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Poll Shows PA Midterm Races Closer Than They're Supposed to Be

Townhall Media

In recent days, the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race has been making news as it is now regarded as "Lean Democratic," with John Fetterman (D) having a polling edge over Dr. Mehmet Oz (R). Both are vying to fill the open seat being left by Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who is retiring at the end of this term. In the gubernatorial race, Josh Shapiro (D) is perceived to be a strong contender against Doug Mastriano (R). According to a Trafalgar Group poll released on Sunday, though, the poll results are closer than one might think. 

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If the election were held today, 48.4 percent would vote for Fetterman, while 43.5 would vote for Dr. Oz. Only 4.6 percent were undecided. 

When it comes to the gubernatorial race, if the election were held today, 48.6 percent would vote for Josh Shapiro, while 44.7 percent would vote for Doug Mastriano. Similar to the Senatorial race, 4.8 percent were undecided. 

The poll was conducted August 15-18, with 1,096 likely general election voter respondents and a margin of error of 2.9 percent. 

In covering the poll for Newsweek on Monday morning, Giulia Carbonaro noted in her headline that the Trafalgar poll in question shows Republican candidates "both narrowly lose."

Robert Cahaly, founder of the Trafalgar Group, told Townhall that he agrees with the polls being "narrow," in contrast to what he referred to as "other nonsense polls," pointing out that "a lot of polls are just way off" and "not measuring this race very well."

The Trafalgar Group has consistently come in as the most accurate pollster of past elections, and has an A- rating from FiveThirtyEight. 

The race is still about two and a half months away, and it's possible that Mastriano and/or Dr. Oz could make up the deficit with the time they have left, if they play their cards right.

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Cahaly also told Townhall that either candidate could make up such a deficit, perhaps even in days or weeks, with it "depending upon the way events unfold," pointing to different factors at play.

"It's very difficult running with Joe Biden as the president," Cahaly pointed out when it comes to disadvantages Democratic candidates face. He compared it to a house full of termites, which may look fine on the outside, but will be what ultimately matters. "Democrats are going to pay the price for Joe Biden's unpopularity, especially in the federal races," Cahaly offered, adding the election will come down to whether or not a candidate agrees with Biden's agenda. 

This may even apply to those currently undecided voters or those who change their minds, who will vote for a candidate based on how they don't like the direction the country is going.

A rallying column from Kurt Schlicter earlier this month expressed hope that Dr. Oz "will win." Citing Salena Zito, who frequently writes about Pennsylvania, the column mentioned Zito "tells me that Dr. Oz is out there making contacts and building the GOP brand with constant appearances around the state."

When it comes to that Senate race, Cahaly pointed out that "Fetterman has been in a cocoon," but that his recent emergence has set the race back in motion. He offered that there had been no hits on Fetterman because it would not have been tasteful due to his recent stroke. 

Matt also highlighted last month how Democrats have actually been worried about Shapiro's chances against Mastriano, citing a report from POLITICO.

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On that race, Cahaly emphasized how Democrats are betting that whom voters choose will be based on Mastriano's comments on the 2020 election and January 6. "They're going all in on those things being disqualifying, they might be wrong," Cahaly cautioned, "they haven't considered that they might be wrong." Thus, "they might be shocked at what Pennsylvania voters might have to say."

Overall predictions vary when it comes to whether or not Republicans will take back control of the Senate, though some still predict Republicans have a chance. Emphasizing that such a prediction from him is coming "at this point," since it is "a moving target that may change," Cahaly said he is "confident" that Republicans will win control of that body. 

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