October 1st, 2009
09:42 AM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Specter approval rating drops

A new poll of Pennsylvania voters indicates that Sen. Arlen Specter's appoval rating continues to drop.
A new poll of Pennsylvania voters indicates that Sen. Arlen Specter's appoval rating continues to drop.

(CNN) – A new poll of Pennsylvania voters indicates that Sen. Arlen Specter's appoval rating continues to drop.

According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday morning, 44 percent of Pennsylvanians questioned approve of Specter's job as senator, with 48 percent saying they disapprove. That 44 percent approval rating is down 12 points from early May, soon after the longtime Republican switched his party identity from Republican to Democrat.

Specter is up for re-election next year and the poll suggests he continues to be deadlocked with his Republican challenger, Pat Toomey - a former congressman and former head of the Club for Growth, a limited-government, anti-tax organization.

Forty-three percent of people questioned say they'd back Toomey, with 42 percent supporting Specter. That's similar to a survey in July, but in early May Specter held a 20 point lead over his less well known opponent.

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

"Toomey and Specter are neck and neck in what could be a 13-month horse race. Specter has more than enough time to reverse his fortunes, but being tied with the relatively unknown Toomey is evidence that this election has become a referendum on Specter, says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The survey indicates that Specter, first elected to the Senate in 1980, leads his Democratic challenger, Rep. Joe Sestak, a former Navy admiral, 44 percent to 25 percent. But that 19 point lead is down from a 32 point margin in July.

The White House supported Specter when he switched parties. President Barack Obama headlined a fundraiser for Specter in September and Vice President Joe Biden teams up with the senator at a Democratic party dinner Friday night in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The survey indicates that Obama's approval rating as president has dropped to 49 percent among Keystone state voters.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted September 22-28, with 1,100 Pennsylvania voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: Arlen Specter • Pat Toomey
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. shucks

    I will vote for him no matter what, as the republican candidates are right wing christian evangelical loonies. No more Rick Santorums for president.

    October 1, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. TangledThorns

    No surprise. Specter is a horrible politician that should have been voted out already, by a Dem or Republican.

    October 1, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Dont blame me

    Come on CNN, you have Spector's approval rating at 44% ???

    And you say that it is down???

    The last poll that I saw had Spector's approval rating at only 38%.

    I think that you are inflating his chances.

    October 1, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Specter should have been George H. W. Bush's running mate. That would have made the ticket,

    Bush & Specter

    (say it fast now... nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)

    October 1, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. Ken

    No surprise here. He skewered the nether-regions of all the neo-morons in his state when he grew a brain and switched to the [D]s. And the [D]s still don't trust him. It'll take awhile until the stench from being on the dark side leaves him.

    October 1, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. The black Spider

    Is he for a strong PUBLIC OPTION? if not Bye Bye Specter you can rejoin the GOP and good luck.
    It's time for you to fully endorse teh Public Option and fight for it otherwise see yea.
    I am in nebraska and Ben nelson can say Bye Bye to the senate in the next election. I gave him another chance with Obama's election by voting for him but now I realize he is another Selfish Senator Kissing the devil (Insurance companies) for his political carreer.

    October 1, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. cspurgeon

    He needs to go along with any others in the establishment...lifers We don't need them.We need new uncorrupted people.

    October 1, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Bill

    Specter will just pick whichever party he thinks will do HIM the most good. Could be the citizens of PA are onto his act? Imagine that.

    October 1, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Chipster

    I've met Rep. Sestak on two occasions and have been impressed by his thorough knowledge of the health care crisis, environmental issues, and the need to support early education for all American students, not just the privileged. He addressed the need to correct the flaws in the No Child Left Behind legislation. Veterans issues and defense are also a priority for Rep. Sestak. He discussed them in depth and in a language that was clear and direct; not condescending.

    Sen. Specter has served honorably and voted his conscience but he has not been an effective leader. We need leadership and Rep. Sestak is a leader.

    I do not work for his campaign although it may sound like it. Go to one of his Townhall meetings or other event for yourself and decide for yourself.

    October 1, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. George

    It should drop. He sure shafted the unions on EFCA. I hope Sestak blows him out of the water. We can count on Sestak!!!

    October 1, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Dave

    Vote ALL Incumbents out of office !!!!!

    October 1, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Carlos

    To you libs and turncoats, your days are numbered, see ya in 2010.

    October 1, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Wake Up

    People like Specter who don't stand for anything need to be voted out. How do voters constantly buy someone who will lie, and pretend to be whatever will keep him in office?? Enough political crap.

    October 1, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. bob in LA

    Why do we need hourly poll? What they show is people are fickle and that depending on how a question is asked, you will get the answer you want.
    I am on someone's list for these things and most of the choices for an answer are not reflective on how I feel about a person or issue.
    It's time to put the breaks on them.

    October 1, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. Brain Dead in Ohio

    "Big Dem COULD face trouble, poll says."

    You know what lesson I've held onto since obtaining my degree in Journalism? That responsible journalism in not making news but reporting news.

    That statement violates that "law" in two ways. One; polling is making news, unless you're reporting on a National poll you had no affiliation with.

    Two; could, may, might, should, ought, and would are six words that should never appear in a news story, unless when quoting someone. Otherwise it's speculative.

    If you want to battle with Fox New's ratings, obviously catering to the lowest common denominator, that's fine, just don't call it journalism.

    October 1, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. ThinkAgain

    I'm a Democrat, but have supported Spector in the past on a few occasions.

    That said, I hope he wins re-election; we need him in the Senate!

    October 1, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. obummer, 1 and done

    he needs to go.
    How can you trust someone who only shifted parties because he would lose if he stayed where he was.

    He is a pure example of what is wrong with politicians.

    October 1, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. gl, From Pittsburgh

    2010 is a very important year for me becasue I have to vote for my Senate and governor in my state next year and I don't want Republicans running my state.

    October 1, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Ron In California

    His rating should drop after deserting his party and the treatment of his constituents in the town hall meeting. What a sleaze.

    October 1, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. Mike in MN

    Looks like PA Democrats don't like this self serving Senator any more than the Republicans did. How did he stay in office so long? Time for term limits for Senators and the House too.
    Obama down to 49% in key battle ground state of PA. Over half the state must be racists. I'm sure the state must be on the verge of boiling over in right wing violence. But Obama won in PA in the election. A bunch of people who voted for him no longer support him. Did they just realize he is black? Or could it be who he is doing his job, where he stands on the issues, maybe the bills he has passed and is pushing?

    October 1, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Steve B (California)

    Sen. Arlen Specter is an example of an old school, self serving, out of touch politician. I forgot to add flip – floper.
    Probably time for the good people of Pennsylvania to vote in a new Senator.

    October 1, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. Paul Pajaken

    I am praying that this next election we will clean house with all the old timers and start fresh with all new faces. We have to get term limits to stop them from joining the GOOD OLD BOYS CLUB. They now want to pass their old seats on to their children and keep it in the family. This has to stop. Kennedy is gone now and the rest have to go too now. The senate and congress was never intended to be a lifetime job. People were elected to do a job that they sought office for and then someone else would come along with a job they wanted to accomplish and so on. They have now made it a place to get rich and provide a life pension for themselves and their families. The senators and congresspeople should be under the same medical plans they set up for us. They should be mandated to have social security plans just like we have. This Arlen Specter is a bad apple and has to go with the rest of the turncoats. He is a disgrace to the office. Lets kick them all out.

    October 1, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Travis

    I won't be crying when PA ousts this snake.

    October 1, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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