May 12th, 2010
10:08 AM ET
5 years ago

Polls: PA Dem primary a dead heat

Two new polls indicate that Sen. Arlen Specter is facing a virtual tie with his primary opponent.
Two new polls indicate that Sen. Arlen Specter is facing a virtual tie with his primary opponent.

Washington (CNN) – With Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary less than a week away, the contest between Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak is now a statistical dead heat, according to separate polls released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University and Franklin and Marshall College.

Specter, who is seeking a sixth term, left the GOP last year in part to increase his re-election prospects. But the former Republican is now facing a stiff primary challenge Sestak, a former Navy admiral who has sought to portray Specter as unreliable vote Democratic vote in the Senate.

Sestak trails Specter by two points among likely Democratic primary voters, according to the Quinnipiac University survey. Forty-four percent say they will vote for Specter, while 42 percent are backing Sestak. Another 14 percent are undecided. Specter's two-point lead is down from a 21-point advantage in a Quinnipiac poll released April 7.

"Sen. Arlen Specter has a history of winning close elections and he'll need that to continue because his once commanding lead is gone. His margin over Sestak is too close to call," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The Franklin and Marshall College survey also indicates the race has narrowed to within the margin of error, with Sestak leading among likely Democratic primary voters by a margin of two percentage points - 38 percent for Sestak to Specter's 36 percent. About one in four likely voters are undecided.

The Franklin and Marshall College poll surveyed 1023 Pennsylvanians by telephone May 3 – May 9. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University survey of 945 likely voters was conducted May 5 – May 10. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points and was conducted by telephone.


Filed under: 2010 • Arlen Specter • Joe Sestak • Pennsylvania
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. JP

    Specter is just a puppet for the trial bar and the unions. Both groups enrich themselves at the expense of you. Do America a fovor and just say no to Specter.

    May 12, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. LacrosseMom (the real one)

    I admire Arlen Specter for doing the right thing when voting rather than following the Party of NO over the cliff. However, Specter has been in Congress for way-too-long, its time for a new voice, which is Joe Sestak!

    America, we DO have term-limits its called........... VOTING!

    May 12, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. alicia

    Vote him out!

    May 12, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. John , PA

    Good Bye Arlen, you had you chance, we don't need you to screw things up anymore, there is work to be still be done and you can do it !

    May 12, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. No Incumbents 2010

    Spector needs to learn how to retire with dignity. Too many Senators emulate Robert Byrd and want to make the Senate their own personal nursing home with aides doing everything, until they die in office.

    May 12, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. NVa Native

    Sestak is energized and has a lot of valuable experiance, Specter's time has past. Time for a change.

    May 12, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. Chipster

    Rep. Joe Sestak is a Democrat. Anyone who hears him speak knows how passionate he is about the Democratic (constitutional( principles of justice, civil rights, equal opportunity, due process, and protection from government abuse. He certainly has a background that reveals his commitment to defense of our nation.

    Specter is a Republican who jumped ship because he couldn't win against Toomey. Sestak can defeat Toomey. Toomey opposes campaign finance restrictions but opposes farm subsidies. He supported invading Iraq and diverting resources from pursuing those who attacked us on 9/11! Specter also supported the invasion of a nation that had not attacked us and continues to drain our Treasury. Sestak supported pursuit of Al Qaeda and Bin Laden.

    May 12, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. DYLANSDADDY

    This senate seat will go back to republicans. (where it belongs)

    May 12, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Anonymous

    time to get the old flip flop out,,, go Joe

    May 12, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. thor

    Kinda looks like that bribe that was offered to Mr.Sestek to get him not to challenge Mr. Spector want be needed. So-call dem bites the dust !

    May 12, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Fair is Fair

    Hey Specter... would you please just go away?

    May 12, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Sniffit

    I really don't care who wins as I have no stake in this primary, but I am certainly going to point and laugh at the GOPers on here...ALOT...if Specter wins. That's almost enough to get me to root for him.

    May 12, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. diridi

    just vote for democrats this time....well, they passed Health Care...they should pass Financial reform, Climate Reform, and energy efficiency reform and immigration reform, today, i was watching CNBC, one senator was saying some thing nonsense...it will not pass...this dude is from Tennessee....if you are patriotic, do not buy Gas from BP gas station...period....ok...

    May 12, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    I read that the unions are backing Spector, so he must be the corrupt, slimy candidate. That is why he had to switch parties to the only one that accepts slimy people and corruption. I also believe the annointed slimy, corrupt union toadie president has endorsed Spector which should confirm his ultimate corruption.

    May 12, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. Dar

    No worries, if Specter loses he will just switch to an independent, or was he a independent before becomming a Repub, Sorry I cant keep up with his flip flopping.
    Maybe he will just go away, that would be nice.

    May 12, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Ben

    Specter has no hope of beating Toomey at this point. I really hope Sestak can take him out. I'm tired of seeing his face on the news.

    May 12, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |