Rasmussen: Toomey takes seven-point lead over Sestak

posted at 10:55 am on June 4, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

After winning the primary against Arlen Specter despite the efforts of the White House, Joe Sestak got a big bounce in polling for the general election.  He took a four-point lead over Republican Pat Toomey, and Democrats rejoiced that Pennsylvania began to look winnable.  Two weeks later, the glow has receded from Sestak’s win, and he finds himself trailing again by seven, according to Rasmussen:

Congressman Joe Sestak’s post-primary bounce appears to over, and he now trails Republican rival Pat Toomey by seven points in the U.S. Senate contest in Pennsylvania.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Pennsylvania shows Toomey with 45% support, while Sestak earns 38%. Five percent (5%) prefer another candidate in the race, and 12% are undecided.

Two weeks ago, just after his widely covered primary victory over longtime Senator Arlen Specter, Sestak posted a modest four-point lead lead over Toomey.

Prior to the primary, however, Toomey tended to enjoy modest leads over Sestak.

A seven-point lead isn’t really all that modest, and neither is an eleven-point drop in polling.  During the primary campaign, Sestak ran as an outsider by repeatedly accusing the White House of attempting to bribe him out of the race.  Last week, though, Sestak began changing his tune a little, and this week started cooperating with the White House on public statements about the contact between himself and the Obama administration. With 75% of likely voters closely following the scandal and 52% saying it’s important to their voting decision, it could have resulted in picking up some heavy baggage and losing some voters in the latest survey.

That could also figure into a big favorability gap that now plagues Sestak, too.  He manages to remain in positive territory with a +9 (49/40), but Toomey has a +25 (55/30), with relatively comparable undecideds (11% to 16%, respectively).  There won’t be much room for either candidate to define the other with the small amount of undecideds, which is a problem for Sestak given his comparably high negatives.

Sestak has another problem: independent voters.  Toomey gets 50% of them, compared to an anemic 16% for Sestak, with 24% undecided (10% want another candidate).  Among unaffiliated voters, Sestak has a -29 favorability rating (25/54), so he’s unlikely to do much better as the undecideds split when the election draws near.  He has room to pick up Democrats, but that’s also a measure of his weakness.  He currently only get 65% of his own party (Toomey gets 77% of Republicans), which could be a harbinger of a light Democratic turnout in the general election thanks to a lack of enthusiasm for their candidate.

The issues also don’t favor Sestak.  A majority of likely voters want ObamaCare repealed (52%), oppose the Obama administration’s potential challenge of the Arizona immigration law (58%), disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance (52%), and also Ed Rendell’s performance as governor (55%).  That’s not a recipe for a big comeback in this cycle for any Democrat, let alone an incumbent Congressman looking for a promotion.


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Good. Everyone says Sestak is a shmuck. The only good liberal is a defeated liberal.

saiga on June 4, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Maybe Will Folks will be available to help out Sestak, by admitting to an affair with Toomey.

portlandon on June 4, 2010 at 10:58 AM

It’s going to take 117% of the registered voters in Philly to bring this thing home for Sestak. Rendell can usually deliver only about 105%, so it’s getting interesting.

Mr. D on June 4, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Sestak ran as an outsider….just like Slick Willy is an outsider.

Electrongod on June 4, 2010 at 11:00 AM

The White House will offer Toomey a job if he withdraws from the race. Ok not really a job, more like regular visits from union thugs who will threaten his family, but if PBHO says it’s a job, well then it’s a job.

Bishop on June 4, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Sestak has another problem: independent voters.

Why don’t independents in other states make a difference to Senate candidates who have “screwed up”? Blumenthal still enjoys a lead, so does Rand Paul.

JetBoy on June 4, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Sestak used the story about being offered a job by the White House to keep him out of the Dem primary to give himself credibility as an “outsider”, possibly not realizing that, if true, could be evidence of ILLEGAL activity by someone in the White House.

Suddenly, he realizes that he will need White House support to win the general election, and Republicans will use the alleged job offer against both Sestak AND Obama. Sestak is now forced to either clarify his allegations about the job offer, which could embroil the White House in scandal, or back off, and risk being called a liar for bringing it up in the first place.

Sestak could win the closed Democrat primary by touting himself as the “real” Democrat against the turncoat Specter, but Independent voters don’t like liars (of either party), so Sestak is now caught between Barack and a hard place.

Steve Z on June 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM

After the Murtha district vote, I don’t trust the folks in PA.

Cindy Munford on June 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM

I don’t know how Sestak can convincingly portray himself as an outsider when he’s a sitting member of the House and voted for Porkulus and Obamacare. And I’m not sure if he voted for crap-and-betrayed, but if he did then Pennsylvania would be insane to put him in the Senate.

Doughboy on June 4, 2010 at 11:09 AM

It’s going to take 117% of the registered voters in Philly to bring this thing home for Sestak. Rendell can usually deliver only about 105%, so it’s getting interesting.

Mr. D on June 4, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Simple solution: just have dead people vote… They’ve been doing that in Chicago for YEARS…

Khun Joe on June 4, 2010 at 11:15 AM

10% of independents want different candidates?

Who answers a poll thinking “in a perfect world, Hugo from Lost would move to my state and he would run for Senate and I would totally vote for him.”

myrenovations on June 4, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Sestak tries to portray himself as an outsider, but he’s a Nancy butt kisser. What Nancy wants, Nancy gets, and Sestak will help her attain it, all he can. He is by no means an outsider, but a brazen, insider, who tows the party line, despite what his constituents would want, or not want.

I have to say….I have a whole new respect for the people of PA. They’re a hell of a lot smarter than those fools in Connecticutt who are willing to look the other way, when it comes to the liar Blumenthal!

capejasmine on June 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Looks like he is going to qualify to take that “job” offer anyway. Tragically though he bit the hand of his handler. Guess he gets to experience first hand the America he helped create, now and afterwards.

Franklyn on June 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Sestak definitely inserted both feet when he opened his mouth.

He’s now in a “no win” situation.

bw222 on June 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Squid Pro Quo

bad for poll numbers.

ted c on June 4, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Who answers a poll thinking “in a perfect world, Hugo from Lost would move to my state and he would run for Senate and I would totally vote for him.”

myrenovations on June 4, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Dude, I would totally vote for Jorge Garcia.

But then I have a soft spot in my political heart for big fat dudes, ever since NJ elected Christie.

JohnGalt23 on June 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

maybe Joe could get a job as a census worker….

ted c on June 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

no good deed goes unpunished….

ted c on June 4, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Told you so.Last month i said that after the first Rasmussen poll showed Sestak with less than 50% V’s Toomey he was in trouble.Scott Rasmussen then said on Fox that Sestak failure to get above 50% after just defeating Specter was bad news for Sestak.

thmcbb on June 4, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Joe’s only hope is to completely rat out the White House. Sit down with Bret Baier and spill the beans on who/what/where/how much was offered to him. Then, let the chips fall where they may.

ted c on June 4, 2010 at 11:26 AM

After the Murtha district vote, I don’t trust the folks in PA.

Cindy Munford on June 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM

with you there…

cmsinaz on June 4, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Joe’s only hope is to completely rat out the White House. Sit down with Bret Baier and spill the beans on who/what/where/how much was offered to him. Then, let the chips fall where they may.

ted c on June 4, 2010 at 11:26 AM

It might not get him elected, but it would be his good deed for the country if it forced YKW to resign. I would consider Joe to be a true patriot.

Cody1991 on June 4, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Not only did the White House help fail to get Specter reelected, the dirty dealings that Sestak has had with them is causing him to lose as well. It’s really looking like the only elections that Democrats can win are the ones that they outright steal (ie, Franken and Obama).

ted c on June 4, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Mr Pennsylvania Tingles Matthews already said it was no contest. (guess)

Marcus on June 4, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Boy, this is a statement about the Admin, not Sestak.

AnninCA on June 4, 2010 at 11:32 AM

After the Murtha district vote, I don’t trust the folks in PA.

Cindy Munford on June 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM

HEY!!!

Don’t make me start calling folks from Virginny or Florida a bunch of poopie-heads!

Seriously, my only regret is my last absentee vote in PA before I change my residency to NC will not be a vote against Alenis Spectrosaurus, the RINO-DINO.

hawkdriver on June 4, 2010 at 11:34 AM

But then I have a soft spot in my political heart for big fat dudes, ever since NJ elected Christie.

JohnGalt23 on June 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

So that means you support Kagan’s nomination? ;)

Laura in Maryland on June 4, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Simple solution: just have dead people vote… They’ve been doing that in Chicago for YEARS…

That might work. I am sure those dead Chicagoians would not mind moving to Pennsivaina for a while. Bet they could find someone over in census to add them to the lists by just randomly dialing the number of anyone in managment. As they said; no one is going to audit what they are doing.

Of course they will need jobs. No problem there either. Spirts don’t need much room so a crew boss could just go into a closet and talk for three days and sign off on a bunch of memographed time sheets and accept a bunch of filled out and signed cards that appear on his or her desk donating their earning to the DNC.
/sar

Franklyn on June 4, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Boy, this is a statement about the Admin, not Sestak.

AnninCA on June 4, 2010 at 11:32 AM

No Ann, this says everything about Sestak. Now, I know your sooo much smarter than the rest of us cavedwellers, but let me just say that I follow PA politics and he is not well trusted in the conservative center of PA. He’ll do well in Pittsburg and Philly, but Central PA is vocal and ready for some change to the change.

hawkdriver on June 4, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Looks like the good people of PA wised up to the fact their elected leaders lie to their faces. Too bad people in other states don’t seem to mind.

Kissmygrits on June 4, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Cindy Munford on June 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM

It’s those damn bookends. We, here in the middle of the state, are sane.

cjtony97 on June 4, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Boy…

AnninCA on June 4, 2010 at 11:32 AM

RACIST!

Laura in Maryland on June 4, 2010 at 11:44 AM

It might not get him elected, but it would be his good deed for the country if it forced YKW to resign. I would consider Joe to be a true patriot.

Cody1991 on June 4, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Voldemort is in the White House?

teke184 on June 4, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Joe’s only hope is to completely rat out the White House. Sit down with Bret Baier and spill the beans on who/what/where/how much was offered to him. Then, let the chips fall where they may.

ted c on June 4, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Even if he did not win the election, he would go down in history as the man who took down a socialist president and saved America. Might even get his bust on Mount Rushmore.

Franklyn on June 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Boy, this is a statement about the Admin, not Sestak.

AnninCA on June 4, 2010 at 11:32 AM
No Ann, this says everything about Sestak. Now, I know your sooo much smarter than the rest of us cavedwellers, but let me just say that I follow PA politics and he is not well trusted in the conservative center of PA. He’ll do well in Pittsburg and Philly, but Central PA is vocal and ready for some change to the change.

hawkdriver on June 4, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Sestak won’t do well in most of the Philly suburbs, where his tax and spend votes for Granny Pelosi will not go over well with middle class voters.

Sestak’s old House district is going to be an easy pickup for the GOP.

The top of the GOP ticket will also include the former PA AG, who has been making a state-wide name for himself prosecuting legislators (mostly Dem) for corruption. Praise be, Dem Fast Eddy Rendell is term-limited and can’t run again.

Wethal on June 4, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Joe’s only hope is to completely rat out the White House. Sit down with Bret Baier and spill the beans on who/what/where/how much was offered to him. Then, let the chips fall where they may.

ted c on June 4, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Shush!!!

barnone on June 4, 2010 at 11:48 AM

teke184 on June 4, 2010 at 11:45 AM

I can’t call him POTUS with any sincerity. The mention of his name makes me ill. I just refer to him as You-Know-Who.

Cody1991 on June 4, 2010 at 11:49 AM

It’s those damn bookends. We, here in the middle of the state, are sane.

cjtony97 on June 4, 2010 at 11:42 AM

It’s really more the two corners, SW and SE, with pockets of insanity elsewhere. And not all of the SE is nuts… mostly Philly and its adjacent ‘burbs. I’m on the edge of the Philly burbs and we’re mostly normal people here, closer to Lancaster and central PA.

either orr on June 4, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Might even get his bust on Mount Rushmore.

Franklyn on June 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM

I’d chisel it myself.

Besides, I need a gub’mint job.

Cody1991 on June 4, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Boy, this is a statement about the Admin, not Sestak.

AnninCA on June 4, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Do you think Sestak is being fully open and honest about all aspects of the offer from the White House? (Note: he is refusing to answer any additional questions on the subject)

Do you think he will start being fully open and honest about all matters that concern his consituents once he becomes a Senator?

If he cheats on you while you are dating, he is going to cheat on you when you are married.

barnone on June 4, 2010 at 11:53 AM

For those of you outside PA or, like hawkdriver, follow PA, we’re a very purple state. Since governors were allowed to serve two terms, we have never kicked out an incumbent seeking a second term. But we have changed parties every time the seat opens up, thanks to term limits…
Shapp – Dem
Thornburgh – Rep
Casey (the real Bob Casey, not his dunderhead son who’s now in the Senate) – Dem
Ridge – Rep
Rendell – Dem
That, hopefully, will mean Corbett – Rep – is next.
Also, we have a split legislature. Dems have a small advantage in the House; Reps have a huge edge in the Senate. If the GOP takes back the House and wins the governorship, the Republicans will control redistricting, and you can bet that Murtha’s old seat will be eliminated since he won’t be around to bring back the pork. Our legislators have a habit of taking care of their own members’ ambitions when it comes to redistricting (read: Gerlach, R-6, whose district was created basically for him… and I generallly like Jim as my congresscritter).
And, fellow PAers here, do you think – as I do – that not only Sestak’s seat is a good possibility to flip, but there are several others (Kanjorski in Wilkes-Barre, Dahlkemper up in Erie, Conroy in Scranton) that are good possibilities, and a couple of others (Murphy in Bucks County and the Murtha seat) that are longer odds, but still do-able? (I don’t see Holden losing the Reading-Pottsville seat).

either orr on June 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

either orr on June 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

I think Murphy is doable. Gerlach will hold his seat for the GOP. Philly burbs turn red again.

And if the GOP takes the House and governor’s mansion, there would likely be voter ID reform. Copy the GA law that SCOTUS ok’d and there’s not much the Dems can do. Imagine the effect of voter ID reform on Philly voting.

(Med Mal reform would be nice, also.)

Wethal on June 4, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Maybe Will Folks will be available to help out Sestak, by admitting to an affair with Toomey.

portlandon on June 4, 2010 at 10:58 AM

That might not help. It was Pennsylvania where the guy was accused of not being gay enough wasn’t it?

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/20100422_In_Pa__House_race__identity_politics_with_a_twist.html

Who knows how this would be spun?

OBQuiet on June 4, 2010 at 12:14 PM

boy…an Admiral, a man who has judged other Navy sailors in similar situations now holds information that he would’ve fined, demoted or imprisoned them for. Quid pro quo occurs in the military—sexual harassment, promotions, evaluations and it gets reported and dealt with. Information is withheld, people lie, and officers are required to level some form of non-judicial punishment as a result.

It must be getting hard to sleep at night for the Admiral….he has information, that if it were disclosed, it would clear his conscience forever–and lead the way to the truth. The value of that information diminishes dramatically….if he loses that election….and that now appears very likely.

Hard to sleep at night with that weighing upon your conscience……Admiral?

ted c on June 4, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Boy, this is a statement about the Admin, not Sestak.

AnninCA on June 4, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Nope! It’s about both, and a man who espoused to criminal activity, and now closes his clap trap, and is a willing accessory to the criminal activity.

capejasmine on June 4, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Wethal on June 4, 2010 at 11:48 AM

That’s good to know about Philly, I hope you’re right. And the general feeling I had when I was up home was that my Conservative kin and friends are mobilizing. I’m optimistic we can change PA to at least purple. Red would be the dream, but at least a new Republican Senator and Governor would be a good start.

hawkdriver on June 4, 2010 at 12:38 PM

It’s time, hawkdriver. Philly and Pittsburgh will never let us go truly red. But we’ve got some things going for us at the local/regional level, too (Luzerne County/Wilkes-Barre corruption out the wazoo – Kids for cash, Skrepenak), that are going to help.

either orr on June 4, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Wethal on June 4, 2010 at 12:08 PM

I think Murphy is doable. Gerlach will hold his seat for the GOP. Philly burbs turn red again.

Ah, but does Kanjorski finally fall? That would be the ‘burbs turning red.

JohnGalt23 on June 4, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Simple solution: just have dead people vote… They’ve been doing that in Chicago for YEARS…

Khun Joe on June 4, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Same thing with New Orleans, where they consider an election rigged only if the dead vote more than twice.

JohnGalt23 on June 4, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Given ObaMao’s record. The last thing any competent politician wants is for ObaMao to campaign for him.

Slowburn on June 4, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Ah, but does Kanjorski finally fall? That would be the ‘burbs turning red.

JohnGalt23 on June 4, 2010 at 12:54 PM

That’s not the ‘burbs, but the primary anthracite coal fields district of the northeast. Lou Barletta came pretty close two years ago, even with the Obama tidal wave. And if immigration becomes an issue, it’s Barletta’s. As a mayor, he was a hardnoser on illegals in Hazleton.
Memo to all who wanna help: toss a few bucks Barletta’s way.

either orr on June 4, 2010 at 1:18 PM

I would have thought that going public about declining Obama’s job offer would be helping Sestak.

And maybe it did, but having a “D” after any candidate’s name can’t be an asset this year.

UltimateBob on June 4, 2010 at 1:42 PM

But I have been listening to the news and it’s supposed to be so helpful to have Bill Clinton stump for you just ask Blanche Lincoln.

Dr Evil on June 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM