Today brings good news and bad news on the Senate front of the midterms, and we’ll start with the good new in Pennsylvania. Pat Toomey, whose mere presence in the Republican primary flipped Arlen Specter to the Democrats and into an ignominious end to his political career, now has a commanding ten-point lead in the latest Rasmussen poll. Toomey just misses the 50% mark, but then again, Sestak can’t get above 40%, either:
Republican Pat Toomey now holds a 10-point lead over Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak, the widest gap between the candidates since early April in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Pennsylvania shows Toomey earning 49% of the vote, while Sestak picks up 39% support. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, but a sizable 10% remain undecided less than three weeks before Election Day. …
Two weeks ago, Toomey, a conservative activist who formerly served in Congress, was ahead 49% to 40%, and earlier in September, he posted a 49% to 41% lead. Except for a brief bounce following his Democratic Primary win in mid-May over incumbent Senator Arlen Specter, Sestak has run second to Toomey in every survey since February.
Rasmussen has moved this race to its Solid GOP column, which appears reasonable given the lack of movement by Sestak over the last few months. Toomey has an overwhelming lead among independents, 54/13, which grows even larger when adding leaners, 62/15. Toomey wins among men and women and wins almost every income demographic except $20-40K. He has a solid favorability rating (54/36), while Sestak has grown unpopular at 43/48. Speaking of which, Pennsylvania voters don’t feel very happy about President Obama either, giving him a job approval rating of 39/60.
And this all happens in a sample of likely voters that has a D+8 advantage, 45/37.
Now for the bad news. In Connecticut, Linda McMahon has dropped back by double digits against Richard Blumenthal despite two good debates, according to Quinnipiac’s poll today:
Reversing a months-long decline in his lead in the Connecticut U.S. Senate race, Democratic State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has opened up a 54 – 43 percent likely voter lead over Republican former wrestling executive Linda McMahon, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
This compares to a 49 – 46 percent Blumenthal lead in a September 28 likely voter survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll. …
Independent voters shift from 49 – 44 percent for McMahon September 28 to 49 – 44 percent for Blumenthal today. Women back Blumenthal 63 – 32 percent while men back McMahon 52 – 46 percent.
The pollster concludes that McMahon may have peaked too soon, in September, and that her heavy advertising may be causing fatigue among voters. McMahon never led in this race, but she had been building some momentum in a normally deep-blue state. Blumenthal may be getting a bounce back due to his still-high personal approval ratings in the state as well.
Connecticut was always going to be a tough race to win in any case. It’s not over yet, of course, and this could very well be an outlier, although the Q-poll is normally a reliable indicator. Perhaps this comes in time to rally the troops for McMahon’s behalf, but it also means that calculations on Senate control that rely on Republicans winning this race may need to be adjusted accordingly.