Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Soooo...who's winning what where?

New polling indicates the U.S. Senate race between Democratic candidate U.S. Rep. Joseph Sestak, D-7, of Edgmont, and GOP candidate Pat Toomey, of Zionsville has tightened to a dead heat.
Wait. Now Toomey’s ahead by 8 points.
No, hold on. Six points.
Oops, looks like it’s neck and neck again…
It can be confusing for those keeping a close eye on the polls to figure out who, exactly, is beating who – if anyone really is.
The Muhlenberg College/Morning Call daily tracking poll for Wednesday (conducted October 23-26 among 457 likely voters with a 5 point margin of error) shows Toomey up 46 percent to Sestak’s 41 percent.
That’s a slight drop for Toomey and a slight gain for Sestak from Tuesday’s poll, when Toomey was leading 48-40. The number of undecided voters, at 12 percent, remained static.
But a Reuters/Ipsos survey conducted October 22-24 among 600 Pennsylvanians (of which 400 were likely voters) put the race dead even at 46 percent. That survey also had a 5 point margin of error.
Toomey and Sestak were also tied in Muhlenberg surveys released October 21 and 22, but the Republican has led in the last five findings.
Neither seem particularly likeable in those surveys. According to Wednesday’s Muhlenberg poll, Toomey was viewed unfavorably by 39 percent and favorably by 37 percent, with 23 unsure.
Forty percent said they view Sestak unfavorably while 37 percent said they have a positive view of him. Twenty-four percent said they are still unsure or have no opinion.
New data in a Franklin and Marshall College poll shows the candidates are statistically neck and neck among all voters, but Toomey leads by 7 points among those more likely to vote.
That poll found Toomey leads 43 percent to 36 percent among those likely to vote, with 19 percent undecided. He leads 37 percent to 35 percent among all voters, with 27 percent still undecided. Those trends have held steady for both groups since August.
The Franklin and Marshall poll of 720 adults included 631 registered voters – 271 Democrats and 256 Republicans, with another 79 registered with another party and 25 who refused to identify their party.
The poll had an overall sample error of 3.7 percentage points; 3.9 points for registered voters and 4.4 points for the 489 likely voters surveyed.
Sestak was leading among those who labeled themselves liberal or moderate, while Toomey secured male voters and all age groups.
Toomey also had the backing of married couples, whites, and a broader cross-section of religious respondents, while hose making less than $35,000, non-whites and those with a college degree were more likely to support Sestak.
Somewhat surprising in the Franklin and Marshall poll was military veteran support for Toomey.  Sestak served in the U.S. Navy for 31-years, rising to the rank of a 3 Star Vice Admiral, but veterans went for Toomey 53 percent to 31 percent. Non-veterans also favored the Republican candidate.
Regionally, Sestak was leading by a wide margin in Philadelphia, a Democratic bastion in Pennsylvania, and maintained a slight 47 percent to 41 percent lead in the southeast. Toomey was leading in the rest of the state, especially in central Pennsylvania.
The poll reiterated past findings that voters are planning to vote according to their views on President Barack Obama. About two-thirds of Toomey supporters said they vote would be against Obama, while about half of Sestak supporters said their vote would be mainly to support the president.
Likely voters included a much larger proportion of Republican voters in the 2008 presidential election. Only one third of those who voted for Obama in 2008 were in that camp, as were slightly more than half of those who voted for GOP candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Only 27 percent of those surveyed said they think Pennsylvania is heading in the right direction and only 28 percent approve of the job Gov. Ed Rendell is doing.
Republicans also have a 13 percent edge among those who are very interested in this election and very likely to vote, according to the Franklin and Marshall poll. 


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