Republican former Congressman Pat Toomey holds a 50-45 percent likely voter lead over Democratic U.S Rep. Joe Sestak in the race to be Pennsylvania’s next U.S. senator, while Republican Tom Corbett, the attorney general, is cruising with a 52-42 percent lead over Democrat Dan Onorato, the Allegheny County executive, in the race for governor, according to Quinnipiac University poll released today.
The GOP candidates’ domination among independent voters is the reason for their leads, the independent Quinnipiac University survey conducted by live interviewers and completed Saturday, finds. Toomey leads Sestak among independents 52-39 percent and Corbett does even better, leading 53-34 percent among independent voters.
“The candidates each hold their party bases pretty well, each getting more than 80 percent of the votes of their own party members,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “But it is independent voters, as is often the case in close elections that swings the balance of power.”
In the governor’s race overall, 6 percent of likely voters are undecided and 14 percent of voters who name a candidate say they might change their mind. More Onorato supporters, 17 percent, say that is the case than the 11 percent of Corbett backers.
“It is difficult to see how Dan Onorato becomes Pennsylvania’s next governor,” said Brown.
Likely voters give Onorato a 40-36 percent favorability rating compared to Corbett’s 51-25 percent rating.
In the Senate race, 5 percent of likely voters are undecided and 13 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind. Here too, slightly more of the Democratic candidate’s supporters say they might change their mind than those backing Toomey.
Toomey’s favorable/unfavorable ratio is 47-32 percent compared to Sestak’s 40-40 percent split with the likely voter pool.
“The Senate race has been neck-and-neck most of the way with Toomey slightly ahead. It looks like that is how the candidates will cross the finish line,” said Brown.
From October 25-30, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,244 Pennsylvania likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, and the nation as a public service and for research.
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