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

Poll: Specter's lead over Sestak shrinking

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Steve (the real one)

    Spector's lead shrinking? The next thing we'll know is he will switch to the Whig party! He should win that one fairly easily!

    May 4, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  2. Wisconsinite - Vote NO for the Party of NO

    Seems Democrats don't like Spector much more than Republicans did. Where you gonna go now, Arlen???? Retirement might be an option . . . .

    May 4, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. BradKT

    So...if Arlen doesn't get the nomination, will he try to run as an independent like Lieberman and Crist?

    May 4, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. db

    Wonder if it's too late for him to switch back.

    May 4, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. sajjad

    Im glad Admiral Sesatak is catching up even though I respect Specter but he is turning 80 and is extremely sick sestak with him being an admiral can get the veterans and active service people votes, and he is more honor charismatic. with proper stategies he has a chance of beating extremely conervative toomey in the general remember As long philly is part of penn that state will never turn red like utah

    May 4, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Bob in PA

    Specter has not been the greatest Senator of late and Pennsylvanians’ know it. He has put himself above representing those who elected him. Like an athlete looking for the best contract, he dons the jersey of the organization who will give him the most money and power. He has become just another in a long line of politicians that no longer deserve the position they are in.

    So long Arlen !

    May 4, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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