PA-Sen: Quinnipiac Poll: Toomey 47 Sestak 36

Toomey SestakThe latest Quinnipiac Poll is the best news Sen. Pat Toomey has received this month.

After a tepid F&M Poll and a RMU survey that actually showed him trailing, the newest results from Quinnipiac have the incumbent with an eleven point advantage.

Senator Toomey leads 2010 opponent Joe Sestak 47% to 36% in the latest survey.

Toomey is still beneath the fifty percent threshold that incumbents normally must break to feel comfortable, though, as 14% are undecided.

The Senator’s margin also slightly shrunk from April when his lead was thirteen points.

Still, Toomey has the advantage among independents, men and even women (by a single point).

He also has a massive lead over his other potential opponent Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. Toomey is ahead of Pawlowski, 52% to 28%.


Meanwhile, 47% of respondents have a favorable opinion of the Senator against 24% that have an unfavorable view and 28% who haven’t heard enough.

These are the best numbers Toomey has ever received in a Quinnipiac poll on this question.

Sestak, on the other hand, has a 26/15 favorable/unfavorable split with 58% not having heard enough about him.

Those stats are nothing compared to Pawlowski, however, who is a virtual unknown to a whopping 85% of the commonwealth. Just 6% gave him a favorable rating while 8% handed him an unfavorable rating.

Finally, Sen. Toomey scored a 51% approval rating while just 28% said they disapproved of his performance. These are also the best numbers he’s ever gotten on this question in a Quinnipiac survey.

This Quinnipiac Poll was conducted from June 4th to June 15th. 970 Pennsylvania registered voters were interviewed live through land lines and cell phones. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2%.

29 Responses

  1. Jake,
    So glad you mentioned Florida. Guess who Chuck Schumer and the Democratic Leadership are pushing as their favored Senate candidate down there? None other than Congressman Patrick Murphy, a former (?) Republican, committed corporatist, and someone who votes with the Republicans more often than almost any other “Democrat” in Congress. Alan Grayson has indicated that he will probably run, but Grayson is clearly too progressive and independent for the likes of Schumer, et al. It is time for the national Democratic machine to get its nose out of state politics (and that includes Pennsylvania) and let the voters decide. This kind of interference and the continued efforts by Leadership to move the Party further to the Right while the base is moving to the Left are why so many Democrats are staying home on Election Day. I’d prefer to see a real Republican elected in Florida than another right wing corporate “Democrat” like Murphy, and I would rather see Sestak than anyone Schumer (better known as the “Senator from Wall Street”) would like to install as the Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania.

  2. This is an interesting but irrelevant conversation. The national Democrats have already turned away from PA as a possible Senatorial pick-up. They have, instead, turned their sights to Florida which offers a much greater opportunity. Toomey looks like a winner and Sestak, well, he’s not much. All he can hope for is that Hillary wins the state by some huge margin which only happens if the Rs pick a very radical candidate. Sestak is his own biggest fan but he has few others.

  3. Jerry-
    You say: “Refusing to vote for the lesser evil” ?? I thought you were voting for Sestak?

    Sestak isn’t defying Schumer on some great moral principle. Sestak is defying Schumer (and the rest of the party) because he’s a selfish egomaniac who only cares about having the title “Senator” next to his name. He doesn’t give a rat’ @ss about any of the issues he’s talking about (or you) and would happily be the GOP candidate and vote like Toomey if that’s how he could win.

    If you think he has any noble motivation you are completely fooling yourself.

  4. David, You really are ato be pitied. I vote my conscience, and doing that is all the more satisfying if it involves voting for a woman, or a Jew since they have a lot less opportunity to get elected President. Obviously it is not the reason I vote for that person since I would rather take a bullet in the head than vote for someone like Joe Lieberman, and obviously the fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman is not reason enough for me to vote for her. And by the way, I always vote, and I do not think I am “pissing away my vote” when I refuse to rubber stamp the candidates the Democratic Leadership feel they have the right to anoint. If anything, I take satisfaction in deftying the likes of Chuck Schumer, and one of the reasons I like Sestak is because he has no fear of doing so.
    I respect your right to vote for the candidate of your choice, but I wonder if you are as satisfied as I am on Election Day when at least I know I have voted my conscience and refused to compromise my values. Refusing to vote for the lesser evil (and the lesser evil is still evil) is nothing to be ashamed of. I am proud of it, and if a worse evil gets elected that is the fault of the Democrats who refused to provide a clear choice. I know people like you don’t understand that. That is your misfortune.

  5. Jerry-
    “we hang out with different crowds”

    Yes. I hang out with people that vote 100% of the time.

    There were a lot of “Hillary” voters who were p*ssed off at Obama “stealing her turn”. In Center City in Philly there was a dip in votes for Obama relative to Kerry (2008 vs 2004), despite more registered Dems. The reason was the Hillary voters staying home out of spite. Those voters aren’t going to pass up the opportunity to put her in the White House.

    Women are going to register in droves to be part of history electing the first woman president.

    What you are saying with your voting history is that you like to p*ss away your vote on people who have no chance, and prefer a candidate of a particular religion. I’d prefer an Atheist, who isn’t going to believe he/she is taking guidance from a fictional character.

  6. Excuse my French, but pent-up demand for Hillary my ass. I guess we hang out with different crowds, but everyone I know, even those who are prepared to vote for her, really have grave doubts about her.

    That too is all-too evident in the polls — all of them.
    I want a woman too, but Elizabeth Warren won’t step up, and just any woman won’t do, especially if it is Hillary Clinton. I’d love to see a Jew in the White House too, but I once expressed to Joe Lieberman that I’d prefer a bullet in my brain to seeing him running the country. I did manage to vote for a Jew and a woman for President in 2012 though: Jill Stein of the Green Party. I even voted for a Black man for President way before most people did: Dick Gregory on the Peace and Freedom ticket in 1968. His running mate was Mark Lane, a fellow New York Jew, and a fellow Warren Report critic to boot. That was the first year I was old enough too vote, and even then I could not vote for LBJ or his proxy, Hubert Humphrey even though I was then and remain a registered Democrat.
    I am not saying that Bernie Sanders will be the nominee. That is too much to expect of the Democratic Party even if he won every primary by a landslide. When you come down to it the Democratic Establishment has little taste for “democracy.” What I am saying is that Hillary now has an air of inevitability, and when that reveals itself to be a myth others besides Bernie will emerge to challenger her. In any event I will not vote for her if she is the nominee, and I know many other progressives who feel as I do. In fact, I was not thrilled about Obama back in 2008 (because I researched him and was not impressed), but I voted for him in the primary because I thought Hillary was much worse. I voted for Obama in the general that year as well because I held out some limited hope that he would prove a pleasant surprise. By 2012 that hope was gone and I voted for Jill Stein.
    I realize that what I am saying may seem extreme to many of you, but I think everyone has a moral obligation to vote or not vote his or her conscience, and those among you who vote for anyone who puts a “D” in front of their name need to realize that the Democrats cannot continue to assume that progressives will always be willing to hold their collective noses and vote for candidates who will never represent democratic values. Those days are over. That is why lots of candidates like Arlen Specter, Blanche Lincoln and and Mary Landrieu were voted out, leaving the latter two to answer their true calling as lobbyists for special interests. I suspect Bob Casey will join them if the GOP ever puts up anything stronger than a salami sandwich against him.

  7. FYI-
    McGinty is unpopular with the progressive environmental activists. They view her a “greenwasher” (their word) who covers for the fossil fuel industry. So, she would get a little pushback from them.

    I would not have a problem with her running for Senate, especially in a year with Hillary driving up the female vote.

    Bernie Sanders is not going to defeat Hillary in the primary. He will succeed in getting her to broaden her platform to the Left. Maybe, she’ll pick him to be her VP.

    The country wants a woman on the $10 bill and a woman in the White House. The GOP ticket is a shambles. The Dems aren’t going to take a chance on Bernie, with all the pent-up demand for Hillary.

    BTW, we need the straight ticket voting to try an regain a majority in the state legislature. Even if some Dems vote with the R’s, having the majority gives control of the agenda and how bills move to the floor.

  8. Response to FYI: I honestly do not know all that much about Kate McGinty, but will keep an eye on her. I am not in the habit of voting for someone based solely on who has endorsed them, and don’t forget that Wolf came out of nowhere and was not considered to be a contender until he spent his way into the public consciousness and to the front of the polls. I never would have considered voting for Schwartz or McCord (who I never liked even though I could never quite put my finger on why, but that shoddy campaign he ran was enough to convince me that my instincts about him were correct). McGinty’s numbers were so low, and Wolf looked like someone who was both a progressive, and who could win, so I never really studied McGinty that closely. The one thing I heard about her that bothered me was that I heard she was a Bill Clinton protege. That would not have been an incentive for me to vote for her.

  9. No David, I am not a Sestak cheerleader, merely someone who appreciates Democrats who do not cower at the feet of the Democratic Leadership machine. Frankly if a strong progressive emerged to challenge Sestak I might well support him or her, though I don’t see that happening.

    As far as Hillary’s coattails, I do not think she is going to win the nomination. The primaries will be her undoing, just as they were in 2008. She was considered inevitable well into 2008 last time around. I think she will sink earlier this time because she has so much baggage and is so disingenuous. She certainly will not get my vote. As for training voters to vote a straight party ticket, no thanks. I could support that as a concept if the Party were not so intent on recruiting candidates who are bought and paid for by Wall Street. That concept has become so perverse that our Leadership would prefer to recruit Republicans and get them to switch their Party registrations than to support a progressive. Our Party Leaders would literally prefer to lose with Republican-Lite candidates than to win with progressives who do not walk in lock-step with Wall Street. The problem with running Republicans who pretend to be Democrats is that many real Democrats won’t vote for them, and Republicans would prefer to vote for Republicans who run under the GOP banner. That is why the Blue Dog coalition, once the largest caucus in Congress, is now almost extinct.

  10. Jerry, I’m surprised you couldn’t get behind a McGinty for Senate campaign. Progressive. Environmentalist. Not a career politician. Not beholden to special interests or wall street. Former Chairman of Council on Environmental Quality under President Clinton. Former PA Sec. of Environ. Protection under Governor Rendell. Just take a look at some of the people who endorsed her campaign for Governor last year, you might be surprised:

    Lester R. Brown, founder and President of the Earth Policy Institute
    Carol Browner, former EPA Administrator and former Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy
    Peter Daley, State Representative
    Anthony M. DeLuca, State Representative
    George T. Frampton, Jr., former Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality
    Kathryn S. Fuller, former President and CEO of the World Wildlife Foundation
    Pat Gillespie, Business Manager of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council
    Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States
    Patty Kim, State Representative
    Jonathan Lash, former President of the World Resources Institute
    Bill Meadows, former President of The Wilderness Society
    Winsome McIntosh, Chair of Defenders of Wildlife
    Ed O’Brien, former United Steelworkers leader and candidate for Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district in 2000 and 2002
    Carl Pope, former Executive Director of the Sierra Club
    Bill Richardson, former Governor of New Mexico
    Larry Rockefeller, President of the American Conservation Association
    Robert Rubin, former United States Secretary of the Treasury
    Scott Sklar, former Executive Director of the Solar Energy Industries Association
    Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85

    Nominating Katie McGinty to be the first woman United States Senator from Pennsylvania would energize the base and guarantee a victory in the general against Toomey. She’s a strong candidate in her own right and won a lot of points in the gov. primary last year for taking the high road and running a positive campaign. In some ways she came out as the real winner: Schwartz is now a lobbyist. McCord pleaded guilty to 2 counts of extortion and Governor Wolf, who I also voted for in the primary and support very much, has the lovely task of dealing with a Republican state house and senate majority.

    Think about it. That’s all I’m saying.

  11. Wolf in the Primary and Wolf in the General. In fact I voted a straight Democratic ticket in the General because that’s how I vote when the Democratic field is one I can support without betraying my principles. I am impressed with Wolf, and I believe he won, and won by a lot in another terrible year for Democrats, because he ran as a strong progressive and pretty much as an outsider. I actually met with him for more than an hour before the Primary regarding health care reform (I am a supporter of single-payer, not Obamacare), and he struck me as honest and a straight shooter. So far I like what he is trying to do in Harrisburg as well. If we had more Democrats like him I’d be a very happy camper. For the record I have never voted Republican, but I have voted third party and have written people in. A few exaamples of the kind of “Democrat” I could not vote for would include Bob Casey; Bob Brady; Ed Rendell (though I did vote for him before I knew more about him); Blanche Lincoln; Chuck Schumer; Barack Obama; Allison Schwartz; Joe Lieberman; Stennie Hoyer; Hillary Clinton… it is a long list, and it includes every Democrat who supports the XL pipeline or the Trans-Pacific Partnership or who worships at the Church of Goldman Sachs.

  12. Jerry-
    Your inability to have rational discussion is hardly limited to your interactions with me.

    But, look, you are a Sestak cheerleader who hasn’t experienced Sestak’s dark side or been screwed over by him (yet).

    Yes, Toomey is terrible and Sestak’s votes overall would be better. But, Sestak is a poor candidate and a worse Democrat. He’s simply not worth the investment of time/energy/resources. If he gets in on Hillary’s coattails, that doesn’t cost us. There is more bang-for-the-buck in focusing on close congressional and state house/senate races, because these races get undervoted despite the high turnout. Dems should be focused on training voters to vote straight-ticket and not leave the down ticket candidates hanging.

  13. Jerry, just bc I’m curious, who did you support in the Dem. primary for Governor last year? And who did you vote for in the general?

  14. I find it impossible to carry on a rational discussion with you David, so I won’t respond to you in the future unless you stop making things up and start making sense. Try to get this straight. All I suggested, and I stand by it, is that any poll that fails to include a cell phone sample cannot be trusted. You also can’t compare F&M polls to Quinnipiac polls because they employ different methodologies. I frankly take most polls with a grain of salt because they rarely reveal how they weight their samples, and they almost never reveal their cooperation rate. You may have noticed (though I doubt is) that I did not defend the F&M poll even though it was much more favorable than the Quinnipiac poll. I am not thrilled by PPP’s methodology either. All the recent polls, are reflecting wildly different numbers, but none of them, Quinnipiac included, show Sestak tanking. My own prefrence is to take all the polls with a grain of salt until we get much closer to the election. I look at trends and a consistency in the numbers.
    Getting back to cell phones, I have tried to find reliable data comparing cell phone universe demographics (particularly cell phone-only homes)to see if the cell phone universe is still radically different, as it once was. I cannot find any recent data which may be because it is such a complicated arena to study. Are smart phone users similar to standard cell phone users, for example? Are cell-phone only households different from households with both land lines and cell phones? All I know is that one cannot assume that the universes are the same or even similar which is probably why most pollsters now include a cell phone sample. It happens to be a fact that the cell phone universe of old was more likely to vote Democratic. Now that 91% of U.S. homes have cell phones I do not know if that is true any longer. I simply raised the possibility, and did so not because I wanted to suggest that Sestak would have come out better if there had been a cell phone sample, but rather to suggest that I regard F&M polls to be unreliable. Several years ago Terry Madonna acknowledged to me in writing that he would prefer to include a cell phone sample in his polls but could not because of the added cost. My own opinion is that F%M should not be in the polling business if they can’t afford to sample properly.

  15. Jerry-
    You keep making the false analogy of the change in the May 2009 polling to the 2010 primary. If your argument were valid, then Ed Pawlowski could be looking at a big jump over Sestak.

    Sestak hadn’t announce or spent any money or been part of a state-wide campaign prior to May 2009, but since he did run in 2010, his numbers are a little more “baked-in”. Also, since he’s not a sitting member of congress, he really can’t make much news beyond sending out campaign material as press releases on slow news days.

    But, Sestak sure does act like these polls are relevant when he sends out fundraising letters with cherry-picked results and comparing unrelated polls.

    As for the cell phone inclusion, I didn’t remember that it was you suggesting Sestak might do better, but I got your implication correct. Exact quote from you: “In other words Sestak might fare even better in this poll if cell phone users were included in the sample.”
    Well, he didn’t fare too well.

    As for trends:
    Quinnipiac June 2014 Toomey +5
    Quinnipiac Jan 2015 Toomey +10
    Quinnipiac Mar 2015 Toomey +13
    Quinnipiac Jun 2015 Toomey +11

  16. all I see in this thread and threads that preceded it are traditional Democrats who support traditional candidates like Allison (Third Way; New Democrat Coalition; corporatist Congresswoman who recently showed her true colors by becoming a hack lobbyist for healthcare special interests). I’ve got news for you. The party rank and file is becoming more and more progressive, and there are an awful lot of progressive Democrats like me whose days of voting for DINO’s are over. You all rationalize, against the evidence, that Sestak cannot win, when it is hacks like Schwartz who cannot win because progressives like me won’t ever vote for them. That goes for Hillary Clinton too (who you may have noticed is pretending of late to be a progressive rather than the avowed corporatist she really is). Go Bernie. Your silly editorializing which never relies of evidence and is devoid of any facts, frankly strike me as sad. I know Sestak is not much of a progressive, but he stands up to the Democratic machine, and that is good enough for me. That machine has got to go. One thing is obvious to me. The machine is doing all it can to crush Sestak, and so far they have been totally ineffective in those attempts. I also see that Toomey recently launched an anti-Sestak ad campaign. That can only signal one thing as far as I am concerned. He, like the Democratic Establishment, would prefer that the candidate he faces is someone other than Sestak. I predict Sestak will win the Primary and will go on to defeat Toomey despite all the posturing by traditional Democrats who refuse to support anyone who refuses to play by their rules, and instead come up with rationalizations for why they can’t win. Because I am a true Democrat I will never vote for the Hillary Clintons, Bob Caseys, Allison Schwartz’s, and yes, even Barack Obama’s (who I voted for once before switching to Jill Stein in 2012) of the world. I had a lot of company in 2014 in case you didn’t notice.

  17. Enough of the Sestak is great/Sestak is awful posts.

    Can we all get together and begin to think of names to replace Sestak on the Democratic side? The idea that there aren’t more options is absurd, to say the least. I am more familiar with SE candidates, and I have named a few (Madeline Dean, Leslie Richards, Michael Nutter, Art Haywood, Allyson Schwartz).

    I would love to see DePasquale announce or possibly Torsella. Josh Shapiro should convince Torsella to run for Senate. It makes a ton of sense for him for number of reasons. Judy Schwenk is also excellent, agriculturally minded Democrat palatable to the rest of the state.

    Western Dems? ANYBODY?

  18. Jerry, I never suggested that Sestak tanked down the stretch. In previous posts on this subject, I’ve been very consistent in my explanation of why I believe the 2010 election unfolded in the way it did.

    The best thing that ever happened to Sestak was getting to trade blows with Specter during the Democratic primary (as opposed to running opposed) and contrast himself with a 30-year creature of Washington. Despite being a sitting Congressman, he was able to frame himself as an independent outsider who wouldn’t be beholden to national party leaders. Smartly, he subsequently bolstered this image in the summer and fall by running an independent campaign.

    The day after Sestak beat Specter, Rasmussen commissioned a poll that gave Sestak a 4 point lead over Toomey. This was after both Democrats had trailed Toomey for quite some time. But IMMEDIATELY thereafter, Toomey unloaded his warchest on Sestak and hit him with negative ads. Two weeks later, a subsequent Rasmussen put Toomey back on top by 7 points.

    The anger over Obamacare that simmered from mid-2009 through the 2010 general election didn’t foster a “Republican” wave so much as it did an “anti-Washington” wave. Whereas independent and moderate voters ultimately punished national Democrats by flipping four Congressional districts (Dahlkemper’s, Sestak’s, Murphy’s and Carney’s), history has shown that Sestak himself got a pass from many of these voters due the “outsider” image he was able to cultivate. There was no “surge” from May to the finish line in November, but he clearly got a good amount of undecideds to break for him late to a degree that other Dems on the ballot did not.

    Bottom line – in 2010, it was toxic just to be associated with the incumbency. It didn’t matter that Specter was more of a political centrist that Sestak. His negatives were off the charts and he wasn’t going to beat Toomey. When people look back and debate what the Dems best strategy was (who should’ve run, who shouldn’t have), in my view Sestak over Specter then over Toomey was their only viable path to victory in that political environment.

    Fast forward to 2016, being an incumbent won’t be nearly as toxic for Toomey. Barring something unforeseen – which won’t happen with the current divided government – this election will be much more about political ideology. All Toomey has to do is avoid be painted as an extremist. Sestak won’t have the money or party support that will be needed to counter Toomey this time around.

  19. Jerry, while you are entitled to you’re own opinion, you are NOT entitled to your own facts. I understand you want to vote your heart, but you need to vote with your brain.

    The fact that 2016 is a presidential year means absolutely nothing when it comes to an incumbent US Senator seeking reelection in PA. Pennsylvania Dems must wake up and realize that at the end of the day having good candidates does actually matter, and unfortunately, Sestak is just a repeat of Ron Klink in 2000 and Joe Hoeffel in 2004. Joe Sestak is Ron Klink 2.0

    2000 – Al Gore Wins PA and Rick Santorum wins reelection:
    RON KLINK (D) 45%

    (Take note of Santorum’s reelection in 2000; his margin actually increased in a presidential election after winning his first term in 1994, a strong year non-presidential year for the Republicans; similar to Toomey’s win in 2010. Could Toomey actually increase his winning margin in a presidential year? History tends to repeat itself. Also, as in 2000, it was the end of a 8-year Democratic president.)

    2004- John Kerry Wins PA and Arlen Specter wins reelection:
    JOE HOEFFEL (D) 42%

    2016 – Hillary Wins PA and Pat Toomey wins reelection (prediction):
    PAT TOOMEY (R) 53%
    JOE SESTAK (D) 47%

    This has started to be pointed out by national pundits such as Larry Sabato and previous PoliticsPA articles.

    If Rick Santorum was able to win reelection in a presidential year and increase his margins, it’s even more likely that Pat Toomey can and probably WILL win reelection in 2016, especially considering Toomey’s favorables vs. Santorums.

    So far, 2016, does not have the makings of a “wave election,” like in 1994, 2006 or 2010, which is good for Toomey. If the political environment stays much of the way it is now, I think it benefits incumbency and thus benefits Toomey. I don’t think Hillary takes PA by as much as Obama did in 2008. I think it will be more in line with 2012’s results.

    Poll after poll the real loser continues to be Joe Sestak. He has essentially been running for the job for over 6 years now and he continues to be polling badly against Toomey. In fact, he’s polling worse than he did in 2010.

    At the end of the day, Toomey comes off as more professional, likable and principled. Simply put Pennsylvanians view Toomey as more senatorial.

    As another reader put it “Sestak comes off as a complete phony… is weird… I don’t trust him.”

    I’m not sure how many of you remember the “Democrats for Toomey” tv commercials that ran in the 2010 campaign, but my guess is that more Democrats will once again cast their vote for Toomey if Democrats cannot find a better candidate than Ron Klink, oops, I mean Joe Hoeffel, oops, I mean Joe Sestak.

    Joe Sestak is simply a flawed candidate.

    Ticket-splitting has INCREASED in recent years… 2014 for example!

    You may try to convince yourself that Sestak is not a flawed candidate all you’d like, but don’t distort the facts. You are to Sestak, what the PA GOP was to Corbett in 2014. In complete denial about what is to come. The PA GOP actually believed Corbett could win reelection in 2014, and you actually believe Sestak can will in 2016. Good luck with that.

    That fact is the national political climate does have some impact on this race, however this is far from a 2006 or wave election scenario. Without a wave election, that clearly benefits incumbents.

    Pennsylvanians are not, at this point, in the mood to defeat their incumbent US Senator, and they definitely don’t want to replace Toomey with a hack like Sestak.

    Hillary will not have the same turnout that Obama had in 2008. Toomey can easily survive 2016, just like Specter in 2004 and Santorum in 2000.

    The only way this changes, in my opinion, is if a wave election somehow develops for the Democrats, which would be unheard-of when a Democratic incumbent is leaving the white house.

    Toomey hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s played it safe. Shapiro was smart to take a pass on this race. Pennsylvanian’s don’t vote out incumbents when their isn’t a smoking gun or wave election. It’s just a fact.

    If Democrats want to take this seat they will need to recruit a strong, likable candidate such as Katie McGinty who ran an incredibly positive race last year. McGinty also polled the best head to head against Toomey in a PPP commissioned last summer.

    At the end of the day Pennsylvanians elect the more likable candidate. Tom Wolf over Corbett. Pat Toomey over Sestak.

  20. I will add one more point to my analysis. Quinnipiac last polled this race back in February, and little has changed since then. Toomey led then by 10-points, 45% to 35% with 17% undecided. Now the numbers are 47/36/14, though Toomey does significantly better against Pawlowski whom he leads by 24-points. Pawlowski was not a candidate when the last poll was taken.

    Toomey’s favaorable numbers are up, but so are Sestak’s.

    There is no slippage by either candidate, nor is there a surge.

    People simply are not focused on this race yet. To suggest patterns either in favor of Toomey or against Sestak is simply not possible, at least if you base it on Quinnipiac polling data. The numbers clearly do not suggest that Sestak is going backwards.

  21. response to “reasonable rep”:

    I wish people would stop putting words in my mouth. I thought I was very clear. My entire point was that this early on recognition plays a major role in the polls, as it did for Specter in 2009 and does for Toomey now. I did not predict that Sestak will surge and win, but anyone who is honest should acknowledge that that is a real possibility.

    I think you paint a highly subjective picture of how the 2010 race evolved, and you are also wrong when you suggest that Sestak started to tank toward the end. In fact he never stopped surging. You also seem to forget. He also received 134,000 more votes than Dan Onorato did as the Democratic candidate for Governor.

    Hey, I don’t know if Sestak will win, but it is really silly to suggest that these polls are good for much more than trending seventeen months before the election. I would suggest that you are the one with a “preconceived narrative.”

  22. It’s time to recruit Katie McGinty for US Senate otherwise Toomey will win reelection.

    Sestak is a dud and he can’t win. He’s just too weird and can’t fundraise.

  23. Would like to see some more Democratic candidates. Leslie Richards, current PA Secretary of Transportation and former Montgomery County Commissioner could be a good candidate (personable, down-to-earth, accomplished). Imagine if there was a female civil engineer among Congress. The infrastructure argument could be compelling, and the women vote in addition to Hillary Clinton could be decisive. With Groen poised to take the Chairmanship, it is about time to bring the Shapiro-Richards-Groen model of good Democratic Government to Harrisburg and Washington D.C.

    FL and OH are not so different from PA. In OH, there is an incumbent Senator, but the Democratic Candidate (a former governor) leads by a large margin. In FL, the Dems lead by a significant margin over the Lt. Governor and a popular conservative congressman.

    The gap in PA will close eventually, but Pawlowski and Sestak are underwhelming to say the least. Where are the women? I could also see Nutter putting his hat in come October, after Pope Francis leaves town (where he would be forced to resign).

  24. Jerry, in this instance, your “incumbent vs. non-incumbent” theory on polling is an oversimplified attempt to fit your own preconceived narrative (Sestak being in good shape heading into 2016).

    In May/June of 2009, Toomey was trailing BOTH Specter and Sestak in multiple polls – in some cases by double digits. So it wasn’t just an incumbency issue. Democrats were still riding high fresh off Obama’s landslide win several months earlier.

    Immediately thereafter, though, Specter and other Democrats went all in on Obamacare and spent the summer barnstorming Pennsylvania in a woefully unsuccessful attempt to quell the electorate’s rage over this highly unpopular proposal.

    By August, the political climate in Pennsylvania and across the nation had been turned completely upside down at the Dems’ expense … it was now TOOMEY who led both Specter and Sestak in multiple polls – in some cases by double digits.

    I’m not doubting that Sestak’s numbers will improve as he reintroduces himself to voters. But to cite 2010 as evidence that such a reintroduction is all that’s needed to change this race and put Sestak in the driver’s seat? Ridiculous.

    Exactly what Obamacare-esque, unpopular initiative do you see Toomey embracing this summer such that all of the moderates and independents will turn on Republicans and come running into Sestak’s open arms??

  25. David, You continue to spin the facts. What I wrote previously regarding the F&M poll was that one had to be concerned about the fact that F&M does not poll cell phone households. I noted that in the past when the cell phone universe was lower than today cell phone households tended to be lower income and more heavily ethnic in composition, and thus more likely to vote Democratic. Today cell phone penetration is 91%, so it is not clear that this is the case. I simply pointed out the possibility that this might effect the results. I continue to believe that the F&M poll needs to incorporate cell phone users in the interests of accuracy. I never said their methodology favored Toomey, but rather that there was a possibility that it might.

    As far as this new Quinnipiac poll, trumpet it all you want. I think my comments posted a little while ago make it clear that it does not signify what you seem to think it does. If you had put money on the numbers reflected in the Quinnipiac poll taken at a comparable point in 2009 you would have lost a lot of money.

    Please refrain from paraphrasing me in the future unless you do it accurately. As I said before, your scholarship leaves much to be desired.

  26. What a shame that these reports fail so completely to provide any context to these polls. Readers would be much better informed if they did that.

    Polls that are taken this far before an election are largely meaningless other than to give some idea of trending. If there is an incumbent in the race they almost always have a strong lead, especially if the challengers are relatively unknown. This is a function of recognition, not eventual outcome.

    The Quinnipiac poll taken at the end of May 2009, about a year before the primary and 17 months before the general election, was not even close when it comes to reflecting what eventually happened. Specter had a large lead over both Sestak in the primary and Toomey in the general election, largely as a function of the fact that as an incumbent he was much better known to the voters.
    In this poll it is the incumbent Toomey who has the highest numbers and the highest recognition among voters. Yes, Sestak is not new to the public, but he has kept a relatively low profile since narrowly losing the 2010 election to Toomey, and the polls indicate that many voters have forgotten who he is.

    Here are some examples of what I am talking about:

    In late May 2009, according to Quinnipiac, incumbent Specter held a 29-point edge over challenger Sestak, 50% to 21%. Sestak ended up winning that race 54% to 46% a year later, a reversal of 37-points in the spread. Back then only 14% of those polled indicated that they did not know enough about Specter to have an opinion about him, but 41% indicated that they did not believe he deserved to be re-elected which may have been a portent of what was to come. 61% did not know enough to have an opinion about Toomey and 76% did not know enough to have an opinion about Sestak.

    Again, back in May 2009 the Quinnipiac poll had Specter winning the general election by 9-points over Toomey. Toomey ended up defeating Sestak by 2-points.

    Returning to this latest poll, Toomey enjoys an 11-point lead over Sestak. Remember, at this point six years ago Specter enjoyed a 9-point lead over Toomey. Again, you have to factor in the recognition factor. Only 28% indicate they don’t know enough to have an opinion about Toomey (only 14% said that of Specter in 2009). 58% say they don’t know enough about Sestak to have an opinion about him. That provides plenty of opportunity for Sestak to grow his numbers as the public learns more about him, which is what in fact did occur in 2010.

    Bottom line: polls taken this long before an election can reflect a radically different reality versus the final outcome and are not necessarily reflective of the ultimate election results; and this early on the polls have a tendency to favor incumbents simply because the voters don’t yet know enough about the challengers.

    Will Sestak surge as he did six years ago? Time will tell. Does this poll suggest Toomey is the heavy favorite to defeat Sestak? I think not.

  27. Live interviews and cell phones included. I think someone posted about another poll that Sestak would do better if cell phones were included. So much for that theory.

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