Poll: Rothfus holds marginal lead over Critz in 12th
Janina Merigliano is fed up.
Despite all the promises she hears on television, Washington remains gridlocked, the debt keeps growing, and her taxes keep rising as her three kids approach college age.
So when U.S. Rep. Mark Critz and Republican challenger Keith Rothfus ask for her vote, the Hampton Republican said she's more than a little skeptical.
“I just feel that they say things to get elected, and then they get in and they don't follow through. I'm fed up with the whole system,” said Merigliano, 45.
She's among 12 percent of undecided voters whose eventual choice will decide a very close 12th Congressional District race, according to a Tribune-Review poll conducted Oct. 1 and 2 by Susquehanna Polling & Research.
Forty-five percent of likely voters back Rothfus, 50, of Sewickley compared with 43 percent who support Critz, 50, D-Johnstown. The poll of 950 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.18 percentage points.
“If all the Democrats who are undecided break for Critz and all the Republicans who are undecided break for Rothfus, you're back to a 50-50, razor-thin race,” said Susquehanna Polling President Jim Lee.
Critz's campaign questioned the Rothfus lead.
“These results are not surprising, given that this is coming from a Republican polling firm,” said Critz campaign manager Mike Mikus. “Mark Critz is well positioned to win this race because he's standing up for jobs by opposing unfair trade deals that ship jobs overseas, while Keith Rothfus supports the unfair trade deals ... and wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system that will cost seniors an additional $6,400 more per year.”
The Rothfus campaign said the poll confirmed the race is a “dead heat.”
“This poll verifies the continued upward movement of Keith Rothfus as people get to know him and learn about his sharp policy differences with Congressman Critz,” said Rothfus campaign manager Jon Raso.
Raso accused Critz of being too cozy with President Obama, who is losing the district 55 percent to 44 percent to Republican Mitt Romney, the Susquehanna poll shows.
“Critz voted to keep Obamacare; Keith Rothfus will vote to repeal it in order to save Medicare for our seniors,” Raso said.
Republicans redrew the district after the 2010 census, combining parts of the former 4th and 12th districts across Cambria, Somerset, Westmoreland, Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties. Critz beat Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, in the primary, on the strength of huge margins of victory in Cambria and Somerset counties — parts of his old district, where he's better known.
“I think Obama's going in the wrong direction, and we've got to get back to the things that Bush was doing,” said James Cunningham, 71, of Monroeville.
His dissatisfaction with the country's direction turned him against the incumbent. “Critz ain't doing anything spectacular. I'll try Rothfus for a change.”
The Critz-Rothfus battle has become one of the country's marquee House races, attracting millions of dollars from national Democratic and Republican political organizations and warranting a campaign visit from former President Bill Clinton on Thursday on behalf of Critz.
Critz's predecessor, the late Rep. John Murtha, Pennsylvania's longest-serving congressman, said House races are local affairs, and he would chastise people who told him to campaign on national issues. But more than half the district's voters live on Altmire's old turf, where Critz isn't as well-known as Obama.
Rothfus has tried to tie Critz to the president, while Critz has attacked Rothfus for supporting a plan that would eventually turn Medicare into a voucher system.
Joseph Sutej, 67, of New Brighton said he's voting for Critz mostly because he thinks Republicans are irrational.
“They're worried about whether someone's going to take away their deer rifle while the country's going to hell in a hand basket,” Sutej said.
The back-and-forth attacks by the candidates and their national party organizations have taken a toll on Merigliano, who worries that no matter whom she picks, she'll end up with another Washington partisan.
“It's sort of a toss-up,” Merigliano said. “Honestly, from what I've seen, I don't really believe anything either one of them says.”
Mike Wereschagin is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7900 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins confident Pouliot will be healthy, ready for camp
- Facebook fans fancy ‘I’m So Greensburg’
- Penn State football team savors cultural experience
- Former longtime Steelers publicist Kiely dies
- Pirates’ Cole growing in 1st full season
- St. Michael’s volunteers cook up festival delights
- Parents sue Penn Hills School District, allege assault by teacher
- Trio holds up Penn couple at gunpoint in home
- FSU star QB Winston working to improve on, off field
- Not to be left behind, speedy Steelers are on the fast track in NFL
- Ukraine conflict, disappointing earnings reports weigh on stocks