Exclusive: GOP Poll Shows Fitzpatrick Leading Finello 50-35
A national Republican PAC says that Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) is in good position to secure another term in Congress.
A poll shared exclusively with PoliticsPA by Congressional Leadership Fund shows Fitzpatrick leads Democratic candidate Christina Finello, an Ivyland Borough Councilwoman, 50-to-35, with 5 percent voting for the Libertarian candidate and 8 percent undecided for the race in Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District.
Congressional Leadership Fund is a Republican super PAC endorsed by House Republican leadership. It’s Democratic counterpart, House Majority PAC, released an internal poll of this race in late June showing Fitzpatrick only leading by 1 point, 45-to-44.
CLF doesn’t coordinate directly with candidates or committees like the National Republican Congressional Committee, but it does play a role in helping shape what races to watch in November. Publicizing an internal poll is a key way to help craft a message for a congressional race.
The poll was conducted by American Viewpoint and included 400 interviews of likely PA-1 voters. The polling memo says 55% of interviews conducted with a cell phone sample of those that couldn’t be reached on a landline. The 400 interviews were conducted between July 13-15 and the poll has a ± 4.9% margin of error at the 95% confidence level, although the margin of error among sub-groups is greater.
American Viewpoint polling leans in Republicans favor by an average of 0.8%, according to analysts at FiveThirtyEight, which gives the outlet a B/C rating. Having said that, all internal poll results should be taken with a grain of salt.
The Finello campaign used the poll as an opportunity to link Fitzpatrick and President Donald Trump.
“The Conservative Leadership Fund will do or say anything to prop up Donald Trump’s allies in Washington like Brian Fitzpatrick, including using materials obtained by illegal Russian hacks in campaign ads,” said Finello campaign spokesperson, Ali Anderson. “Fitzpatrick is relying on Trump’s special interests friends, with a history of subversive tactics, to try and get out of the pickle he’s in after voting with Donald Trump when it matters most.”
Additional polling included in the memo attempt to make the case that Fitzpatrick’s lead is impressive, given the momentum that Democrats have gained in the suburbs, while Finello remains largely unknown by the likely voters of this Bucks County district.
Democrats have a 48-to-43 generic ballot advantage and a 2 point edge over Republicans in terms of party registration among likely voters. The polling also shows that Fitzpatrick leads Finello among Independent voters, 49-to-22, and even earns 20 percent support from registered Democrats.
56% of likely voters have a favorable impression of Fitzpatrick, while 33% have an unfavorable impression of the incumbent GOP congressman. 13% of likely voters have a favorable impression of Finello, while 8% have an unfavorable impression, 6% said that they don’t know, and 53% said that they were unaware of her.
The polling said that among 47% of the electorate who were aware of both candidate, Fitzpatrick leads Finello, 57-to-31.
“Finello has yet to even lock in her own partisan base, let alone begin to make inroads with key swing voters,” an excerpt from the memo reads. “Congressman Fitzpatrick is in a strong position and is poised to be re-elected in November.”
Unlike other most recent internal polling in PA1, there were no numbers included for the matchup between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump in the blue-trending district.
Several polls released in the past two months show former Vice President Joe Biden holding a lead over President Donald Trump, beyond the margin of error in Pennsylvania.
While Fitzpatrick enters the race as the favorite, recent GOP polling seems to indicate that Republicans are not taking this seat for granted.
Fitzpatrick’s campaign released an internal poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, last week that showed him leading Finello by 14 points, 53-to-39. While Fitzpatrick also held a double digit lead in that poll, Biden led Trump by 9 points in PA1, 51-to-42.
Finello released an internal poll of her own, conducted by Public Policy Polling, in mid-June that showed Fitzpatrick holding just a 2 point lead, 40-to-38 in the race. House Majority PAC, a national Democratic super PAC, released a poll conducted by Victoria Research that showed Fitzpatrick leading by 1 point, 45-to-44. In both of these Dem friendly polls, Biden led by double digits in the suburban congressional district, 16 points in the Finello poll and 14 points in the HMP poll.
Fitzpatrick is currently in his second term in Congress representing the Philadelphia suburban district. He bested pro-Trump Republican Andrew Meehan in the 2020 GOP primary by 27 points, which is a closer victory than his 2018 GOP primary win over pro-Trump Republican Dean Malik by 34 points. In the general election, Fitzpatrick defeated Democrat Scott Wallace by just over 2.5 points in the November midterm. At $31M in total spending, it was the fifth-most expensive non-special congressional contest in American history. Fitzpatrick was just one of two Republicans nationwide to weather the blue wave in 2018 by winning boundaries that narrowly went to Sec. Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The survey can be found here.