If there’s a Republican “wave” washing over the nation, it has yet to arrive in Delaware County’s 7th Congressional District, according to a new poll out this morning.
The race between Republican former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan and Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz is essentially tied, says today's The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll, which has Meehan leading Lentz by a single percentage point, 40-39. They're running to replace outgoing Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.
The survey of 405 likely voters was conducted between Oct. 2 and Oct. 7. Meehan’s edge is well within the poll’s margin of error of 4.9 percent.
One percent of respondents said they would vote for another candidate, and 20 percent said they were undecided. The only other candidate in the race is Jim Schneller, a conservative independent who was placed on the ballot with the help of Lentz’s allies, including one of his top campaign workers.
It’s no secret that Democrats are hoping that Schneller – who tried to block President Obama from taking office by questioning his citizenship in court – will split the conservative vote. If the race is as close as this poll indicates, Schneller would only need to shave a sliver off Meehan’s vote total to hand the election to Lentz. Democrats have employed a similar strategy in New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District, propping up a phony tea party candidate to siphon votes from former Eagles lineman Jon Runyan, the Courier-Post reported last week.
Update: There's also a new poll out there by GOP pollster Neil Newhouse that has Meehan leading Lentz 42 percent to 30 percent, according to a Republican source. That survey, which I haven't seen yet, was conducted Oct. 3-4.
Update 2: Today's story on the new Daily News/Franklin & Marshall College poll. Meehan leading Lentz, 33 percent to 28 percent among registered voters, and 34 percent to 31 percent among likely voters.