Argall: Poll results for Halcovage 'some of the worst'

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Feb. 10—MOUNT CARBON — Results of a recent public opinion poll are not encouraging for a re-election bid by Schuylkill County Commissioner candidate George F. Halcovage Jr.

State Sen. David G. Argall, R-29, Rush Twp., put it this way.

"There is no doubt in my mind based on this data that if George Halcovage is our candidate in the fall, we all lose," Argall told approximately 75 attendees at a Thursday night session for the public to ask questions of Republican candidates interested in running for commissioner. Halcovage was not present, but he was at two earlier sessions and has expressed his intent to run.

Argall said his campaign committee paid Susquehanna Polling and Research, Harrisburg, to conduct the poll, which asked about all of the candidates but included three questions about Halcovage.

Halcovage has been sued in federal court by four female county employees over allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and is facing a possible impeachment in the state House of Representatives. He denies the allegations.

Argall said 300 people were polled between Jan. 25 and 27. Argall did not give results for the general questions about candidates, leaving that up to them to disclose.

Three questions specifically about Halcovage asked about poll respondents whether they were less or more likely to vote for Halcovage when knowing the county found that he violated the county's sexual harassment policy, his lawyers' settlement offer of $850,000 that was rejected by the defendants and that the House is considering impeachment. (See accompanying box for details.)

Voters said they were less likely in each case by margins of 65, 75 and 60 percentage points, respectively.

"These are some of the worst numbers I have ever seen for any poll for any candidate," Argall said.

James Lee, president and CEO and founder of the Susquehanna Polling and Research, said Friday about the Halcovage poll, "This certainly is an unusual issue."

Those doing the polling ask to speak to a registered Republican. After confirming that information, they tell them about the May 16 primary election. They then ask how likely they are to vote. If they are likely to vote, then the survey is conducted, Lee explained.

He said it is rare to see numbers as high as the respondents gave. However, it does happen, as in the case when Pennsylvania lawmakers voted to give themselves a pay raise in the middle of the night in 2005.

"We definitely saw some in the 70s and the 80s (percentage opposed)" in that case, he said.

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