Remember when both the Republican and Democratic Parties tried to insist that Arlen Specter was the only path to victory in Pennsylvania? A new poll by Reuters and Ipsos puts a stake through the heart of that argument once and for all. Pat Toomey leads Joe Sestak in the Senate race by ten points, but Arlen Specter would be losing it to Toomey by 12:
In the latest sign that President Barack Obama’s Democrats could struggle at the November 2 midterm vote, 47 percent of likely voters said they would back Toomey and 37 percent said they favored Democrat Joe Sestak. …
When we asked Pennsylvania voters to imagine that Arlen Specter had won the Democratic primary for Senate, the figures were fairly similar, with Toomey on 52% and Specter on 40%. This suggests that the GOP has genuine momentum here outside of the identities of individual candidates and isn’t necessarily just benefiting from the fallout from the Democratic Primary (although the primary certainly didn’t do the party’s image any good, with one in seven PA voters naming ‘government, politics and politicians’ as a key problem facing the state).
Three in five (59%) registered voters say that Obama’s endorsement of Specter over Sestak makes ‘no difference’ in their decision on how to vote. Small minorities of Democrats (19%) and Republicans (15%) say that Obama’s endorsement of Specter has made them more likely to support Sestak, and just 12% of Dems say it has made them less likely to support Sestak.
Obama endorsed Specter in the Democratic primary, too. Ask Arlen what he’s doing these days. Mainly, he’s scrounging for a White House job since the voters forcibly retired him this spring.
The GOP leads in the gubernatorial race by 15 points to replace a once-popular Democratic governor, Ed Rendell, whose approval ratings are now underwater. Tom Corbett gets 49%, almost a majority, while Dan Onorato only gets 34%. Both races at the top of the ticket have become strong candidates for GOP pickups, and that’s going to have an effect on House races as well. The voters likely to turn out in November still have a one-point sample edge to Democrats, 45/44, but the two premiere Democrats on the ticket leave 20% of Democrats cold. That means the House races previously thought close in Pennsylvania may all swing to the GOP.
Instead of rescuing Democrats, Sestak and Onorato may turn into boat anchors, but the captain of the ship is still Barack Obama. Reuters/Ipsos didn’t poll on his approval numbers, but with Pennsylvania suddenly turning red, can anyone doubt that Obama has big problems in the Keystone State?