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August 06, 2008

Barletta Leading Kanjorski

It is no surprise that a dozen or more freshmen Democrats find themselves facing tough battles for re-election, but that a twelve-term incumbent would suddenly find himself on the chopping block unaided by scandal could be cause for a shock. A new poll for Republican Lou Barletta suggests that is exactly what's happened to Rep. Paul Kanjorski.

The survey, taken for Barletta's campaign by Susquehanna Polling & Research, polled 400 likely voters between 7/27-29 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Kanjorski and Barletta, the mayor of Hazleton, were tested.

General Election Matchup
Barletta.........45 (-2 from last, 3/08)
Kanjorski.......41 (-1)

Kanjorski has low favorable ratings, and just 37% of respondents said he has done his job well enough to deserve re-election, while 48% say it's time to give a new person a chance. A polling memo released by the campaign claims negative advertisements run against Barletta have had an adverse effect on the Democrat.

Republicans are quick to point to several questionable earmarks Kanjorski has obtained for facilities that at least one government agency said couldn't be built, as well as earmarks that benefited a company controlled by his family.

Barletta's high profile on immigration issues and Kanjorski's questionable earmarks are compelling explanations for the Democrat's low poll numbers, but Kanjorski's political troubles could be more a case of an incumbent "going Washington," as the nebulous charge goes.