More Pennsylvania voters are unhappy with Barack Obama's job performance than content with it, and that's a big part of why Pat Toomey currently holds a 46-43 lead over Arlen Specter in his bid to be the state's next Senator.
50% of voters in the state give Obama poor marks while 46% think he's doing a good job. 76% of Democrats like the job he's doing but only 12% of Republicans do, and independents are split against him by a 52/42 margin as well.
With voters who like the job Obama is doing Specter leads the Senate race 79-8. But with voters who are unhappy with Obama Toomey has the 81-10 advantage. Given those numbers it seems a good bet that if Obama's approval was still in positive territory Specter would be leading the race.
Specter does have very bad approval numbers, as 52% of voters disapprove of him to just 34% who like how he's doing. Republicans don't like him any more than they like Barack Obama- 12% approve of him while 78% disapprove. The biggest thing hurting his numbers though is a lack on enthusiasm for him from his own party- just 53% of Democrats give him good marks while 30% disapprove.
A year after his party switch it's clear that move made Republicans dislike him more than it made Democrats like him. But he's still competitive in the horse race despite his atrocious approval because most of those Democrats who don't approve of him will still vote for him in the fall if he's the party nominee.
Toomey leads Joe Sestak by a slightly larger margin, 42-36. Sestak and Toomey are both blank slates to most voters in the state- 65% have no opinion of Sestak and 58% have no opinion of Toomey.
The issue of health care is not doing Democrats in Pennsylvania any favors. 49% of voters are opposed to the bill that was passed last month with only 42% supportive. And an equal 49% express support for repealing the bill to 44% who are opposed to such a move.
This race is basically a toss up at this point. The big question is whether this represents the low water mark for Democrats in this election cycle. There are a couple of paths to reelection for Specter despite his unpopularity. If Obama's numbers go back up he'll more than likely bring Specter along for the ride.
And if that doesn't happen Specter still has an opportunity to define Toomey to the 58% of voters who have no opinion of him right now in a very negative way. Specter's already doing better with independents than most Democrats are across the country, trailing by only three points. If he can convince those folks he's a lesser evil than Toomey he might be able to buck the national trends. It certainly appears this will be one of the tightest and most expensive races in the country.
Full results here