Matt Smith Poll Shows Lead; Raja Goes Positive in Closer (Watch Video)

A poll commissioned by Democratic state Senate candidate Matt Smith shows him ahead of his Republican opponent Raja 53 percent to 40.

The poll was conducted from October 22-24 by Democratic firm Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies. They surveyed 400 likely voters via telephone interviews. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent.

Smith’s numbers are 7 points net favorable: 38 percent to 25. Raja’s are unfavorable, 45 percent to 38.

Smith should be able to hold on to his lead as long as he has the resources to effectively communicate with voters over the final 12 days of the campaign,” said pollster Marc Silverman.

He also tested the presidential and U.S. Senate contests in the district; Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama 49 percent to 44 and Bob Casey leads Tom Smith 48 percent to 45.

“Matt Smith can release all the fabricated polling he wants, but his continued efforts to run disingenuous negative attacks on Raja without having a positive vision for the people of the district is the true sign of a campaign in trouble,” said Raja’s Campaign Manager Jennifer Hass. “Raja remains focused on getting his message out to voters.”

In August, a Smith internal poll showed him leading 54 percent to 38. Romney lead then 47 percent to 46, and Casey lead 50 percent to 46.

As with any internal poll, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Announcing strong numbers like this could be an effort to attract last-minute support or to create a narrative of inevitability.

It’s the 2nd poll they’ve released, but not the second they’ve conducted. They didn’t release the results of a survey in late September.

Raja’s New Ad

Meanwhile, Raja’s final ad of the campaign is a potent spot starring his wife (above). A medical doctor (general practitioner), Raja says her husband’s story is the American story.

Good for Smith that he’s not running against this Raja

“Hi, I’m Dr. Neeta Raja. You’ve seen attack ads on my husband from people who don’t know him,” she says, straight to camera. “Here’s the real story. Raja came here 25 years ago looking for the American dream, like so many before him. He put down roots here, we’re raising our family here. Through hard work he built a business employing over 100 local people.”

“Raja’s story is an American story. Now Raja wants to take our shared values to Harrisburg, to make sure our children, and yours, have the same opportunity he had.”

It’s her first speaking appearance in any of Raja’s ads, and a departure from the tenor of much of the campaign. Raja has cast Smith as a Harrisburg liberal, while Smith has cast Raja as a heartless outsourcer.

Raja’s campaign says their internal polls show a narrow race (though they have not similarly released numbers). But a positive closing spot like this indicates that they want to use their final message to boost positive impression of Raja – something that corresponds with his favorability numbers in the Smith poll.

The 37th district comprises parts of Allegheny and Washington counties. Raja and Smith are vying to replace former Sen. John Pippy (R-Allegheny). It’s one of the top legislative races and Dems’ second-best hope for a pickup in the state Senate.

27 Responses

  1. Tim: Don’t spend too much time debating with “Jon.” The only thing I can say is that I really hope “Jon” doesn’t reflect some new paranoid state of Raja. While I disagreed with him on several things I really can’t believe that Raja would support “Jon’s” hyperbole and vitriol. I hope not anyhow. Raja used to just call me when he had something to talk about. Oh well- I have no idea why “Jon” likes to mention me or seemingly wants to reflect negatively on my time as a boy scout. Such is life I’m afraid in the anonymous/fake ID/lack-of-courage-land of todays internet blogs. On the plus side, if you are pretending to be me you just missed my sons birthday so cough up a gift 🙂

  2. When in doubt and all else fails, Todd, use right winged generalizations to get your point across. Todd Aikin and Richard Mourdock
    would love you.
    As for you declaring your post as being the best, don’t hurt yourself patting yourself on your back.

  3. Matt Smith is an abortionist, anti-drilling, welfare expanding, tax raising, reckless spending, liberal Harrisburg career politician. PERIOD END OF STORY. Best Post of the election cycle right here.

  4. A half dozen ads and nothing about what Raja would do as a senator. Just attack Smith. Really? No wonder. During his PG interview he couldn’t even answer the questions untIl he got some BS answers from his buddy Mark Harris! How can he have a degree from CMU and be so “clueless”? (the Tribs word, not mine…

  5. I saw Mr. Rajas latest political ad and I agree that midnight pay grab back in “05” was a terrible trick to play on the PA taxpayers!
    However, wasn’t Matt Smith elected in 06????
    Also, I’m still at a loss on why Raja had his wife speak for him during that one commercial. Why can’t he convey his own
    messages? Maybe Matt smith should get his
    his wife and all his relatives to speak for him
    during one of his commercials. I guess the more the merrier.

  6. @Jon: No Jon, my name really is Tim. I recommend taking off the tinfoil hat you are wearing and recognize that alot of us (Rs and Ds alike) know Mr Raja very well and are disappointed in his record. I cant help but notice you didnt take up my challenge to you to demonstrate how Raja is a reformer. He never floated a single proposal to make good on the 20% tax cut he promised my wife and I while standing on our doorstep.

  7. Matt Smith had a desperate phone call with a union boss yesterday conceding he was behind and needed money to fund his last week of TV. My brother is in that union, and is a Business Agent. Smith has been good to our union though, he’s always voted for project-labor agreements, to prevent privatizing of liqour stores, and for Davis-Bacon. Smith is good for the unions so I’ll vote for him, but it looks like he’s going to lose

  8. It’s unfortunate that such a positive ad-with no design except to inform voters of who Raja really is (by someone who really knows him!)-is followed by such negative and ugly debate! This ad is refreshing because it is nothing but positive and it speaks to the man that Raja is-a tireless, ambitious, determined & hard-working American who came here from India and who has been very successful ever since. This man does not give up and he won’t give up! Who better than his wife to speak for him by the way-it’s about time we heard someone make some sense in these political ads! Way to go Neeta and Raja!!!!

  9. Tim = DAN MILLER. Dan, give it up, as all polls indicate, besides Matt’s of course, Matt is going to lose to Raja. I’m sorry your little boy scout dream to run for Matt’s house seat is not going to work out. You guys can commiserate on Nov. the 7th. Go watch re-runs of Woodstock and eat organic food together.

  10. Tim,
    Please let me correct you, Raja did cut taxes in Mt. Lebabon but you did not mention that he created a NEW Storm Water Tax! This is a NON deductable tax that also billed to Churches and non profits!
    and to correct you again, he did a 30 year bond issues to pay for roads that only last 15 years!
    O you forgot to mention that he CUT Capital Spending on Recreation assets and now Mt Lebanon must spend millions to catch up
    He is quite the reformer!
    PS He quite after 3 years of his 4 year term!


    2:04cv1385 – Welsh v. Meistermatic, Inc

    Matt Smith lead attorney defending company that first cheated a star employee with testicular cancer out of his health benefits, then proceeded to terminate his employment in retaliation for plaintiff’s continuing to seek medical coverage from company

    Amended Complaint; Case 2:04-cv-01385-MBC Document 27 Filed 09/15/06

  12. @jon: “Raja a reformer”? Can you give us a single example? Probably not because it sounds like you really don’t know much about him. So let me share a few facts with you about Mr. Raja (I know because I live in Mt. Lebo where he was a commissioner):
    1. He promised us a 20% tax cut and in three years never proposed a single measure to do so.
    2. He took street repairs out of our budget and then had to borrow money to pay for them.
    3. As commission president he ignored a consent decree to get our storm water system repaired which resulted in several flooded homes.
    4. He resigned from office while leaving a structural deficit in our budget.
    5. He ran the local Republican Party into the ground and personally endorsed a man with a criminal record to replace him on the commission.

    Is that the “reformer” you were referring to? Please share with your examples of his bold leadership because none of us here in Mt Lebo can think of any.

  13. The pay raise that Smith has accepted is the automatic annual COLA that Legislators receive as a result of 1995 pay raise vote. It has nothing to do with the 2005 pay raise. So yes, Legislators get a pay raise every year…and Smith has accepted everyone of them!

  14. WHERE IS THE MONEY MATT SMITH CAMPAIGN? Here’s your options people, Raja who is a reformer that isn’t a career politician and who brings a fresh perspective, OR Matt Smith who is a Harrisburg politician that lied about taking a pension, voted for raising taxes on small businesses, and has voted for over 5 billion in new spending INCLUDING the Arlen Spectar Library AND funding for Jerry Sandusky’s 2nd mile. YES THIS IS A VERIFIABLE FACT, MATT SMITH VOTED TO FUND JERRY SANDUSKY’S CHARITY AFTER THE ALLEGATIONS HAD BEEN MADE- Matt is too busy running for House, Senate, and being a full time attorney to read the legislation he’s voting for OR he’s so far in the back pockets of Education Unions that it’s blinding. Please check for yourself and your own two eyes (Act 130 12/19/2011) (Capitol Budgets 2009-2011) .

  15. For a guy who messed all over himself and was forced to withdraw his name from the ballot because he couldn’t raise a nickel or persuade a single voter to support him, takes a lot of nerve for this jack hole to be rendering judgement on any other candidate or campaign. Shut up Jon Vernon – no one cares what losers have to say

  16. Some people are so self-centered that they cannot imagine doing something for the good of others. For some everything revolves around money (Tim). Raja has proven he can accomplish things. He has “built” his business. Now he is willing to give back and help create a state government that opens the doors to opportunities so everyone can be better off. Particularly, if they are willing to work for it.

  17. Raja was already defined. I’m sure it was in the polling, people know who Raja is and what he represents, people don’t know Matt Smith because he never ran a race in the house. It was smart of Raja to define Smith as the liberal he is, I’m sure Raja is winning this race given that Romney is actually a +15 in this seat. Raja will win this seat by 10 points. Matt Smith winning this seat would be like a Republican Raja winning Democrat Wayne Fontana’s seat in the city, it’s just not going to happen.

  18. In the end, Raja’s campaign was run backwards. In Politics, the candidate must first define themself, who they are and what they believe, to gain credibility. Then the attack ads have some credibility. In Raja’s case his campaign was completely backwards.

  19. Dont’ be ridiculous, the allegation said he accepted the pay raise, and that’s what Smith did, ACCEPTED THE PAY RAISE, along with healthcare, and the Pension…all in the dark of night behind the backs of tax payers. I’d like to ask Mr. Smith where his legislative surplus went? I’d also like to ask Matt “the snake” Smith why he charged me for his party at the Capitol? Newspaper Article below.

    Smith gets media attention for “Charging taxpayers for Capital swearing- in day reception,” repays when caught
    Rep. Chris King, D-Bucks, a former House Democrat staffer, ran on a reform platform. His name turned up on the list of Democratic Caucus employees who received one of the secret staff bonuses in 2006. King was a policy and research analyst for the Democrats until last August, when he took a leave for the fall campaign. He received $5,000. Shortly after the caucus’ full disclosure of its payments, King repaid his bonus.
    * Reps. Chelsa Wagner and Matt Smith, both D-Allegheny, got media attention this winter for charging taxpayers for Capitol swearing-in day receptions for their friends and supporters. These receptions are usually paid from personal or campaign accounts.
    Both reimbursed the state after the charges were reported in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Wagner repaid $1,286; Smith repaid $914.
    THE FRESHMAN // THEIR IMPACT // Even without seniority, class of ’06 has power to wield, observers say Patriot News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) June 17, 2007 Sunday

  20. What a BS poll. And in a district where Pippy was re-elected with 60+% of the vote multiple times.

  21. The pay raise was repealed before Smith came into office. There is no way Smith could have accepted the illegal raise.

  22. Tom, you’re saying Matt didn’t accept a pay raise? There is cited facts stating that he has accepted a pay raise, pension, and healthcare. If you’re so confident I challenge Matt’s Campaign to defend him NOT accepting a pay raise because it’s A PROVEN FACT that he did. NOT TO MENTION THIS LIE from Matt “the snake” Smith about roll over funds.
    As a follow-up to the Bi-Annual Rollover funds, Matt Smith cited several legislative reforms in 2008 that he was promoting. Those reforms included “eliminating the legislative surplus and return all dollars to the taxpayers.”
    But on three separate occasions, totaling nearly $9,000, Matt Smith kept the money and did not return it to the taxpayers
    In light of his claim on, a project of the League of Women Voters, Smith did the opposite of the reforms he has pretended to champion by not returning the excess funds in his own legislative account! THE GUY ROBS YOU WITH A SMILE

  23. John, uhm…the Smith campaign DID release their numbers. also, Raja just went up with a negative ad. There goes the basis of your reasoning.

    A point about Raja’s new ad: it links Matt to the 2005 payraise — “and now the kicker. Smith was part of that Harrisburg gang that grabbed a taxpayer funded pay raise”

    Matt was elected in 2006. Lying is not a sign that you’re going to win. So why is Raja lying about Matt?

  24. Come on Jon, you obously do not live in the district. Raja starter more that 2 months ago with negative attach ads that were simple not true. Does he think we are stupid and forget what he is done? As for raising money, Raja loaned his campaign over $2,000,000 for a job that pays $90,000. The question I have, is he doing this for us or doing it for himself?

  25. Usually you go positive when you’re in the lead. I don’t see any positive AD’s coming from Matt Smith. Why is that?

  26. QUESTIONS TO ANSWER: If the Senate Democrats polled all of their races last week why did they only publish ERIE? The Smith campaign is in shambles and can’t raise money, and have bought progressively less points for 3 consecutive weeks on TV. This is Smith’s final desperate ploy to raise money after Raja released his newest positive AD. The Smith campaign is in the gutter. Matt Smith has now released 2 fabricated polls in attempt to raise money. Ask the Smith campaign to release Jay Costa’s poll from last week that has him down 10 points. This is total joke.

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