Pennsylvania flirted a little bit with Democrats in the final weeks of this year's election, making them think they might be able to pull off an upset in the Senate and/or Gubernatorial contests that had looked good as gone for most of the year. It looks like the GOP will in the end sweep those races though, if by smaller margins than they had shown in polling throughout much of 2010.
In the Senate race Pat Toomey leads Joe Sestak 51-46 and in the race for Governor Tom Corbett is up 52-45 on Dan Onorato. The story here is an inordinate number of Democrats unhappy with Barack Obama- and voting Republican because of it. The President's approval rating within his own party is only 73% in Pennsylvania, with 21% of Democrats disapproving of him. Those Democrats unhappy with Obama are leaning strongly Republican, planning to vote for Toomey by a 68-23 margin and for Corbett by a 69-25 spread.
What that leads to overall is 15-19% of Democrats voting Republican in these two races. Meanwhile GOP voters are extremely unified, giving each of their nominees 88%. Independents are splitting pretty evenly so it is that party unity advantage that has the GOP candidates in a position to win here.
As is the case for him throughout the Midwest Obama's very unpopular in Pennsylvania with 54% of voters disapproving of him to just 40% who think he's doing a good job. Outgoing Governor Ed Rendell has also fallen strongly out of favor, posting only a 34% approval number while 53% of voters disapprove of him. As we saw in Wisconsin earlier this week the combination of an unpopular Democratic President and an unpopular Democratic Governor has the potential to be lethal for the party's hopes of keeping some of these offices under their control.
Any thought that Democrats might have been better off with Arlen Specter as their nominee can be laid to rest. We asked respondents how they would have voted in a hypothetical match up between him and Toomey led 49-40, an even wider lead than the one he's posting against Sestak.
Full results here