July 22nd, 2009
10:41 AM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Specter's re-election lead disappears

A new poll out Wednesday has bad news for Sen. Specter's re-election bid.
A new poll out Wednesday has bad news for Sen. Specter's re-election bid.

(CNN) - A new poll of Pennsylvania voters suggests that Sen. Arlen Specter's double-digit lead over Republican challenger Pat Toomey in his bid for re-election next year has disappeared.

Forty-five percent of people questioned in a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday say they'd back Specter if the 2010 election were held today, with 44 percent supporting Toomey. That's a dramatic change from early May, soon after Specter switched from the Republican to Democratic parties, when a Quinnipiac poll indicated Specter held a 20 point lead over Toomey.

By a 49 to 40 percent margin, the poll indicates that Specter does not deserve to be re-elected to a sixth term next year. And 47 percent approve of how Specter's handling his duties as senator, matching his lowest approval rating ever in Quinnipiac polling. Forty-six percent disapprove, the highest disapproval rating ever.

"Sen. Arlen Specter's 20-point lead over former Congressman Pat Toomey less than three months ago has virtually vanished," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Voters see Sen. Specter much less favorably than they once did and are net negative about giving him a sixth term in the U.S. Senate."

The fiscally conservative Toomey is a former congressman and former head of the Club for Growth, a limited-government, anti-tax organization. Toomey nearly beat Specter in the 2004 GOP senate primary.

Toomey was leading Specter in polls of a hypothetical Republican Senate primary earlier this year, before Specter switched his party identity from Republican to Democrat. Specter said then the difficulty in winning the Republican primary was a factor in his decision to switch parties.

The survey indicates that Specter leads Rep. Joe Sestak 55 percent to 23 percent in a hypothetical Democratic primary matchup. Sestak, the two-term congressman from Pennsylvania's 7th District has said that he will challenge Sen. Arlen Specter for the Democratic Senate nomination next year.

Sestak just finished up a three-week tour of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, and it's possible he may have an official announcement regarding a Senate bid now that the tour is over.

Specter has the backing of President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted July 14-19, with 1,173 Pennsylvania voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.


Filed under: Arlen Specter • Joe Sestak • Pat Toomey • Pennsylvania • Poll
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Obama Victim

    another democrat ...or whatever he is....biting the dust...2010 is going to be ugly for the Obozobots

    July 22, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Dave

    bye bye Specter – why don't you try and come up with another "magical bullet" theory

    July 22, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. RealityKing

    No one likes a turn coat.., especially when its related to self-absorbed preservation. Good riddance!

    July 22, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. fellow from Chicago

    He gone; the party of Lincoln is back.

    July 22, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Should Sen. Specter go up against Toomey, I think he'll win. His challenge is beating Sestak in the primary.

    July 22, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. Bob in Pa

    You'e just been asking th wrong people. That lead almost disappeared before his last election.

    July 22, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Enough

    Now if they could only get Specter to disappear!!

    July 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Scott, Tucson

    Term limits folks! If it's good enough for our presidents than it's good enough for the Senate and Congress. Only than can we really see the possibility of any real CHANGE.

    July 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. Henry Miller

    With any luck at all, Specter will disappear too.

    July 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. jaye

    The election is a year away – why get all wrapped up in polls right now? Why stir up controversary?

    July 22, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. John in PA

    The poll's sample size, 511 Republicans and 512 Democrats, isn't exactly representative of Pennsylvania.

    July 22, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. Proud Member..Party of No

    Whaaaat? But, but.....how can this be?? I thought the republican party was done? Why, I thought they could never win another election ever? I thought the new president(who is bound for Mt. Rushmore) was going to make everyone see the light? What happened?

    July 22, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Kevin in Ohio

    Refreshing News. THIS is evidence of hope and "change you can believe in" coming in 2010.

    July 22, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. Scott L

    Voters showing they disapprove of his vote on the stimulus package.

    Will send a clear signal to Democrats around the nation that AMERICANS DO NOT WANT MORE SPENDING BY BIG GOVERNMENT.

    July 22, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. S Callahan

    It's a loyalty issue..and not of political origin..it's about stickin with ones values and not being wishy washy.....
    He still leads by 4%....that one voter could make the difference.

    July 22, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. jp,michigan

    Mr. Specter changed political party to save his job. Well it didn't work, did it!

    July 22, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. Beecherel

    Just another career politician. Voters sense he would say or do almost anything to get elected and that tends to be a little scary.

    July 22, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. Zero.

    The littleboy at the Fair. He has know idea what he wants. He just wants to ride on everything, and go home with a prize from something.

    July 22, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. Bill Brown

    Good riddance.

    I know a lot of Democrats who are suspicious of the politically fortuitous timing of Arlen Specter. He stands for nothing and falls for anything. The people of PA deserve better -whether from a Dem or a Rep.

    July 22, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. Steve (the real one)

    Rut Row! In the end the people of Pennsylvania will determine if Sen Spector deserves another term. Personally, I hope not but I don't have a vote there!

    July 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Butch/Good News, MA

    Spin. Spin. Spin.

    Let's now read all the comments about how the polls lie because they didn't ask the right people or how polls are not reliable and who cares about the polls anyway.

    I'd say the people of Pennsylvania are FINALLY getting tired of his act.

    Maybe he can focus all of his time trying to get the results of the 2004 Super Bowl reversed because his Eagles lost to those "cheating" Patriots...good ridance.

    July 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. LacrosseMom

    The only poll that matters is the one on election day!

    July 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    so far not many polls have ever come to be fact or truth .
    how many times did the polls flip flop in past elections?
    give me a break .CNN needs to stop reporting on gossip
    and report on some thing news worthy
    its all about REPUBLICAN threats and fear . the republican media
    hip will die off as they run out of money to sell the lies and threats to the general public. people are finnally getting smarter .( 8 ) years of lies and bush cheney crap . cheney should have to pay for his own security . not the tax payers . this again is what the republicans are all about . boo hoo spoiled brats .

    July 22, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. eliot from chicago

    such a long way away....

    Keep funding medical research. Its this generations moon landing and earns respect and appreciation around the world, helping foreign affairs.

    July 22, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. Mississippi Mike

    Americans don't like traitors. No one expects a politician to understand how the rest of of think so Specter's probably absolutely stunned by his eroding support.

    July 22, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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