The survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and commissioned by the YG Action Network, showed Rothfus with 42 percent of the vote and Critz with 40. That’s a 9 point swing from the group’s August poll, which showed Critz ahead 46 percent to 39.
“Mark Critz has changed, people just don’t trust him any longer now that he’s gone Washington and become a part of the Obama machine, which is why he’s now losing this race,” said YG Action Fund spokesman Brad Dayspring. His group is spending upwards of $500,000 to blast Critz in television ads.
However, Rothfus still has some catching up to do with name ID; 24 percent haven’t heard of him and 31 percent didn’t have an opinion of him. Of those who did, he’s viewed unfavorably 23 percent to 22.
Critz is viewed favorably, 31 percent to 26. 12 percent have never heard of him.
The memo, which did not include cross tabulations, asked respondents how they’d heard of each candidate. For Rothfus, it was 44 percent from television, 15 percent from newspapers and 6 percent from the internet. For Critz, it was 49 percent, 15 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
A generic Republican leads 48 percent to 38, the survey found. 46 percent of respondents identified as strong or leaning Republicans and 44 percent identified as strongly or leaning Democrats.
The survey paints a similarly rosy picture for Mitt Romney in the district; he leads Obama 54 percent to 41 percent. He’s viewed favorably by 53 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 40 percent. Obama, on the other hand, is viewed unfavorably: 54 percent to 42.
Dayspring said the district has become one of the most favorable for Republicans in the country. He added that Critz leads by 4 points in his home base, the part of the district he’s keeping, while Rothfus leads by 5 points everywhere else.
As with any internal poll, this should be taken with a grain of salt. Campaigns typically release their polling to boost their own credibility or diminish that of an opponent. With a super PAC, the motivation can be more nuanced. Forbidden from coordinating directly with campaigns or other independent expenditures, YG Action Fund can share their data with allies by, for example, having them published in the press. You’re welcome.
So far, the only consensus among all sides is that the 12th district is a highly competitive race. In the absence of independent public polling, several parties have released their own. A poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee showed Critz ahead 52 percent to 41; but one commissioned by Rothfus’s campaign just a few days earlier showed it at a 38 percent to 38 tie.
Public Opinion Strategies surveyed 400 likely PA-12 voters from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, 2012 via live interviews to cell phones and landlines. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent.