The survey was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates of 600 likely Pa. voters from Oct. 7-8. The pollster used live interviews, with
data weighted the sample chosen so as to reflect Pa.’s demographics. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.
“As the election draws nearer and the voters form more solid opinions of the candidates, Bob Casey continues to lose ballot share and Tom Smith continues his upward trajectory,” said pollster John McLaughlin. “Casey is now well below the 50 percent benchmark a safe incumbent should receive and Smith is poised to exceed Senator Casey on the ballot.”
The memo released by Smith’s campaign shows that Casey lead Smith 57 percent to 31 on June 12; 48 percent to 38 on August 12; and 49 percent to 41 on October 1.
Both men has tepid approval numbers. Smith is viewed favorably 34 percent to 32. 34 percent either have no opinion of Smith or haven’t heard of him. Casey is viewed favorably by 41 percent and unfavorably by 40 percent. That’s a net decrease of 20 percent favorability for Casey since June, according to Smith’s pollster.
As with any internal poll, this should be taken with a grain of salt. As almost all campaigns do, Smith’s declined to release its crosstabs.
As Smith’s pollster McLaughlin told Politico for a May 2012 story about why campaigns release internal polls:
“The major reason is to affect media coverage and fundraising. People like to be with a winner and if you have a poll that says you’re going to win, you can fire up your supporters and demoralize your opponents.”
This survey is on the high end for Smith. Real Clear Politics gives Casey an average lead of 6.3 percent. That includes neither this poll nor another privately commissioned poll showing the race within 3 points.
Casey Campaign Manager Larry Smar dismissed the poll.
“The direct fundraising solicitation in the memo should tell you everything you need to know,” he said. “Tom Smith’s policy positions are so far outside the mainstream he has to release cooked internal polls to try to draw support. I have never seen a candidate try so hard to manufacture momentum.”