Dem poll: Voters cool to Rothfus

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The government shutdown over Obamacare isn't popular with constituents of PA12 Rep. Keith Rothfus -- according to a poll commissioned by one of his Democratic opponents -- and only about a third of respondents say the freshman Republican should be reelected next year.

The campaign for New Kensington's Erin McClelland, the owner of a substance abuse center in Blawnox, released recent poll results from Lincoln Park Strategies in Washington D.C. showing 31 percent of voters in the district north and east of Pittsburgh say Rothfus deserves reelection to 30 percent saying he should be replaced, and 39 percent who were not sure.

Rothfus' favorability was 38 percent, to 27 percent unfavorable and 35 percent unsure. That means his Democratic opponents (whether McClelland or fellow Dem John Hugya) to be seeking to define the Republican next year (and not in a way he likes).

In the conservative district (which favored Mitt Romney 58 percent in the 2012 presidential race) 50 percent disapprove of the shutdown to 40 percent that do. That mirrors national numbers released by NBC and the Wall St. Journal today, which also show historically bad approval numbers for Republicans generally after the shutdown. The liberal group MoveOn released poll results Sunday showing the shutdown is hurting two GOP moderates in eastern Pa (Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick) and new results (according to PoliticsPa) show crumbling support for neighboring Republican Jim Gerlach.

Lincoln Park is run by Stefan Hankin, the Obama campaign's lead pollster in 2008. He wrote in the poll memo for McClelland's camp:

Given the fact that Congressman Rothfus' extremist brand of conservatism is not in line with voters in this district and that only 38 percent hold a favorable opinion of the Congressman, it is not surprising that only 31 percent of voters in the district think that he deserves reelection. Congressman Rothfus is not only out of touch with this district on the issue of shutting down the government over Obamacare, but his views on how to solve our country's budget issues are also not in line with the views held by his constituents.

The 12th District was formerly represented by the late Jack Murtha, followed by his aide Mark Critz, whom Rothfus beat in 2012. This morning in Johnstown Hugya, 67, Murtha's chief of staff and a retired Marine Corps colonel, announced he was getting into the Democratic race too. Before working for Murtha the Somerset County man spent four decades in law enforcement and was president of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Hugya's first campaign finance filing, from Tuesday, showed $600 in cash with $500 of it from a self-loan.

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