Poll shows Shamaine Daniels leading U.S. Rep. Scott Perry. Could it really happen?

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

Shamaine Daniels knows she has an uphill battle against incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Perry.

That's why Perry's Democratic challenger is touting an internal poll that shows her leading by at least 3 percentage points against Perry, a Carroll Township Republican seeking his sixth term in Congress.

"We CAN win! We ARE winning! Now we have to make it happen!" Daniels exclaimed in a Twitter post sharing the poll.

The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, shows Daniels leading Perry 44% to 41% among likely voters. That number rises to 49% to 45% after respondents heard more information about the candidates.

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Pollsters interviewed 714 likely voters, according to a memo distributed by Public Policy Polling. The firm is generally affiliated with the Democratic Party and received an A- rating from FiveThirtyEight, a statistical website that focuses on politics.

FiveThirtyEight, however, still sees Daniels as having a massive uphill battle in the historically Republican-leaning district. In its election forecast, which ran 40,000 simulations of possible outcomes of the race, Perry won 97% of the time.

A late entrant into the race, Daniels previously served three terms on Harrisburg City Council. After immigrating to the U.S. from Venezuela when she was young, she earned a law degree from the University of Cincinnati and worked as an immigration attorney.

Shamaine Daniels, of Harrisburg, is shown in Harrisburg, Thursday, June 23, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

"Someone like Scott Perry shouldn't be allowed to be our representative because he's betrayed his oath of office," Daniels said of her opponent.

In an email, Perry spokesperson Matt Beynon sought to focus on inflation and downplayed the poll.

"Congressman Perry’s attention is focused on the unaffordable cost of living under which his constituents are suffering, not internal polling paid for by his opponent," Beynon wrote.

Perry faces intense scrutiny around his involvement in former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. During recent Jan. 6 committee hearings, Perry was identified as one of several members of Congress who sought a presidential pardon — an allegation Perry has denied.

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Last week, the FBI seized Perry's cellphone as part of an ongoing investigation. According to Perry, his attorneys were told by the Justice Department that he was not a target of criminal investigation.

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., speaks during a news conference with members of the House Freedom Caucus outside the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 28, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

According to the PPP poll, 17% of Republican voters told pollsters they would be more likely to support Daniels after being informed about Perry's Jan. 6 involvement.

In 2020, during Perry's most recent reelection campaign, polls taken in the late summer and fall showed Perry with a slim 1 percentage point lead over former state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. 

That November, DePasquale lost to Perry by nearly 7 percentage points.

After the most recent redistricting, the new 10th District lines grew a shade redder. According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis, the district’s partisan makeup shifted one percentage point toward the GOP, at R+9, compared to the 2018 map.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.