April 7, 2010 - Specter Tops Sestak Among Pennsylvania Democrats, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Corbett Has Big Lead In GOP Governor's Primary

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Sen. Arlen Specter has a 53 - 32 percent lead among likely Democratic primary voters over U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak in the Senate race, while in the Governor's race, Attorney General Tom Corbett holds a 58 - 7 percent margin among likely Republican primary voters over State Rep. Sam Rohrer, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Three candidates in the Democratic primary for Governor are bunched together with Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato at 20 percent, former U.S. Senate candidate Joe Hoeffel at 15 percent and State Auditor General Jack Wagner at 13 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds. A fourth hopeful, State Sen. Tony Williams, gets 5 percent, while 47 percent are undecided and 70 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind.

In the Democratic Senate race, which has received national attention since Specter switched parties last year after three decades in the Senate as a Republican, only 15 percent of voters are undecided, not nearly enough to switch the outcome even if they all backed Sestak.

"With less than six weeks until the May 18 primary, Sen. Arlen Specter looks to be in solid shape for the Democratic nomination. Not only would Sestak have to win every undecided vote, he also would have to take away some who say they are for Specter. While that is certainly possible, it is a steep hill for Sestak to climb because Specter is such a known quantity to Pennsylvania Democrats, who generally like him," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"The only good news for Sestak is that his followers are slightly more likely to say they would not change their minds than are Specter's," Brown added.

Pennsylvania likely Democratic primary voters view Specter favorably by a 60 - 26 percent margin, while they see Sestak favorably by a 33 - 6 percent margin, with 58 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion. By 43 - 26 percent, Democrats say they trust Specter more than Sestak to do in office what he says on the campaign trail and by a 42 - 26 percent margin say Specter more shares their values.

The Democratic candidates for Governor have been virtually invisible to the voters: 64 percent of Democrats don't know enough about Onorato to have an opinion, while 73 percent feel that way about Wagner; 75 percent about Hoeffel and 90 percent about Williams.

"Dan Onorato remains slightly ahead as he has since the campaign began, but his margin is so small and the undecided vote so large that at this point the race is a three-way toss-up," said Brown. "With the candidates so unknown and just under half the voters undecided almost anything can happen, although history tells us in situations like this one, the winner will be the candidate with the largest and most effective television ad campaign and ground operation to bring out their vote. With that level of anonymity, anything is possible. This is clearly a race that is yet to be decided."

In the race for the Republican nomination, Corbett is way ahead and Rohrer's challenge is a token one at best. Even more than Specter, Corbett could lose every undecided vote and still win comfortably. Corbett is rated favorably by 51 percent of Republicans, unfavorably by 3 percent. For Rohrer, 88 percent don't know enough to form an opinion.

From March 31 - April 5, Quinnipiac University surveyed 921 Pennsylvania likely Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points, and 491 Pennsylvania likely Republican primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. The sample is drawn from registered voter lists based on people who have voted in recent elections.

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.

1a. If the Democratic primary for Governor were being held today, would you vote for Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner, Tony Williams or Joe Hoeffel? (If undecided q1a) As of today, would you say that you lean a little more toward Onorato, Wagner, Williams or Hoeffel? This table includes "Leaners".
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Onorato              20%    18%    22%
Wagner               13     15     12
Williams              5      6      4
Hoeffel              15     16     13
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -
DK/NA                47     44     49
 
 
1aa. (If express choice q1a) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary? (*Group size too small to report)
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS.............
                     CAND CHOICE GIVEN Q1a.........
                            CAND OF CHOICE Q1a.....
                     Tot    DO     JW     TW*    JH
Made up              27%    38%    13%     -     27%
Might change         70     59     86      -     71
DK/NA                 2      3      2      -      2
 
 
2a. Is your opinion of - Dan Onorato favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            27%    26%    28%
Unfavorable           6      7      6
Hvn't hrd enough     64     65     64
REFUSED               2      2      2
 
 
3a. Is your opinion of - Jack Wagner favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            20%    24%    18%
Unfavorable           5      5      4
Hvn't hrd enough     73     70     76
REFUSED               2      2      2
 
 
4a. Is your opinion of - Joe Hoeffel favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            18%    20%    17%
Unfavorable           4      6      4
Hvn't hrd enough     75     72     78
REFUSED               2      2      2
 
 
5a. Is your opinion of - Tony Williams favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable             6%     8%     5%
Unfavorable           3      4      2
Hvn't hrd enough     90     87     92
REFUSED               1      1      1
 
 
6a. If the Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today, would you vote for Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak? (If undecided q6a) As of today, would you say that you lean a little more toward Specter or Sestak? This table includes "Leaners".
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Specter              53%    53%    53%
Sestak               32     37     28
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -
DK/NA                15     10     18
 
 
6aa. (If express choice q6a) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS........
                     CAND CHOICE GIVEN Q6a....
                            CAND OF CHOICE Q6a
                     Tot    AS     JS
Made up              62%    58%    67%
Might change         37     39     33
DK/NA                 2      2      -
 
 
7a. Is your opinion of - Arlen Specter favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            60%    60%    60%
Unfavorable          26     29     24
Hvn't hrd enough     12      9     14
REFUSED               2      3      2
 
 
8a. Is your opinion of - Joe Sestak favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            33%    37%    31%
Unfavorable           6      7      5
Hvn't hrd enough     58     54     61
REFUSED               2      2      3
 
 
9a. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - trust more to do in office what they say they will do during the campaign, Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Specter              43%    42%    43%
Sestak               26     34     22
NO DIFF(VOL)          6      7      6
DK/NA                25     18     29
 
 
10a. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - believe most shares your values, Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Specter              42%    41%    43%
Sestak               26     32     22
NO DIFF(VOL)          4      5      4
DK/NA                27     21     31
 
 
11a. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - see as more consistently liberal, Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Specter              35%    37%    34%
Sestak               26     31     23
NO DIFF(VOL)          2      2      3
DK/NA                36     30     41
 
 
12a. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - think would be more likely to win the November general election if nominated, Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak?
                     DEM LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Specter              58%    59%    57%
Sestak               21     26     18
NO DIFF(VOL)          1      1      1
DK/NA                20     14     24
 
 
1b. If the Republican primary for Governor were being held today, would you vote for Tom Corbett or Sam Rohrer? (If undecided q1b) As of today, do you lean a little more toward Corbett or Rohrer? This table includes "Leaners".
                     REP LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Corbett              58%    66%    51%
Rohrer                7      7      6
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -
DK/NA                35     27     42
 
 
1ab. (If express choice q1b) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary? (*Group size too small to report)
                     REP LIKELY VOTERS........
                     CAND CHOICE GIVEN Q1b....
                            CAND OF CHOICE Q1b
                     Tot    TC     SR*
Made up              32%    32%     -
Might change         64     64      -
DK/NA                 4      4      -
 
 
2b. Is your opinion of - Tom Corbett favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     REP LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            51%    59%    44%
Unfavorable           3      3      3
Hvn't hrd enough     44     38     50
REFUSED               2      -      3
 
 
3b. Is your opinion of - Sam Rohrer favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     REP LIKELY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable             8%     8%     8%
Unfavorable           2      3      -
Hvn't hrd enough     88     87     89
REFUSED               2      2      2