After months of playing the underdog role in the Democratic primary against incumbent Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, two polls show Rep. Joe Sestak taking the lead with a week left until the primary.
A daily Muhlenberg College tracking poll of the Senate race showed Sestak with a four-point lead over Specter after trailing the senator by nine points four days ago. The poll found 46 favored Sestak while 42 favored Specter. It also showed 12 percent of Democratic voters remain undecided.
A Rasmussen poll released Monday found similar numbers, showing Sestak with 47 percent and Specter with 42 percent. Specter stood at 48 percent in March compared with 37 percent for Sestak at that time, but the race has progressively narrowed in recent weeks.
The incumbent has taken to the airwaves attacking the former three-star admiral’s leadership abilities, citing a 2005 Navy Times report suggesting he was demoted for creating a poor command climate. But this strategy appears to have backfired, according to Rasmussen.
The Sestak campaign has fired back with an ad campaign taking the incumbent who spent three decades in the Senate as a Republican to task for his ties with George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and other Republicans.
“While the polls are interesting, we’re most encouraged by what we’ve been hearing and seeing on the ground,” Sestak campaign spokesman Jonathon Dworkin told Newsmax. “Pennsylvania Democrats want a Senator they can count on to stand up for working families, not someone who spent 30 years in Washington advancing the Republican agenda and then switched parties just to save his job.”
The Rasmussen poll also found Sestak enjoys high favorables among Pennsylvania’s Democratic electorate – enjoying a 63-percent favorability rating.
Specter won the endorsement of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee in February and enjoys the backing of prominent Democrats such as President Obama and Gov. Ed Rendell, but Sestak has remained undeterred.
Since the beginning of the year, Sestak has made over 550 campaign appearances around the state, working tirelessly to convince the Democratic voters he is the real Democrat in the race.
The Sestak campaign tells Newsmax they attribute their success to the voters’ desire to have a man of personal conviction representing them instead of a “career politician” who became a Democrat because he could not win as a Republican.
Another related Rasmussen poll shows likely Republican nominee Pat Toomey with 42 percent and Sestak with 40 percent. By contrast, Toomey leads Specter 50 percent to 38 percent.
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