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September 15, 2008

Gerlach Cruising

Rep. Jim Gerlach has had a tough time keeping his job over the last six years. The Pennsylvania Republican, who represents parts of exurban Philadelphia, hasn't exceeded 51% of the vote in any of his three elections. But this year, a poll for his campaign shows, he may finally do so.

The poll, conducted for Gerlach's campaign by Public Opinion Strategies, surveyed 400 likely voters 8/19-21 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Gerlach and businessman and Democratic activist Bob Roggio were surveyed.

General Election Matchup


Despite back-to-back tough contests with Democrat Lois Murphy, both of which slipped into negativity, Gerlach's favorable rating is a robust 61%, while just 18% see him unfavorably. Just 10% of district voters, meanwhile, know Roggio well enough to rate him.

Gerlach is one of a very small number of Republicans who represents a district Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry have won in the past two presidential elections. He also looks like the safest one of those few this year; Reps. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Dave Reichert of Washington all face strong challengers.

Democrats may have missed an opportunity to keep the district competitive in the future. After three nail-biting elections, if Gerlach can win big in a bad year for Republicans, he may solidify his grip on the district and take it out of play in next cycle.