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New Polls Put Pennsylvania in Play for White House, Senate

New polls of Pennsylvania voters show the ping-pong contest between Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump still bouncing within the margin of error. The fight over Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat also remains tight, with Republican Dave McCormick trailing incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Casey Jr. by single digits.

A Susquehanna Polling and Research survey of 450 likely voters found Biden led Trump 50 to 45 percent, just outside the margin of error. While that poll was just released, the survey was conducted from Feb. 27 and March 6.

Perhaps most notably, Biden’s five-point edge is down from Susquehanna’s January poll when Biden led by eight points — 47 to 39 percent.

In another sign of how close the Keystone State race is likely to be,  a Bloomberg poll of 807 registered voters, conducted from March 8 to 12, had the race tied at 45 percent. A previous Bloomberg poll gave Trump a six-point lead.

Biden’s approval rating remained near historic lows at 40.5 percent. Fifty-five percent of voters disapproved of Biden.

So, why would an extremely unpopular Democrat poll better or equal to his Republican competition?

“Voters are faced with a binary choice for president,” public affairs executive Larry Ceisler told DVJournal. “It’s solidifying. It’s going to be a very close election.”

Republicans weren’t concerned that Keystone State voters would pick Biden in November.

“Although recently released, [the Susquehanna poll is] an old poll, taken almost a month old,” said longtime GOP strategist Charlie Gerow. “More recent polls show Trump winning Pennsylvania.”

The RealClearPolitics poll average gives Trump an extremely slim 0.2 percent lead in the state.

In an email to DVJournal, Susquehanna Polling and Research president and CEO James Lee acknowledged the results could be considered stale because they weren’t released for weeks.

“[We] wanted to be completely transparent about the dates the poll was conducted so you can decide for yourself,” he said.

That revelation didn’t concern Dr. Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College. He told DVJournal that he didn’t expect any dramatic shifts in polling because Americans have a “deep level of familiarity” with Biden and Trump.

As for the Senate race, Borick said McCormick’s campaign could take heart that he’s polling within a few points of Casey, an incumbent who sailed to reelection victories in 2012 and 2018.

Borick added the Casey camp could also see the poll as a positive because all other polls gave him a lead, albeit one that continues to tighten. “Going into a competitive election cycle and having any advantage is probably welcome news,” he said.

Democratic strategists like Neil Oxman expressed confidence Casey will remain on top.

“I just think that Casey is Pennsylvania,” Oxman told DVJournal. “He really represents the majority of Pennsylvanians…He has a lot of independent voters and he has a lot of Republicans who support him.”

An Emerson College Poll from earlier this month found nine percent of those surveyed would vote for Trump and Casey.

McCormick has touted his endorsements from the Pennsylvania Republican Party, GOP congressmen, and law enforcement groups including the Delaware County Fraternal Order of Police. He avoided a nasty primary fight when the Pennsylvania Department of State removed one candidate from the ballot while another withdrew.

Ceisler, however, wondered if there was still skepticism about McCormick following the 2022 U.S. Senate Republican primary where McCormick narrowly lost to TV’s Dr. Mehmet Oz. Oz, who was endorsed by Trump, lost to Democrat John Fetterman.

McCormick endorsed Trump for president shortly after Super Tuesday. But Trump has not weighed in on the Pennsylvania Senate race.

“McCormick is probably looking for the best of both worlds with Trump. But he could also end up with the worst of both worlds with Trump,” observed Ceisler.

The Casey and McCormick campaigns did not comment.

GOP’s McCormick Beats Casey in Fundraising, Gaining in Polls

Pennsylvania Republicans got a double dose of good news Monday, and it suggests a good year ahead for the GOP.

For U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick, the headline is his blowout fundraising in the fourth quarter of 2023, $6.4 million. That’s more money than the incumbent Democrat he’s challenging, Sen. Bob Casey, has ever raised in a single quarter.

For former President Donald Trump, the good news is a poll from the left-leaning group Future Majority showing him leading President Joe Biden in Biden’s native Pennsylvania by six points, 46-40 percent. Trump already has a slim one-point advantage in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. With the new Future Majority poll, Trump beat Biden in four of the five most recent polls in Pennsylvania.

It’s part of a consistent trend showing Trump leading Biden in Pennsylvania and six other swing states that are likely to determine the outcome of the 2024 presidential race. And it’s good news for Keystone State Republican candidates like McCormick, who will benefit from having a strong performance at the top of the GOP ticket.

Not that McCormick isn’t helping himself.

McCormick raised $5.4 million from over 15,000 individual donors and put in an additional $1 million of his own in his first quarter as a 2024 Senate candidate, making for a groundbreaking haul, his campaign said in a press release. McCormick’s number beats any of Bob Casey’s fundraising quarters in 18 years and is among the largest first quarters ever for a Republican challenger.

“Dave McCormick has earned the support of Pennsylvanians from all walks of life because they believe he is the kind of leader who can address the burden of inflation on working families, push for a secure border, and protect the security of Americans at home and abroad. A seventh-generation Pennsylvanian, West Point graduate, and Pennsylvania job creator, Dave is exactly the kind of candidate who can beat Bob Casey in November, shake up Washington, and get this country back on track from the failed policies of Joe Biden,” said McCormick campaign manager Matt Gruda.

The Casey campaign raised $3.2 million for the third quarter of 2024.

“I’m no stranger to a tough race. I’ve always fought for PA, and I won’t stop now. We’re up against a wall of money, so I’m looking for 10,000 supporters to help us start 2024 off strong,” Casey posted on social media.

In addition to his fundraising success, McCormick just completed a trip to Israel to highlight his strong foreign policy resume and raise questions about Casey’s commitment to the Jewish state.

Delaware Valley supporters of McCormick like what they’re seeing from the candidate.

“Dave McCormick is running an excellent campaign so far,” Radnor businessman Austin Hepburn told DVJournal. “His fundraising is impressive. It’s going to be an expensive race.”

Democrats are already looking at a difficult U.S. Senate map as they attempt to hold their 51-49 majority. West Virginia is almost certain to flip to the GOP now that Sen. Joe Manchin has announced he’s not seeking reelection. Democratic incumbents in two other states that Trump carried easily in 2020 — Ohio and Montana — are up for reelection in November, too. If Democrats can’t hold Pennsylvania, they are assured of losing control of the Senate.

And if Biden can’t pick up his poll numbers here, it’s going to be tough for Casey to hold off McCormick.

Perhaps in an effort to shore up his support in Pennsylvania, Biden kicked off his 2024 campaign in Montgomery County on Friday with a speech attacking Trump. Biden went after Trump over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, claimed Trump would become a dictator if elected again, and compared Trump’s rhetoric to that of Hitler.

While going negative against Trump, Biden did not tout his own record. All of which has the GOP feeling optimistic.

“From calling out Biden’s ‘erosion’ of support, to bluntly saying his ‘numbers are bad,’ to already being desperate for a ‘rebound,’ the Pennsylvania press corps are calling in dire news for Joe Biden,” said Republican National Committee spokesperson Rachel Lee. “Democrats’ prospects in Pennsylvania are bleak, and in 300 short days, Joe Biden and Bob Casey will be reading the worst headlines of their careers yet: Democrats’ defeat.”


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Poll: Most PA Parents Would Send Kids to Private School

If money weren’t a problem, a majority of Pennsylvania parents would pull their kids out of public schools. That was the finding of a new poll from the Commonwealth Foundation.

The survey of 800 Keystone State voters found that 55 percent said, financial considerations aside, they would rather their kids attend a private school. Fewer than one in five (18 percent) picked public school as their first option.

More parents preferred sending their kids to a non-religious private school (33 percent) than a religious private school (22 percent). Charter schools and home schools were the choice of seven percent of respondents.

Foundation Executive Vice President Jennifer Stefano said the poll’s most disturbing finding was the poor grade most Pennsylvanians gave the public school system. “[W]hen asked to grade the K through 12 system, the respondents gave schools twice as many F’s as they did A’s.”

Those who tended to favor public education made over six figures. Stefano said that showed “if you can buy in the marketplace options” — in other words, afford to move to communities with high-performing public schools — you have a more positive view of government-run education.

Only three percent of those making less than $40,000 gave public schools an A, while 11 percent gave public schools an F. The results were similar for respondents earning between $40,000 and $125,000 annually.

While schools historically taught ‘reading, writing, and arithmetic,’ 41 percent of Pennsylvanians did not believe that is happening in classrooms today. Almost 50 percent believe students aren’t learning life skills. Student safety concerns were at 38 percent, while 37 percent of parents worried about learning loss from COVID shutdowns.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro signed a bill last week expanding the state’s tax credit scholarship programs by $150 million. The first-term Democrat previously reached a deal with the Republican-controlled Senate on vouchers. That plan was ditched in July after the Democratic-controlled House refused to pass a budget that included $100 million for school choice.

Shapiro, however, has consistently said he wants to give children “more opportunity to learn” if they are in difficult situations.

Pennsylvanians feel the same way, and according to the Commonwealth Foundation poll, they want the governor to honor the deal he made with Senate Republicans on student scholarships.

The Commonwealth Foundation said 61 percent agreed the scholarships should be funded. Sixty-four percent of people 18 to 29 and 67 percent of those 30 to 44 believed Shapiro needed to follow through on the voucher deal. A whopping 70 percent of people living in the big city favored the agreement. Not only that, but 63 percent of Democrats and independents gave support to scholarships.

“[It’s] very interesting, given that the Democratic Party elites were debating whether to have a resolution to condemn school vouchers as policy,” said Nathan Benefield, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation. “They seem to be appeasing the teachers unions but are out of touch with their own voters who think that Gov. Shapiro should get that done and support lifetime scholarships for low-income kids.”

Shapiro avoided a rebuke from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s rules committee last week after an anti-voucher resolution was tabled. Party Chair Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) said the national Democratic Party asked the resolution to be tabled under the guise of party unity. He wouldn’t say who from the Democratic National Committee made the request.

An original version of the anti-voucher resolution would have included language criticizing Shapiro for talking to Fox News about vouchers and that “school voucher policies are widely supported by the [party’s] political opponents.”

School choice advocates still hope vouchers will become a reality in Pennsylvania. American Federation for Children CEO Tommy Schutz told DVJournal that “Empowering families should not be a partisan issue; in fact, a super-majority of every political party and demographic – including 66 percent of Democrats in a recent poll – support it. Democrat Party leaders who have chosen to represent the unions instead of their constituents on this issue do so at their own political peril.”

Poll: PA Voters Don’t Want Shapiro To Push State Into RGGI Deal

According to a Commonwealth Foundation poll released Tuesday, Pennsylvania voters don’t want Gov. Josh Shapiro to push the state into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Shapiro appealed a court ruling last month, finding previous Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2022 executive order putting Pennsylvania in the RGGI multi-state carbon credit program created an “invalid tax.” Shapiro appears dead set on appealing the ruling, with his spokesperson saying the administration “must appeal in order to protect that important authority for this administration and all future governors.”

The Commonwealth Foundation poll found that 71 percent of the 800 registered Pennsylvania voters surveyed opposed giving the governor power to “unilaterally impose new taxes” without the state legislature first approving it.

However, the survey also found that 72 percent hadn’t read, seen, or heard about RGGI. That wasn’t a shock to Commonwealth Foundation Media and Public Relations Director Christian Stellakis.

“RGGI lacks transparency, so it’s no surprise that many Pennsylvanians aren’t familiar with it,” Stellakis told DVJournal while mentioning that the RGGI program itself is hard to understand. “But voters overwhelmingly oppose a new energy tax leading to a 30 percent increase in their home utility bills—which is precisely what RGGI would create.”

EnergySage said Pennsylvania residents spend around $2,592 annually on electricity – 24 percent higher than the national average. That grows to $3,369 with the RGGI 30 percent increase factored in.

Commonwealth Foundation reported that 63 percent of those surveyed don’t want the state to be part of the carbon cap and invest program if new taxes on energy are imposed. A total of 60 percent said they were less likely to support RGGI if it meant Pennsylvania’s economy would suffer more than 22,000 job losses along with a $7.7 billion yearly economic loss.

“Voters don’t want an energy tax,” said Nate Benefield, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation. “In fact, voters agreed with candidate Shapiro, who campaigned saying he was concerned about RGGI and the implications that it would have on the costs imposed by RGGI.”

Wolf made the RGGI pact a top priority for his administration. He ordered the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to assemble an RGGI package instead of going through the legislative process. He also vetoed a bill that would have required the legislature’s approval to enter RGGI.

Those efforts were stymied last year by the Commonwealth Court after an injunction. A bipartisan group of judges struck down RGGI last month. They argued that the only way for RGGI to “pass constitutional muster, the Commonwealth’s participation in RGGI may only be achieved through legislation duly enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.”

Pennsylvania ran into other headaches regarding RGGI. Business groups filed lawsuits over the planned regulations. A working panel put together by Shapiro’s administration did not endorse RGGI as a solution in September.

Republican Leader in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Rep. Bryan Cutler, wrote in DVJournal that the Commonwealth Court made the right move regarding the state’s entry into RGGI because it expanded executive authority too much. He added that Pennsylvanians also understand there is a process the state needs to go through before policy becomes law. “These efforts also led to the largest reassertion of legislative authority in recent history when we put before voters constitutional amendments that were ultimately approved limiting the governor’s unilateral authority during emergencies.”

Click here to read the full poll.

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Could ‘Scranton Joe’ Really Lose Swing State Pennsylvania?

When pollsters like Siena College and Emerson College want to take the temperature of voters in swing states, they inevitably stick a political thermometer in Pennsylvania. And as of late, those polls show “Scranton Joe” Biden trailing Donald Trump in the incumbent president’s home state.

Biden won Pennsylvania in 2020, and Democrats had strong showings here in 2022 and 2023. So, are Democrats really in danger of losing Pennsylvania in the 2024 White House race? Political pros say current polling is interesting — but not predictive.

“It can be somewhat dangerous to compare different polls that have different methodologies that were in the field at different times.” Republican political consultant Christopher Nicholas of Eagle Consulting Group told DVJournal. “That can get a little dicey…the usual disclaimers apply about polls being a year away, and Trump is looking like the presumptive nominee, but he’s not. No one has cast a vote yet.”

Fellow Republican political consultant Charlie Gerow of Quantum Communications agrees. He compared the early Biden-Trump polls to watching the stock market because “you never know what you’re going to get.” Gerow saw the polls as a “snapshot in time” and one that can’t be taken seriously until “you begin to see consistent patterns — which we’re not.”

If Republicans are urging caution, how do others feel?

“We have to be careful to not say that one poll is ‘the one,’” said Jeff Jubelirer of Bellevue Communications Group. He prefers looking at all data before deciding which candidate leads the race.

Recent polls in Pennsylvania show Trump leading by an average of a point and a half, according to RealClearPolitics. It is a significant swing from earlier this year when RCP found Biden leading by about four points.

There is still a feeling that voters appear desperate for candidates not named Biden or Trump. Both are deeply underwater with the electorate, though for different reasons. A Franklin & Marshall College poll found that 84 percent of Pennsylvania voters thought that Biden was too old for a second term.

Trump, on the other hand, is viewed as a “threat to democracy” by many independent voters who would like an alternative to the elderly Biden.

“People are dreading that being the choice again,” commented Nicholas, who compared the 2024 election to the 2016 election between Trump and Hillary Clinton. “It’s almost to the point of parody now: ‘Trump is the only Republican that Biden could beat’ and ‘Biden is the only Democrat that Trump could beat.’”

Why won’t both parties jettison Biden and Trump off the ballots? Fear, according to political strategists.

“[I]f all of sudden one of them went away, that party would become a surefire loser,” said Nicholas. “That’s how people view it now. Maybe it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Gerow is full steam ahead on the Trump train. “The people that don’t want Trump dislike him for other reasons other than his age and mental acuity,” Gerow said. “Let the chips fall where they will.”

Jubelirer said he believes Biden could be vulnerable if he had to run against a Republican not named “Trump.” He called the other candidates “very formidable,” with the exception of Chris Christie.

He’s not sure who the best Biden replacement might be. “Kamala Harris isn’t much more popular – if at all – than Joe Biden,” he told DVJournal. “I do think…[California Gov.] Gavin Newsom…could engender more support than Joe Biden.”

The only Democrats officially challenging Biden are Minnesota U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips and author Marianne Williamson. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. dropped out of the Democratic primary to launch an independent presidential campaign.

As for Newsom, accusations of running a shadow campaign against Biden have dogged the governor for most of 2023. He has made multiple foreign trips and visits to other U.S. states. However, Newsom hasn’t formally declared a presidential run.

A potential wild card is Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro. The extremely popular Democrat gave essentially a stump speech to New Hampshire Democrats in September, portraying his administration as a “get sh-t done” one.

That doesn’t mean that he should run for president in 2024. Nicholas quipped that “in [Shapiro’s] mind, it’s an inevitability.”

Jubelirer thinks it is too early for Shapiro to seek national office. “His name’s been out there a little, but the country doesn’t know him yet, except those of us who are in the know.” He thinks 2028 is a better time for Shapiro.

As for next year’s presidential election, voters may enjoy gobbling up poll numbers instead of doing research into more important areas.

“The public remains interested in the ‘horse race’ aspect of the election,” said Jubelirer. “Who’s winning? Who’s losing? It draws more interest than a candidate’s positions on issues and other angles.”

Poll Shows PA Voters Split on Whether Democrats, GOP ‘Mainstream’

If perception is reality, then Pennsylvania Republicans have a real problem with voters when it comes to abortion and protecting welfare programs. But Democrats are doing just as badly fighting crime and the immigration issue.

That was the finding of a Franklin & Marshall College poll taken in April, according to polling director Berwood Yost. The survey reviewed how voters perceive the party’s stance on hot-button issues rather than testing the actual positions.

“We find that each party has several issues that give them an advantage, particularly among independent voters, but that partisans, in particular, have a difficult time believing the other party has any issue advantages,” Yost wrote.

For instance, more than half (53 percent) of voters think the Democratic position on abortion is “closest to the views of most Americans,” while just 25 percent said the same about the GOP. Those numbers were nearly reversed (51-24 percent) on immigration and public safety/policing (49-28 percent)


A recent Franklin & Marshall poll asked Pennsylvanians, “When it comes to their positions on [issue], which party do you think expresses views that are CLOSEST to the views of most Americans?”

Slightly more voters said Democrats were more mainstream on elections, while Republicans were deemed more conventional on gun control. The poll numbers suggest elections in Pennsylvania will likely remain contentious in the near future, with both parties struggling to convince voters to accept their respective positions on various issues.

Yost, the director of the Center for Opinion Research and the Floyd Institute for Public Policy at Franklin and Marshall College, told DVJournal the poll results indicate “each party has some issues that work to their advantage and others that don’t.”

“Parties will always need to adjust their positions and messaging in a way that accounts for the preferences of less partisan voters to build a winning coalition,” he said. “At the moment, Republicans have some messaging problems around abortion rights because both independents and those who tend to vote Republican view the party’s stance as too outside the mainstream.”

Yost noted the survey “did not test support for specific elements of any policy issue or define those positions in any way.” The methodology only assesses “how voters perceive the parties’ overall issue positions and not what those positions are.”

The interviews were conducted March 27 – April 7, 2023. The interviews were conducted at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College. The data included the responses of 643 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 287 Democrats, 266 Republicans, and 90 independents. Sample error is plus or minus 4.9 percent.

That distinction could have critical significance during a contentious election year. Charlie Gerow, the CEO of Harrisburg-based Quantum Communications, called the specifics of party policies “a really fundamentally important question.”

“The GOP, in my view, has taken a backseat and has not been as aggressive as they should be on the abortion question,” he said. “The folks that are on the real fringe on the abortion question are Democrats, who don’t believe there should be any restrictions whatsoever. They believe in abortions at any time, for any reason, paid for by the taxpayers.”

“That’s not a majority position at all,” he pointed out.

Gerow cautioned about reading too much into the numbers ahead of next year’s elections.

“Obviously, those results will mean a lot more in November than they do in the primaries,” he said. “The primaries are decided by a very different electorate than that which decides general elections.”

Swing voters, Gerow said, could prove to be decisive in throwing many of these issues in favor of Republicans next November.

Pennsylvania, meanwhile, is once again shaping up to be a major battleground state in what will doubtless be a bitter election season.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last month that the Keystone State is at the top of the GOP 2024 target list in the party’s efforts to recapture the Senate.

Democrats have also put Pennsylvania’s state Senate in their crosshairs for 2024 in an ongoing effort to claw back the huge numbers of state legislatures of which the GOP has gained control in recent years.

And there may be a glimmer of hidden good news for the GOP. A new HarrisX poll of middle- and working-class voters found that while the economy and jobs were the most important issue of the topics polled by Franklin & Marshall, Republican issues held the edge. Guns and school safety are the top concern of 21 percent of working-class respondents, followed by crime/drugs (18 percent) and immigration (17 percent), all in the top five. Both abortion and Social Security/Medicare were down at 10 percent and tied for 11th place on the list.

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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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