Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One last post on Specter/Sestak

I wrote last week that I really didn't think Joe Sestak's potential victory over Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate primary today was being driven by the left and the data I've seen the last few days further confirms that.

Muhlenberg released crosstabs by ideology for one of its final polls on the race and found that Specter's biggest leads came with very liberal voters (5 points) and somewhat liberal voters (6 points). The only ideological subgroup Sestak led with was somewhat conservative voters, where he had a 14 point advantage.

It may seem counter intuitive for the former Republican to be winning with liberals and losing with conservatives, but it has a lot to do with President Obama's injection into the race. In PA-12 over the weekend we found that Specter led 45-37 with voters who approved of the President. But Sestak led 64-16 with the Democrats who disapprove of Obama's performance (34% in that particular district) fueling his overall 44/35 lead there.

When we polled Pennsylvania statewide last month an unusually high 20% of Democrats said they disapproved of Obama. I am pretty sure Specter will be the winner among the 80% of Democrats who like Obama tonight- but Sestak could win the ones who don't by a wide enough margin to give him a victory. Thus a Sestak victory may actually be more a sign of the strength of conservative Democrats than the left- although it's an over simplification to declare either of those things to be the reason.


Christian Liberty said...

It's not only that Obama is failing to arouse the loyalty of Democrats to vote for Specter. The labor unions' endorsement of Specter is also failing to rescue the incumbent.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Obama breaks up all the left/right, conservative/liberal conventional thinking.

I wonder if that will hold through 2012

Anonymous said...

So, calculate the whole state according to it, what would be the result?

Tom Jensen said...

Good question- if those numbers held statewide and Obama's approval was 80/20 Sestak would win by 3.

Unknown said...

Let me see if I follow. The people who are more liberal want the candidate who is less liberal because that's what Obama wants. The more conservative electorate wants the more liberal candidate because they're protesting Obama.

AuntPittypat said...

I think there are many, many, registered Democrats who switched from Republican in the 2008 primaries to vote for Hillary Clinton and never changed back.

I would not be surprised if these folks aren't voting for Sestak because they misguidedly think it would be easier for Pat Toomey to beat Sestak than Specter.

It will take a couple of weeks after the primary is over for the polls to settle out from bounces and give some idea of the direction the general election race will take.

Anonymous said...

"One last incorrect post on Specter/Sestak"

-Your logic doesn't even make sense. By definition, the Democratic Primary only involves Democrats, most of whom support President Obama. I consider myself to be significantly more liberal than Obama, but there's no chance in hell that I would vote for Specter. Anyone who follows politics closely knows that Obama's support for Specter is entirely due to "you scratch my back and i'll scratch your's", for the healthcare bill and other votes. Obama is ideologically closer to Sestak than he is with Specter, but for political reasons he is obligated to support Specter. Nevertheless, anyone who is actually a very liberal voter isn't even going to consider voting for Specter, regardless of what President Obama says. Specter is barely even a moderate, and he's still conservative on many issues. In conclusion, your last post is basically calling liberal voters dumbasses, because no serious liberal would actually be willing to vote for Specter.

Anonymous said...

PPP failed in the poll for PA-12.

PPP is giving hard results for dems or GOP friendly results.

NRH said...

Obama had to support Specter as a condition of getting Specter to switch parties, and he couldn't withdraw that support without losing Specter's potentially-crucial vote the rest of this year. He didn't campaign terribly hard for him, but did provide his endorsement. None of Obama's strengths and messages coordinate well with Specter's, though, and the pragmatic nature of the move was pretty clear to anyone paying attention. Obama gave his endorsement, not the full weight of his support.

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