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October 6, 2010

Poll: Harris and Kratovil in tight rematch

Republican challenger Andy Harris holds an insignificant lead over incumbent Democrat Frank Kratovil in the race for Congress in Maryland's easternmost district, according to a new poll just out.

The survey, the first independent poll to be released in the high-profile contest, suggests that the 2010 rematch could be about as close as the 2008 election, which Kratovil won by roughly 3,000 votes.

In the new poll, Harris, a veteran state legislator from the Baltimore suburbs, is favored by 43 percent of likely voters to 40 percent for Kratovil, a first-term representative from the Eastern Shore. Another 15 percent said they were undecided.

When the poll's 4.9 percent margin of error is taken into account, the contest is a statistical tie. The survey of 400 likely voters was conducted September 28-30.

The results reflect the strong Republican leanings of the district, which went for the Republican presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin over Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden by almost 20 points.

However, the survey offers some flickers of hope for Kratovil, considered one of the most endangered Democrats in the country. It shows him winning independent voters by a 38-35 margin.

Independents make up the largest bloc of undecided voters in the district.

In fact, Kratovil was one of just two freshman Democrats out of 12 nationwide in the new survey to be leading among independents. The former Queen Anne's County prosecutor has been highlighting his independent voting record in his re-election campaign.

The survey was published by The Hill, a Capitol Hill publication, and conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, a Democratic firm that has done work for the Clintons. The poll was co-sponsored by America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a trade association representing gas producers and exploration companies.

Interestingly, the survey asks respondents whether they would favor Obama or Hillary Clinton if the Democratic primaries were held today.

In Maryland One, which includes the entire Eastern Shore and portions of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties, the answer was Clinton. But that includes answers from Republicans. Among Democrats in the district, Obama was the pick and they approved of the job he is doing by 72 percent to 24 percent.

Overall, most likely voters in the district disapprove of the job Obama is doing. A total of 59 disapproved compared with 38 percent who approved. Independents gave him a negative job rating, by a 52-44 margin.

Check out the results in Maryland and 11 other districts represented by vulnerable Democratic freshmen here.

The survey is the first one to be published that was not sponsored by either Harris or Kratovil or the two major parties. For the Maryland specific results, click here.

Posted by Paul West at 7:28 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Candidate Watch 2010


One little mystery re Harris's attack ads against Kratovil: why demonize Baltimore native Nancy Pelosi? Does the majority of voters really want to replace her with King of Sleaze John Boehner?

I'm confused -- this is described as an "independent" poll, but it was conducted by a Democratic firm that has done work for the Clintons. How is that independent?

The NRA's endorsement of Kratovil will swing victory his way. The endorsement came AFTER this poll. A huge plus for Kratovil...........

Frank's big mistake was voting for ultra liberal Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the house.

Kratovil may not have voted for the healthcare bill in the full House but he did vote in committee to forward the bill to the full House. That's cynical politics at its worst. In essence he cut a deal with Pelosi. "Hey, I'm in a tough district and in a tough election so I need your OK. I'll vote to forward the bill in committee to the full House so that it doesn't die in committee, but there's no way I'll be able to get re-elected if I'm on record voting in support of the final bill. Therefore, Mrs. Speaker will you please permit me to vote against it?"

Honestly, for all the national handicappers who have put this race into the (R) column, this poll isn't really that bad. Also consider it is highly unlikely the GOP can take control of the House without winning this seat. I would not be surprised at all to see Kratovil pull this one out. Remember, most incumbants usually pull their number up after Congress adjourns.

Marylanders have not immediately suffered enough under the Obama, Pelosi and Reid agenda. District 1 voters in general will return Kratovil and O'Malley to a second term to finish their Progressive Agenda. I know it is Politics as usual in Maryland but how can these two Progressives look at their families and not be embarrassed and feel shame to what each has become to further ones self interest. The current Republican Candidates running have lost their message, but on a positive note, on Nov 3rd Maryland will get National media attention as the only State to return a failed Progressive Governor and Congressman to do further harm too it's citizens.

When Obamacare passed the House, Frank Kratovil said, “I believe that the package before the House this evening did not represent a fiscally sustainable approach to reform.” What has changed?! Frank Kratovil’s refusal to sign the Discharge Petition #11 (which has 173 co-signers, including Gene Taylor D-MS) amounts to implicit support for Obamacare.

Kratovil was not elected to sign petitions; he was elected to attend to the people's business by voting in the House, as its procedures demand. He seems always to have the needs of the people of the First District in mind as he votes--not the needs of any national party or splinter group.

To Eli:

Kratovil did not vote to move the Healthcare bill out of committee because he's not on any committee with jurisdiction on that issue. Do some research of your own next time.

The irony here is how most of the attacks on Kratovil are erroneus at best like that he voted with the Dems %85 of the time... Pleeaase with that metric Boehner voted with the Dems %50 of the time. Yet the attacks on Andy Harris seem credible like how he was the only senator in md to vote against requiring insurers to cover colon cancer screenings or how AH said that cigarretes are less dangerous than pornography.

Harris is a nutjob. I pray Kratovil wins again.

The poll was paid for by an association of petroleum energy corporations to show Republican strength in the mid-term elections. The Sun should be ashamed of even covering this and falling for this PR stunt by big energy corporations.

SchoolMarm: The majority of First District voters oppose Obamacare. A discharge petition IS Hose procedure. The question remains: why won't Kratovil bring the bad bill back to the floor of the House so that it can be repealed or, at a minimum, amended?

Kratovil distanced himself from President Obama's stump for Martin O'Malley today.This tells me he knows he is in trouble.
He put himself into this mess because he did NOT listen to his constituents concerns. He listens to Dutch Ruppersberger.

To anser the first person. Yes, I would replace pelosi with my dog and the country would be better.


Maybe Kratovil the congress should try toi accomplish things instead of pulling back old bills that would get the same votes. The healthcare bill has passed, an attempt to change it would be a long drawn out march to either defeat when people vote the same as they did last time, or to be vetoed.

That petition is a political trick to fool the uninformed.

I'm a Republican and I'm voting for Frank Kratovil. I may not agree with every single thing he's done; however, anyone who has followed Harris in our state legislature knows he has ridiculous and far-fetched ideas. He's the most bizarre politician I've followed in 30-something years of voting. He actually frightens me.

Our Congressional members need to grow up and move out of kindergarten, and set an example for our children. I'm weary of the constant childish bickering and namecalling. and other immature behavior. It is past time for them to shut-up, do their jobs, and work together to find a solution where everyone has to give a little. Let's be honest, NOT one of us would get away with the crap they pull in and out of their place of employment.

And finally, I am ashamed to be a Republican in the present age. I cringe whenever I hear John Bonehead open his mouth. Most of the time his eyes are so red, he looks like he's been on a three-week bender. Conservative Republicans and Nancy Pelosi belong on an island, because they all are so narcissistic that they think this is all about them and NOT about their constituents and country.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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