The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Tim Burns Leads, but He Has No Margin for Error


It’s not quite a surprise, but worth noting anyway: PPP sees a close race in Pennsylvania’s special House election; they find Republican Tim Burns barely leading, 48 percent to 47 percent, over Democrat Mark Critz.

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.

Tim Burns has a real chance to win this, but he’s going to need every last vote he can get.

Having said that, I notice Burns is winning independents 52 percent to 31 percent in PPP’s poll, and right now the Republicans are most enthused (52 percent describing themselves as “very enthusiastic”), independents are next most enthused (40 percent), and Democrats are least enthused (35 percent) among the three groups. The election is in two days. The ingredients are there for a Burns win.

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns


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