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Rise and shine, PA-18 by @BloggersRUs

Rise and shine, PA-18

by Tom Sullivan

Groundhog Day is past in western Pennsylvania, but these post-November 2016 elections have a bit of the Bill Murray movie about them. Okay campers, rise and shine. It's special election day. Again.

In Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, Democrat Conor Lamb has made the race competitive against Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone. A Monmouth poll suggests Lamb has an edge as the polls open:

Lamb holds a 51% to 45% lead over Saccone if turnout yields a Democratic surge similar to voting patterns seen in other special elections over the past year. Another 1% opt for a third party candidate and 3% are undecided. Lamb also has the edge using a historical midterm lower turnout model, albeit by a much smaller 49% to 47% margin. A model with higher turnout overall, similar to a presidential electorate, gives Lamb a 51% to 44% advantage. This marks a turnaround from last month’s Monmouth poll of the race, when Saccone held a small lead in all the models – 49% to 46% in the surge model, 48% to 44% in the high turnout model, and 50% to 45% in the low turnout model.
Per recent history, Saccone should be going into election day with a double-digit lead. But special elections in 2017 showed an averaged double-digit swing towards Democrats, CNN observes. Monmouth's poll of 372 likely voters has a margin of error of +/- 5.1 percent.

Monmouth conducted the poll before the president dropped in Saturday night to congratulate himself on being Himself. The rally was in an area key to Trump holding his white, blue-collar base. But 96% of Monmouth's likely voters said his steel and aluminum tariff announcement had no effect on their choice.

The poll finds that likely voters in PA18 are divided on the president’s overall job performance – 49% approve and 49% disapprove. Last month, Trump earned a slightly positive 51% approve and 47% disapprove rating. Voters who approve of Trump are somewhat more likely to support the Democrat Lamb (7% to 90% for Saccone) than voters who disapprove of Trump are to support the Republican Saccone (2% to 96% for Lamb).
The NRA quietly dropped some last-minute money into the race in support of Saccone, but not on high-profile TV ads. Most of the $7,868 went into mailings, with a few hundred spent on phone banking.

It's chilly and cloudy this morning in western Pennsylvania, with a chance of snow showers.

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Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.