Democrat Sean Wiley has widened his lead in the race to replace outgoing Sen. Jane Earll (R-Erie). He leads Republican opponent Janet Anderson 57 percent to 38 according to an internal poll released by his campaign.
That’s wider than Wiley’s numbers from mid-September, which showed him ahead of Anderson 53 percent to 37.
The poll was conducted by 39th Street Strategies based in Washington, D.C. They surveyed 400 likely voters from October 21-23, 2012 via live interviews. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent.
“This surge is a confirmation of both the hard work of my supporters and volunteers who have been out every day — knocking on doors, calling voters, spreading the word of our message of restoring funding to our schools and bringing jobs back to Erie,” Wiley said. “There is still a lot of work to be done to get out our message of working together to move the greater Erie area forward.”
Janet Anderson’s Campaign Manager Casey Contres dismissed the poll, but declined to release polling information to rebut Wiley’s.
“We have been pleased with our level of support from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents,” he said. “We don’t comment on our internal polls, but obviously with the unprecedented support we have received and the support that keeps coming we are confident we are on our way to a victory on November 6th.”
The poll showed Wiley’s approval numbers healthy: 51 percent favorable and 24 percent unfavorable. Anderson’s numbers are split 36 percent favorable and unfavorable.
With its Dem-heavy registration, most observers consider the 49th district a strong pickup opportunity for the minority Democratic caucus, indeed their best chance this cycle.
Unlike many western Pa. districts, President Obama’s name on the ballot will boost WIley here, especially in the city of Erie.
He leads Romney by a similar margin, 55 percent to 38.
So too Sen. Bob Casey, who leads GOP opponent Tom Smith 52 percent to 39 in the 49th.
As with any internal poll, take it with a grain of salt. It’s in the Wiley campaign’s interest to bolster the narrative that he’s a strong front runner. It attracts donors to his campaign and deters those to his opponent.
There has not yet been independent polling of the race.