Rothfus Poll: PA-12 Race a Dead Heat

Pa.’s top congressional race is getting even closer. Keith Rothfus and Rep. Mark Critz are tied at 38 percent apiece, according to an internal poll commissioned by Rothfus’s campaign.

“It’s unusual for a challenger, Keith Rothfus, to have caught the incumbent with a full 6 weeks to go. The ballot test is tied at 38 percent to 38 percent Rothfus is rising, while Critz is collapsing,” wrote pollster McLaughlin & Associates in its memo.

A rather high 24 percent are undecided in the race, and only 48 percent of voters said they were definitely voting for their candidate (24 percent for Rothfus, 24 percent for Critz).

The firm surveyed 400 “general election voters” from Sept. 19-20 via live interviews. The margin of error of selection, which was correlated with anticipated turnout patterns, is plus or minus 4.9 percent.

“Keith Rothfus can release all the bogus polls that he wants but it won’t change the fact that that he supports unfair trade deals that ship jobs overseas and tax cuts for companies that outsource American jobs,” said Critz spokesman Mike Mikus. “The people of Western Pennsylvania know that Mark Critz is fighting to create jobs by opposing unfair trade deals that kill jobs here while fighting to stop China’s cheating.”

Critz, a long time aide to the late Rep. John Murtha, is facing Rothfus, an attorney from Allegheny County.

The presidential race buoys Rothfus, the Republican. Mitt Romney leads President Obama 53 percent to 39 percent according to the poll. John McCain won the district in 2008, 54 percent to 45.

The pollster concludes, “it is crucial for the Rothfus campaign to maintain the same level of intensity that has driven them this far.  With the proper financial resources, they will be able to continue to build the support for Keith Rothfus that is necessary to take him to Washington.”

Rothfus and Critz have exchanged continuous fire on television for a few weeks, joined by numerous outside groups. In the most competitive congressional race in Pa., the pro-Rothfus has thus far been outspent.

As with all internal polls, this one should be taken with a grain of salt. Campaigns typically release polls to bolster their own viability or hurt an opponent’s. In this case, it’s clear that Rothfus is trying to solidify his standing as one the top GOP congressional candidates in the county – and ensure a steady stream of national fundraising.

The fundraising quarter ends on Sept. 30, and national campaign committees have already begun to choose which races to invest for the final stretch of the election.

There has not yet been a public poll of the race; all the previous numbers are from polls by  Democratic sources and all have shown Critz with a lead. A poll released by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in early August showed Critz up 50 percent to 40; a survey from the House Majority PAC showed Critz ahead 44 percent to 38.

Update: the Rothfus campaign declined to release its poll’s cross-tabulations, a decision typical of all campaigns. However, it brings to mind this gem of a quote from a Rothfus spokesman when the DCCC released its internal poll of the race in August:

“If the liberal Democrats behind the Critz campaign are actually satisfied with their poll, they should release it in its entirety including cross tabs,” Rothfus’s Campaign Manager said at the time.

Here’s the full memo:

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11 Responses

  1. No. If you look at Critz’s record he has voted with Pelosi 95% of the time. He is not a conservative. He worked for Murtha for years down there. Thats a lifer in my book. Rothfus has no elected office background. He has been working in the private sector pretty much his entire life. I am going to go with the guy that I know will stand up to Obama.

  2. You sound calm and seem to be reasonable but by your math (in there too long) Ronald Reagan should have retired after 3rdyear in office. Bill Shuster , speaker Boehner and nearly every member of Congress from PA should step down now. Terms like “career politician” and “has been in there too long ” don’t pass the sniff test when lobbed at a guy who is finishing just his first full term. Let’s say Obama does win, is he more likely to listen to a conservative D like Critz or a Tea Party “Obama is the devil” zealot like Rothfus?

  3. This is my own prediction, but i think about 70% of PA12 doesn’t like the way the country is heading. Critz has been in there to long. It’s time for PA to have a fresh new congressman. Western PA is going to be an important energy spot for years now and i’m not saying Critz doesn’t stand up to Obama’s war on energy (coal gas). We jus need someone more likely to stand up Obama.

  4. I got my mail on Friday and looked at a Rothfus mailer. I was surprised to see that my Congressman had become a member of the Black Caucus! How long is the Rothfus campaign going to be allowed to play the racist card?

  5. Here is one person’s take on this: 1. timing is suspicious. 2. there are many bio issues about keith the candidate that have not been aired. 3. can the rothfus campaign get away with another 6 weeks of pandering to “racists and rednecks”? 4. Bill Clinton has not arrived for Critz!

  6. Mikus fails to understand that Keith is proudly pro-outsourcing. There was no way he was going to get the help of the International Chamber of Commerce or the Club for Sales tax endorsement without adopting that position. He will deliver and they are the guys who are funding all the ads in this race. Quid pro quo. Keith says a deal is a deal and people in Western Pennsylvania will respect that.

  7. Ques.
    What do you get when you cross the rothfus campaign with a groundhog?
    6 more weeks of a bad campaign

  • Will Doug Mastriano Run For U.S. Senate?

    • No. Not Enough Support From Mainstream GOP. (91%)
    • Yes. Let Doug Be Doug. (9%)

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