Posts tagged with "Pennsylvania"

Pundits shift nine House races toward Democrats

November 6, 2018

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report shifted nine House races toward Democrats in a new forecast published on November 5—the day before the midterm elections—The Hill reported.

The changes predicted by Cook are as follows:

Three races — in Texas’s 6th and 10th Congressional Districts and in West Virginia’s 2nd — moved from solid Republican to likely Republican. Two other races—Florida’s 25th and 6th districts, went from likely Republican to leaning Republican.

The movement is the latest indication that Democrats still have the upper-hand in the House prior to Tuesday’s midterms, when Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to regain control of the lower chamber. 

Research contact: @thehill

Embraceable you: Study finds that hugs make us happier

October 8, 2018

Have you ever felt as if you needed a hug? Now, there’s scientific evidence to show that, when your day is not going well, a hug can make a huge difference.

In fact, results of an investigation conducted by Carnegie Mellon University—and posted on October 4 on StudyFinds— indicate that people who “hug it out” after an argument are less likely to harbor bad feelings for the rest of the day.

The researchers   that people who consider themselves to be “huggers” actually enjoy better overall health and stronger relationships.

Previous research has shown the benefits of hugs—and the overall role of touch in promoting better mental and physical health—but such studies typically have focused on romantic relationships; while the latest probe sought to examine the power of hugging among various social circles.

For the study, the authors analyzed responses of 404 men and women between the ages of 21 and 55 who were in good health and lived in or near to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Only 25% of the participants were either married or had live-in romantic relationships.

Participants were interviewed every night for two weeks about their interactions with others each day. That meant describing such things as social activities, conflicts, resolutions, and of course, hugs. They also were asked about their mood and any changes as the day wore on.

The researchers found that people who got a hug after they had experienced a conflict showed a smaller decrease in positive emotions and a smaller increase in negative emotions, compared with individuals who were not hugged. In other words, being hugged at some point in the day may have helped them to keep a positive attitude—and, similarly, may have prevented them from feeling more upset about the conflict. In fact, hugs were shown to help reduce bad moods in participants through the following day, as well.

However, the authors identified several limitations of their study. For example, participants weren’t asked who they received their hugs from, or whether or not the hug was received before or after a conflict, which could perhaps play a role in the effectiveness of the hug.

“This research is in its early stages. We still have questions about when, how, and for whom hugs are most helpful,” admitted Michael Murphy, one of the study’s co-authors, in a press release.. “However, our study suggests that consensual hugs might be useful for showing support to somebody enduring relationship conflict.”

Murphy and his co-authors say that additional research is needed to better understand how, why, and even when hugging is so effective. Still, they believe their results show the potential power of a hug on harder days: “[H]ugs may be a simple yet effective method of providing support to both men and women experiencing interpersonal distress,” they conclude.

Research contact: michaelmurphy@cmu.edu

ACA credited for Lamb victory in special election

March 16, 2018

Following the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District on March 13, Affordable Care Act advocates are touting a telephone exit poll of voters showing that fully 52% of those who cast ballots saw healthcare as a top priority—and they believed that Democrat Conor Lamb better represented their views on the issue than did his opponent, Republican Rick Saccone.

Conducted by Public Policy Polling within the heavily Republican district—which President Trump won by 20 points in 2016—the research found that voters remain angry about Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare last summer, The Washington Post reports.  

On healthcare, voters said Lamb better reflected their views by 7 points (45% to 38%) over Saccone. Among Independents, that gap widened to 16 points—with 50% saying Lamb’s healthcare views were more in line with theirs.

Saccone advocated for repealing the ACA and called on his website for “using free-market principles to fix our health-care crisis.” The Washington Post reported, noting, “His defeat raises many questions for Republican candidates eyeing this election year nervously—including how to talk about healthcare now that Congress has failed to repeal the law.”

Research contact: information@publicpolicypolling.com

Special election in Pennsylvania is too close to call

March 2, 2018

A high-profile political prognosticator has changed its projections for a House special election in Pennsylvania to favor the Democratic candidate, The Hill reported on February 27.

The Cook Political Report now says that the March 13 race for a seat in the Keystone State’s 18th District is now a “toss-up ”—with State Representative Rick Saccone (R) enjoying only a single-digit lead over Conor Lamb (D), although President Trump won the district by 20 points in 2016.

The race is “exceedingly close,” the Cook newsletter said.

According to The Hill, Lamb raised nearly three times as much as Saccone in 2017—giving him more money fo political advertising. GOP leadership has had to spend millions backing up Saccone to keep up with the 33-year-old challenger.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), House Republicans’ campaign arm, has put $2.2 million into bolstering Saccone, The Hill reported. Meanwhile, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC backing the GOP majority, has spent another $2.7 million.

Cook noted the ads have focused on aligning Saccone with Trump and the GOP tax cuts.

Lamb, a Democratic prosecutor, has promised to protect Social Security and Medicare from funding cuts, while staying strategically silent and moderate on hot-button issues such as abortion and fracking, and also distancing himself from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California). 

The congressional seat opened up after Republican Representative Tim Murphy, who had been staunchly anti-abortion, resigned in October 2017  following reports that he had asked his mistress to get an abortion.

Some turnout models show Saccone taking a wider lead on election day, but the Lamb campaign could surge with a high turnout from college graduates, The Hill reports.

The race has been the focus of a national spotlight, with Vice President Pence appearing at a rally for Saccone earlier this month.

Research contact: @JTDelk