Carney Leads Hackett, New Lycoming College Poll Finds

Williamsport, PA – Representative Christopher Carney, the Democratic incumbent in the in the 10th congressional district, leads Republican challenger Chris Hackett 46 to 36 percent with 18 percent undecided, according to a Lycoming College poll released today. 

“Both campaigns can find positive news in the results.  Carney can point to a clear lead falling outside the margin of error, but Hackett can point out that Carney still falls short of the 50 percent mark,” said Dr. Jonathan Williamson, chair of the Department of Political Science at Lycoming and director of the College’s Center for the Study of Community and the Economy (CSCE)


Political science students under the direction of Williamson surveyed 460 likely voters from Sept. 21-25.  The 10th district extends from Williamsport in the west to sections of Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, excluding the cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.  The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.6 percent.

Carney received support from 82 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of Independents and 13 percent of Republicans.  Hackett received the support of 71 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of Independents and 6 percent of Democrats.  Thirteen percent of Democrats, 25 percent of Independents and 16 percent of Republicans remain undecided.

“When Carney won this Republican-leaning district two years ago, Republicans circled it as a target for 2008. However, Carney’s efforts over the last two years to build support among Republicans and Independents appear to be paying off,” said Williamson.

Ideologically, Carney’s strongest support is among liberals (86 percent) and moderates (57 percent), who make up 15 and 41 percent of the poll’s respondents respectively, but he is also receiving the support of 21 percent of conservatives, which make up 39 percent of the district’s likely voters. Hackett’s strongest support is from conservatives (61 percent) and moderates (28 percent), while receiving only support from 5 percent of liberals.

 “Hackett is running a campaign that should appeal to the conservative voters of northeast Pennsylvania, but Carney’s moderate voting record and efforts to secure funding for projects in the districts appear to have won over a solid share of the conservative vote,” according to Williamson.

            Respondents were also asked what they saw as the most important problem facing the country.  While a wide range of responses was given, the most common response-offered by 58 percent of respondents-was the economy.  Amongst those respondents, Carney was favored 50 to 34 percent over Hackett, while respondents offering any other issue as the most important problem facing the country put the candidates in a statistical tie; amongst the remaining respondents, Carney is favored 41 to 40 percent. 

            “Our results reflects other nationally polling; voters have become increasingly focused on the economy in recent weeks,” according to Williamson


Question: If the election for United States House of Representatives were held today, would you vote for Christopher Carney, the Democratic incumbent; Chris Hackett, the Republican challenger; OR someone else to represent the 10th congressional district of Pennsylvania?






All Respondents








Republicans (Self identified, 39.6% of respondents)




Independents (17.7% of respondents)




Democrats (36.9% of respondents)








Conservatives (39.1% of respondents)




Moderates (40.9% of respondents)




Liberals (14.9% of respondents)








Most Important Problem : Economy  (57.3% of respondents)




All other Respondents





Center for the Study of Community and the Economy


This survey was conducted by the Lycoming College Polling Institute, a part of the College’s Center for the Study of Community and the Economy (CSCE).  In operation since 2003, CSCE is a public service, applied research organization with a mission to conduct research and provide data analysis and planning on issues related to community and economic development and public policy.  In addition to serving the broader needs of the center, the Polling Institute provides periodic polling information on political issues of importance to the broader community.  The interdisciplinary nature of faculty and staff involved in the Center provides an unbiased and complementary approach to the study of the region the Center serves.  The Center also provides students with special opportunities to work with faculty in producing original, applied research.  As future leaders, students involved in the Center’s activities work in a real world laboratory, honing their understanding of the challenges and opportunities they and their communities face.


Polling Methodology


The findings summarized in this release are based on a telephone survey of 460 likely voters living in the 10th Congressional District of Pennsylvania conducted between Sept. 21 and 25, 2008.  The survey’s margin of error for the complete sample is +/- 4.6 percent; the margin of error is larger among subgroups of respondents.  Respondents were randomly selected based on voter registration lists.  The final sample included 51.5 percent registered Republicans, 47.6 percent registered Democrats and 0.6 percent registered as Independents or with another party.  The results were weighted to adjust for variation in the sample relating to geographic distribution, gender and age.  Additional questions were asked of respondents than those released here.  For information about those results, please arrange for an interview with Jonathan Williamson, Ph.D.


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