Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Quinnipiac Poll continues trend for Sestak

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows the U.S. Senate race between Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joseph Sestak is in a statistical dead heat, continuing a recent trend in polling data.
Toomey, a former Congressman from Zionsville, captured 48 percent of likely voters, while Sestak, the 7th Congressional District Representative, secured 46 percent. The poll was conducted Oct. 13-17 among 1,046 likely voters with a 3 point margin of error.
The figures follow a trend over the past two weeks that show the Democrat gaining ground.
On Tuesday, a Public Policy Polling survey showed Sestak leading 46 percent to 45 percent with another 9 percent undecided.
A Morning Call/Muhlenberg College Tracker poll released Wednesday indicated Sestak was up 44 percent to 41 percent with 15 percent undecided.
Two internal Democratic polls also showed the race tightening.
The latest Quinnipiac Poll indicates Toomey still has a significant edge among independent voters, at 56-35 percent, though 13 percent of Toomey’s supporters said they could change their mind before the Nov. 2 election. Nine percent of Sestak supporters said the same.
Forty-six percent of the respondents said they viewed Toomey favorably and 37 percent viewed him unfavorably. Sestak was viewed favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 36 percent.
When asked which candidate most shares their values, respondents were evenly split at 44 percent, but more voters, at 51 percent to 43 percent, said they want whoever is elected to oppose the policies of President Barack Obama.
“There is still a mood in the likely Pennsylvania electorate for change, which appears more likely to help Toomey than Sestak,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a release accompanying the poll.
Respondents’ views of the economy largely shaped their preference in the race, according to the data. Sestak was leading 84-14 percent among the 14 percent who believe the economy is improving. He also had a slight edge, at 51-44 percent, among the 49 percent who think it is remaining the same.
Toomey leads 70-23 percent among the 35 percent who think it is worsening. Only 2 percent of Republicans polled said they felt the economy is getting better, while 51 percent believed it is getting worse. Democrats, at 57 percent, overwhelmingly believe it is the same, though 24 percent said they think it is improving and 17 percent said it is worsening.
Brown attributed Sestak’s recent polling gains to a slightly improved opinion of Obama in the state and a typically late engagement from Democratic voters.
“This is not unusual, especially in off-year elections,” said Brown. “Democrats often engage later in the campaign than do Republicans. The political environment is more favorable now for them, as evidenced by President Barack Obama's improved, but still decidedly negative, job approval rating.”
Click here to view the full results.


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