Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pennsylvania Senate tied

You can put Pennsylvania Senate back in the toss up category. Joe Sestak leads Pat Toomey 46-45 in our newest poll of the race, erasing the 9 point deficit he had in an August PPP survey.

Toomey's support has remained stagnant over the last 2 months while Sestak's has gone up 10 points from 36% to 46%. There are three main factors driving the increased competitiveness of the race:

-Democratic voters are getting more engaged as election day moves closer. Barack Obama won Pennsylvania by 10 points in 2008 but our August survey in the state found those planning to vote in November had actually supported John McCain by a point in 2008, suggesting a massive drop off in Democratic turnout. Now those saying they will vote next month supported Obama by 4 points in 2008. The enthusiasm gap is still there but it's not as severe a problem for Democrats as it was 2 months ago.

-Sestak has wiped out what was an enormous deficit with independents. In August Toomey led 50-27 with them. He hasn't really lost any support with them but Sestak has picked up most of the undecided ones and now trails only 49-48 with that voter group. Most Democratic candidates across the country are down double digits with independents so for Sestak to be running even with them is a good sign for him.

-The Democratic base is unifying more around Sestak. In August there was a considerable party unity gap in this race with Toomey winning 74% of Republicans while Sestak was getting only 64% of Democrats. Toomey is still benefiting from greater unity with his party's voters, getting 82% of Republicans, but Sestak is up to 77% of Democrats. While it persists that unity gap is half the size of what it was in August.

One of the more impressive things about Sestak's resurrection is that it comes even as Barack Obama remains very unpopular in the state. 51% of voters disapprove of the job he's doing while only 43% give him good marks. If there is some bad news for Sestak in this poll it's that the remaining undecideds are not very happy with the President- if they ended up voting in the Senate race based on their feelings about Obama it would turn Toomey's 1 point deficit into a 1 point lead.

It looks like this race will be a lot more interesting in the final two weeks than anyone would have expected over the last few months.

Full results here

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

another Daily Kos PPP poll out

another word it means shit

Ryan said...

Toomey's collapse among female voters is the most telling thing. I suspect the anti-Toomey ads ran by Sestak linking Toomey to Palin have undermined his substantially.

Further evidence that Republicans will get crushed if foolish enough to nominate Palin.

Bonncaruso said...

Fascinating. Wow.

Ryan said...

It must be another commissioned poll for Kos. Its not like this is a 4 point outlier. Its an 8 point one. Oh and the Dems are not going to have the same party ID edge they had in 2004.

Anonymous said...

OMG - your credibility is taking a massive hit? You're turning into liberal Blog.

Anonymous said...

So... 48 percent of the vote will be Democratic to 41 GOP with 11 uncommitted. In 2008, CNN's exit polls show an electorate 44 Democratic / 38 Republican and 18 uncommitted. So you're saying that this year's spread will be more Democratic than 2008??? Doesn't match exit polling for the last three cycles, usually closer to 20 percent uncommitted voters... Smells like a sampling error to me.

Anonymous said...

LOL, good one guys.

Ryan said...

Even if you use a more Republican sample, Toomey's numbers have fallen. I am a Toomey supporter, but I am the first to admit Toomey's being hammered for his ties to Palin and its effective. She is toxic in the suburbs and among women. Republicans need to get that point.

Toomey is probably ahead by 4 to 5, but that is half his margin from before.

Jeff Schroeffel said...

I live in PA. You couldnt be more wrong. Life long democrats are telling me they are now independents. Sestak will be lucky to finish within 10 percentage points.

Abe said...

PPP is a left wing pollster. Wouldnt put too much stock in their polls. Dont think most people do.

Chuck T said...

Anonymous said...
another Daily Kos PPP poll out

another word it means shit

Hey Anonymous--I'll bet you were skeptical of the PPP poll out yesterday about Carnahan closing within five in Missouri? Well, guess what? Fox/Pulse came out with a poll today on Missouri Senate which is very close to the PPP poll and shows Carnahan closing the gap from their previous poll. Is The Fox poll crap too? Have you done some research on the 2008 election or 2010 elections to see what PPP's track record is. Just for one example in 2008 the final Fox/Rasmussen poll of Indiana had McCain up by 3 points while PPP's final poll of Indiana had Obama up by 1-point which turned out to be his winning margin.

Eric said...

Its always a tough call when you look at your own poll and see that you are 1. the outlier and 2. the reason you show a different result is because you see something happening that isn't happening anywhere else in the county.

Why would independents in PA be dead even, while they are heavily favoring the GOP in almost every other race in the country? Seems like we have our 5% no confidence poll.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:18, and Jim Geraghty at NRO this morning, have the goods on this poll. PA's voter spreads were D+2 in the good Republican year of '04, D+5 in the good Democratic year of '06, and D+7 in the great Democratic year of '08. How will the spread this year-- which every reliable pollster is forecasting to be a great GOP year-- match the '08 spread?

Anonymous said...

Jay Cost lays it out perfectly and I'm afraid that PPP is now doing what he says below...


And remember to always be an informed consumer of polls! Bookmark the 2008 (a great Democratic year), 2006 (a good Democratic year), and 2004 (a slightly good Republican year) exit poll sites -- and before you accept any poll, cross-reference what it predicts the electorate will be with what it was in those past years. This is so important this year because I think polls are increasingly being used to move public opinion rather than to inform us about it.

Chuck T said...

Ryan said...
It must be another commissioned poll for Kos. Its not like this is a 4 point outlier. Its an 8 point one. Oh and the Dems are not going to have the same party ID edge they had in 2004.


Weren't you equally skeptical of the MO Senate poll from yesterday which showed Carnahan within five? Well, Fox/Pulse new poll of MO has Carnahan behind by 6 today, so very close to PPP--and an improvement for Carnahan.

Ryan said...

Come on people... you are not even looking at the poll and bashing it. The poll has some issues, but in the end even if you adjust for them, Toomey's margin has been reduced. The only thing that could have caused it is his noticeable drop among women.

Lesson is simple: be tied to people like Palin in places like Pennsylvania and you lose.

It will be interesting to see where Corbett is tomorrow. Onorato has been unable attack him in such a way.

Anonymous said...

Insiders from both campaigns are saying this is about a 5 point race.

'Tis a silly poll.

Shadrach said...

I think some right-wingers just come on this blog to attack the polling, because they know it's the most accurate. Pennsylvania was bound to end up close at the end, no doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

Here are the pollster rankings from 2008 according to 538. PPP was better than Rasmussen in 2008, not that right wing idiots care about actual evidence.

Ryan said...

Chuck T

The problem is that these polls have begun to start to have a more bluish hue than other results coming from non-partisan firms. PPP is biased, does donate to the Democratic party on a regular basis, and is now affiliated with the uber-liberal Kos. So yes, they may have had and excellent track record, but the numbers this past month have changed reflecting their new relationships.This electorate is not going to be more Democratic than 2008. Keep pushing these out and Kos will drop you like they dropped Research 2000.

Anonymous said...

Well, we now have polls from FOX/rasmussen showing Carnahan within 6 and Bennet and Buck tied. Practically the same results PPP showed.
I predict we'll see a poll confirming PPP's result here pretty soon as well.

Anonymous said...

Coming next week from PPP (D):

Granato pulls even with Lee!
Coburn in trouble!
Thune struggles against write-in candidate!

AG said...

I don't understand why so many people are shocked that the races are tightening. Just because the Democrats haven't been paying attention to 2010 since Obama's inauguration like the Republicans have doesn't mean they're not going to vote.

Even the AP's article touting voters abandoning the Democrats showed they're not necessarily going to vote Republican. Maybe if the Republicans had a higher approval rating than the Democrats you could make that case like in 1994, but they don't, so you can't.

Face it, this isn't an anti-Democratic year, its an anti-incumbent year. Regardless of what happens, this election cannot be interpreted as a validation of conservatism.

DBL said...

The complaint about the Missouri poll wasn't the results, it was the in tabs. If you read the comments, that's the complaint again here. Fox's in tabs show a 39% Republican/38% Democrat in Missouri, which sounds about right.

The question isn't whether PPP will be right, but how PPP is taking the raw data and giving the results from that. I'm sure Democrats think the electorate this year is going to be more Democratic, but intelligent people are skeptical of that. But, apparently, Democrats will believe anything here that favors them without looking deeper.

Nate Silver ranked the pollsters in June. PPP ranked 13th, which is pretty respectable. Rasmussen, however, ranked 15th. If you use accuracy as your guide you should give equal weight to all Rasmussen polls. SurveyUSA ranks 2nd, so you should give their polls the most weight.

Of course, if you don't accept a pollster's word and study the SurveyUSA polls in 2010 you'll find a distinct Republican lean and questionable electorates. But if you looked deeper at SurveyUSA, you'd have to do the same for PPP.

MilesC56 said...

Get ready for the Sestak surge...!!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised at all if the race is tightening. But the idea that the Dem-over-Rep edge will be bigger in 2010 than it was in 2008 or 2006 doesn't pass the smell test, frankly.

I figure Toomey will end up winning by low single digits. But a win's a win, and it really doesn't matter if it's 55-45 or 52-48.

Michael said...

Sampling is waaaay off.

In 2004, EPs were 41D 39R 20I
In 2006, EPs were 43D 38R 19I
In 2008, EPs were 44D 37R 18I

No way this year's electorate will be 48D 41R 11I. That is just crazy. Looks like a rescue poll to me.

Try running this with a 2004 sample and see what you get.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chuck - I am also sure you've seen where PPP has Reid down 9 and Rasmussen has him plumetting -19? The last set of polls, far enough out from the election so they can say things changed since the last poll, is clearly being designed to keep the Dems chins up...the GB and tide is drufting the GOP way and no slaneted (via turnout) poll is going to change it.

Jonathan said...

As the election gets closer, PPP goes from objective pollster to wishcasting DNC mouthpiece.

"You can put Pennsylvania Senate back in the toss up category."

Um, no...you can't.

RCP Average: Toomey +6.3
PPP (D): Sestak +1
Rasmussen Reports: Toomey +10
Morning Call: Toomey +7

Abandoning one's credibility in order to further an agenda isn't really a good business model, is it?

Anonymous said...

Three questions

why are voters between 30-45 different?

Why is Sestak doing well among older voters?

Is there a Christine O'Donnell factor in eastern PA that is helping Sestak?

Chuck T said...

Ryan said...
Chuck T

The problem is that these polls have begun to start to have a more bluish hue than other results coming from non-partisan firms. PPP is biased, does donate to the Democratic party on a regular basis, and is now affiliated with the uber-liberal Kos. So yes, they may have had and excellent track record, but the numbers this past month have changed reflecting their new relationships.This electorate is not going to be more Democratic than 2008. Keep pushing these out and Kos will drop you like they dropped Research 2000.


If you know that PPP polling is crap due to "there new relationship" why do you keep coming here? And by "donate to the democratic party" do you mean cash or because they poll for them? Why do you assume that polls done for campaigns are automatically biased? If a candidate is paying a pollster money they want to know true results not some fantasy numbers pulled out of the air. I still didn't get any response from all of those who thought that the Missouri Senate poll by PPP was crap when the "non-partisan" Fox/Pulse survey came up with an almost identitical result.

wt said...

I am not attacking the poll. But I will say that the notion that polls don't affect the narrative of the race is not true.

Here is Politico's top headline on it's 2010 page:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43824.html

"PPP: Sestak Takes the Lead"

A single poll from a single polling firm leads to a Politico article, which I'm sure will be distributed widely through campaign channels, used to drive fundraising donations for weeks, and to motivate voters.

It's easy to say that polling doesn't shape races, but I think that's obviously disproven my this morning's poll.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Here are the pollster rankings from 2008 according to 538. PPP was better than Rasmussen in 2008"

Actually, those are the rankings for more than just 2008. We only started polling nationally in the 2008 cycle, and are already in the handful of most accurate pollsters. Rasmussen's been polling since the mid-90s, SurveyUSA and Mason-Dixon since the '80s.

"PPP is biased, does donate to the Democratic party on a regular basis"

No, the company does not. Our president and owner does.

"Why would independents in PA be dead even, while they are heavily favoring the GOP in almost every other race in the country?"

We're seeing the enthusiasm gap lessen in a lot of states now, and there wasn't even one to begin with in states like Alaska, Texas, and California.

NRH said...

This one isn't just believable, it was a predicted outcome. There isn't a shortage of political analysts who've been pointing out for the last two months that Republican support was already maxed out and most of the growth room left was among Obama voters deciding whether to vote for a Democrat or not vote at all. Gallup has also reminded us that their likely voter screens have been known to tighten dramatically in the closing weeks of an election. In a blue state like Pennsylvania, the late-engaging voters are heavily Democratic. Look at the last three major federal races and the polling - in 2004, the RCP average had it Kerry by 1, and it ended up Kerry by 3. In 2006, it polled Casey/Santorum up 11, and Casey won by 16. In 2008, they had Obama up 7 when he won by 10.

It's also been noted any number of times that Sestak's campaign style is to conserve money early and go all-in late. It's what he did in the primary (when polls had him down by huge margins just a month in advance) and it's what he's doing now. PPP isn't the only pollster catching the trend, either - look at the Pollster.com chart of the race and pick 'more sensitive' smoothing and you can see the Sestak surge. Even if you exclude PPP from that chart, you can still see the notable upswing in Sestak's line and a downturn in Toomey's.

In fact, nobody but Rasmussen has had Toomey above 46% in a month.

Dustin Ingalls said...

So is Rasmussen a Democratic fraud now since they have Rand Paul up only 5?

DBL said...

The funny thing is that if we use the 2004 turn-out this poll would be Toomey +3. While that isn't as strong for a Sestak victory it does show the race tightening.

The Democrats have surged with quite a few pollsters in some states. There's no reason to think this race couldn't be down to 3 points.

Rasmussen is questionable because they don't publish their in-tabs. PPP gets an "A" for transparency, but you've opened yourself up for criticism based on the in-tabs. If you produced something close to the 2004 electorate, criticism would be muted. By showing a 48% Democratic electorate, you've gotten a lot of people to dismiss it outright.

Jonny V said...

Very good news. Pat Toomey is a very very VERY far right wing Republican. Way to the right of the average Pennsylvania voter.

It's time to GET OUT THE VOTE for Joe Sestak. He will be a great US Senator!

Jonny V said...

I'd love for the PPP guys to comment on the point of this post:

http://www.thepresidentialcandidates.us/wait-a-second/1282/

According to that poll 76% of Obama voters are committed to voting for the Democrat. Yeah, that doesn't sound that great until you read that only 71% of McCain voters are committed to voting for the Republican!

If that poll is correct it would seem to indicate that 2010 would be a good year for the Democrats if not taking into consideration voter turnout. In other words, if those #s are correct and 2010 voter turnout were like 2008 then the Democrats would be in a fine position.

Is this true?

If it is, then doesn't the entire election come down to who is right on the likely voter model? Getting out the vote is what it all comes down to.

Perhaps the Democrats are better at getting out the vote than people are expecting.

Perhaps Facebook will make it easier to get people out to the polls?

By the way: I think a great idea is for everyone to change their profile picture to "VOTE!" on November 1st & 2nd! Let's remind all of our friends and families to get out there and vote Democratic this year.

The Republicans are the problem not the solution!

Zornorph said...

I wonder what all the people accusing you of being partisan will way when they see your WA-Sen poll? I'm GOP, but you guys have a great record this season and it's just stupid to try and say that you are trying to prop up Dems when you were the first ones to show Brown leading and more recently, the Raese surge.

Anonymous said...

"Abandoning one's credibility in order to further an agenda isn't really a good business model, is it?"

Of course it is. PPP's customers are Democrats. PPP's stated mission is to help drive a liberal/Democrat narrative.

Look, as a pollster you can 'fix' your methodology to show whatever you want. PPP has chosen to conduct their polls in such a way as to show turnout similar to 2006-2008, rather than a neutral year or a Republican wave year.

Paul Zummo said...

So what exactly is the polling sample here? Joe Sestak's immediate family?

Democrats, you can live in denial all you want - Lord knows we Republicans did in 2006 - but it just makes the ultimate defeat that much harder to swallow.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"If that poll is correct it would seem to indicate that 2010 would be a good year for the Democrats if not taking into consideration voter turnout."

Of course. We've been making that point all year rather overtly. It doesn't get enough coverage. The media talks about the enthusiasm gap as if it just meant Republicans are more excited emotionally. But they don't often mention the ramifications of the changed makeup of the electorate.

"If it is, then doesn't the entire election come down to who is right on the likely voter model? Getting out the vote is what it all comes down to."

Pretty much, though independents are favoring Republicans generally by double digits, when the opposite was true in 2008. So it's not entirely due to the enthusiasm gap, but that's a large part of it. Luckily for Democrats, independents generally turn out in lower numbers in midterms, which are typically more heavily partisan--the most frequent voters. We're seeing that's true this year. All this harping about our D-R-I breakdowns is partially that independents are just fed up and are being drowned out by the really excited Republicans and the more excited-than-independents Democrats.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"PPP's customers are Democrats."

Yes, Democrats who want to know where they actually stand so they know if they're in trouble or not.

"PPP's stated mission is to help drive a liberal/Democrat narrative."

Actually, no. Show me where it says that on our website.

"PPP has chosen to conduct their polls in such a way as to show turnout similar to 2006-2008, rather than a neutral year or a Republican wave year."

False. As we have said time and again, we don't weight for party or ideology or 2008 presidential results--only gender, race, and age, which are much more predictable and constant factors that can be controlled. Everything we've released publicly this year has used the same methodology as in 2008, and our accuracy in that cycle speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ingalls, I see that you respond to some of the comments, but I'd like your response to following:

In 2004, EPs were 41D 39R 20I
In 2006, EPs were 43D 38R 19I
In 2008, EPs were 44D 37R 18I

According to your organization, you expect 2010 to be 48D 41R 11I?!!

Are you really going to stand by that turnout model?

I see the trick you guys did - so as not to be accuse of not show the obvious GOP-DEM enthusiasm gap, you conveniently reduced the number of Independents and increase both GOP and DEM, but to get your 'tie', you how more DEMs showing up than GOP!

Nicely done :-)

DBL said...

If you're a Democrat you really don't want the 2008 Obama voters who haven't committed to voting Democrat yet. Many of them are likely independents or people who've voted Republican some or most of the time in the past. They may not be motivated enough to vote this year because the Republicans don't excite them, but probably more than half would vote Republican if you got them to the poll.

People seem to confuse "Obama voter" with "Democrat." Obama took independents 52%-44%. He took 9% of the Republican vote. These people aren't reliable Democratic voters.

Independents do not consistently show up in lower numbers in off year elections. If you look at the 2006 numbers state by state you'll find them as likely to have their highest percentage in 2006 as they were to have the middle or lowest percentage.

Independents made up 26% of the electorate in 2006, about the same as they did in 2000 and 2004. 2008 was 29%, unusually high. That's likely because Republicans were so unmotivated to show up.

Independents vary from high interest to low interest voters. Some will be more motivated, some less.

Anonymous said...

"PPP's stated mission is to help drive a liberal/Democrat narrative."

>>Actually, no. Show me where it says that on our website.

Tom has said this many, many times in blog posts. He claims PPP makes no secret of their motivation and intent. As if anyone who has ever read a PPP blog or press release would doubt it!

How To Get Your Ex Back said...

I'm sure Democrats think the electorate this year is going to be more Democratic, but intelligent people are skeptical of that.

Anonymous said...

Muhlenberg just released the first report of their daily tracking poll and they have Sestak up by 3.

So, guys from PPP, just don´t listen to the crybaby-rightwingers who want to bad-mouth your accurate polling ... ;-)

Chuck T said...

I hate to tell this to the cry babies on this page who doubt this poll (actually I don't), but there is a new poll out today the independent Morning Call of PA poll and guess what? Sestak is up by 3 POINTS in there poll--where in their previous survey he had been down by 7. Here is a link:
http://www.mcall.com/news/local/elections/mc-pa-senate-race-20101019,0,4463394.story?trbdc
I hate to say it but something is happening in PA and across the country in several races. It's not that the GOP will not make gains but it might not be as many as "the experts" have been predicting.

DBL said...

The complaint here wasn't with the results, but with the sample. A 48% Dem/41% Rep electorate is unprecedented in Pennsylvania. The Call has a 46% Dem/46% Rep electorate. That's more Democratic and way more Republican than Pennsylvania elections have been.

The Morning Call fails to show how indies are deciding, but it's likely slightly in Sestak's favor. There's no way independents make up 8-11% of the Pennsylvania electorate. They've been 20%, 20%, and 19% in each of the last three elections.

If Sestak is indeed within a point or two or three with independents, he'll win.

NRH said...

Any of the righties out there want to keep denying reality now? Rasmussen came out and had a big Toomey drop today too, so even your favorite pollster couldn't hide from facts on the ground. With Toomey losing 60% of his lead, if you apply the same factor to the gubernatorial race, even Razzie would have Corbett only up by five over Onorato, close to the results PPP got.

Pennsylvania is coming home. Republicans hit their high-water mark in August and don't have any remaining voters to engage. Democrats are getting interested late - just as so many political analysts pointed out.

 
Web Statistics