We noted this in our story on the Suffolk University poll yesterday, but we've since talked to the poll director, who told us why he chose Erie as his bellwether county for the state:
In the last midterm in 2006, the statewide governor's vote went to Ed Rendell 58-42%. In Erie the vote was 60-40. In the 2006 Senate race the vote statewide was 59-41 for Bob Casey -- in Erie it was exactly the same.
Erie has "been a good predictor generally, not only red or blue, but pretty close on percentages in the last midterm election. The [Democratic edge in] registration is similar to statewide too," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.
Suffolk polled 300 likely voters in Erie County Sept. 24-27 and it found this year's statewide races leaning toward Republicans, but much closer than most people think: in the Senate, Toomey leading Sestak 42-41% and the gubernatorial Corbett leading Onorato 43-42.
"The bottom line is Republicans are winning, but it also tells me based on that county's laser-like accuracy that there may be something else going on," Paleologos said. "It could be closer than a lot of people think."
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