May 4th, 2010
09:35 AM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Specter's lead over Sestak shrinking

A new poll out Tuesday indicates that Sen. Arlen Specter's lead in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary is shrinking.
A new poll out Tuesday indicates that Sen. Arlen Specter's lead in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary is shrinking.

(CNN) - With two weeks to go until Pennsylvania's primary, a new poll indicates that Rep. Joe Sestak is narrowing the gap with Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic Senate nomination battle.

According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday, Specter leads Sestak 47 percent to 39 percent among likely Democratic primary voters, with 14 percent undecided. Thirty-five percent of people who say they have picked a candidate indicate they still may change their mind. Specter's eight-point edge is down from a 21-point advantage in a Quinnipiac poll released April 7.

Specter, a five-term senator, switched parties from Republican to Democrat last spring. At the time of the party switch, he cited the difficulty in winning the Republican primary against Pat Toomey as a factor. Toomey, the Republican candidate in the race, is a former congressman and former head of the Club for Growth, a limited-government and anti-tax organization.

Sestak, a two-term congressman from southeast Pennsylvania, is a former Navy admiral. The ad wars between Specter and Sestak have increased in intensity in the past couple of weeks.

"Sen. Specter switched parties because he was worried about losing in the Republican primary. His big lead among likely Democratic primary voters has disappeared and although he remains ahead, momentum is clearly on Sestak's side at this point," says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Brown.

"As a Republican, Specter did well among Democrats, but large majorities of Democrats have been voting against him for 30 years and that might be a tough habit for many of them to break. In addition, Specter's big lead in name identification has begun to erode as Sestak television commercials introduce him to the voters outside his suburban Philadelphia base," adds Brown.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted April 28-May 2, with 930 likely Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.


Filed under: 2010 • Arlen Specter • Joe Sestak • Pennsylvania • Poll • Popular Posts
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. doug

    First one to suggest that any America who disagrees with this administration should be rounded up and put in an extermination camp will win the Demo-rat primary. Yup, they are that sick.

    May 4, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. Holding Up A Mirror

    Arlen Specter has brought Republican NASTINESS to the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania. I truly hope that voters reject him.

    I'll take Sestak, the 2-star Admiral over a man that didn't serve his country in the military.

    Specter is a selfish politiician that is only seeking to save his job.

    Sestek is younger and more honorable than Arlen. He will serve the Democratic party better.

    May 4, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  3. Eric in Indiana

    Keep fighting Joe! For a man (Specter) who never served in the military to attack a highly decorated Navy Admiral (Sestak) is disgusting. As a man who graduated from West Point and served honorably on active duty for 5 years as an officer, I get furious at people who never had the guts to raise their hand and swear to protect this great nation and then have the audacity to criticize those that dedicate their lives and careers to military service. Senator Specter is a disgrace and needs to be voted out! I am so glad that you did not listen to Gov Rendell and the other established Democrats who told you not to run against Sen Specter. I am ashamed that they put their support behind a Democrat, I mean Republican, I mean now I am a Democrat, anything to keep my job Senator like Specter.

    May 4, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. Willy Brown

    Buh bye RINO, turncoat and fair weather democrat.

    May 4, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. Ron in California

    Spector is a joke...he is disloyal to those who put him there. Also, do you remember how he was very disrespectful to people during the healthcare town hall meetings. TIME to VOTE him out.

    May 4, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    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.
    This November tell Congress "You Are Fired!"

    May 4, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    They both need to stop running smear campaigns. The people want to hear solutions. Specter's lead is shrinking because he smeared a military veteran. Even if Sestak was relieved if duty, I don't think it's wise to demean a veteran's service.

    May 4, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. Pat

    Bye bye Specter, don't let the door hit ya in the...

    May 4, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. Terry

    Out with the old – In with the new!

    May 4, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. Emile Zola

    If voters think that politicians are in government to help them, I have a bridge in Broolyn for sale. They are there for one and only: Themselves and usually they serve the best bidder. That is true for all polticians, bar none. When people are so blind that can't see the trees from the forest, the country deserves to be what we have become, a nation of special interests, greedy for oil and the hell with law and order. But, those other "rogue" nations that behave better than we do, better not try to defend themselves from world bullies, remember, no option is off the table. The only nations allow to nuke others are: The U.S. and the Jews. All others need not apply.

    May 4, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. DrEvil

    The headline is typical, mis-leading CNN spin intended to support the Democrats.

    While it is true that Specter is an ex-Republicans, he is now and has been for a while a Democrat, but a headline which indicates that an incumbent Democrat is in trouble is not allowed.

    Watch your ratings and revenues continue to decline as you continue to distort the news to support the Democrats.

    Have an Evil day

    May 4, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Ben

    Buh Bye Arlen! Your days are numbered!

    May 4, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Fitz in Texas

    Arlen Specter is another one that needs to start packing and join the many unemployed Americans that this administration has turned their backs on.

    May 4, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. stevegee

    The people of Pennsylvania are going to throw out Benedict Arnold. He's a career politician who only cares about himself - he switched parties to save his own skin!

    Joe Sestak has served his country honorably in the military, Congress and now he wants to make a difference in the U.S. Senate. A vote for Sestak is a vote for the principles this country was founded upon. Go Joe, go!

    May 4, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. Chipster

    Specter has made so many false charges against Rep. Sestak – charges that have been exposed as false by news agencies in the Commonwealth. He accused Sestak of violating the law by paying campaign workers less than minimum wage. According to news investigations, Specter included part time workers as full time hours. It was reported that, using Specters methods, the Specter campaign hasn't paid its workers minimum wage either. Specter suggested that Sestaks workers were on food stamps by saying they "qualified for food stamps." None of Sestak's worker are receiving food stamps.

    Furthermore, Specter tried to smear Sestaks exemplary military career. You don't get to the level of 2 and 3 star Admiral without good reason.

    Specter isn't a Democrat, only changed Parties because he couldn't win as a Republican, and voted with Republicans on decisions that have done serious harm to our nation. Shame on you, Sen. Specter!

    May 4, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Pat Shoap

    I have met Joe Sestak at three campaign events in recent months in Pennsylvania. He is a very impressive candidate, with strong Democratic ideals. The ads by Specter have been very negative, simliar to the "Swift-boating" tactics by the Republicans against John Kerry in '04. I would encourage all Pennsylvania Democrats to support Sestak in the primary- he is the true Democrat in the race.

    May 4, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. File under "Sarcasm"

    Toomey will beat either one.

    May 4, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. SkiDoc

    After the country comes back to its senses in November, he will be
    Arlen SPECTATOR!

    May 4, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. Hows that oil slick coming along drillers?

    Toomey needs a checkup from the neck up.

    May 4, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. Obama the liar

    Dear Arlen, it seems that no party wants you or Crist. Maybe you two need to form your own party-call it the rejected party.

    May 4, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Larry

    Time for you to go Specter. You're another one of those politicians who has been in Washington way too long.

    You wer sent to Washington to represent the needs of your constituents. You've never seemed to grasp that concept.

    May 4, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. Re-Elect No ONE

    Why would anyone want to re-elect an 80 year old with zero seniority?

    May 4, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. Monrob

    I love Sestak.

    Watch Specter turn Independent!

    May 4, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Don - Lawrence Ks

    How old do you have to be before you retire? The man has had two bouts with cancer. Go home Specter and rest and let a younger person fill the shoes. The only thing that is stopping you is your ego and perhaps poor retirement planning. Neither is a good excuse. I am tired of seeing legislators literally die before my eyes on the floors of congress. I am for age limits. You cannot be older than 70 to run for senate (six year term) and not older than 72 to run for the house.

    May 4, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. bob

    Specter's ads are all negative and we in PA are sick of this old school campaigning. Go Joe!

    May 4, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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