Toomey, Specter Even in New Poll

July 22, 2009 9:03:23 AM PDT
A new poll shows conservative Republican Pat Toomey virtually tied with incumbent Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter if Pennsylvania's 2010 Senate race were held today. The statewide survey by Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University showed Democrat Specter favored by 45 percent of the respondents and Toomey with 44 percent.

Specter's support appeared to have stabilized since the shrinkage that followed his defection from the Republican Party in April, while Toomey has steadily gained ground. In a Quinnipiac poll released May 4, just days after he switched parties, Specter led Toomey 53 percent to 33 percent.

Specter, 79, stunned political observers with his April 28 announcement that he was returning to the Democratic Party after a hiatus of more than 40 years. He conceded that his chances of winning the Republican nomination in the face of another challegne by Toomey were slim in the increasingly conservative state GOP.

In the latest poll, one out of 10 registered voters said they hadn't made up their minds in an election that is still 16 months away.

Respondents were about evenly divided in their opinions of Specter, who is seeking his sixth Senate term and his first as a Democrat, and 9 percent said they did not know enough about him to form an opinion. Fifty-six percent said they did not know enough about Toomey, a former congressman from the Allentown area who nearly defeated Specter in the 2004 GOP primary, while 34 percent said they held a favorable opinion of him.

The poll shows Specter and Toomey comfortably ahead of their leading rivals in the May 18 primaries.

The telephone poll conducted during a six-day period that ended Sunday included 1,173 voters.

The sampling error margin for questions answered by all respondents was plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. The margins for the smaller groups of Democratic and Republican voters was plus or minus 4.3 points.

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