According to a new PPP poll, the bad news is that Pennsylvanians don’t seem to have a very high opinion of the Senator. The good news is that they seem to have a worse opinion about nearly everyone else.
For instance, just 30% approve of the Senator’s job performance with 37% disapproving. Nevertheless, Toomey leads ever potential 2016 Democratic opponent.
The best Democratic performer is former Congressman and 2010 nominee Joe Sestak.
Toomey edges out Sestak 42% to 38% in this survey with a whooping 20% of respondents undecided.
Through the crosstabs, we can break down the numbers by demographics. For example, Sestak leads among women (42/36), Democrats (64/18), moderates (40/30) and blacks (68/9). Sen. Toomey meanwhile has the advantage among men (49/33), Republicans (75/9), independents (36/29) and whites (47/34).
Other Possible Opponents
PPP decided to test Senator Toomey against a number of different potential Democratic opponents. Besides Sestak, they also matched-up the incumbent with the only other candidate currently in the race, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.
Toomey leads Pawlowski 44% to 34% with 22% not sure.
Rumors have also been floated about Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. Therefore, PPP also had the Senator face off against him. The incumbent still has a 44% to 33% advantage.
They even asked respondents about former Governor Ed Rendell. The ex-Gov. has been among those urging for an opponent for Sestak but he’s given no indication that he wants to get back into politics.
In perhaps the best piece of news for Toomey, he defeats even Rendell 46% to 41%.
It is also likely PPP polled Toomey against Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro but threw the results out after the latter made it clear he won’t run.
There are two important caveats, though, to consider. Despite Sen. Toomey’s lead over every potential challenger, incumbents are usually thought to be in danger if they poll under 50%. His leads are also less than the ones he held in last month’s Harper poll. On the other hand, PPP is a liberal-leaning polling organization that has drawn criticism in the past from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.
Public Policy Polling surveyed 799 registered voters from May 21st to May 24th. 80% of interviews were conducted over the phone while 20% were done online. The margin of error is +/- 3.5%.