Toomey maintains lead in Rasmussen poll

The good news and the bad news in Pennsylvania appears to be that there is no news.  Rasmussen’s latest survey of likely voters in Pennsylvania shows Republican Pat Toomey maintaining a lead on Joe Sestak outside of the margin of error, 45/38.  That’s essentially unchanged since last month, when the nomination bumps dissipated:

The numbers remain little changed this month in Pennsylvania’s race for the U.S. Senate, with Republican Pat Toomey continuing to maintain a slight lead over Democrat Joe Sestak.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state shows Toomey with 45% support, while Sestak earns 38% of the vote. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and 12% are undecided.

Last month, Toomey held a near-identical 45% to 39% lead.

In fact, except for a brief surge after his mid-May victory over incumbent Arlen Specter in the state’s Democratic Senate Primary, support for Sestak has remained in the 36% to 40% range in matchups with Toomey back to February. In those same surveys, Toomey has received 42% to 47% of the vote.

The good news here is that Sestak can’t get above 40%.  The bad news is that Toomey thus far can’t get above 50%, which would essentially close the deal.  There won’t be a third-party candidate in this race, so the remaining 17% of voters will determine the winner, and at the moment we can’t get a good idea how they will break out.  An even split will make Toomey the winner, while Sestak has to hope for something along the lines of a 2-1 or better split in a state where a Democratic President only gets a 45/52 approval rating and the Democratic Governor does worse at 42/57.

The internals of the poll appear to favor Toomey as well.  He wins independents by a 49/25 margin, but it goes beyond the demos of the Senate vote.  Toomey has a robust 56/29 favorable rating, compared to Sestak’s respectable 50/35.  However, on the issues, the split goes much deeper.  Pennsylvania voters want ObamaCare repealed, 61/35, and they want taxes cut over more government spending in order to create jobs, 62/20.  A majority, 53%, believe that the stimulus package backed by Sestak failed to create jobs at all, and only 26% believe it did.  Those are solid Club for Growth positions, and the differences between Toomey and Sestak on them couldn’t be more clear.

Voters aren’t exactly happy with the status quo, either, which plays against Sestak as representing the incumbent party in power.  Almost two thirds still believe the US is in recession (64%), while almost half think the economy is “worse” (46%) rather than “better” (26%).  Only a paltry 8% rate the economy as good or excellent, with 43% calling it “fair” and 49% “poor.”

The good news is that Toomey is on the right side of all these issues..  If he gets that message across to Pennsylvania voters still on the fence, Sestak may never get across that 40% threshold.