SD-37: Smith Poll Shows Him Over 50 Percent

Raja, left, and Smith

Democratic state Rep. Matt Smith leads Republican businessman Raja 54 percent to 38, according to a poll released by his campaign. The two are facing off to replace recently retired Sen. John Pippy (R-Allegheny).

“The 37th district is a true swing district, with a nearly even generic ballot. Mitt Romney has a slight advantage over President Obama, while U. S. Senator Bob Casey leads in his race,” wrote pollster Marc Silverman of Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies. “Smith should be able to hold onto this lead and win as long as he has the resources to effectively communicate with voters.”

A few other highlights:

  • Of the 8 percent of voters who are undecided, 44 percent identify as Democratic and 39 percent as Republican.
  • Raja, who ran for Allegheny County Executive in 2011, begins the race with a net-unfavorable rating of 41 percent (versus 36 percent favorable).
  • Republicans lead the generic ballot in the district, 46 percent to 44.
  • Mitt Romney leads in the district by one point, 47 percent to 46.
  • Bob Casey leads in the district by 4 points, 50 percent to 46.

As with all internal polling, this should be taken with a grain of salt. Raja is set to go up on television this week and is able to give his campaign significant support. Releasing this poll memo now, given the fact that it is almost 3 weeks old, could be an effort to mitigate Raja’s financial and media advantage.

Raja’s campaign dismissed the numbers.

“Our own polling weeks ago showed Raja with a lead,” said Campaign Manager Jennifer Hass. “Putting out questionable polls is what Harrisburg politicians like Matt Smith do to hide their records. When voters find out about Matt Smith’s extreme liberal record including support of over $2.4 billion in tax increases and $5 billion in spending they will reject his tired tax and spend liberal policies.”

That a full 92 percent of voters are already decided in a state senate race seems rather high. And John McCain won the district by about 8 points in 2008, while these numbers show Obama down by just 1.

Smith celebrated the strong numbers in his poll.

“I’m extremely proud of the vast and growing support that I have received in my campaign for the state Senate,” said Smith. “It is clear that the voters support my vision for building the future here in western Pennsylvania by investing in education and creating jobs, and I intend to work hard to earn the privilege of serving the residents of the 37th district as their state Senator.”

Raja won a high-profile, contested primary with state Rep. Mark Mustio and activist Sue Means. Democrat Greg Parks, Raja’s original opponent, withdrew from the race in late June, citing personal reasons that would prevent him from seeing the race the whole way through.  Days later, Sen. John Pippy (R-Allegheny) officially retired – just minutes after next year’s budget was signed into law – and took a position with the PA Coal Association.

The seat is one of four seen by Democrats as serious pickup opportunities in the state Senate, where the caucus has had to work just to maintain its 20 out of 50 seats in recent years.

The district also handily won PoliticsPA’s reader poll asking which state Senate race was going to be the most competitive.

Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies conducted live interviews with 400 likely voters from August 6-9. The expected margin of sampling error for these results is +4.9 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.

Here’s the full memo:

Matt Smith Internal Poll (SD-37)

August 30th, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Poll, Top Stories | 20 Comments

20 thoughts on “SD-37: Smith Poll Shows Him Over 50 Percent”

  1. Backpacker says:

    It sure seems like a “bait and switch” in the Matt Smith vs. Raja race. The voters voted for Greg Parks, not Matt Smith. How is it that they can just put someone in that was not even part of the vote? Isn’t it time to give Raja a chance? He has proven he can do good things in the real world. It seems like it is time to give him a chance to make a difference in the State Legislature. Politics should be a commitment of duty not a cradle to grave career.

  2. Ryan says:

    The tell tell sign this poll has issues is the presidential margin. This is a pretty Republican district so there is a clear undersampling of Republicans.

  3. Bob says:

    Ask mark Harris if Matt ever had a race for the house

  4. Dan says:

    I find it amusing that someone thinks I would be too afraid to put my name to any of my opinions. You must not know me. Raja does, and I sincerely doubt he would tell you that I am not vocal or direct. If you somehow think I would be the only one who may have something to say then I respectfully suggest that your polling is off- just like your accusations. If Raja wishes to talk to me about something he has my cell. While he and I had plenty of disagreements on commission I felt both of us made efforts to not make it personal. I am sure he could offer some thoughts- or maybe even suggest a more appropriate word- but I really doubt he would call me “pathetic.”

  5. Tom Smith 2012 says:

    http://www.senatorcaseyrecord.com/

    Vote GOP so we can Audit the Fed

  6. Tim says:

    You have to wonder about a candidate that will spend over $1,000,000 of his own money for a job that pays $90,000. Is he doing it for us or himself???

  7. TeaPartyEqualsRationality says:

    Why is Matt Smith race-baiting? There is coded language in his release…”my vision for the future HERE in Western Pennsylvania.” Clearly implying that Raja is not from Western PA.
    The above is silly, of course. I was just seeing how it feels to think like a Democrat.

  8. getrealraja says:

    Miller is the D lebo chair? Very interesting- albiet “incorrect”- news! Looks like you are fact-checking your way to success. Keep it up!

  9. Jon Vernon says:

    Dan, like everything you liberals spew, this is incorrect. The 37th didn’t contain Peters Township, the 4th biggest voting base with the single most highest republican registration in the district. Peters Township turned out over 60 percent in an off-cycle last year- this year turnout is projected to be 80 percent. Matt will lose by double digits and Dan and you will be stuck being his personal assistant for the rest of your pathetic political life.

  10. getrealraja says:

    The “very conservative district” voted for “liberal” Fitzgerald over “conservative” Raja just a little bit ago. #whatwillrajarunfornext?

  11. Steven says:

    Must be a buncha racists!

  12. Jon Vernon says:

    FYI- getrealRaja is DAN MILLER- Mt. Lebanon Democrat Chair – and other best friend of Matt Smith. I’m sorry Dan, but Matt will still be in the House after this race so you can’t run. Go raise taxes somewhere else liberals.

  13. Jon Vernon says:

    When people find out the truth about Matt Smith being a liberal in a very conservative district it’s not going to end well for all you lefties. Matt Smith is a dye in the wool Obama-Liberal, why else would he have a 100% rating from the radical extremist group PennEnvironment?

  14. getrealraja says:

    Smith never had a race? Isn’t the “strategic” advisor who has been milking Raja for hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last 18 months the same guy who Smith had to beat to win the House seat? I think he is the only one laughing at your “jokes”- all the way to the bank at Raja’s expense. Raja didn’t finish his term as Mt. Lebanon Commissioner, got hammered by Fitzgerald, and will lose to Smith. Raja = #cantBUYmelove

  15. Jon Vernon says:

    Matt Smith is not known outside his house district and he has an atrocious voting record. He’s well liked BECAUSE HE’S NEVER HAD A RACE! NOBODY KNOWS HIS VOTING RECORD. It’s unfortunate that he hires his friends to give him favorable numbers with inaccurate samples and loaded questions instead of a true assessment, to mislead the voters. THE FACTS WILL COME OUT ABOUT MATT SMITH AND THE PEOPLE WON’T LIKE HIM SO MUCH. Politics PA is run by Democrats, this whole thing is a JOKE.

  16. Give Me a Break says:

    Are you implying that Matt Smith hired his friend to do a poll because he wanted good numbers, even if they weren’t accurate? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard- what kind of friend would intentionally give another friend bad information?

  17. getrealraja says:

    So lets see Jon- you are upset because: 1. you allege Smith knows the pollster so his friend cooked the numbers for him (what a good friend!), and 2. that its fabricated (although clearly in your hands to review unlike Raja’s “information”). And then you attack Smith who is extremely popular in his district (while Raja lost his HOME neighborhood to Fitzgerald last year). #businessasusualpolitics- got it.

  18. Jon Vernon says:

    What a joke! Matt Smith hires his best friend to do a poll in his house district with loaded questions. Matt smith starts off with fabricated numbers because he can’t run on his record of 6 tax raises that amount to 2.4 billion, and voted for spending over 5 billion dollars. He’s an Obama liberal. THEIR POLL SHOWS ROMNEY BARELY WINNING when Obama lost this district last cycle by 10 points – that should say enough. WHAT A JOKE

  19. TNardi says:

    Good point getrealraja. If Raja had internal numbers showing him leading, he would have released them. His numbers at best show this within the margin of error.

  20. getrealraja says:

    Raja is only in this race because Harrisburg insiders decided to MOVE 34,000 PEOPLE back into the 37th after he won the primary. Mt. Lebanon otherwise was supposed to be in Fontana’s district.
    Well, although D. Raja didn’t release his numbers I am sure we will find out who is on top by who goes negative on TV first… oh wait…

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