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Early national polling shows Democrats might have edge over Republicans in some statewide races

Matt Rourke

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Democratic candidates for Senate and Governor hold strong leads against their  opponents in recent polling
(0:00 - 7:43)

A new poll from Fox News finds Democrats are garnering more favor from PA voters when it comes to who will become the next governor and U.S. Senator.

The survey, conducted for Fox News by one Democratic and one Republican pollster, shows John Fetterman leading over Mehmet Oz, 47% to Oz’s 36%, in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey. In the gubernatorial race, Josh Shapiro leads 50% to 40% over Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

Jonathan Tamari, national political reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, says previous polls have indicated Fetterman’s strong lead, but Shapiro’s was more surprising.

“The caveat there is that there's very little polling so far. So, you know, one or two things could be an outlier, but a ten point lead is much more significant than we had seen earlier,” says Tamari.

He says another interesting takeaway from this poll is the high disapproval ratings Mastriano and Oz are both carrying. About 41% of voters have a “strongly unfavorable” view of Oz, and 39% share a “strongly unfavorable” view of Mastriano.

About a quarter of voters consider Fetterman and Shapiro “strongly unfavorable,” 25% and 23% respectively.

Allegheny County residents are decrying higher sewage bills, as ALCOSAN begins new construction projects
(7:45 - 13:59)

Nearly every time it rains in Pittsburgh, millions of gallons of sewage-filled water pours into its rivers. The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority has begun construction in a $2 billion project to address sewage overflow. But while projects get underway, customers are complaining about rising bills.

The latest project would expand ALCOSAN’S sewage treatment plant, doubling treatment capacity. According to WESA reporter Oliver Morrison, that expansion is popular among residents. However, their sewage overflow project is drawing more ire as ratepayers are seeing a rise in their bills.

“People often talked about how the water bills were such a great deal around here. In 2000, for example, you'd be paying less than $100 a year to flush your toilet. It was really cheap,” says Morrison. “But it's been going up nearly every year since then, and pretty steadily. So now the average customer’s paying about $550 per year, and that’s going to keep going up until an estimated around $1,200 a year, according to ALCOSAN’s estimates.”

According to the consent decree between the EPA and ALCOSAN, the authority has to reduce sewer overflows by an estimated 6.6 billion gallons per year, and make this improvement by 2036.

Who has the best pizza in Pittsburgh?
(14:01 - 22:30)

A sure way to start a fight with friends, and potentially alienate one’s family, is to ask: Where is the best pizza in the Pittsburgh area?

There are lots of options to cause some division, depending on the type of pizza you’re craving.

But Hal B. Klein, senior food writer and dining critic for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, has compiled a list of 11 pizzerias serving the best pie in town. His choices include classic styles of pizza and regional delicacies, but Klein says they all share one key element: a quality dough.

“For me, dough is that thing that you might not even notice it, until you get to the crust,” says Klein. “But it's that thing that you think, what is making this pizza so good? And 90% of the time it comes down to it being great dough.”

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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