2018-03-12 18:07:37 UTC
Democrat Conor Lamb is gaining ground in Pennsylvania’s closely watched special election and holds a 6-point lead over Republican Rick Saccone, according to a poll released a day before the race.
A new Monmouth University poll found that, if there’s a surge in Democratic voter turnout on Tuesday, Lamb garners a majority of the vote with 51 percent, compared to Saccone's 45 percent. One percent of voters polled support a third-party candidate, while 3 percent remain undecided.
But when looking at the race through a lower turnout model that resembles past midterm cycles, Lamb’s lead shrinks to just 2 points, 49 to 47 percent.
Lamb’s bump in the polls comes as Republicans have become increasingly worried about a Democratic upset in a western Pennsylvania district that President Trump won by nearly 20 points in 2016. Rep. Tim Murphy (R) resigned from the seat in October, setting up the special election.
Monmouth’s poll has been more of an outlier than previous polls, which either show Lamb with a smaller lead or Saccone winning by a few points. And a survey conducted by Monmouth last month found the Republican state lawmaker leading by a small margin.
“This district has voted overwhelmingly Republican in recent elections, but a large number of these voters have blue-collar Democratic roots. Lamb seems to have connected with them,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. .... (cont)