According to a new survey from Harper Polling, the incumbent leads all potential Democratic challengers in a 2016 match-up.
Former Congressman and 2010 nominee Joe Sestak and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski have declared their candidacies. Meanwhile, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro has been approached by national Democrats about jumping into the race.
The closest competitor of the three is Sestak, although it’s not much of a contest. Toomey holds a 53% to 32% advantage over his 2010 opponent. 15% of respondents were not sure.
Digging deeper, the Senator also prevails in every region of the state. Sen. Toomey is especially strong in Pittsburgh/Southwest (60%-25%), South Central (55%-27%), the Northern Tier (54%-26%), and Scranton/Lehigh Valley (53%-27%).
Most surprisingly, Toomey even narrowly leads the former Montco Congressman in the Philadelphia/Southeast region (47%-44%).
Although there is a gender gap, the incumbent leads among men (61%-27%) and women (46%-37%).
Meanwhile, Toomey is ahead of Pawlowski 54/30. He even is ahead of the Mayor of Allentown in the Scranton/Lehigh Valley region (57/31).
Additionally, Sen. Toomer has a wide advantage over Shapiro (55%-27%) including in Philly and SEPA (51%-37%).
Not only does Toomey lead all head-to-head matchups, but he also has the best favorability ratings.
Fifty-four percent of respondents have a favorable impression of the Senator (21% strongly favorable, 33% somewhat favorable) while just thirty-two percent have an unfavorable impression (17% somewhat unfavorable, 15% very unfavorable).
The Senator’s favorables outweigh his unfavorables in every region of the state.
On the other hand, Joe Sestak faces a 33%-32% split. Pawlowski is up against favorable/unfavorable ratings of 20% and 19% respectively. For Shapiro the tally is 19% to 18%.
Sixty-three percent don’t know enough about Shapiro compared to 61% for Pawlowski and 35% for Sestak.
While incredibly early, this survey could still have an impact on the race. Shapiro is reluctant to jump into the contest as he faces re-election as Commissioner this November. Furthermore, since the Attorney General is in a bit of trouble he can always ran against her in the Democratic primary next year. A crucial factor in the decision between a race for Senate and a race for Attorney General is that any money Shapiro raises for his re-election campaign can be carried over in the latter case but not the former.
The sample size for the survey is 503 likely voters in Pennsylvania and the margin of error is +/-4.37%. Responses were gathered through landline interviews conducted using Interactive Voice Response (IVR). The survey was conducted May 6-7, 2015 by Harper Polling.