Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sestak, Toomey tied

Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey are tied in the Pennsylvania Senate race, representing a six point improvement for Sestak from when PPP last polled the race in late March and found Toomey ahead 42-36.

Sestak's progress has come largely by consolidating the Democratic vote in the wake of his surprising primary win. He's now getting 70% from within his own party, up from 59% on the previous poll. That's similar to the 73% share of the Republican vote Toomey is getting, suggesting that Sestak has been successful in getting the party unified around him in the last five weeks.

This race is a vintage example of where the enthusiasm gap is giving Democrats problems. Sestak is winning 74% of the vote from people who supported Barack Obama in 2008. That's actually a tad higher than the 73% Toomey is getting from McCain voters. This is not a race where the Democratic candidate is struggling because folks who voted for Obama last election are supporting the GOP in droves. But the poll's respondents went for John McCain by a point in 2008 when Barack Obama actually took the state by 10. The only reason Sestak's not ahead in this race is that Republican voters are much more motivated to go out and vote in the fall than Democrats are. If Democrats can close that gap, even a little bit, Sestak will have the advantage in the race.

Both Sestak and Toomey are relatively unknown at this point. 44% of voters don't know enough about Sestak to have formed an opinion of him one way or the other and the same is true for 42% when it comes to Toomey. Their favorability numbers are almost identical with the voters who do know them- 30% have a positive opinion of Toomey to 28% negative and 29% have a positive opinion of Sestak to 28% negative.

These results seem to make it clear that the controversy about Sestak and the White House is not hurting him and that the race is now a pure tossup. Democratic prospects are much brighter than they were when it still looked like Arlen Specter would be the nominee and this contest is likely to be one of the closest in the country right on through the fall.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

must be the day when you guys try to show Dems are alright and put polls out showing ties

always add plus 4 to 6 for Republicans for PPP polls

Daniel Warren Curtis said...

Go Toomey!

Dustin Ingalls said...

"always add plus 4 to 6 for Republicans for PPP polls"

You can do that if you want to have inaccurate results.

We just report what people think. Blame voters if reality doesn't align with your wishes.

Jeremy said...

The PPP and adding +4 to 6 is the result of comparing PPP polls to the rest:


I'd say Toomey is currently ahead by 4 or 5 points. That's before people discover that Sestak is a loony liberal.

herbs814 said...

"The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised its GOP counterpart in May, but Republicans overtook the DSCC in the all important measure of cash on hand." (WaPo The Fix)

In other words, Democrats' Senate committee outspent Republicans' committee, while Republicans have more cash in reserve. This can partially explain a pro-Democratic surge. The open question remains whether Democrats are getting enough return on their spending and whether Democrats have peaked too early.

"We just report what people think."

Yes, you may be reporting what registered voters think. But is the voter screen too loose to properly reflect likely midterm voters? PPP's polls have recently been skewing to the left of the RealClearPolitics consensus averages (Tx gov and Pa sen, for example). Are you picking up the early signs of races tightening? Or are you using a general election screen in a pro-republican midterm year?

Anonymous said...

Did drudge link here again or what's attracting all the whiny conservatives? If all you want to believe is a Rasmussen poll, then just Read rasmussen polls, but don't be surprised if November won't be the complete wipeout of the Democratic Party that Rasmussen is projecting.

NRH said...

'Peaked too early.' From a Tea Party member not reflecting on his own movement. That's really quite amusing.

Dustin Ingalls said...

Going solely by an RCP average is like going solely by a team's overall batting average for the season to determine how well a certain player on that team is currently playing, especially when you have few polls to begin with, and polls that are released over several months. Public opinion changes over time. The most recent poll other than ours on this race is Rasmussen's, which consistently has a Republican lean. Prior to that, the last polls came well over a month ago, and they showed Toomey leads of 1 or 2 points. How is that different from what we're showing, and how does that amount to 4 to 6 points? Toomey may have been up slightly a month ago (we can't corroborate since we hadn't polled PA since April 1st, and one or two points is hardly a lead with a 4-point or greater MOE), but Sestak has since pulled even.

Anonymous said...

If TX and PA are as tied as NC-SEN Dem Primary, then we're off to a good start....

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