July 14th, 2010
11:24 AM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Senate battle in Pennsylvania deadlocked

A new poll has the race for Pennsylvania’s  open Senate seat locked at 43 points each for Democrat Joe Sestak (left) and Republican Pat Toomey (right).
A new poll has the race for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat locked at 43 points each for Democrat Joe Sestak (left) and Republican Pat Toomey (right).

(CNN) – A new poll indicates it's dead even in the battle for Pennsylvania's open Senate seat.

According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday, 43 percent of Pennsylvania voters back Rep. Joe Sestak, the Democratic nominee, with an equal number supporting former Rep. Joe Toomey, the Republican nominee, and 12 percent unsure.

Toomey held a 42 to 40 percent advantage in Quinnipiac's last poll, which was conducted in May.

Sestak, a former Navy admiral and current two-term congressman from southeast Pennsylvania, beat incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in May's Democratic primary. Specter, a five-term senator, switched parties from Republican to Democrat in the spring of last year. At the time of the party switch, he cited the difficulty in winning the Republican primary against Toomey as a factor. Besides his service in Congress, Toomey is also the former head of the Club for Growth, a limited-government and anti-tax organization.

According to the poll, Democrats back Sestak 77 to 11 percent, with Republicans supporting Toomey 82 to 11 percent and Independents backing Toomey 44 to 35 percent. Toomey's advantage among Independents is down 7 points from the May survey.

The poll indicates that 35 percent have a favorable view of Toomey, with 13 percent seeing him unfavorably, and just over half saying they don't know enough about him to form an opinion. Sestak holds a 31 percent favorable rating, with one in five seeing him in an unfavorable light, and nearly half saying they don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

"Congressman Joe Sestak, a decided underdog who knocked off U.S. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary, has now closed an 8-point gap in the last three months to tie Pat Toomey," says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But the Senate race remains wide open, since at this point about half of the voters don't know enough about either candidate to form an opinion."

The poll's release comes one day after the Toomey campaign announced it brought in $1 million more than the Sestak campaign in fundraising over the past three months.

According to the poll, by a 48 to 42 percent margin, Pennsylvania voters say that President Barack Obama doesn't deserve re-election in 2012. And 41 percent they would vote for an unnamed GOP candidate, with four in ten saying they would vote for Obama.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted July 6-11, with 1,367 Pennsylvania voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

–CNN's Charles Riley contributed to this report

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2010 • Joe Sestak • Pat Toomey • Pennsylvania
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. go Joe go, opps they are both Joe

    what are the chances of that?

    July 14, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    May Toomey win the seat. The Dems have done enough damage.

    July 14, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. ART

    What is it with republicans and this anti tax movement ? How is it everyone cries when services are cut but no one wants to pay taxes, people you got to pay to play. To the teabaggers who are lets face it just idiots the Boston tea party was about no taxation without representation not about anti tax you racist morons

    July 14, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Take America Back

    Face the facts all you Dem/Libs......the only way a Dem can win in 2010 is to pretend to be a Conservative!
    Of course, I hope all the Dem canidates call on Oambi and Bite Me to "help them out"!

    Oh yeah.....tell Michell to be sure to turn the lights out and empty the frig of all her sugary snacks as she leaves in 2012.

    July 14, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Wake up America

    I'm from PA! All I can say is the Tea Party hasn't even started to canvas yet... The Tea Party Patriots will sway this election – I guarantee it!

    And Toomey will prevail!

    July 14, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Pennsylvania resident

    I don't know how you all get your poll information, but as a resident I can tell you that anyone and everyone outside of philly's ghetto's are voting for toomey. It is going to be a landslide simply because we like every other state, hates Obama.

    July 14, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. MONUMENTAL TRUTH!

    You have no choice but for Toomey.

    July 14, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. hayden zeke

    Slip sliding away, slip sliding away, you know the GOP dreams are slip sliding away.

    July 14, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. Chipster

    Toomey has already begun the sleazy, false ads against Sestak. He claims that Sestak voted for banning private insurance companies. Absolutely false, Sestak voted NO on the amendment to do that but voted YES to push the total health care bill forward. Toomey knows this but hasn't allowed the truth to influence him.

    Republicans can't seem to win with the truth but, Toomey knoews that if they repeat a lie over and over, uninformed voters often believe them.

    July 14, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Dean

    We sure don't want a limited government and anti-tax person in the senate. We already have put our children and grandchildren in debt, let's see if we can enslave our great grandchildren as well.

    July 14, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Joe

    For someone so right wing and shallow, Toomey's support might seem surprising to outsiders, but central and upstate Pennsylvania are areas full of rednecks. The old adage that Pennsylvania is like Alabama with Pittsburgh on one end and Philadelphia on the other is very true.

    July 14, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. REG in AZ

    It simply is ‘impossible to get blood out of a turnip’ just like it is totally impossible to get quality where dishonesty is the rule, as what you are looking for just isn’t there. The trick of course is in recognizing the turnip as a turnip and the dishonesty as dishonesty and in not seeing things as being other than they are or as we may like them to be for our own preferences (biases/prejudices/emotions). In other words, we need to be disciplined at being objective, rational and honest with ourselves first.

    To condemn Democrats for being Socialistic and spending too much neglects to acknowledge the truth that Republicans, even while being Conservative, can literally cost more in placating Special Interests and the extremely wealthy, powerful and influential few who strongly support them – Bush-Cheney clearly proved that and all we have to do is look at the problems we have to see the results. The ‘trickle down’ theory has obviously been proven to be a fraud as giving more to those who already spend all they want really doesn’t help the overall economy. Also, successful social programs which can bring the poor up to being independent and productive in society really do benefit the overall economy. Today’s problems are not because the Democrats are spending but rather the Democrats are spending because of the problems they inherited and to do nothing would be a continuing disaster. All of that is common sense yet people can literally be conned, often easily, with emotional appeals to their biases and self-interests and they then can accept and support positions that are not in their best interests.

    We each need to individually determine what the truth is and we need to do that objectively and rationally, uninfluenced by the propaganda and the emotional appeals aimed to manipulate us. I clearly see that none are perfect but I have really been alienated (from being a registered Republican to now being an Independent) by the gross, arrogant and self-serving, dishonesty of the Republican Party. After Bush, Cheney, Rove,, and now with Boehner, McConnell, Kyl and several others, supported by Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, Steele and more, including the overt and covert support of those who they serve, all seriously presenting an obnoxious and flagrant irresponsibility that boldly attacks but offers nothing positive and really demonstrates a total focus only on their political ambitions at any cost and without conscience, I now see the dishonesty pendulum as having swung far to the right. John Dean, in his book ‘Broken Government’, describes how the current Republican mindset prevents them from responsibly governing. Again, without honesty I can’t see how to expect any quality but then that is really something we each need to discern with private discipline for ourselves; the key simply is in having the discipline to reject being conned.

    July 14, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Steph

    Sestak, a former Navy admiral and current two-term congressman..Wait A Minute! But my republican friends told me that everyone in the military was a republican.

    July 14, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Malty

    Go Toomey!

    Slestak is just another Obama rubber stamp.

    July 14, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |