By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
Bob Casey continues to enjoy relatively strong favorability, according to a poll obtained by PoliticsPA from the firm Municipoll. 46 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Casey, compared with only 30 percent of voters with an unfavorable opinion.
The survey of 670 likely voters was conducted via IVR from Feb. 21-23, 2011.
These results closely resemble those in last week’s Quinnipiac poll, which showed Casey with a net favorable job approval rating of 44 percent to 24 percent.
“Maybe Bob Casey isn’t unbeatable but he’s looking pretty darn good for a Democrat in a swing state that Senate Republicans are supposedly talking about targeting next year,” said Ed Haggerty, President of Municipoll.
There is no front runner for the GOP nomination to challenge Casey, but the Senator performs well against several of the names that have been mentioned so far. Former US Senator Rick Santorum presents the stiffest challenge but Casey bests him 50 to 38 percent. Casey also beats Congressman Charlie Dent, 51 to 32 percent and Congressman Jim Gerlach, 48 to 34 percent.
The down side for Casey? After four years in office, 24 percent of likely voters still don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.
The poll also found President Obama’s favorability at 51 percent in the state (versus 44 percent unfavorable), again echoing last week’s Quinnipiac poll.
Newly elected Republicans Governor Tom Corbett and Senator Pat Toomey enjoy net favorable ratings, with Corbett at 48 percent to 31 percent, and Toomey at 42 percent to 35 percent. However, by a 50 percent to 31 percent margin, voter expect Corbett to break his no texes, no fees pledge.
Voters favor a tax on Marcellus shale gas drilling companies and the sale of the state liquor stores, “to help close the budget deficit.” (57 percent to 28 percent for the gas tax, 57 to 30 percent for selling state liquor stores).
And finally, former Senator Rick Santorum suffers a net unfavorable rating in PA, with 39 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.