That’s the finding of the latest Quinnipiac Poll, which shows the two candidates within the margin of error.
Incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Toomey garnered 45% while Democratic nominee Katie McGinty received 44%. Last month, Toomey’s lead was nine points.
This is particularly bad news for Toomey, not just because of the close margin and negative trend but also the fact that this survey has no discernible Democratic bias. In fact, it could be argued it leans the other way as Trump was just a point behind Clinton in the presidential matchup and Governor Wolf’s approval rating was terrible.
Much as in the presidential race, there is a gigantic gender gap in the Senate contest.
For example, Toomey leads among men 53% to 46% while McGinty has a 51% to 38% advantage with women.
There’s also a sharp racial divide. Toomey is ahead with white voters (51/40) while McGinty wins non-whites (65/18). Even among white respondents, though, there is a gender gap. Toomey has a sizable advantage with white men (58/33) whereas McGinty edges out among white women (47/45).
The Democratic nominee is ahead with 18-34 year olds while the incumbent takes all other age groups.
Interestingly, McGinty actually leads by a point among independents, 41-40. She is held back a bit though because her margin among Democrats, 82-11, isn’t as strong as Toomey’s with Republicans, 86-5. This could be a lingering effect from a bruising primary.
A bright spot for Senator Toomey is his favorability split. 42% of respondents have a positive opinion of him, compared to 27% who have a negative one, while 30% haven’t heard enough. At a time when incumbents and the “establishment” is so vilified, those are impressive numbers.
McGinty meanwhile has a good 30% to 16% split. 53% of Pennsylvanians, however, haven’t heard enough about her. This suggests that the Toomey campaign will spend ample resources painting the Democrat in a negative light.
In a similar vein, Toomey recorded a 49% approval rating against a 34% disapproval rating. This is welcome news for the GOP as the Dems have to convince voters to throw out an official who they think is doing a good job.
Luckily for the Democrats, though, there is a big national issue in which Pennsylvanians do not agree with Sen. Toomey.
By a 52% to 29% margin, voters approve of the President’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Additionally, by a 58% to 37% margin, respondents want Garland’s nomination considered by the Senate.
Not coincidentally, Republicans are the only group that supports his position.
Furthermore, 30% say Toomey’s position makes them less likely to vote for him against 18% who say it makes them more likely to vote for him. 51% replied that it made no difference.
This survey was conducted by Quinnipiac University using live interviewers calling land lines and cell phones from April 27th to May 8th. They contacted 1,077 registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 3%.