Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Could Sestak prove better than Specter?

With Joe Sestak gaining rapidly on Arlen Specter in most recent Pennsylvania primary polling you're left wondering- how would having Sestak as the nominee instead of Specter affect Democratic chances of keeping the seat?

On the surface it would be a slight negative. In the most recent pollster.com composites Sestak trails Pat Toomey by 9 points while Specter is down by just 7. But beneath the surface there are indications Sestak would be more competitive in the general election.

Democrats are going to have to keep their losses with independents to a minimum this fall, but Specter may not be the candidate to do it. 52% of them disapproved of his job performance when we polled the state last month to just 32% who gave him good marks. Sestak was mostly undefined but among the independents who did have an opinion of him his favorability was a positive 18/14 spread. It's hard to say what Sestak's standing will be once independents get to know him better but it's unlikely he'll ever get to the point where a majority of them view him negatively as they do Specter, and that could bode better for his ability to win votes from them.

Another big difference presents itself in their numbers among the Democratic faithful. 30% of them disapprove of Specter job's performance, an unusually high level of unhappiness for the party base to have with an incumbent. That could translate to votes for Toomey or it could translate to voters staying home, but either of those outcomes is not good for Democrats in a year where they don't have much margin for error. Like with independents Sestak began the campaign relatively undefined with his own party but his poll numbers suggest that they're liking what they see.

We really don't know what Pennsylvania voters think of Sestak yet, but we do know that they're not real high on Specter. If Sestak wears well as a candidate it's a situation where Democrats may be better off in the fall with a fresher face. We'll see how it shakes out...


Rasmus said...

Hey, some Sestak staffer read this, it's linked to on his Facebook page.

David Diano said...

They found it and Tweeted it too.

Specter's base has long been the independents. Right now, Specter isn't courting them. They will come back to Specter, once he makes the case of how far-right Toomey is.

Christian Liberty said...

Toomey isn't "far right" AT ALL. Toomey represents what the MAJORITY of America and the MAJORITY of Americans want: lower taxes, reduced government spending, economic freedom. Independents naturally support Toomey.

Atif Eric Gulab said...

Hi. I think that U.S. Senator Arlen Specter is clearly a better choice to represent Pennsylvania in 2010 than Joe Sestak!

Anonymous said...

Toomey is far right. Both Specter and Sestak are more in line with PA voters than Toomey--Clinton, Gore Kerry and Obama all won in PA.

Christian Liberty said...


No Democrat (besides Casey) has been elected by PA to the senate since 1962. PA is as conservative as KY (no Democrat elected to the senate since 1998).

The majority of Pennsylvanians agree with Toomey on taxes, healthcare, and government spending.

Independents support Toomey over Sestak 41%-32%. (includes Sestak's post-primary bounce)

Toomey is NOT "far right".
Sestak is just too far left.

Web Statistics