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PA-Sen: RMU Poll: Sestak 34.2 Toomey 28.5

Joe-Sestak-headshotAfter a rough patch last week, Joe Sestak and his campaign staffers finally have something to smile about – at least for now.

A recent Robert Morris University poll shows Sestak with an advantage over incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey in next year’s election.

The former congressman was supported by 34.2 percent of respondents, while Toomey took 28.5 percent of the support.

There is plenty of room and time for these numbers to change, with 37.3 percent of those polled undecided 18 months out from the election.

Sestak is also way ahead in a primary contest against Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, according to the poll, as he quadruples his only opponent’s support in the poll – 44.7 percent to 11.1 percent.

44.3 percent of voters are still undecided in that primary race, with most probably waiting to see whether any other candidates emerge.

Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, who was urged by several national Democrats to run, has decided not to run. Sestak will pose a tough challenge for any Democrat in the primary and only lost to Toomey by 2 points in 2010.

The RMU poll is the first time Sestak has led Toomey in any 2016 poll. A PPP poll two weeks ago showed the incumbent with a 4-point lead over Sestak.

The poll sampled opinions of 529 Pennsylvania residents statewide. The survey was conducted May 8-16, 2015. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 4.5-percentage point margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.

15 Responses

  1. The poll is worthless for too many reasons to list here. Sestak is a very weak candidate that can only win, as has been noted, by a huge vote for Hillary Clinton. She will win PA against any Republican but the question is by how much. The national Democrats will look for better places to invest than PA unless someone like Shapiro changes his mind. It was the first signal to many that Democrats believe deep down, Toomey will win in the end.

  2. Jerry Policoff

    The answer to Unsanctioned R’s question is that she lives in Virginia with her daughter, and is not registered to vote in PA. The relevance is that Sestak is not really a PA resident, but merely a property owner.

    That’s the “so what”?

    But, to the point about Sestak, he does not keep his campaign promises, and can’t be trusted to do what he says if elected. He’s running for one term, and will never have to face the voters to answer for his votes. So, he will not be “accountable” to the voters. He’s a hawk who will vote for more war, if given the opportunity.

    There’s no chance that Sestak didn’t vote for Nixon, Reagan and Bush Sr. (If he voted those years) Deep down, Joe is a conservative republican who is fooling dems by spouting memorized talking points that he doesn’t even believe. If Sestak gets elected, we’ll soon be calling Casey our liberal senator.

  3. To “unsanctioned R”:
    Now there is an intelligent comment that is way too typical of the Sestak-haters that frequent this site.
    I have no idea what your source is for that inane remark, but even if true, so what? Moreover, I do not recall anyone, myself included, ever suggest that Sestak is “awesome.” In fact I disagree with him on several issues. What I most like about him is that he makes himself accessible and that he is independent of the corrupt Democratic machine that seeks to prevent anyone they don’t control from even running for office.
    It would be nice to see any of Sestak’s detractors try addressing issues instead of insulting and defaming him for a change. Why do you all fear him so? You better get used to him because I fully expect that he will be representing Pennsylvania in the U.S Senate in 2017.

  4. It is stunning how this site attempts to stack the deck against Joe Sestak in its reporting, and equally stunning how many Sestak-haters sew their vile comments here.
    The bottom line is that polls this early, by themselves, mean little except for the trends that they begin to reveal. So far they are trending as they have in every race Sestak has ever run. He always starts out as a huge underdog, and with the exception of his narrow loss to Toomey in 2010, when he lost by only 2% in an election where most Democrats got routed, he has won every one of them by comfortable margins. Machine Dems and other Sestak-haters who claim he is unelectable are either deliberately spinning or are delusional (back in 2000 when Sestak had the audacity to challenge Specter I recall Ed Rendell attacking him relentlessly and expressing his confidence that he would receive an electoral career-ending thrashing at the hands of Specter).
    As for Sestak’s tendency to “go it alone,” I reject that as well. He seems to have figured out that linking his fortunes to the Party machine makes him beholden to it. Instead he has worked tirelessly and relentlessly working the grass roots. Visiting every county after losing the 2000 election to thank those who had their boots on the ground for him is something people remember. So, too, his personal letters and phone calls to his supporters and his readiness to campaign for or attend functions for candidates at the local level who request this of him. Instead of mocking his trek across the state by foot recently you should be afraid, because that creates more votes than millions of tainted dollars that special interests use to buy the support of more traditional candidates.
    As for suggestions that Sestak’s only chance of winning is strong Clinton coattails, I suspect you are only hedging your bets, but even there, don’t count your chickens. I am one of millions of Democrats who will not vote for Hillary Clinton, and I suspect Bernie Sanders, my own choice for the nomination, is about to deliver a serious wake-up call to Hillary Clinton in the primaries. Her own “unfavorable” numbers in polls and continued revelations about her in the media suggest that she is anything but inevitable.

  5. Anyone seriously considering McGinty for Senate has not been paying attention to the Wolf Administration struggles in the early days of the Administration. McGinty is the chief of staff. Yes the Republicans are playing games but the Budget Fiasco last week could have been avoided if McGinty was on top of her game. The word is she is micro managing the Administration so much that lower staff members can’t do the simplest of their jobs without oversight from her. This is causing a logjam for getting programs going that are vital to the success of the Wolf Administration. I believe she has stumbled badly as Chief of Staff. No credentials to be a Senate Candidate but that she is a Philadelphia Party Insiders.

  6. Porter: Well said.

    David: I respect your knowledge and insights into the mundanity and details of all things PA politics. But the election will be settled by rank-and-file, workaday voters. Almost none of them are going to vote for or against a candidate for anything because of how easy or hard that candidate is to work with. Maybe 1-2%…if that.

    As to the cost: PA should spend what it needs to elect representation it wants. That is POTUS, US Sen from PA and others who represent each voter. I may or may not like one or both Senators from NV, NY and/or MT. I may choose to move there and vote…and live with the consequences. I should have no say in who Reid, Schumer and/or Tester work to select to lead them, and vice versa.

  7. Porter
    Sestak has succeeded because 99% of the voters have never worked for him nor with him. If they had any idea what a duplicitous, selfish pr*ck he really is, they’d ship him back to Virginia’s in a crate.

    Maybe someday one of his staffers will tape one of his epic rants and release it to the media.

    It’s sad that the PA democrats can’t field a better candidate than a guy visiting from Virginia.

    I haven’t said Sestak can’t win. If Hillary has huge coattails, then he could win. My point is that he’s not worth spending time/money on, because we’d be better off spending our resources on other races, and leaving Sestak to his own devices.

    The cost to elect Sestak could tip two or three other Senate races in other states instead.

  8. I’m sure everyone wants to dismiss this poll (it’s too early, the sample size it too small, it’s too hot, it’s too cold etc.). And all the insiders want us to believe that Sestak is too difficult to work with, that he can’t raise money, that he can’t win, that he made a campaign worker cry, that he used someone’s database and didn’t pay for it. And yet, we know that Toomey has an uphill battle in what could be a good year for Democrats in a state that has elected more than a few statewide. And here’s a poll showing that maybe Sestak doesn’t suck as much as some people with an axe to grind would have us believe. This site is by, for, and about insiders. But voters have a stubborn way of not listening to insiders, of not caring about whether Sestak kissed the rings of some party hacks. He may well lose, but don’t be so sure you know everything just because you spend too much time reading stuff on this site and trading big fish stories with your friends on state committee.

  9. “In Pennsylvania, where Democrats have been clearly unhappy with the prospect of former congressman Joe Sestak as their nominee, keep an eye on Katie McGinty, who serves as chief of staff for Gov. Tom Wolf (D).” -Washington Post, June 5, 2015

    Well said by the Washington Post’s The Fix.


    She is the only Democrat who can beat Toomey!!

  10. KSDF-

    1) Good point about “residents” versus registered voters or likely voters.

    2) From the RMU release: “The poll, sponsored by Trib Total Media…”
    I don’t know if they have bias in how they wanted the poll or how the questions were asked, etc..

    3) “All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument.”
    Pretty much the least reliable way to poll, and leaves out people without online access.

    4) Also, this poll is a month old already.

    5) The undecided is a pretty large number.

    6) Neither candidate has run any ads, and won’t for nearly a year.

  11. Poll actually makes sense this far out…Toomey is part of a highly unpopular republican senate, and Sestak has some name recognition from almost besting Toomey, Toomey is an incumbent, Toomey’s has taken some pretty radical and unpopular positions vis a vis a majority of Pennsylvanians. At the end of the day, Sestak will be the Dem nominee, and November ’16 turnout will dictate the winner of the Senate race…
    In January 2017, Toomey can go back to lobbying for the Club for Growth while Sestak prepares for Hillary Clinton’s inauguration in the Senate.

  12. These numbers tell me both sides would love to have better candidates to choose from. No excitement from these two…

  13. METHODOLOGY: The poll sampled opinions of 529 Pennsylvania residents statewide.

    Read: Garbage Poll. They don’t even have to be U.S. citizens to count, let alone registered voters.

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    Total Voters: 112

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