In the first head-to-head poll since the primary last month, Bob Casey boasts a solid lead over Republican opponent Tom Smith. The freshman Senator leads the former coal company owner 49 to 33 percent.
Survey firm Public Policy Polling says Casey, “continues to look like an overwhelming favorite for reelection in the Pennsylvania Senate race.” The margin is only two points closer than a March poll where Casey was ahead 49 to 31 percent.
Smith has work to do to shore up the GOP base, 22 percent of which said they plan to vote for Casey, and crack into the Senator’s 42 to 24 percent lead among independents.
The poll has some bright spots for Smith, namely Casey’s lackluster approval ratings. 39 percent of voters surveyed approve his job performance and 38 percent disapprove. That’s a double digit deficit from the magic 50 percent mark where incumbents can start to feel safe.
Writes the pollster, “the silver lining for Smith is that if he improves upon his 59% of the GOP vote and brings it more towards Casey’s 76% of his own party, he is bound to tighten the race. But he will also have to cut into Casey’s nearly 20-point lead with independents.”
However, Smith’s own numbers are worse. While his name recognition increased from 25 to 45 percent since March, only 16 percent of voters see him favorably to 29 percent who have a negative opinion.
Kathleen Kane continues to enjoy momentum from her win in the Democratic primary last month; the former prosecutor from Lackawanna County leads Republican Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed 42 to 33 percent.
Kane’s campaign released an internal poll a few weeks ago showing her with a 48 to 27 percent lead.
Auditor and Treasurer
Democrats hold identical 1 point leads in both down-ballot statewide races. State Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D-York) is in front of State Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny) 35 to 34 percent in the race for Auditor General.
Incumbent Treasurer Rob McCord (D) leads Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughn 35 to 34 percent as well.
Finally, Democrats lead the generic congressional ballot in PA 45 to 42 percent, including a 10 point lead with independents.
PPP, a firm that often works for Democrats, surveyed 671 Pennsylvania voters from May 17th to 20th via automated telephone interviews. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.8 percent.