Cartwright Poll: Cartwright Leads Holden 42-36

Matt Cartwright leads Rep. Tim Holden, according to an internal poll conducted for the challenger’s campaign. Cartwright, an attorney from Lackawanna County, take 42 percent of the Democratic vote to Holden’s 36 percent.

It’s a 22 point swing from a poll the campaign ran in February, which showed Holden leading 41 percent to 25 percent for Cartwright.

The poll was conducted by Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies of Washington, DC.

“Cartwright has erased Holden’s double-digit lead from February, and now has the same favorable rating as his opponent,” wrote pollster Marc Silverman. “Just as troubling for Holden is that he finds himself running in a district where his votes on health care and the environment are unpopular.  Cartwright is in a strong position to win as long as he has the resources to compete with a 20-year incumbent.”

Announcing the poll results, Cartwright criticized Holden’s campaign tactics.

“He can’t win on his record, so he wants to tear me down.  This is politics at its worst.  They say anything, do anything approach to win at all cost.  I learned from my father to always tell the truth and to never tear down another man just to build yourself up.”

The pollster interviewed 600 likely 2012 Democratic primary voters from April 2-5, 2012, with interviews apportioned geographically based on past voter turnout.  Expected margin of sampling error for these results is +4.0 percent.

As with any internal polling, this should be taken with a grain of salt. Campaigns typically release their numbers for one of two reasons: to demonstrate viability or boost fundraising (or both). Results like these will likely put the race on the radar and help with both.

Update:Holden campaign manager Eric Nagy said these numbers don’t match theirs. They use pollster Alan Secrest of Secrest Strategic Services.

“Our polling shows us up by 10 points, but we’re not taking any chances. We will run like we’re down 10 points,” he said.”

“There are stark contrasts between these two candidates. While Matt Cartwright was giving money to corrupt judges in the ‘Kids For Cash’ scandal, Tim Holden was standing shoulder to shoulder with Barack Obama and Joe Biden, fighting against Republican attacks on Social Security and Medicare.”

Despite serving for nearly two decades, Holden is on unsure footing in his newly drawn district. He retained only 20 or 22 percent of his Democratic constituents, in his home turf of Schuylkill County, while adding Dems in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Easton and elsewhere.

As Holden is less known than a typical incumbent, Cartwright is better known than a typical challenger. The poll showed Holden’s name ID at 65 percent, Cartwright’s at 58 percent.

A prominent local attorney, he is known for legal advice segments which have aired on local news for years in the Scranton market (which covers over 70 percent of the district). His law firm’s ties also help him raise money: about $600,000 so far including a $300,000 self-loan. Holden will report about $750,000 on hand, his campaign has said.

Both have been running television ads for weeks, with Holden going negative twice so far. Cartwright hasn’t needed to throw any punches on TV to date; the Campaign for Primary Accountability has done it for him. The Super PAC began airing ads last week and has already put $70,000 on the air against Holden.

Here’s the full polling memo:

TO: Interested Parties
FR: Marc Silverman
RE: Polling Results in Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District Democratic Primary

Recent polling in Pennsylvania’s newly drawn 17th Congressional district shows that with less  than three weeks until the primary, Matt Cartwright now leads Tim Holden. Cartwright has erased Holden’s double-digit lead from February, and now has the same favorable rating as his  opponent.  Just as troubling for Holden is that he finds himself running in a district where his votes on health care and the environment are unpopular.  Cartwright is in a strong position to win as long as he has the resources to compete with a 20-year incumbent.

Cartwright now leads Holden.

Cartwright has a six-point lead over Holden (42% Cartwright / 36% Holden / 22% undecided).  This is a 22-point swing since February when Holden led by 16 points (25% Cartwright / 41% Holden / 34% undecided).

Candidate support measures.

Cartwright receives a 51% favorable / 7% unfavorable rating, with 42% unable to identify him.  This is a 32-point increase since February, when only 26% of voters could identify him (22% favorable / 4% unfavorable / 76% don’t know).

Voters give Holden a 51% favorable / 14% unfavorable rating, while 35% cannot identify him.  This is only a 15-point gain in name identification since February (40% favorable / 10% unfavorable / 50% don’t know).

April 9th, 2012 | Posted in Congress, Front Page Stories, Poll, Top Stories | 13 Comments

13 thoughts on “Cartwright Poll: Cartwright Leads Holden 42-36”

  1. Kathleen says:

    The fact that unions and MoveOn.org are aggressively campaigning for Cartwright should be enough to convince any law-abiding citizen to do everything in the power to ensure he is defeated.

  2. ACertainFlorentine says:

    I am 40 years old and have avidly watched politics and voted my entire life. I cannot recall a candidate who I have disliked as much as Mr. Cartwright. He takes every chance he can to bash his opponent-in between commercials in which his surrogates bash the other guy. How can his complaints about attack ads ring true to anyone?

    In addition, Cartwright’s promises and political ideals could not com at a worse time than now. The last thing we need in Congress is a politician who promises everything to everybody, we cannot afford this. I am fascinated, in the car wreck sort of way, with Cartwright’s commercial in which he says that if CEOs can get tax write-offs for jets, regular people should be able to get them for child care. This is EXACTLY what is wrong with politics. We need politicians that rid Washington of unneeded perks and payoffs to certain groups by expanding them. If CEOs shouldn’t get certain write-offs TAKE THEM AWAY, don’t add to them by just expanding the same things to others.

  3. Joe Ruchak says:

    Briefly, I was assualted and suffered permanent parlysis at the AVP International Airport from security guards. Mr. Cartwright’s firm turned down my case because paralized hand/arm is not a big deal and not worth alot of money according to there law firm. We(his firm) likes people cases who are totally crippled or killed which brings good money. A dozen other law firms wanted the case and have a great firm. If a paralized hand/arm is nothing and he likes crippling or death incidents, he is a terrible choice for Congress. A terrible assault all on video causing permanent nerve damage is nothing, what does Mr. Cartwright think is something???

  4. Diane says:

    Matt Cartwight is such a fantastic candidate, and I am very pleased to see him doing so well. I can’t wait to vote for him. I even made sure my sisters voted for him on their absentee ballots before they left for vacation! Good luck, Matt! We’re all rooting for you!

  5. Notsowaitykatie says:

    I don’t usually comment on these things, but I thought it was hilarious that, last night, WNEP aired an ad where Matt Cartwright was talking about how much he hated negative campaigning 15 minutes apart from an ad where Matt Cartwright attacked Holden. It was during the news, so however much he paid to air those ads, and I’m sure it’s a lot, he totally needs to get his money back. I was undecided, but that did seal the deal against voting for him. You can’t flip out about someone attacking you one second and then do the exact same thing yourself, literally 15 minutes later. That’s for Republicans.

  6. SourGrapes says:

    So, wait, “Cut the BS,” if some is well informed, they must be tied to Holden? I guess that makes sense, because a well-informed person would be better at seeing through all that BS you are talking about, which unfortunately seems to be coming from one source: Matt Cartwright. And as voters, we’re kind of getting sick of the smell.

  7. Huh? says:

    I was just polled tonight. It was clearly a Cartwright poll. How can they be reporting poll results when the poll is still in the field?

  8. Cut The BS says:

    ^Hey Holden staffer, rather than making excuses as to why you are behind, why don’t you have your candidate debate Cartwright on the issues instead of attacking him with bogus claims

  9. Rob says:

    This poll seems like an untimely April Fools Day joke. Chances are, the question demonstrating a lead for Cartwright likely is the response to what they refer to as the “informed voter” question (after Cartwright is seen in a much more positive light than Holden).

    I have been involved dozens of federal, state, and local Democratic campaigns in Pennsylvania for more than 20 years, and I never have heard of Marc Silverman or Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies. I notice they didn’t release the full poll, just a very brief polling cover memo. It seems to me their only real experience in Pennsylvania was polling the third-tier challenge to Sen. Jane Orie in 2010. Their poll in that race showed DeMarco a lead over Orie. How did that turn out? He lost by almost 20%. Ridiculous.

    There are reasons why nobody in Pennsylvania hires this nothing polling firm: namely, they are a joke. Holden’s pollster, Allen Secrest, on the other hand, is well-known and respected in the business on a national level.

  10. David Diano says:

    Let us know when some external polls come out.

  11. Big C says:

    “As with any internal polling, this should be taken with a grain of salt. Campaigns typically release their numbers for one of two reasons: to demonstrate viability or boost fundraising (or both). Results like these will likely put the race on the radar and help with both.”

    As someone who works with campaigns, this is most definitely true and probably the case here. He is seeking to demonstrate his viability with the media and gain some coverage. His fundraising is fine considering his wealth, so the goal is to get some earned media out of this

  12. Jared from Moon says:

    I dont trust internals when campaigns release them. I wonder if a local tv station or paper will run one. God only knows how many different ways a pollster can manipulate questions and responses. This makes things interesting at a minimum.

  13. TNardi says:

    What would be most worrying for Holden’s camp — if his own internals reflect these numbers — is that at 51/14 he has crazy high favorables. It seems that either Cartwright is appealing to a segment of the population that isn’t getting Holden’s message despite his campaign — or more likely there are people that know both candidates and prefer Cartwright.

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