Recently a phone poll was taken on the special election in the 153rd state house district. Josh Shapiro resigned his state house seat when he took office as a Montgomery County commissioner. Madeleine Dean is the Democratic candidate and Nick Mattiacci (no website located) is the Republican candidate. Both are running to fill out Shapiro’s term and also as their party’s primary candidate.
Over the past few days I’ve received some emails about the calls and have collected information from what I consider to be reputable sources. Here is what I’ve learned:
The poll was taken by VSS, Voter Survey Service, a part of Susquehanna Polling and Research . This a respected local firm, not some fly by night group that snuck across state lines in the dark of night. No one has taken responsibility for requesting or paying for the poll, but the political client list on their website does show a partisan bias, with Jim Gerlach, Lou Barletta, Stewart Greenleaf, all Republicans, and the House Republican Campaign Committee and the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania among the clients listed. In fact, none of the partial list of Pennsylvania clients presented ran as Democrats. Perhaps they have an equal number of Democratic clients and just don’t list them. No telling.
The poll started out with one of those annoying and vague questions about whether or not we are headed in the right direction. Next the poll asked people whether they had a positive or negative view of some elected officials and candidates. I don’t have a full list but in addition to Dean and Mattiacci, former State Rep. Ellen Bard (the Republican who held the seat before Shapiro), and former Gov. Tom Ridge were included.
There was a list of issues and people were asked to rank them in order of importance. I do not have a representative list of those issues, but crime, education, and the economy were included.
Next there was a list of statements about Dean and Mattiacci and callers were asked if this statement would change their view of the candidates. I don’t have a full list and only have pieces of some of the statements. One had something to do with Dean no longer practicing law. One was about Mattiacci being a lawyer at the Philadelphia Parking Authority. I checked and neither are listed as currently practicing lawyers on the www.martindale.com site. One statement compared Mattiacci to Shapiro, saying both are young lawyers. One mentioned that Dean was only recently elected to the Abington Township Board of Commissioners. One connected Mattiacci to the tea party. One suggested a connection between Dean’s husband and Vince Fumo. I checked on that. Dean’s husband is one of those fabled “job creators” who moved a firm into Philadelphia from out of state. I think any connection would be far-fetched and tenuous, something like both have thumbs or go to the same barber. I don’t know. I’m making up possible connections.
I don’t know what else was on the poll and cannot guarantee that the items presented here are completely representative of the entire poll. However, I am confident that the items presented here were on the poll.
You can read more about the poll on the phillyburbs site, in “Poll causes waves in 153rd state house district" by Margaret Gibbons, 3/27.