The survey, conducted by Colorado-based Harstad Strategic Research from Oct. 21-24, showed Casey at 52 percent ad Smith at 40, with 8 percent either undecided or voting for Libertarian candidate Rayburn Smith.
That’s better for Casey than their Oct. 14-18 poll , which showed him ahead just 49 percent to 41. But it’s identical to the margin of their poll from Oct. 8-11.
“These three surveys indicate that whatever slight erosion Casey suffered the prior week has been erased and Casey has rebounded to majority support – while Smith barely breaks the 40% support threshold,” the pollster wrote. “Despite a sizeable gender gap, Casey currently leads both among men (+4%) and among women (+19%).”
The poll was conducted of 810 likely Pa. voters via live interviews, the margin of error is 3.5 percent.
As with any internal poll, take it with a grain of salt. The results were announced at 5:18pm Friday, a release so late in the week that it could only be intended as a reaction to other news.
Friday afternoon, the National Republican Senatorial Committee announced that it would spend $500,000 on television ads to boost Smith. They follow the Democratic super PAC Majority PAC, founded by a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which is spending over $500,000 to boost Casey. The Pa.-based Fight for the Dream PAC is expected to spend about $380,000 on Smith’s behalf.
Asked the the DSCC would consider following the NRSC on TV in the state, spokesman Matt Canter was noncommittal.
“We are assessing the race, but clearly Sen. Casey has a strong lead and we are confident he is going to win,” he said.
There’s been increased national attention on the race in recent weeks as polling has tightened, to the point that Smith is now a more promising challenger for GOP Senate hopes than many other challengers in the country. A Rasmussen poll released Friday showed Casey ahead just 1 point, 46 percent to 45.
In any case, the combination of these news items is that the candidates’ Friday debate – which Casey won – will get less attention.
The DSCC also took the opportunity to ding Smith over his August abortion gaffe – a possible preview of things to come if they decide to jump in for the final week of the race.
“Tom Smith is a radical Tea Partier in the mold of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. He compared a woman being impregnated by rape to a woman having a child out of wedlock. He has no business representing Pennsylvanians in the US Senate, and the voters of the state know it,” Canter said.
Chris McDermott contributed to this report.