulate and looks good compared to Sestak in coherence (not on the issues). Meehan is wooden compared to Lentz.

    The actual numbers for active registration:
    48.6% Rep
    39.5% Dem
    11.9% Oth

  10. Ryan_in_DelCo

    Oct 7th, 2010

    Thanks David. With those statistics, the actual polling is:

    Meehan 50.49
    Lentz 43.44
    Other/Undecided 5.25

    Toomey 48.48
    Sestak 47.05
    Other/Undecided 4.01

  11. delco observer

    Oct 7th, 2010

    What registration stat do you use….teh actual registration or the so-called self reported I.D.? This sample,using actual registration (which is the more accurate way to do it) as opposed to self ID appears to have overcounted reps by by 3.5 pts,Dems by .5 and underpolled indies? Not sure why?

  12. Ryan_in_DelCo

    Oct 7th, 2010

    I am using the actual registration of the district not the nonsense contained in that poll. Pennsylvania is a highly partisan state in terms of registration and believing neither party breaks 40 in a district is absolutely absurd. Their Household figure is absurd on the face of it. What constitutes a household? Going back to the district’s actual registration is the only way to weigh the numbers properly.

    I would actually argue my sample probably underestimates the Republican strength. My sample really does not take the enthusiasm gap everyone is talking about into account. The Democratic enthusiasm gap might not be as big in PA-7 since Sestak is on the ballot, but it will still probably exist to an extent.

    If nothing changes between now and election day, Meehan wins by 5 to 10 and Toomey and Sestak run about even in PA-7. Seeing Toomey and Meehan have substantial money advantages and outside help, the odds are really in their favor. If Sestak cannot win PA-7 convincingly, he will only win 4 districts, PA-1, PA-2, PA-13, PA-14, outside PA-7.

  13. anon

    Oct 7th, 2010

    I see now why Young Gun Meehan only goes to retirement homes these days.
    That’s his base.

  14. sick of it all

    Oct 7th, 2010

    the other thing interesting here is that lentz outperforms democratic registration in the sample while meehan underperforms republican registration in th sample. same with sestak/toomey…hmmm…interesting trend.

  15. David Diano

    Oct 8th, 2010

    Ryan (and others)
    The Monmouth poll used the following criteria to select voters:
    voted at least 2 times, in the past 4 general elections.

    I ran this criteria against active voters for the 7th district and came up with the following counts that match that criteria:
    party | voters
    REP | 141,672 = 68.2% of active registered rep
    DEM | 90,727 = 53.6% of active registered dem
    NP | 17,190 = 36.3% of active registered NP
    (np = no party)

    Now, this is just the voting records. According to the pollster, the result was: “further screened for those who say they are either “certain” or “likely” to vote in this November’s election

    Also, you can’t use the self-reported ID (38%/35%). That can be which party they identify with, not necessarily their registration

  16. Ryan_in_DelCo

    Oct 8th, 2010

    David… wow… I figured my numbers underestimated Republicans and the numbers you provided further reinforce my stance.

  17. David Diano

    Oct 8th, 2010

    The key for Bryan is that voters get to see him side-by-side with Meehan, and realize what a bumbling, incoherent mess Meehan is.

  18. linda

    Oct 8th, 2010

    No David, the key for voters is to be able to see through Bryan’s slick appearence and smooth talk and get to his record of broken promises, big government and other issues(he knows what they are!!!!! and he prays everyday that no ones finds out what they are! it is amazing what gag orders do)

  19. Rick

    Oct 8th, 2010

    June: Meehan +21
    Today: Meehan +4
    November: ?

    I bet the Meehan campaign is now sweating like the candidate does at debates.

  20. charlie m

    Oct 8th, 2010

    nah they will just raise more money and blow lentz to smithereens.

  21. Ryan_in_DelCo

    Oct 8th, 2010

    Rick… comparing different polls from different pollsters is really tricky.

  22. sick of it all

    Oct 9th, 2010

    @Ryan-whoever pays for these polls should save the money…they’re turnout models think are all messed up.
    @linda-obviously you have never met Bryan Lentz…you’re just repeating the DELCO REPUB talking points which have no substance…but you are right to be nervous…this polls a real kickin Meehan’s gut.
    btw,linda-the only think slick in this race is the top of the podium where Meehan was debating from all the sweat that poured off his head…lucky he didn’t short out the microphone.

  23. David Diano

    Oct 9th, 2010

    Ryan and Rick-
    Comparing different pollsters is okay. However the June poll is SO out of date that it’s really not even relevant.
    538 gave the new poll a weight of 0.91 and the old poll a weigh of 0.01. So, that tells you something.
    Interestingly, the 538 prediction for the race (adding in PA trends) is a 76% chance of a Meehan win, but 51.7% to 45.8% +/- 8.6
    The HUGE margin of error is due to the lack of data points (and 538 not having seen Meehan’s debate performance).

    Meehan’s got a lot of advantages due to money, and the Delco GOP machine and the headwinds the Dems are facing. That’s just the reality of the environment. Lentz has genuine charisma, understands the issues (knows what he is talking about) and has demonstrated a deep desire to help the less fortunate with better government policies. In a year like 2006 or 2008, Lentz would be wiping the floor with Meehan.
    I think Lentz is capable of pulling this one out, but it’s going to be VERY close and he can’t afford to make any mistakes.

  24. linda

    Oct 9th, 2010

    oh I’ve met bryan. one of my friends knows him all too well. slick was a kind word.

  25. sick of it all

    Oct 9th, 2010

    I’ve met Meehan,many times. Not too bright, not too ethical, not trustworthy…easily lead by his handlers. Despite all of that I was shocked by his poor debate performances.

    Assuming Lentz can overcome the dysfunctional Delco Dem Leadership, he should win.

  26. Charlie M

    Oct 10th, 2010

    Dysfunctional is a kind word. Landau is mo better than clifford

  27. David Diano

    Oct 10th, 2010

    I think you mean “no better” rather than “mo better”.
    Actually, I think once Landau’s done, you will have an appreciation for how much Cliff really did. There were a lot of behind the scenes nuts and bolts stuff things that most people are unaware of. Landau and his crowd have to put together an election day operation, with a deficit of knowledge, because most of his team refused to work with Cliff in years past to learn the ropes. Now, they have enough rope to hang themselves.
    I will give Landau credit for one thing: he is working hard (much harder than he thought the job would be). He’s got to go through the exercise of doing it his own way and making mistakes before will be ready to accept input from the people he deposed, and figuring out which members of his own team can do their jobs.
    Sestak and Lentz are pretty much dominating the environment, Landau in more a support role. The REAL test for Landau will come in the 2011 elections in the county, where it will be HIS strategy, leadership, etc. running the show, and not Sestak or Lentz.

  28. sick of it all

    Oct 10th, 2010

    If lentz and/or sestak can’t do well in DELCO, Landau has failed…next year will be a year of darkness in that case. 2012 will be a bit of a comneback in DELCO for DEMS because the national mood will be anti-republican..

  29. havertownrich

    Oct 11th, 2010

    linda, unless you’re going to make an actual accusation, you should just shut up.

    I know Lentz and he is a class act. He is a loyal, honorable man. If you have something you’d like to share with the class, then do it. otherwise, go back to your hole.

  30. linda

    Oct 11th, 2010

    oh I don’t have anything I’d like to share with the class. Does bryan? that’s the question you should be asking.

  31. havertownrich

    Oct 11th, 2010

    okay. Bryan Lentz, do you have anything you’d like to share with the class?

  32. Bryan Lentz

    Oct 11th, 2010


  33. havertownrich

    Oct 11th, 2010

    okay, Bryan Lentz doesn’t have anything to share with the class.

  34. havertownrich

    Oct 11th, 2010

    spit it out Linda. He served honorably in the United States Army, he’s represented his constituents with distinction, he has a beautiful family that he loves very much, and he’s about to be the next Congressman from the 7th District. you have nothing on him. admit it.

  35. dogsrule

    Oct 11th, 2010

    linda, really sleazy comments.

  36. K . Martel

    Oct 12th, 2010

    I know Both candidates and they are both decent people . I am glad I don’t live in Delco .

  37. anon

    Oct 12th, 2010

  38. Charlie M

    Oct 12th, 2010

    Hold on! Wait. Corey Kemp has something to share with the class too. Oh you can’t blog from prison. Larry Mendte haha

  39. interesting

    Oct 14th, 2010

    So can Bryan Lentz or his campaign tell us some more about this gag order? Very interesting. What’s he hiding?

    Linda, can you share?

  40. Ed H.

    Oct 16th, 2010

    Bryan Lentz is a class act. He showed that he understands economics much more than the lame talking points Meehan shared with the class. Meehan’s so uneducated on economics, that he couldn;t find his wallet without one of his handlers showing him where it is. The debates have shown that Meehan hasn’t done his homework at all. With the region facing the prospect of losing more jobs than the Republicans have already lost for it and the rest of the country, how can anyone even be considering letting the people who drove the economy over the cliff get back in the drivers seat again?

  41. Thomas J

    Oct 17th, 2010

    Who’s everybody kidding here. Neither of these two is going to accomplish anything as a freshman Congressman. Both will follow their party line, and therefore party leadership. This election is about which party we want in charge.

  42. [...] The most recent polling (10/7) shows a tight race with Republican Pat Meehan in a slight lead of 4%. Bryan Lentz – Democrat Incumbent [...]

  43. Matt from UD

    Oct 20th, 2010

    I am not sure bombarding the TV with ads will definitively do it for Meehan. Meg Whitman is running 1300 ads a day and one of the most impressive and scientific voter contact systems ever, and she isn’t running away with any thing in California. People get ad fatigue. Try watching the six o’clock news and tell me where you zone out. There is 5 minutes of ads for every ten minutes of news, and they are all negative. The only definite winners this year are the broadcast companies and cable networks. That being said, with this race being tight, I am doing what I can for Bryan. He is the better candidate and he can win this race.

  44. anon

    Oct 25th, 2010

    We need a new story on this race.
    Lentz knocked it out of the park at tonight’s debate at Neumann College.

  45. John

    Oct 27th, 2010

    Charlie m – you are truly and idiot – to com pare Corey kemp to Larry Mendte, wow.

    Everyone know the Mendte case was all about Meehan abusing his office to get publicity – a workplace dispute? Computer snooping is handled by the HR department, not the FBI. How much did that case costs taxpayers? What cases were turned down so that manpower could go into that one?

    And in the end Meehan had to make a slimy phone call to beg Mendte’s arrorney to get him to plead guilty early so Meehan could have the news conference – what a weasel. The man does not beloing in Congress.

Leave a Reply

- will not be published

Current day month ye@r *