Democratic candidate Christina Finello has a message for Democrats in PA and DC: she’s within striking distance of incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks).
The Public Policy Polling survey was conducted on behalf of the Finello campaign. It includes 753 interviews of likely voters conducted half by calls to landlines and half by texts to cell phones from June 10-11, and has a ± 3.6% margin of error.
PPP’s polling leans in the Democrats favor by an average of 0.3%, according to analysts at FiveThirtyEight, which gives PPP a B rating. Having said that, all internal poll results should be taken with a grain of salt.
In this case it seems likely that Finello hopes to puncture the aura of invincibility around the Fitzpatrick name in PA1. Democrats have long targeted the seat, which on paper is their most favorable pickup opportunity in PA. But Brian and his brother, the late Mike Fitzpatrick, frustrated those efforts cycle after cycle. An exclusive poll in the NJ is a message to national networks of PACs, super PACs and donors: put the past aside – this race belongs in the top tier.
The Fitzpatrick campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment. The National Republican Congressional Committee shrugged off the poll by pointing to Fitzpatrick being named the most bipartisan member of Congress in 2019 and attempting to describe Finello as supporting Democrats’ “socialist agenda.”
“Brian Fitzpatrick earned the title of most bipartisan member of congress by delivering on his promise to PA-01 voters to always put them first,” said NRCC Spokesman Michael McAdams. “The last thing folks in this district want is a partisan zealot like Christina Finello who supports Democrats’ socialist agenda focused on abolishing the police, raising taxes and eliminating private health insurance.”
Finello, who comfortably defeated Skylar Hurwitz, a technology entrepreneur and small business owner in the Democratic primary, has not voiced support for abolishing the police or eliminating private insurance and did not address taxes, according to the issues page of her campaign website.
In addition to showing a race in which the Finello campaign is dubbing as a “toss-up,” due to the internal poll, they also show other troubling numbers for Fitzpatrick and President Donald Trump.
35% polled said that they approve of Fitzpatrick’s job performance, while 37% said that they disapprove, and 29% said that they weren’t sure. Finello remains mainly unknown by the voters in PA1 with 18% saying that they have a favorable view of the Democratic candidate, while 12% say they have an unfavorable view of her, and 71% saying that they are not sure if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Finello.
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 20 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.
While Trump was competitive with Clinton in this district in 2016, this poll paints a much different picture against Biden this fall.
56% polled said that they’d vote for Biden for president, while 40% said that they’d vote for Trump. These numbers mirror Trump’s approval rating in the district in the poll with just 40% approving of the president’s job performance, while 56% disapprove.