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Poll Shows Dem Challenger Might Beat Rep. Fitzpatrick Over Abortion Issue

Will the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade shape the 2022 midterms?

One of the first tests of how public sentiment came in a poll in the First Congressional District race in Bucks County, a seat held by incumbent Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

Democratic challenger Ashley Ehasz hopes to capitalize on the anger that has energized many pro-choice voters since the Supreme Court’s decision last Friday. The poll, conducted by Democratic polling firm Global Strategy Group, found Fitzpatrick leads Ehasz by 7 points with 18 percent undecided. However, when voters were told Fitzpatrick “wants to restrict abortion rights, even if the woman’s life is in danger and in most cases of rape and incest,” the results changed to a 10-point lead for Ehasz, a first-time candidate.

“This just echoes the conversations I have had with people at rallies and knocking doors since Friday’s announcement, which is that when voters learn their congressman had the opportunity to protect their right to an abortion and he refused to, they feel betrayed,” said Ehasz. “Fitzpatrick could have voted to codify Roe v. Wade, but instead he washed his hands of it, and sided with the most extreme members of his party. People feel abandoned, and rightly so.”

Not so fast, the Fitzpatrick campaign countered.

“The language in this partisan poll’s script pertaining to Brian’s voting record on abortion is categorically false, and they know it. This push poll is nothing more than a desperate fundraising ploy from a flailing campaign intended to mislead voters in an attempt to make their campaign relevant,”  said Nancy McCarty,  a Fitzpatrick campaign spokesperson.

According to Global Strategy Group, the poll also shows that 44 percent of voters said they disapproved of Fitzpatrick’s job performance while 33 percent approve. That included 40 percent of Republicans approving with 37 percent disapproving.

The pollsters surveyed 626 likely 2022 General Election voters in the First Congressional District on June 24 and 25. The findings have a margin of error of +/-3.9 percent.

Still, Christopher Nicholas, a veteran Republican consultant, said Ehasz will have a tough time beating incumbent Fitzpatrick.

“Her poll shows that when people find out Fitzpatrick is pro-life and she is pro-choice, her vote percentage goes up above his. Trouble is, no one knows who she is and that won’t be the only issue that the campaigns will talk about,” Nicholas said. “In addition to having no name ID she also has no money, so she has a hard road in front of her.”

Ehasz graduated from West Point and is an Iraq War veteran. She is a former Apache helicopter pilot and company commander. A Bensalem resident, she left the Army to study for a master’s degree at Oxford University.

Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, was embedded with U.S. Special Forces as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In the 117th Congress, he was elected co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. Fitzpatrick is the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment, and Cyber, and he was appointed by House leadership to currently serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and as a Commissioner on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick

He also serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and co-chairs the bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force.

In addition to being an attorney, Fitzpatrick is both a  certified public accountant and a certified emergency medical technician.

“As state legislatures across America begin to consider legislation on this extremely sensitive topic in response to today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs, I urge all state legislatures to always start from a place of empathy and compassion,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement released after the decision.

“Any legislative consideration must start with the process of seeing the world through other people’s eyes, and walking the world in other people’s shoes. Any legislative consideration must always seek to achieve bipartisan consensus that both respects a woman’s privacy and autonomy, and also respects the sanctity of human life. These principles are not mutually exclusive; both can and must be achieved,” he said.


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First Post-Primary Poll Shows Shapiro, Fetterman Leading Top PA Races

If the latest polls are any indication, Republicans Doug Mastriano and Dr. Mehmet Oz have their work cut out for them.

A USA Today/Suffolk poll released Wednesday showed they are trailing Democrats Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman in the race for Pennsylvania governor and U.S. Senator.

In the poll of 500 likely voters, Attorney General Shapiro led Mastriano, a state senator from Franklin County, 44 to 40 percent. Minor party candidates totaled 3 percent and 13 percent were undecided. The poll has a 4.4 margin of error.

Oz tallied at 37 percent and Fetterman, now serving as lieutenant governor, at 46 percent.  Minor party candidates came in at 16 percent and 13 percent were undecided.

And 26 percent of the voters thought the economy was the most important issue, followed by gun control. And just as in the rest of the country, President Joe Biden’s approval rating is underwater in Pennsylvania.

Some 38 percent approved Biden’s job performance while 54 percent disapproved.

In 2018, 48 percent of Pennsylvania voters were registered as Democrats and 40 percent were Republicans. Today, the Democratic Party registration advantage has been reduced to 45 percent-41 percent among active voters, said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.

“Even with Democratic party registration dwindling in Pennsylvania, both Fetterman and Shapiro are adopting a more populist approach to midterm voters and winning independents,” Paleologos said. “Voters say they are unhappy with the economy in Pennsylvania and President Biden’s job approval, yet these particular Democrats are threading the needle thus far.”

Robin Kolodny, chair of the political science department at Temple University, thinks voters have a lot of information about the candidates already.

“What these polls show is that most Pennsylvanians are already familiar with the candidates and have formed opinions about them,” she said.  “The campaigns still have months to go to try to change voters’ minds, but these early polls underscore how competitive both races will be.”

However, Liz Preate Havey, who chairs the Montgomery County Republicans, believes the Republicans will prevail this year.

“I think people will vote their pocketbook,” said Havey. “There’s a lot of energy upset and anger against the Democrats in general and, according to polls, independents are dramatically breaking for Republicans two and three to one at this point.”

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Republicans Distrust Everyone When it Comes to Elections; All Voters Distrust Gov. Wolf

A new poll from Muhlenberg College found a striking level of distrust in the election process among Pennsylvania voters, especially Republicans, with the 2022 primaries less than four months away.

The poll, which echoes similar results of national polls, shows 38 percent do not believe the last election was conducted fairly, and a similar 41 percent believe there was “widespread election fraud.” Seven of 10 Republicans believe there was widespread fraud in 2020.

Christopher Borick

“The persistence of beliefs that there was widespread election fraud in 2020 among a significant portion of the Pennsylvania electorate, despite no evidence of that happening” was the poll’s most interesting conclusion, said Christopher Borick, director of Muhlenberg’s Institute of Public Opinion. “The high levels of distrust in almost all institutions and electoral processes among Republicans is also noteworthy.”

Republican voters voiced a higher level of distrust for every institution of state government than others. That distrust extended to the GOP-controlled legislature.

Only 49 percent of Republicans strongly or somewhat believe the legislature will provide a safe, secure, and accurate election, the poll found.

“I’m not sure how many voters know which party controls the state legislature, so maybe that partially explains the high levels of distrust Republican voters have for that institution,” Borick said. “However, I think there is a significant portion of the Republican electorate that simply distrusts all things related to government right now.”

“The lingering distrust we are seeing in the 2020 election is due to the ongoing parroting of Donald Trump’s lies,” Pennsylvania Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa said. “His loyal, but misguided, messengers continue to sow the seeds of doubt about our elections without a shred of evidence or proof. They are eroding faith in our process, which is ironic given that many of them were elected through the very same process and do not question the validity of their own races.”

In one of the seven press releases issued by Trump on Jan. 6, he attacked the House committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol last year for not addressing the 2020 election.

“Why is it that the Unselect Committee of totally partisan political hacks, whose judgment has long ago been made, not discussing the rigged presidential election of 2020?” he asked. “It’s because they don’t have the answers or justifications for what happened. They got away with something, and it is leading to our country’s destruction.”

And in a recent  NPR interview, Trump reiterated his claim there was a “corrupt election” in Pennsylvania, among other swing states. In particular, he repeated a claim that there were more votes in Philadelphia than there were voters.

While the raw total number of voters who cast ballots in Philadelphia was high, the turnout rate compared to registered voters was 65.9 percent—meaning there was about 34 percent of registered voters who did not vote. Additionally, Trump pulled in a higher proportion of the vote in Philadelphia than he did in 2016, contradicting claims that Democrats ran up their own vote margin in the city.

While distrust is high among Republicans, it is not absent among Democrats. A majority of Democrats—57 percent—believe voter suppression is the biggest threat to the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.

That common belief among Democrats has fueled their own version of stolen elections, including Beto O’Rourke’s losing Senate campaign in Texas, Andrew Gillumm’s losing gubernatorial run in Florida, and Stacey Abrams’ losing campaign for governor in Georgia. Democrats have also objected to the result of each presidential election they have lost since 2000.

Claims of widespread voter suppression are, however, belied by data. According to the census bureau, overall voter turnout is higher than at any time in the last century. Black turnout continued its trend upward, having only been higher during the 2008 and 2012 elections. And turnout among Hispanics hit a record in 2020.

Democrats’ concerns over voter suppression largely do not extend to efforts by the Republican-controlled legislature to reform state election laws, however.

Among Democrats, 46 percent strongly or somewhat believe such reform efforts are meant to secure elections, while only 37 percent strongly or somewhat believe such reforms are meant to make it harder to vote.

Among all voters, county election officials are the most trusted to provide a safe, secure, and accurate election while Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is the least trusted.

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