Rasmussen: Toomey Leads Sestak in Pa. Senate Race

Thursday, 01 Jul 2010 03:12 PM

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Republican Pat Toomey continues to hold a modest advantage over Democrat Joe Sestak in the race to replace Arlen Specter as U.S. senator from Pennsylvania.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Pennsylvania shows Toomey attracting 45 percent of the vote, while Sestak earns 39 percent. Six percent prefer another candidate in the race, and 11 percent are undecided. The June 29 survey shows the race has changed little since the beginning of the month.

This is the seventh Rasmussen Reports survey of the race in 2010, and a review of prior results highlights just how stable it's been to date. Toomey’s support has stayed in a very narrow range of 42 percent to 47 percent.

Sestak’s support has showed more movement, ranging from a low of 36 percent to a high of 46 percent. However, most of that movement came as he surged to victory over Specter in the Democratic primary. Other than polling conducted just before and just after the primary election, the Democratic nominee’s support has remained between 36 percent and 38 percent.

Just over 80 percent of Republicans support Toomey, while 70 percent of Democrats say they’re voting for Sestak. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, the Republican has a 9-point advantage.

Toomey is now viewed very favorably by 17 percent of the state’s voters and very unfavorably by 13 percent. For Sestak, those numbers are 16 percent on the positive side and 16 percent on the negative side. For both men, the numbers are down a bit from earlier in the month.

At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.

The national political issues environment remains challenging for Democrats with the economy as the most important issue.

If the Obama administration files a lawsuit against the state of Arizona over its new immigration law, that could add to the challenges for Democratic candidates like Sestak. Just 31 percent of Pennsylvania voters favor such a legal challenge, while 55 percent are opposed. Nationally, only 26 percent favor a legal challenge to that law.

More than half of Pennsylvania voters also favor repeal of the recently passed healthcare law. That is close to the national average. Just over 40 percent oppose repeal.

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