Dem primaries

Dem primaries

Critz encouraged by latest poll, despite still trailing Altmire by double digits

Few campaigns celebrate a 10-point deficit in the polls two months before Election Day, but Rep. Mark Critz's staff (D-Pa.) believes a new survey shows momentum swinging their way in a tough primary showdown with fellow incumbent Rep. Jason Atmire (D-Pa.). The congressional Democrats, who have been allies in the House, were pitted against one another after redistricting collapsed their districts.

Critz's deficit is a marked improvement over a January poll that showed Altmire with a 16-point lead, high name recognition and positive favorability rating. And Critz — who won his seat in a special election after the passing of Rep. Jim Murtha (D-Pa.) — believes his numbers will continue to improve once he has a better opportunity to introduce himself to the suburban Pittsburgh voters Altmire currently represents.

"When two-thirds of the voters don't know you, when two-thirds of the voters haven't been represented by you, this is a great place to start," said Critz spokesman Mike Mikus. "The fact is, Mark is a lot stronger in the district he represented than Jason Atmire is in his."

The redrawn district incorporates more of Altmire's current district than that of Johnstown, Critz's socially conservative and economically liberal base.