Blue Wave On The Way? Republican In Traditional Republican District Holds Small Lead In Special Election

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As we get closer to the midterm elections, Republicans and Democrats alike are reading into elections across the country to gage who each side will fair in November.

Republicans in traditionally Democratic states are fearful that a wave of women and minority voters in suburbs will provide the needed votes to push Democratic candidates to victory over Republican incumbents.

Political analysts have been carefully watching next month’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, a district where Republicans typically win by double-digits and Donald Trump won by 20-points in the 2016 election.

A new Monmouth poll may spell trouble for Republicans’ in Pennsylvania and across the nation. The poll finds that Republican candidate Rick Saccone holds a narrow 49% to 46% lead over Democrat Conor Lamb.

Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, notes that while Saccone holds a lead it’s short of the double-digit lead Republicans in this district typically hold:

“Saccone has a slight edge, but it’s nowhere near the double digit advantage Republicans typically enjoy in this district. The potential for a Democratic surge like we have seen in other special elections helps Lamb stay in the hunt but does not close the gap entirely.”

Murray also notes there is an enthusiasm gap among Democratic and Republican voters that has helped Lamb:

“The fact that Saccone does better among all potential voters than he does in any of the probable turnout models is a clear sign of higher enthusiasm among Democrats. However, this district’s strong Republican bent may simply be too high a hurdle for Lamb to overcome.”

The Monmouth poll looked at the results based on several different voter turn out models, presidential and midterm voter turnout, and in each of these models Saccone still holds a lead but is still within the margin of error.

Interestingly, President Trump holds a 51% approval rating, 9-points higher than the RealClearPolitics average of Trump’s approval rating nationwide. Republicans have feared that Trump’s low approval rating will hurt their chances in the midterms however, it’s uncertain how that well play out in the PA 18.

The Monmouth poll surveyed 320 voters from Feb. 12-14 and has a 5.5% margin of error.