Poll: Dent Has Solid Lead Over Callahan in Pennsylvania

Posted September 19, 2010 at 2:16pm

After recruiting popular Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan to challenge Rep. Charlie Dent (R), Democrats have been quietly optimistic about their chances of knocking off the moderate Congressman in Pennsylvania’s 15th district.

A poll released Sunday, however, showed Dent in a strong position in a district President Barack Obama won by 16 points in the 2008 presidential election.

The incumbent led Callahan 49 percent to 38 percent in a survey of 496 likely voters conducted by the Morning Call and Muhlenberg College. The poll was taken Sept. 11 to Thursday and had a margin of error of 5 points.

Republicans feared that independent Jake Towne, a tea party favorite, might erode some of Dent’s GOP base. But Towne earned the support of just 3 percent of likely voters in the poll, hardly enough to jeopardize Dent’s 11-point lead.

“Where is he going to make up that ground?” pollster Chris Borick asked the Morning Call.

“He’s got to convert all of those who aren’t sure as well as switch people who are leaning toward or planning to vote for Dent,” Borick said. “That’s a challenge, especially in this political environmental, which isn’t positive for Democrats.”