January 27th, 2010
09:49 AM ET
13 years ago

Poll: Toomey grabs lead over Specter

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/14/art.getty.arlen.specter.jpg caption="Republican challenger Pat Toomey leads Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania by double digits in a possible November showdown, according to a new poll."](CNN) - Republican challenger Pat Toomey leads Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania by double digits in a possible November showdown, according to a new poll.

A Franklin and Marshall College survey released Wednesday indicates that 45 percent of likely voters back Toomey, with 31 percent supporting Specter and 20 percent undecided.

Polls conducted last October and December suggested Toomey, a former congressman and former head of the Club for Growth - a limited-government and anti-tax organization - and Specter were deadlocked. 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 was a factor in his decision.

According to the Franklin and Marshall poll, the race between Specter and Toomey is deadlocked at 30 percent each when all registered adults are included in the survey, with more than a third undecided.

The poll also indicates that Toomey leads Rep. Joe Sestak 41 percent to 19 percent among likely voters in a hypothetical general election matchup, with 37 percent undecided.

Among all registered voters, Toomey leads 28 percent to 16 percent with more than half undecided.

Sestak, a two-term congressman from southeastern Pennsylvania and former Navy admiral, is challenging Specter in May's Democratic primary. According to the poll, Specter leads Sestak 30 percent to 13 percent among likely Democratic primary voters, with half of those questioned undecided.

The Franklin and Marshall College poll was conducted January 18-24, with 993 registered Pennsylvania voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: Arlen Specter • Pat Toomey • Pennsylvania • Poll
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Get Sestak in and Specter out.

    January 27, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  2. Tony

    Looks like the progressives are falling out of favor even in Pennsylvania. They're just dropping like flies. Good riddance!

    January 27, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. chill

    I'm embarrased to say Pat Toomey was my Congressman for three terms and he is a disaster. Don't be fooled by the pretty face. He's a radical conservative to the right of Santorum who we finally tossed last round. If you want total gridlock and nothing done, then he's your man. He was the Club for Growth head who even ate his own by attacking moderately conservative Republicans. We are stuck with a Senator for six years, so he is no way to send a "message" if you actually want to country to solve ANY of its problems.

    January 27, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. Hugo

    Say goodbye Arlen the traitor!

    January 27, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  5. Sniffit

    Can't wait for the other party-switching opportunist, old Jowly Lieberman, to get the same treatment in CT. As much as the GOPers are going to want to blather endlessly about repudiation of Obama and his policies and liberalism blah blah blah, it's really just anti-incumbent fervor that will drive November 2010. Should be amusing.

    January 27, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  6. Ron in California

    It's time for Spector to go away..He's a jerk. He seems to think he is part of the political aristocracy...Bye BYE

    January 27, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  7. joe m

    specter just needs to retire. he's been in washington far too long. he needs to go get a real job. maybe he can be a wal-mart greeter.

    January 27, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  8. Steve (the real one)

    And the bad news just keeps on coming, eh Liberals?

    January 27, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. T'SAH from Virginia

    GRABBED a 2-digit LEAD with 16-20% undecided – CNN, get a life without POLLS and can you VERIFY and BACK UP Franklin and Marshall College???????

    CNN – can you go ONE DAY without surveying and printing POLL results????

    January 27, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  10. haren

    I am really seek and tired of this uneducated American voting like Sheep.
    Enough of this Poll.
    take the poll only of the people who are affected by that issue.
    If you take poll for off shore drilling take only from the coastal state, no need to listen to land lock states of Midwest because they like to have off shore drilling because it does not bother them.
    If you take poll for stimulus package no need to ask a millionaire weather it is working or not? for him it does not matter.
    Stimulus package is working for guys who is unemployed and it helps him with extended unemployment benefit and reduce rate of COBRA plan.

    January 27, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. JWK

    Where is the good Sen. Specter going to run to now?

    January 27, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Reny

    BWHAHAHA!!!! RE-electing Republicans prove America is dumb!

    January 27, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. Right Leaning Independent

    Is it because PA has state run health insurance already! Oh wait, that is the Mass excuse. Must be a bunch of tea baggers or ignorant folks – Right Dems?? LOL... You Dems can not see the truth because of your blinders!!! America is made up of mainly conservatives! We like America with all its warts. We do not want a European style country! Hope Specter is enjoying his switch!!!

    January 27, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Enough is Enought

    Specter is a puppet for the trial bar. Anyone who puts the trial lawyers before taxpayers should be thrown out of office.

    January 27, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. Bob

    Arlen will not be the Democratic nominee, after losing the primary. PA folks are finished with this geezer.

    January 27, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. Selma Crandall

    Arlen Specter has done a lot of good for our country. It just seems that he has become senile and his decisions of late don't make sense. He needs to go home and rock on his front porch for a while.

    January 27, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. southerncousin

    When Spector gets out of that seat, the IQ in the Senate will rise substantially. Another Democrat bites the dust. We are taking this country back one elected office at a time.

    January 27, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. Pilgrim

    Very interesting. Is it an anti-Dem reaction, an anti-Washington-Business-As-Usual backlash, or an anti-Incumbent backlash? Either way it bodes no good for the Dems, the ossified Washington politicos or for incumbents in general. I truly don't think its an indication of support for the Repubs, but I may be mistaken here. Switching Parties
    was probably a HUGE mistake on his part, especially if, as he says, one of the main reasons he did so was not being sure he could win the Party Primary. It doesn't speak well of his adherence to priciples that he'd rather switch Parties and agendas to stay in power rather than risk losing it.

    January 27, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  19. Bill

    Wonder which party Specter will switch to now? How about the "I don't care as l;ong as I get elected" party? It embodies his priority. Yes, he has just the one priority.

    January 27, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. bill

    Please, people elect an independent over anyone in any state. The less money the better. Getting rid of people like Specter is a start but the one who follows must be out the next election after and after that another, etc. It's called forced TERM LIMITS.

    January 27, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. Richard in Austin

    I give up. I didn't vote for Obama (or anybody), but I was hoping his actions would be good ones and help us get out the mess Bush left us with. I don't really think he has. Dumb Democrats should have selected Hilary. Anyway, it looks now that we are going back to the Republican side where we get to hear the mantra "Lowering taxes will fix all out problems" as the rich get richer and I remain unemployed.

    January 27, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. Paul

    For the moment it looks like the party switch for Senator Specter is not paying for. We'll have to see what happens in November

    January 27, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Paul

    For the moment it looks like the party switch for Senator Specter is not paying off what I meant to say. We'll have to see what happens in November.

    January 27, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. proud mother and sister of soldiers

    Being a Pa voter, you can bet I will not vote for this man again. He is an example of why we need term limits! Now if the unions could just get out of the political arena this country would have a chance.

    January 27, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. dale

    Spector is a traitor. No democrat or republican should be able to switch parties during their term. That's not who the "people" elected.
    When this happens the person should be given two options, finish your term as the same party you were elected or resign and run again as the opposing party in the next election.

    January 27, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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