SESTAK CLOSES GAP IN PENNSYLVANIA SENATE RACE, QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY POLL FINDS; BUT VOTERS WANT THEIR SENATOR TO OPPOSE OBAMA

SESTAK CLOSES GAP IN PENNSYLVANIA SENATE RACE, QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY POLL FINDS; BUT VOTERS WANT THEIR SENATOR TO OPPOSE OBAMA

The race for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat is now a statistical dead heat with Republican Pat Toomey getting 48 percent of likely voters to 46 percent for Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 50 – 43 percent likely voter lead for Toomey, a former congressman, in a September 22 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

Toomey is beating Sestak 88 – 8 percent among Republicans and 56 – 35 percent among independent voters.  But Sestak is winning 89 – 7 percent among Democrats. Thirteen percent of Toomey’s voters and 9 percent of Sestak backers say they might change their mind before Election Day.  The 5 percent of undecided voters includes 9 percent of independent voters.

“Pennsylvania is a blue state and Democrats there have begun to come home,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “They are more engaged than they were earlier in the race.  This is not unusual, especially in off-year elections. Democrats often engage later in the campaign than do Republicans.  The political environment is more favorable now for them, as evidenced by President Barack Obama’s improved, but still decidedly negative, job approval rating.”

President Obama gets a negative 44 – 53 percent job approval rating, compared to a negative 40 – 56 percent September 22.

There is a sizable gender gap in the Senate race, with Toomey leading 54 – 40 percent among men and Sestak ahead 53 – 41 percent among women.

“Sestak’s lead among women has remained virtually unchanged over the past month, but Toomey’s once 21-point lead among men has been cut by seven points,” said Brown.

Pennsylvania likely voters’ views of the economy are strongly tied to their candidate preference.  Among the 14 percent who think the economy is improving, Sestak leads 84 – 14 percent, while Toomey leads 70 – 23 percent among the 35 percent who think it is worsening. Sestak leads 51 – 44 percent among the 49 percent who think it is remaining the same.

Despite the recent Democratic lean in Pennsylvania politics, likely voters say 51 – 43  percent that they want their new U.S. senator to oppose rather than support President Obama’s policies.

Voters also say 45 – 38 percent they want Republicans, rather than Democrats, to control the U.S. Senate next year.

“There is still a mood in the likely Pennsylvania electorate for change, which appears more likely to help Toomey than Sestak,” said Brown.  “Among the 33 percent of likely voters who say they are angry with the federal government, Toomey leads 77 – 17 percent.

“This is now a very close race in factors beyond the matchup.  When voters are asked which candidate most shares their values they split 44 – 44 percent.  Sestak is viewed favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 36 percent.  Toomey gets thumbs up from 46 percent and thumbs down from 37 percent,” said Brown.

From October 13 – 17, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,046 Pennsylvania likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. 

For more data or RSS feed– http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

October 21st, 2010 | Posted in Front Page Stories | 1 Comment

One thought on “SESTAK CLOSES GAP IN PENNSYLVANIA SENATE RACE, QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY POLL FINDS; BUT VOTERS WANT THEIR SENATOR TO OPPOSE OBAMA”

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