'Hardball' host would give Specter a run, poll finds

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HARRISBURG -- If he were to challenge U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010, Chris Matthews, the talkative host of "Hardball'' on MSNBC, would do well in the state's two largest counties, according to a poll out today.

Mr. Matthews, a native of the Philadelphia area, won support from 45 percent of the respondents from Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, compared to 32 percent for Mr. Specter in Philadelphia and 38 percent in Allegheny County, according to the Quinnipiac University Poll.

But the longtime Republican senator beat the talk show host in other areas of the state.

Mr. Matthews hasn't said if he's interested in running, but he has been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate in some recent news stories around the state. His brother, Jim Matthews, is a Montgomery County commissioner and ran for lieutenant governor in 2006 with GOP gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann.

On a statewide basis, Mr. Specter outpolled Mr. Matthews by 41 to 36 percent, with the rest not giving a preference. Although the cancer that has plagued Mr. Specter in the past has recurred, he has received treatments for it and insists he's healthy enough to seek another six-year term in 2010. He is 78.

The poll of 1,580 Pennsylvania voters, taken from Wednesday to Sunday, showed that 28 percent of the respondents had a favorable view of Mr. Matthews, 15 percent had an unfavorable view, 55 percent hadn't heard enough and 2 percent declined to answer.


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