March 2nd, 2010
10:30 AM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Specter makes gains in re-election bid

Sen. Arlen Specter is making gains in his difficult re-election bid.
Sen. Arlen Specter is making gains in his difficult re-election bid.

(CNN) - Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is making gains in his difficult bid this year for re-election, according to a new poll.

A Quinnipiac University survey of Pennsylvania voters released Tuesday morning indicates that Specter leads Republican challenger Pat Toomey 49 to 42 percent in a hypothetical general election matchup. That's up from a 44 percent tie in a Quinnipiac poll conducted in December.

Toomey is a former congressman and former head of the Club for Growth, a limited-government and anti-tax organization. Specter, a five-term senator, switched parties from Republican to Democrat last spring, saying at the time that the difficulty in winning the Republican primary against Toomey was a factor in his decision.

The Quinnipiac poll also indicates that Specter's approval rating stands at 48 percent, with 45 percent disapproving of the job he's doing as senator. The 48 percent approval rating is up 4 points from October.

According to the survey, Specter leads Rep. Joe Sestak 53 to 29 percent in a Democratic primary matchup. Sestak, a two-term congressman from southeastern Pennsylvania and former Navy admiral, is challenging Specter in May's Democratic primary.

"Sen. Arlen Specter seems to be having a good winter politically. He is back ahead of Republican Pat Toomey after having been essentially tied with him since last summer, and there remains no evidence that his primary challenger, Congressman Joe Sestak, has made much progress as we get within three months of the May primary," says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

But the survey also indicates that Pennsylvania voters, by a 52 to 38 percent margin, say Specter doesn't deserve another term in the Senate.

A Franklin and Marshall College poll released last week indicated that 44 percent of likely voters back Toomey, with 34 percent supporting Specter and 16 percent undecided. But according to the survey, among all registered voters in Pennsylvania, Specter leads Toomey 33 percent to 29 percent, with nearly 3 in 10 undecided.

A Franklin and Marshall survey conducted last month indicated Toomey had a 14-point lead among likely voters and was deadlocked with Specter among registered voters.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted February 22-28, with 1,452 Pennsylvania voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2010 • Pennsylvania
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Is America waking up to the lying crap the GOP is trying to sell?

    March 2, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. Kevin in Ohio

    Wake up Pennsylvania, and smell the coffee! Democrats will plunge us further in to debt if they are re-elected, further than we could ever ever imagine. If you want China to run this country, vote for the democrats/.

    March 2, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. 8 years of Obama as president, then the door.

    After health reform passes next month, I think the obstructionist republicans will be toast in November. They have nothing to offer Americans.

    March 2, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. Aunt Bea and Opie

    We dont care for Spector,but "the club for cancer growth"is owned by Grover Norquist and he wants to drown democracy at any cost and said so.

    March 2, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. if I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    The real GOP leader in the senate (Jim Bunning) has pretty much summed up what republicans think of working people.

    March 2, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. if I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Under the best economic conditions, Bush took a surplus and ran up a $4.9 trillion debt in order to help corporations and the wealthy, not to mention his unnecessary war. Under the worst of conditions and a near depression, Obama has added $1.7 trillion to help the middle class survive. With pay as you go, we should not see Obama's number change drastically.

    March 2, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. wal

    Public Option Boost

    March 2, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. James Miller

    What an opportunist !!!!! Repub one day- Democrat the next ?!?!?! Sounds like it`s all about Arnold.

    March 2, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. Chipster

    If people will take the time to listen to Joe Sestak, they will vote for him. He supports expanding science education and is a great conservationists. PA has a lot of valuable farmland that must be protected. As populations continued to grow and develop open spaces, there will be fewer places to grow the food we need to survive. His military experience is a bonus. Accountability is not just a buzz word to him. He knows what it means.

    Specter is not a Democrat and has been very petty in his campaigning. His health is not good either and we need a strong Democrat in the Senate who supports the President's agenda.

    March 2, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. Conservative American

    He has to win the primary first.......

    March 2, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    This Nov. 2010 take back your government.
    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.

    March 2, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. Wake Up

    What is wrong with you PA people??? Who would vote for this political monster who just switches parties back and forth to get elected??? I thought all you obamabots were for change.

    March 2, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. Monkey wrench

    If Pennsylvania re-elects Arlen Specter then they get what they deserve, more layoffs, more debt, and much more misery! Vote out all incumbents on both sides of the aisle, elect some fresh blood!

    March 2, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Mike

    Are Pennsylvania voters stupid enough to keep spectre in the Senate?

    March 2, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. sonny chapman

    Penn.– America needs a stability right now. Arlen's solid.

    March 2, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Liberal4Obama

    Arlen Specter is a national treasure, an honest politician like no other who has always put his constituents first, and unlike John McCain has never said he was duped on a vote, he assumes responsibility for every vote he has ever casted, very rare this days indeed where politicians say one thing and vote the total opposite like republican Senator Jim Bunning who was for unemployment benefits before but chose to filibustered them anyways and putting thousands of americans on the streets.

    March 2, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. citizen - you better BELIEVE it !

    Pink slips are for the unemployed. NOVEMBER should be :Pink slip: month for those politicians who are non-perfomers where the voters are concerned. If a politician has NOT done (during his/her ) what term what the VOTERS wanted, his TERM is up. The VOTERS have control of the PINK SLIPS. Pay attention VOTERS, you have TERM LIMITS in YOUR POWER. Use it in NOVEMBER.

    NOVEMBER IS PINK SLIP MONTH. VOTE ACCORDINGLY. WEAR PINK to the POLLS, hand out those slips where needed. TERM LIMITS are in the hands of the VOTERS.

    TERM LIMITS – Yeaaaaaaaaaaaa

    March 2, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. citizen - you better BELIEVE it !

    Pink slips are for the unemployed. NOVEMBER should be :Pink slip: month for those politicians who are non-perfomers where the voters are concerned. If a politician has NOT done (during his/her ) term what the VOTERS wanted, his TERM is up. The VOTERS have control of the PINK SLIPS. Pay attention VOTERS, you have TERM LIMITS in YOUR POWER. Use it in NOVEMBER.

    NOVEMBER IS PINK SLIP MONTH. VOTE ACCORDINGLY. WEAR PINK to the POLLS, hand out those slips where needed. TERM LIMITS are in the hands of the VOTERS.

    TERM LIMITS – Yeaaaaaaaaaaaa

    March 2, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. B

    Everyone has had it with these OLD HACKS and then re-elect them.

    We call this the greatest country, but allow ourselves to be governed by old, self-centered, out of touch, obsolete people that are only concerned about the next reelection cycle.

    WHY ?

    Vote them out and look for someone with creative ideas for this country..

    March 2, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  20. changed

    How soon they forget !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Last Summer people were not happy with specter for his position with the health care bill now they seems to accept him.
    Unless there is a fudge factor in this pool

    March 2, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. proud mother and sister of a soldier

    Well Arlen, you can no longer count on the 4 votes you got from this household. Good bye!

    March 2, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. ART

    Please people of Pennsylvania do the right and smart thing,don't follow the people of New Jersey who now have a governer that looks like he ate the state. Remember the republicans only answer to one master big business not the working class

    March 2, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. Bob in Pa

    That’s the most common answer around Philadelphia, but ask the rest of the state. Snarlin has been on the wrong side of an issue too many times of late. As a Rep or a Dem. It’s time to move on.

    March 2, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |