December 18, 2009 - Specter, Toomey Deadlocked In Pennsylvania Senate Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Obama Gets Good Score On War, Bad Marks For Health Care

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Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter and Republican challenger Pat Toomey are deadlocked 44 - 44 percent in Pennsylvania's marquee 2010 U.S. Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. President Barack Obama's job approval in this pivotal swing state remains below 50 percent at 49 - 45 percent.

Sen. Specter holds a commanding 53 - 30 percent lead in the Democratic Senate primary over Congressman Joe Sestak, a slight increase from the 44 - 25 percent margin when the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University last surveyed Pennsylvania voters October 1.

Specter, who spent more than three decades in public life as a Republican, switched parties earlier this year and held an impressive 53 - 33 percent lead over Toomey in a May 4 Quinnipiac University poll. But that gap narrowed in the spring and summer. Toomey took a statistically insignificant 43 - 42 percent lead in an October 1 survey, virtually unchanged from today's 44 - 44 percent tie.

"With less than 11 months to go, Sen. Arlen Specter and Pat Toomey are neck-and-neck. Specter has the state's Democratic registration advantage on his side, while Toomey can take heart in the numbers that show problems for Specter in measures in addition to the horse race," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"For example, voters say 50 - 38 percent he does not deserve reelection."

"In the meantime, Toomey has begun to introduce himself to the bare majority of Pennsylvania voters who are not familiar enough to have an opinion on whether they like him or not. Toomey's blank slate in the minds of voters is Specter's best chance to reverse his fortunes. In other words, it is Specter's opportunity to convince Pennsylvanians that although they may be lukewarm about him, Toomey will give them the shivers," said Brown.

Pennsylvania voters give Specter a split 47 - 45 percent job approval rating and an equally split 43 - 45 percent favorability.

Toomey gets a 35 - 10 percent favorability, but 55 percent don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

President Obama's Approval

President Obama's 49 - 45 percent approval compares to a 49 - 42 percent score in an October 1 Quinnipiac University poll. In this latest survey, the President gets a positive rating from 82 percent of Democrats, 45 percent of independents and 17 percent of Republicans.

And the overall job approval rating is actually better than when voters are asked about Obama's performance on health care and the economy. They disapprove 50 - 45 percent of Obama's handling of the economy and disapprove 56 - 37 percent of his handling of health care. On Afghanistan, they approve 51 - 41 percent.

"The President's job approval rating in Pennsylvania should be troubling to the White House. Pennsylvania has been trending Democratic in recent years and Obama had a double- digit 55 - 44 percent win in the 2008 election," said Brown. "But what's ailing him in Pennsylvania - unhappiness over health care and the economy - is no different than what is producing similar, and in some places worse numbers for the President elsewhere."

The most popular major elected official in Pennsylvania is U.S. Sen. Robert Casey Jr., who gets a 53 - 29 percent job approval.

From December 8 - 14, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,381 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

2. (If registered Democrat) If the 2010 Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED DEMS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
 
Specter              53%    51%    54%
Sestak               30     32     28
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      2      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      1
DK/NA                15     14     17
 
TREND: (If registered Democrat) If the 2010 Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED DEMS...............
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  May 28
                     2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Specter              53      44      55      50
Sestak               30      25      23      21
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       2       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       1       2       2
DK/NA                15      28      19      27
 
 
4. If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Arlen Specter the Democrat and Pat Toomey the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Specter              44%    12%    78%    36%    40%    47%    52%
Toomey               44     80     11     44     52     37     36
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      1      1      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -      1      1      -      -
DK/NA                11      7     10     18      7     16     12
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Specter              47%    67%    41%    45%    41%    49%    29%
Toomey               44     20     39     41     52     37     60
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      2      1      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      2      1      -      1      -      -
DK/NA                 8     10     18     12      5     14     11
 
TREND: If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Arlen Specter the Democrat and Pat Toomey the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  May 28  May 4
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Specter              44      42      45      46      53
Toomey               44      43      44      37      33
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1       -       1       2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -       1       -       3       1
DK/NA                11      13      10      14      10
 
 
5. If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Joe Sestak the Democrat and Pat Toomey the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Sestak               35%     7%    69%    27%    34%    37%    33%
Toomey               40     74      9     40     47     34     40
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      1      -      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      2      2      1      2      1
DK/NA                22     18     18     31     17     26     25
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Sestak               39%    62%    34%    40%    25%    32%    24%
Toomey               36     18     39     40     46     34     55
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      1      1      -      2      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      3      1      2      4      -
DK/NA                23     19     24     18     26     30     20
 
TREND: If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Joe Sestak the Democrat and Pat Toomey the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  May 28
                     2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Sestak               35      35      35      37
Toomey               40      38      39      35
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2       1       1       3
DK/NA                22      25      23      23
 
 
9. Is your opinion of - Arlen Specter favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            43%    17%    68%    42%    42%    45%    49%
Unfavorable          45     74     21     44     50     41     42
Hvn't hrd enough      9      8      9     10      7     10      7
REFUSED               3      1      3      4      1      4      2
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable            45%    58%    41%    48%    45%    42%    33%
Unfavorable          46     28     44     44     48     45     55
Hvn't hrd enough      8     10     13      6      4     10      9
REFUSED               1      4      3      2      2      2      3
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Arlen Specter favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                             FAVORABLE....
                                                             High    Low
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  May 28  May 4   Nov 26  Oct 1
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2009
 
Favorable            43      42      45      46      52      56      42
Unfavorable          45      46      44      39      34      23      46
Hvn't hrd enough      9      10       9      14      12      19      10
REFUSED               3       2       2       2       2       3       2
 
 
10. Is your opinion of - Pat Toomey favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            35%    53%    16%    35%    43%    28%    37%
Unfavorable          10      4     14     12     11      9      7
Hvn't hrd enough     55     42     70     52     45     63     56
REFUSED               1      1      -      1      1      -      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable            34%    24%    34%    34%    38%    28%    45%
Unfavorable          18      9     14     11      3      6      6
Hvn't hrd enough     48     67     50     55     59     66     48
REFUSED               -      -      2      -      -      -      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Pat Toomey favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  May 28  May 4   Mar 25
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Favorable            35      34      34      27      20      14
Unfavorable          10      12      10      11      13       6
Hvn't hrd enough     55      53      56      61      67      78
REFUSED               1       1       1       1       1       2
 
 
11. Is your opinion of - Joe Sestak favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            20%    15%    25%    19%    22%    18%    18%
Unfavorable           9     11      5     10     10      7      8
Hvn't hrd enough     70     74     68     69     66     74     73
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      1      1      2
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable            15%    39%    17%    36%     5%     7%    13%
Unfavorable           7      7      8     18      1      4      8
Hvn't hrd enough     78     52     73     44     94     88     78
REFUSED               1      2      2      2      -      1      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Joe Sestak favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  May 28
                     2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Favorable            20      21      23      18
Unfavorable           9       8       7       5
Hvn't hrd enough     70      70      69      76
REFUSED               1       2       1       -
 
 
21. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Arlen Specter is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              47%    20%    71%    45%    46%    47%    51%
Disapprove           45     74     20     45     49     42     40
DK/NA                 8      6      8     10      5     10      9
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              47%    61%    46%    49%    38%    45%    42%
Disapprove           49     32     40     44     51     44     52
DK/NA                 4      6     14      7     11     11      6
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Arlen Specter is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  May 28  May 4   Nov 26  Oct 1
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2009
 
Approve              47      44      47      51      56      62      44
Disapprove           45      48      46      39      36      25      48
DK/NA                 8       9       7       9       8      13       9
 
 
22. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob Casey Jr. is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              53%    39%    72%    47%    55%    51%    60%
Disapprove           29     43     11     33     31     27     20
DK/NA                18     18     17     20     14     22     20
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              54%    68%    52%    51%    44%    54%    50%
Disapprove           30     20     29     28     31     24     35
DK/NA                16     12     20     21     24     22     16
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob Casey Jr. is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  May 28  May 4   May 28  Mar 28
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2007
 
Approve              53      53      53      56      55      56      46
Disapprove           29      29      25      21      21      21      18
DK/NA                18      18      21      23      24      23      35
 
 
23. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              49%    17%    82%    45%    45%    52%    50%
Disapprove           45     77     14     47     49     42     45
DK/NA                 6      6      4      8      5      6      5
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              48%    80%    52%    49%    37%    50%    36%
Disapprove           46     15     45     48     54     43     56
DK/NA                 6      5      3      3      9      7      8
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  May 28  May 4   Mar 25  Feb 12
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              49      49      56      62      66      61      63
Disapprove           45      42      37      31      29      30      22
DK/NA                 6       9       7       7       5       9      15
 
 
25. Looking ahead to the 2010 election for United States Senator, do you feel that Arlen Specter deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Yes/deserves         38%    15%    58%    36%    36%    39%    45%
No/does not          50     77     26     50     56     45     45
DK/NA                12      8     16     14      8     16     10
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes/deserves         40%    54%    41%    38%    31%    35%    30%
No/does not          54     34     44     50     55     50     57
DK/NA                 6     11     15     12     14     15     13
 
TREND: Looking ahead to the 2010 election for United States Senator, do you feel that Arlen Specter deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  May 28  May 4   Mar 25  Feb 11
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Yes/Deserves         38      37      40      42      49      38      40
No/Does not          50      52      49      43      41      41      43
DK/NA                12      11      11      15      10      20      17
 
 
26. Does President Obama's support of Arlen Specter for United States Senator make you more likely to vote for Specter, less likely to vote for Specter, or doesn't it make a difference?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
More likely          11%     2%    23%     7%     9%    14%    12%
Less likely          17     32      3     17     17     16     11
Doesn't make diff    71     66     73     75     73     69     76
DK/NA                 1      1      2      1      1      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
More likely          21%    18%     6%    14%     4%     6%     9%
Less likely          18     11     14     16     18     19     19
Doesn't make diff    61     72     81     69     75     75     69
DK/NA                 -      -      -      1      3      -      3
 
TREND: Does President Obama's support of Arlen Specter for United States Senator make you more likely to vote for Specter, less likely to vote for Specter, or doesn't it make a difference?
                     Dec 18  Oct 1
                     2009    2009
 
More likely          11      12
Less likely          17      18
Doesn't make diff    71      68
DK/NA                 1       2
 
 
28. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              45%    17%    77%    39%    41%    49%    44%
Disapprove           50     79     20     54     54     46     52
DK/NA                 5      4      3      7      4      5      4
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              47%    78%    51%    45%    30%    46%    32%
Disapprove           49     20     42     50     63     51     64
DK/NA                 4      2      7      5      7      4      4
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy?
                     Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22  Mar 25  Feb 12
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              45      46      50      56      59
Disapprove           50      47      43      36      26
DK/NA                 5       7       7       8      16
 
 
29. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling health care?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              37%     8%    64%    34%    36%    37%    34%
Disapprove           56     88     25     60     59     53     57
DK/NA                 7      4     11      6      4     10      9
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              33%    63%    40%    38%    20%    36%    29%
Disapprove           57     31     52     55     70     56     65
DK/NA                10      6      8      7     10      8      6
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling health care?
                     Dec 18  Oct 1
                     2009    2009
 
Approve              37      39
Disapprove           56      53
DK/NA                 7       8
 
 
30. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the situation in Afghanistan?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              51%    44%    62%    46%    53%    48%    45%
Disapprove           41     47     31     47     40     42     46
DK/NA                 8      9      7      7      7      9      9
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              45%    66%    47%    60%    42%    43%    47%
Disapprove           46     27     46     33     45     54     43
DK/NA                 9      7      7      7     13      4     10