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Gerlach Poll: Gerlach 54, Trivedi 30

Trivedi, left, and Gerlach

Incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach has a healthy lead over his Democratic challenger, according to an internal poll his campaign released today.

The five-term Congressman takes 54 percent, while just 30 percent of voters favor his opponent, veteran and surgeon Manan Trivedi. 17 percent are undecided.

The survey also showed Gerlach with 92 percent name ID (55 percent favorable, 22 unfavorable), compared to just 36 percent for Trivedi (9 percent favorable, 7 unfavorable). It’s unclear how the other 20 percent of voters who have an opinion of Trivedi view him.

The pollster also notes Gerlach’s leads among three groups:
Independents (14 percent of likely voters): Gerlach 48, Trivedi 24
Seniors, 65 and up (22 percent of likely voters): Gerlach 55, Trivedi 35
Those who have heard of both Gerlach and Trivedi (35 percent of likely voters): Gerlach 51, Trivedi 39

Like any internal poll, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Campaigns release their numbers only when it serves them, usually to demonstrate their own strength, or, to deter support from their opponent.

In this instance, the case the Republican’s team is making is this: for all of Trivedi’s vigor and support from national Democrats, he’s not a viable candidate.

Trivedi has named by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as one of the top challengers in the nation, and as of the latest campaign finance report has more cash on hand than any other Dem challenger in PA ($527,000 on hand to Gerlach’s $885,000).

The numbers are similar to those released in a Gerlach poll from March, where he lead Trivedi 55 to 23. Trivedi’s camp simultaneously released its own poll which showed a much closer race: Gerlach 45, Trivedi 33.

Trivedi spokesman Daren Berringer noted that Gerlach polls from July and September 2010 were significantly off: Gerlach’s campaign released internal polls showing him up 29 and 30 points, respectively, but the Congressman beat Trivedi by less than half that: 14 points, 57 to 43.

Berringer dinged Gerlach, who was elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

“We have seen these wild poll results too many times from Congressman Gerlach to know better than chase him down this rabbit hole,” Berringer said. “We wish Jim Gerlach a wonderful time as he enjoys himself at the Republican Party convention in Tampa, FL with all the other GOP political insiders. Dr. Manan Trivedi will just keep working here at home.”

Both candidates have been campaigning steadily since, and raising money at a steady clip, though neither is yet on the air.

Gerlach is an escape artist, perennially on Dem target lists but always remaining out of reach. He defeated Trivedi in 2010 by just over 14 percent. During the Democratic wave of 2008, he won by about 4 percent.

Now, thanks to redistricting, the district is slightly Republican-leaning (whereas before it leaned fairly well Democratic).

The silver lining for Trivedi? President Obama won the new configuration of the 6th district by a healthy 7 point margin in 2008, meaning there is room for a Democratic surge. Additionally, almost exactly 50 percent of voters in the district are new to Gerlach, which could mitigate his advantage as an incumbent – though these poll results suggest that he does not lack for named ID.

Polling firm WPA Opinion Research conducted this survey of 400 likely PA-6 voters via live interviews from August 20 to 21, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 4.9 percent. Here’s the pollster’s description of its methodology: “The sample for this survey was stratified based on party, gender, age, ethnicity, and geography. This methodology allows us to minimize post-survey ‘weighting’ which can reduce the reliability of survey results.”

6 Responses

  1. In general I agree with JoAnn’s reply. I feel Trivedi COULD become competitive with real $. If I were advising Trivedi (which I’m not) I would hit at Gerlach’s perceived strength: all the stuff about his caring about seniors. Here’s the three things I would work hard to ding Gerlach about: 1. His support of voucherizing Medicare. He’s been lockstep with his friend Paul Ryan (they really are close); 2. Turning over Medicare to fat-cat private actors making big profits off the backs of seniors. Don’t use the term Medicare Advantage, but as recently as several years ago MA was charging 14% more per Medicare recipient than traditional Medicare. Most years the overcharge was above 10%. Gerlach and his friends promised MA would save $. The ad could mention that American consumers are paying so much for medications since they are subsidizing the rest of the world–a legacy of the American system of health care. 3. Gerlach voted to undermine Medicare with his 2003 vote setting up direct private competition with Medicare in the clear hopes to eventually privatize it. He voted against the legislation (the ACA) in 2009 that repealed this. Of course the Republicans lost enthusiasm for the direct competition proposal when they realized that in straight up competition their constituents (private insurance) would lose to Medicare so they have they glummed on to MA which uses Medicare $ to bolster these private companies actually hindering efficiency. Gerlach could have been working to strengthen private sector Medigap policies which simply supplement Medicare instead of attempting to take its place. But nothing was done and most companies have terminated Medigap plans since there is little advantage now for them to offer them (in the tax code) while there are far more incentives to offer MA plans.

    Hard-hitting ads on Medicare–which are totally truthful–about Gerlach and vouchers, supporting wealthy elite interests–pharmaceutical executives–at the expense of taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries (who may not like that a private company will want to screw someone who needs expensive treatment and will deny first and ask questions later) are the way to go I think. The take him point is that Gerlach wants to undermine the program which has served so many seniors well for years with all his votes to destroy the traditional program with a new less efficient, less effective, and costly ‘Medicare.’ And guess who will get to pay for Gerlach privatized Medicare! All of us with our voucher that will likely rapidly diminish in value over time–a survival of the fittest war.

    Seniors now often watch more TV than most voters so this is likely the most effective $ to spend on ad dollars especially since seniors tend to support Gerlach can possibly be moved when there is a real response to counter his narrative.

  2. Dr Trivedi has no shot because the surgeons who carved out this district took out all the Democrats in Lower Merion Township. They chopped the township into three congressional districts and the odds for all Democrats totally impossible. Dr. Trivedi has wonderful credentials, he’s a veteran, he’s got a beautiful family, but in Berks and Chester counties being a Democrat is equal to being an ax murderer. As Daylin Leach says if you have to cheat to win, your ideas suck!

  3. Shows how much the DCCC and the rest of the political elite know.
    They can’t seem to stop crowing about Trivedi and Bookvar, yet they ignore Gene Stilp.

    Have you seen any polls released by Barletta? Nope. Wonder why? Because they aren’t favorable toward him, and he only has two choices:
    1. Post a poll that makes him look bad
    2. Don’t mention a word about the poll.
    That’s why the do them “internally”. You have the choice to say nothing if you don’t like what you get.

    At least Stilp won’t be beholden to anyone when he gets to congress.

  4. Yaw… not surprising that the Democrats cannot win with full blown liberals. The Democrats need to run moderates here to really have a chance.

  5. Only lost by a landslide last time. Down by a bundle now. The Triveldi campaign sure has a lot to crow about.

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