POLS ON THE STREET: Are Polls Driving You Crazy?

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CONGRESSMAN BOB BRADY, despite having to use cane due to Achilles tear, took time to shake hands and join Sunoco workers at official launch of Phila. Energy Solutions and its partnership with The Carlyle Group and Sunoco. Brady is credited with saving 850 jobs and creating 100 to 200 new permanent jobs as well as thousands of construction jobs at new refinery venture.

BY JOE SHAHEELI/ We’ve been polled into a confusing and foggy state by the proliferation of national polls telling us everything from President Barack Obama is stone winner, is in a race too close to call, or a probable loser.
The same with state polls, some of which predict Democrats winning comfortably by a wide margin, taking back congressional seats and sweeping clean all statewide offices. US Sen. Bob Casey is seen as such a safe bet, he can spend the next month in Florida so as not to make any mistakes. Yet we have received a poll telling us GOP nominee Mitt Romney now trails Obama by a single point. That one was conducted by Susquehanna Polling & Research, finds Obama drawing 48% of Pennsylvanians, while Romney garners 47%. This was an internal GOP poll, whatever “internal poll” means!

Though it is rare for party officials to discuss internal polls publicly, State GOP Chairman Rob Gleason conducted a news conference last week to trumpet the poll’s findings. Previous independent polls have maintained Obama’s margin was 8 points, and a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released last week had Obama holding a 9-point lead. A We Ask America poll last week showed the President 6 points ahead of his Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the Keystone State. Yet a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review poll at the same time had Obama leading by just 2 points, a margin similar to the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s report. According to this one, Obama has 47% in Pennsylvania, Romney has 45%.

Joining in the polling races was Republican US Senate challenger Tom Smith, whose numbers looked promising with a Susquehanna Polling & Research report he was just 3 points behind incumbent US Sen. Bob Casey with 10% undecided. A Rasmussen Poll showed Smith behind Casey 49% to 42%.

In most polls, Casey is viewed favorably by just over half of voters, 51%, and negatively by 39%. Smith’s name ID remains lower but he’s still viewed positively, 47% to 33%. Twenty percent of voters don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. A Mercyhurst College poll indicates 44% remain undecided in the Senate race.

GOV. TOM CORBETT stressed role his administration has played in moving Delaware River dredging and opening new job opportunities at Phila. Regional Port Authority, while on stomping tour for Mitt Romney. With him are GOP legislative candidates David Kralle, Al Taubenberger and State Rep. John Taylor.

Gov. Tom Corbett has been campaigning throughout the Commonwealth, especially at sites where jobs have been saved or are being created, touting a Romney initiative to make jobs happen, despite the fact his poll numbers show him with the same approval (30%) and disapproval (46%) ratings he received from the Muhlenberg/Call poll taken in August. The only difference is that the number of those with no opinion ticked up from 24% to 25%.

As a result of the State Republican Party’s poll results, Chairman Gleason’s announcement the Romney campaign will be running TV ads in Pennsylvania is not surprising.

Well-regarded national pollster John Zogby’s latest commentary took a break from the presidential race to analyze what’s really fueling voters. His conclusion? “It’s not only the economy, stupid.” Voters, Zogby points out, are never one-dimensional in picking a candidate. “Even when the economy is bad, voters are ultimately deciding on their hopes and dreams, both for the present and for their children’s future. Thus, if it is about anything, voting is about values, about principles that we hold closest to our hearts.”

No election was a better example of this than 2004’s. Zogby himself had surveyed the country in 2003 and noticed the deep divides. His poll of “red” and “blue” states shocked even the veteran statistician. “What was remarkable to me was actually how different the reds and blues were. In red states, 61% of voters owned a gun; only 36% in blue states. Most voters believed in God, but in the red states, three in four identified their God as omniscient and omnipresent, while 51% of blues saw God primarily as The Watchmaker. Voters were 9 points more likely to be single and never married if they lived in a blue state.

“In recent days, Americans still strongly disagree about. But there is one area that continues to find a majority consensus: the definition of the family structure.” Of all the policy areas Zogby tested this month, more people were united on marriage than any other subject. There is “no doubt,” he writes, “Americans prefer the traditional family as the ideal – with 51% [to 40%] agreeing with [this statement] … ‘The family is the basis of a strong community and culture. The ideal family is built around a stable marriage between a man and a woman’.”

Poll-watching is an essential political insider’s preoccupation – which goes in one ear and out the other for the general public, the voter. In the end, though, that’s who counts. Success or failure will rest on how good are the get-out-the-vote organizations in this city, since as Philly goes, so goes the Commonwealth.

SELF HELP MOVEMENT, well-known addiction recovery center, was represented at annual Recovery Walk by John Cooper, CEO Bob Dellavella and Bill Dolbow. Over 18,000 walkers joined last Saturday in marking fact 128,000 Philadelphians are in recovery. Photo by Vernestine Douglas


Working Families PAC will mark its tenth year of getting out the vote for candidates it supports with its first fundraiser Oct. 4, at its headquarters, 6521 N. Broad Street, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Hosted by Sam Staten, Sr., and Marion Wimbush and the Democrats of Oak Lane, the reception will honor State Sen. Anthony Williams, State Rep. Ron Waters and LDC Business Mgr. Ryan Boyer. For information call (267) 335-4348 or (267) 335-4336. Checks are to be made out to Working Families PAC.

In its 10 years under the leadership of founder Wimbush, Working Families PAC has promoted voter education, registration and participation activities every election cycle, scoring an impressive number of wins for those candidates it has supported.


Finally one Philadelphian, after a long period where city appointees where missing from Gov. Tom Corbett’s long lists of appointments to various boards and authorities, has been named this past week. That’s City Commissioner Al Schmidt, who has been appointed to a vacancy with the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Schmidt’s appointment is of great moment to the Philadelphia Republican Party, for whom PPA forms their chief bastion of power.


State Sen. LeAnna Washington, noting PennDOT has extended Thursday evening hours at its five locations in Philadelphia, sees little excuse for committee people and ward leaders to complain on election day they didn’t have enough time to get some of their voters photo IDs.

The Senator noted Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch’s statement “Since the voter-ID law was enacted, the vast majority of PennDOT IDs for voting purposes have been issued in Philadelphia Co. PennDOT actively monitors customer flow at our 71 driver-licensing centers statewide and since March, special attention has been focused on monitoring the impact of the Voter ID law. Extending our hours in the state’s largest county demonstrates PennDOT’s continuing willingness to help customers comply with the voter-ID law.”

Washington sees this period as a golden opportunity for door-knocking and canvassing to find and help those still needing a photo ID.

NATIVE DAUGHTER Cheri Honkala came to William Way Center to fire up Phila. Greens in her campaign as their vice presidential standard-bearer for November. Chris Robinson introduces her and Carl Romanelli, Penna. state chair of Green Party.


With at least a thousand demonstrations, seminars, rallies and get-out-the-vote gatherings promoting the need for proper voter photo IDs, the State now reports a little over 9,500 have gotten state-issued photo identification cards since Pennsylvania approved its voter-ID law in March. The Dept. of State, which oversees elections, expects that figure to increase before the Nov. 6 election if the law withstands further legal scrutiny, spokesman Ron Ruman said.

Officials expect more people to get IDs because of a $5 million education effort and because groups fighting the law have been working to get people registered, he said.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson must issue a new order by Oct. 2 under a Supreme Court deadline. In August, Simpson upheld the law, which is based on an Indiana law that the US Supreme Court approved. During a six-day hearing, estimates varied widely on how many people would not have proper ID. The figures ran from 89,000 to more than 1 million, depending on the witness. Simpson said he rejected attempts by the law’s opponents to “inflate the numbers in various ways.”


Planned Parenthood has endorsed Democrat State Representative candidate William F. Dunbar, favoring his views on women’s reproductive and contraceptive rights.

“Planned Parenthood PAC is pleased to endorse William Dunbar for State Representative”, said Maggie Groff, Southeastern Pennsylvania project director for Planned Parenthood PA PAC. Dunbar believes women should be allowed to receive low-cost birth-control and contraceptive options, both of which Planned Parenthood provides.

“A woman should have the right to use birth control and choose whether or not she wants to have children without government involvement,” said Dunbar. “Those who vote for legislation that restrict a woman’s right to make decisions about her reproductive health seek to deny all women of their constitutional right to privacy.”


Calling the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to punt the ball on voter ID a cowardly move, the influential Independence Hall Tea Party PAC warns it will organize to defeat Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille, a Republican, and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer, a Democrat, in their respective 2013 retention races, if voter ID is not implemented in the November 2012 general election.

“Despite the favorable press coverage that opponents of voter ID have received in the past several months, polls consistently show Americans and Pennsylvanians support voter-ID laws by wide margins,” said PAC President Don Adams. “The Supreme Court is trying to wiggle its way out of this issue. Simply put, the Court is neglecting its responsibility.”

HOSTING funder for Councilman Kenyatta Johnson at Duane Morris law firm were Lamm Realty Group’s Al Williams, left, and Davin Lamm, right, who are commercial real-estate experts. Johnson, 2nd from left, appealed to select group of friends like architect Emmanuel Kelly, 2nd from right.


Candidates for State Auditor General committed last Friday to breaking a tradition that dates back to 1990.

In a debate at Widener University School of Law, Democrat Eugene DePasquale,  Republican John Maher and Libertarian Betsy Summers said if elected, they will not seek other office during their term. Current Auditor General Jack Wagner and his two immediate predecessors — Bob Casey, Jr. and Barbara Hafer — all ran for Governor while holding the job as the State’s top fiscal watchdog. All three also lost.


If you didn’t say Auditor General Jack Wagner, then shame on you.

Look for him to come out after the first of the year, chomping on juicy morsels of decrepit bridges and faulty highways he will charge continue to be ignored by Gov. Tom Corbett and the Republican-controlled General Assembly. He has the name recognition and he’ll work to get it up even higher.

We don’t advise others to battle him in the Democrat primary for Governor. He’s the odds-on favorite.

Wagner leaves office under term limits at the end of this year, so he’s busy creating a record. His latest is a proposal to consolidate over 3,200 municipal pension plans into a statewide system for different classes of employees.

W. PHILA Republican tradition is 27th Ward Leader Matt Wolfe’s annual Penn football party. Joining Wolfe, right, with host of others at his pre-game affair in his University City home are, among others, 8th Ward Committeewoman Barbara Coxe and GOP activist Don Carter.


Republican Party members held a tailgate party at the Penn-Villanova football classic with former Eagles tight end Chad Lewis as guest of honor. The tailgaters met on the grounds of the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology across from the gridiron.

Ward Leader Matt Wolfe alsohosted a pre-game party at his home.


Looking for support from voters fed up with both major parties is Lillian Turner, who is calling for volunteers to help her in her first political campaign. “I believe we can make positive changes in our community. Let’s improve quality of life, health and wealth,” she said.

She is challenging James Clay, Jr., the Democrat candidate, who cruised through the primary through an error in the nominating petitions of State Rep. Tony Payton, who was eliminated.

Turner is a board member of the Wister Neighborhood Council and founder of a community-based television and radio program now in existence for almost 13 years. Her telephone number is (215) 621-9167. She is running a write-in campaign, because she hesitated in filing to meet the deadline to get signatures so she could appear on the ballot.

“I did like Tony. When I found out his petition filing forced him out, I said, ‘I’m in!’”

DEMOCRAT nominee for Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was pleased to be endorsed by Phila.’s top public-safety guardians Sheriff Jewell Williams, Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby and District Attorney Seth Williams.


National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund is endorsing David Freed for Attorney General in Pennsylvania.

“David Freed is committed to protecting the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed to all Americans,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of NRA-PVF. “He has earned an ‘AQ’ rating from the NRA-PVF, and we proudly endorse him for election as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General.”

They charge Kathleen Kane has publicly advocated for more gun-control laws. Kane expressed support for anti-gun measures during a debate at the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit in February 2012.


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One Response to POLS ON THE STREET: Are Polls Driving You Crazy?

  1. Phila. Police Lt. Josey is facing assault charges in the incident at the Puerto Rican Parade, when he sucker-punched a 39-year-old woman from behind. Police Commish Ramsey is going to fire the Lt. But will District Attorney Seth Williams charge the officer criminally? McNesby, the FOP President, is standing arm in arm with the DA while supporting Kathleen Kane for Attorney General. Is McNesby going to call in favors on this case for the support of the District Attorney’s office?

    If charges are not brought against Lt. Josey, the case for firing the Lieutenant goes out the window, and he gets back to work in six months — a vital step in the procedures of arbitrating a case such as this one.

    Shouldn’t someone be doing something about the process of seeking support for elections from a police organization? If this don’t present a conflict, then what does? And now Kane is doing the very same thing, and someday may be confronted with a favor involving law enforcement.

    Francis Graff
    October 4, 2012 at 4:12 am

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