Bob Casey has done it. For the first time in years, more than 50 percent of PA voters say they approve of the job he’s doing as Senator. Today’s Quinnipiac poll has several bits of good news for the freshman Senator and is the latest to show him winning re-election by a significant margin.
Until today, that number has generally been net positive for Casey in polls, but short of the 50 percent mark that indicates a safe incumbent.
By a 49 to 32 percent margin, voters said Casey deserves to be re-elected, and they have a favorable view of him by a margin of 45 to 23 percent.
He leads uh, what’s his name, 51 to 32 in the general election matchup. Tom Smith, the freshman Senator’s opponent, still had work to do to introduce himself to voters; 71 percent of respondents didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion. His name ID trails Casey’s by 41 points.
Q-Pac also does a regional breakdown. Smith leads Casey 43 to 41 in central PA, but the Senator runs the table in the rest of the state.
Philly: Casey 65, Smith 12
Allegheny: Casey 61, Smith 25
Northeast: Casey 60, Smith 25
Northwest: Casey 53, Smith 35
Southwest: Casey 52, Smith 25
Southeast: Casey 45, Smith 39
Central: Casey 41, Smith 43
The silver lining for Smith? Of the folks that do know of him, he’s viewed favorably 17 percent to 10. And part of Casey’s wide lead comes from his support among Republicans, voters likely to peel off as campaign messaging begins (38 percent of GOPers approve of Casey’s job performance, 29 percent say he deserves re-election, and 19 percent say they plan to vote for him).
Likewise, in several regions where Casey is strong, President Obama is weak (southwest, northwest, central). That means Smith’s tactic of connecting the two is probably his best way forward at this point.
Furthermore, it’s surprising to see Smith so close to Casey in the southeast (the Senator leads 45 to 39, with only 10 percent undecided).
But the overall trend favors Casey.
Several polls over the past two weeks have painted a similar picture of the race. Casey leads by double digits and has a 30 point plus name ID advantage in 3 of 4: today’s Quinnipiac; a Franklin & Marshall poll released on June 6 (Casey 41, Smith 21 head to head, Casey 71, Smith 23 in name ID); and a Public Policy Polling survey released on May 23 (Casey 49, Smith 33 head to head, Casey 77, Smith 45 in name ID).
The lone exception is Rasmussen. Their poll from May 24 showed Casey leading 48 to Smith’s 41, and Smith with more substantial name ID, 73 percent, though still trailing Casey’s 91 percent.
Quinnipiac University surveyed 997 registered voters from June 5 – 10 via live interviews on landlines and cell phones. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points.