New PA-18 poll shows edge for Conor Lamb

A new poll from Monmouth University shows Democrat Conor Lamb with an advantage over Republican Rick Saccone in Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania — particularly if turnout is high.

If Democratic turnout in the state’s 18th congressional district matches the surge seen in other recent special elections, Lamb would have a six-percentage-point advantage, 51 percent to Saccone’s 45 percent, the poll estimates.

Under a low turnout model, the poll shows a slimmer lead for Lamb —49 percent to 47 percent. That’s well within the poll’s margin of error.

The newly released numbers show marked improvement for Lamb’s campaign since last month. In February, the poll’s surge model showed a three point lead for Saccone (49 percent to 46 percent), and the low turnout model gave the Republican a five point advantage (50 percent to 45 percent).

Likely voters in the district, which supported President Doanld Trump by 20 points in the 2016 election, are equally split on its views of the president, who gets a favorable job approval rating from 49 percent of those polled while 49 percent disagree.

Voters in the district are also divided over Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, although a plurality — 43 percent — say the move will help the economy in Pennsylvania, compared to 36 percent who think it will hurt. But very few say that Trump’s much-touted tariff plan, which he reportedly rolled out in hopes of appealing to the district’s voters before the special election, has impacted their vote choice. Just three percent say the move made them more likely to vote for Saccone, while one percent say it made them more likely to support Lamb.

The poll was conducted by telephone from March 8 to 11, 2018, and the results are based on interviews with 372 likely voters in the district. The margin of error is +/- 5.1 percent.





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Democrat Conor Lamb’s apparent victory in Pennsylvania's special congressional election has left Republicans struggling to explain how the party lost a seat in a district President Trump won by 20 points in 2016.

Here’s a roundup of NBC News’ analysis of what the race means for Democrats, the midterms, and beyond.

  • From First Read: Why the Pennsylvania special election was a gut punch for the GOP. Democrats have been over performing strongly in elections since 2016, and neither Trump nor GOP money save Republican Rick Saccone.
  • Democrats now have a national model for victory in the midterms, NBC News' Jonathan Allen writes
  • Pennsylvania result is another blow to GOP’s November House prospects, Cook Political Report and NBC News election analyst David Wasserman writes. There are 118 GOP-held House districts that are more Republican than the one Lamb appeared to win Tuesday, according to the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index. That could spur some more Republicans to take a hard look at retirement.