Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey are locked in a 43 – 43 percent tie in their race for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Rep. Sestak had 40 percent to Toomey’s 42 percent in a May 13 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University and trailed Toomey 42 – 34 percent in an April 8 survey.
In today’s results, Democrats back Sestak 77 – 11 percent while Republicans go with Toomey 82 – 11 percent. Independent voters back Toomey 44 – 35 percent, compared to 46 – 30 percent May 13.
Toomey, a former congressman, is viewed favorably by 35 percent of voters and unfavorably by 13 percent, while 51 percent don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.
Sestak gets a 31 – 20 percent favorability rating, while 47 percent haven’t heard 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,” said 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. “Perhaps Toomey can feel good that in recent months, when all the attention was on Sestak’s primary win, he has limited the damage.”
President Barack Obama’s negative 46 – 49 percent job approval rating is essentially unchanged from his negative 45 – 49 percent score April 8 and his negative 46 – 48 percent score May 13. It is, however, a dramatic fall from May of 2009, when it was 66 – 29 percent approve.
The President’s current job rating reflects 82 – 16 percent disapproval among Republicans, 76 – 19 percent approval among Democrats and 53 – 40 percent disapproval among independent voters.
Pennsylvania voters say 48 – 42 percent that President Obama does not deserve reelection in 2012. In fact, 41 percent of voters say they would vote for an unnamed Republican candidate in 2012, while 40 percent say they would vote for Obama. Independent voters say they would go for a Republican 37 – 33 percent.
“When a politician’s approval rating is down 13 points among independent voters, that is generally a sign of political vulnerability,” said Brown. “The 6-point margin held by those who say President Obama doesn’t deserve a second term over those who think he does also should make the White House nervous, especially since Pennsylvania has not voted Republican for president since 1988. Here too, his weakness is among independents, who say 51 – 35 percent he does not deserve a second term.”
On other measures of the President, Pennsylvania voters:
• Split 46 – 45 percent of his handling of the war in Afghanistan, down from 51 – 41 percent approval in December;
• Disapprove 55 – 40 percent of Obama’s handling of the economy;
• Disapprove 54 – 36 percent of Obama’s handling of the gulf oil spill.
From July 6 – 11, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,367 Pennsylvania voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.
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