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Helpful Huffpo tool tracks governor's race

Published by Mike Pound on .

If you've been paying attention, you've seen polling results that show Gov. Tom Corbett is narrowing -- slightly, anyway -- the massive lead held by Democratic challenger Tom Wolf immediately following Pennsylvania's primary election in May.

If you haven't been paying attention, Huffington Post has a tool you might find to be helpful.

huffpo pa gov polls

This version of the Pennsylvania Pollster chart tracks the results of 10 polls, from six polling organizations, ranging from early 2013 -- when incumbent Republican Corbett was in a dead heat with the businessman and former state revenue secretary from York -- through the end of July. The chart isn't just an aggregation of polls; as this FAQ explains, the HuffPost data folks also include "trend estimates," which, they explain, is "a current estimate of support for each candidate (or responses to an issue or rating question) based on all the available data." This cuts down on noise that could be caused by differences in polling methods or errors in the results.

And if you want a look at more straightforward poll aggregation results, you can have that too. Click the "Create Your Own" tab and you'll see those trends with the modeling removed; you can also toggle those results between registered voters, those likely to vote in November or a combination of both.

Skeptical about the results that include Huffington Post's modeling? Understandable, sure, but here's a thing to keep in mind -- the Pollster charts nailed the results of the 2012 presidential election across the board. 

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Legislators write to support Israel

Published by Karen Langley on .

Nearly half the members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly have signed a letter pledging support to Israel in the conflict in Gaza.

Ninety-nine of the 203 state representatives and 27 of 50 senators put their names on the letter to Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the United States.

Signatories include House Republican leader Mike Turzai, Senate Democratic leader Jay Costa and Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati.

The letter states, in part:

The nation of Israel has on numerous occassions initiated peace overtures with its leading protagonist, the Hamas/Palestine government, unfortunately, to no avail. To protect itself from the unwarranted missile attacks by the Hamas/Palestine government, in recent days, Israel has no choice but to defend itself by moving its ground forces into the Gaza Strip.

The full letter can be found here:

http://www.post-gazette.com/image/2014/08/06/israelsupportletter

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Corbett closer in Keystone survey

Published by James O'Toole on .

Another survey finds Democrat Tom Wolf with a substantial lead over Gov. Tom Corbett, but one that's short of the blowout proportions depicted in the initial post-primary polls.

The web site Keystone Report commissioned the automated survey by Magellan Strategies RB which reports that the GOP incumbent is trailing his challenger 50 percent to 38 percent.  The survey of 1,214 likely voters was conducted July 30 and July 31.  It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

The new numbers from the Republican leaning firm are roughly consistent with those in a CBS/New York Times survey released last week.  The CBS/NYT survey was conducted by YouGov Surveys and based on a ithe responses of a preselected internet panel rather than a traditional random sample survey.  Between its innovative methodology and the contrast in its fundings from earlier polls, it was tempting to view it as an outlier in assessments of the race.  But the Magellan/Keystone results reinforce the notion that the margin has closed somewhat over the summer.

 

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Suffer the little children

Published by James O'Toole on .


                                                    By James M. Perry 


"See now that you don't look down on these little ones," the Bible says (Matthew 18:10). "For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." 

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Mark 10:13)."

Do these Americans, most of them Christians, who turn apoplectic with rage at the children from Central America crossing into the United States, actually read the Bible? It doesn't seem so. 

"Our continued existence is at risk with what's going on at the southern border," Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas says.

Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, even hints that these Central American children are being  "lured into the country so that they would grow up to be Democratic voters -- agents of a President whose own Americanness has never been accepted by many in the Republican base," says Amy Davidson in the New Yorker. 

Some GOP congressmen and county sheriffs have even referred to the children as "possible predators, gang members, and bearers of the sorts of diseases that might have been found in the holds of nineteenth-century ships -- as anything, really, but children," Davidson says. 

In Oracle, Arizona, State Rep. Adam Kwasman spotted a yellow bus filled with children heading into town. "Bus coming in!" he shouted. "I was actually able to see some of the children in the bus -- and the fear on their faces," before it drove away, Kwasman told a reporter.

 "You know," the reporter said, "that was a bus with YMCA kids" returning from camp.
Oracle was settled by Canadians who sailed around South America to get there, looking for gold and silver.    

Most of these unaccompanied children come from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, all of them centers of gang violence and drug trafficking. Honduras, Wikipedia notes, has the highest murder rate of any nation in the world. El Salvador comes in second. Poverty, gangs, and low conviction rates of criminals are usually cited as the causes.

The reasons for this sudden surge in children from Central America crossing into the United States aren't entirely clear. Most of them have been told, incorrectly, that the United States would welcome them. Most House Republicans, though, want to deport them, and the legislation they have proposed calls for a much faster process to send them back home.  Crossing into the United States from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala requires an immigration hearing that must occur not more than seven days after they are screened by child-welfare specialists, and the judge would have to make a ruling within 72 hours after the end of the court proceedings,  David Rogers noted in Politico. But House Republicans would provide just $12.9 million for additional immigration judges to handle a crush of Central American children seeking to escape the violence in their homelands. 
And they would provide nothing, not a dime, to pay for lawyers to represent them. 

"I tell you the truth," Jesus said (Mark 10:13-16), "anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them."        

James M. Perry, a prominent veteran political reporter, is contributing regular observations for post-gazette.com.  Mr. Perry was the chief political correspondent of the The Wall Street Journal until his retirement.  Prior to that, he covered national politics for the Dow Jones weekly, The National Observer.

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NYT/CBS: Wolf, 52; Corbett, 39

Published by James O'Toole on .

A new survey shows Democrat Tom Wolf leading Gov. Tom Corbett but by a clear but somewhat smaller margin than previous post-primary polls.

The poll, conducted for CBS and the New York Times by the internet polling firm, YouGov, shows Mr. Wolf leading the incumbent, 52 percent to 39 percent, including respondents who said they were leaning toward one candidate or the other. That’s a reasonably comfortable advantage for the Democrat, but well short of the margins in the 20-point range he recorded in some earlier polls.  Without the leaners, Mr. Wolf’s lead fell to single digits, 42 percent to 33 percent.

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