July 14, 2010 - Sestak Catches Toomey To Tie Pennsylvania Senate Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; More Voters Say Obama Doesn't Deserve Second Term

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Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey are locked in a 43 - 43 percent tie in their race for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Rep. Sestak had 40 percent to Toomey's 42 percent in a May 13 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University and trailed Toomey 42 - 34 percent in an April 8 survey.

In today's results, Democrats back Sestak 77 - 11 percent while Republicans go with Toomey 82 - 11 percent. Independent voters back Toomey 44 - 35 percent, compared to 46 - 30 percent May 13.

Toomey, a former congressman, is viewed favorably by 35 percent of voters and unfavorably by 13 percent, while 51 percent don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

Sestak gets a 31 - 20 percent favorability rating, while 47 percent haven't heard enough about him to form an opinion.

"Congressman Joe Sestak, a decided underdog who knocked off U.S. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary, has now closed an 8-point gap in the last three months to tie Pat Toomey," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"But the Senate race remains wide open, since at this point about half of the voters don't know enough about either candidate to form an opinion.

"Perhaps Toomey can feel good that in recent months, when all the attention was on Sestak's primary win, he has limited the damage."

President Barack Obama's negative 46 - 49 percent job approval rating is essentially unchanged from his negative 45 - 49 percent score April 8 and his negative 46 - 48 percent score May 13. It is, however, a dramatic fall from May of 2009, when it was 66 - 29 percent approve. The President's current job rating reflects 82 - 16 percent disapproval among Republicans, 76 - 19 percent approval among Democrats and 53 - 40 percent disapproval among independent voters.

Pennsylvania voters say 48 - 42 percent that President Obama does not deserve reelection in 2012. In fact, 41 percent of voters say they would vote for an unnamed Republican candidate in 2012, while 40 percent say they would vote for Obama. Independent voters say they would go for a Republican 37 - 33 percent.

"When a politician's approval rating is down 13 points among independent voters, that is generally a sign of political vulnerability," said Brown. "The 6-point margin held by those who say President Obama doesn't deserve a second term over those who think he does also should make the White House nervous, especially since Pennsylvania has not voted Republican for president since 1988. Here too, his weakness is among independents, who say 51 - 35 percent he does not deserve a second term."

On other measures of the President, Pennsylvania voters:
  • Split 46 - 45 percent of his handling of the war in Afghanistan, down from 51 - 41 percent approval in December;
  • Disapprove 55 - 40 percent of Obama's handling of the economy;
  • Disapprove 54 - 36 percent of Obama's handling of the gulf oil spill.
From July 6 - 11, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,367 Pennsylvania voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 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 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               43%    11%    77%    35%    39%    47%    48%
Toomey               43     82     11     44     50     38     40
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      1      -      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      -      2      1      1      1
DK/NA                12      7     10     19      9     14     10
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Sestak               52%    60%    38%    44%    34%    46%    36%
Toomey               32     18     47     42     57     42     55
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      2      -      1      2      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      1      1      1      1      1
DK/NA                15     21     14     11      6     11      8
 
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? (Data available upon request back to May 2009)
                     Jul 14  May 13  Apr 8   Mar 2   Dec 18  Oct 1   Jul 22
                     2010    2010    2010    2010    2009    2009    2009
Sestak               43      40      34      36      35      35      35
Toomey               43      42      42      39      40      38      39
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       -       1       1       1       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       1       1       1       2       1       1
DK/NA                12      16      22      24      22      25      23
 
 
3. 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%    60%    17%    33%    43%    28%    33%
Unfavorable          13      2     22     10     13     12     17
Hvn't hrd enough     51     37     60     54     42     59     48
REFUSED               1      1      2      2      2      1      2
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable            33%    19%    42%    40%    32%    33%    37%
Unfavorable          15     18     14     15      8     10      9
Hvn't hrd enough     50     62     43     44     59     54     52
REFUSED               2      2      1      1      1      2      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Pat Toomey favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him? (*High also 35% Dec 2009)
                                                             FAVORABLE.....
                                                             High    Low
                     Jul 14  May 13  Apr 8   Mar 2   Dec 18  Jul 14  Mar 25
                     2010    2010    2010    2010    2009    2010*   2009
Favorable            35      29      29      26      35      35      14
Unfavorable          13       9       9       8      10      13       6
Hvn't hrd enough     51      60      61      65      55      51      78
REFUSED               1       1       1       1       1       1       2
 
 
4. 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            31%    18%    43%    28%    31%    30%    38%
Unfavorable          20     34      6     22     26     15     19
Hvn't hrd enough     47     46     49     47     40     53     41
REFUSED               2      2      1      3      2      2      2
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable            32%    34%    28%    35%    29%    35%    25%
Unfavorable          15      9     26     30     20     19     18
Hvn't hrd enough     49     55     42     33     51     44     56
REFUSED               4      2      4      2      -      3      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Joe Sestak favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him? (*Low also 18% May 2009)
                                                             FAVORABLE....
                                                             High    Low
                     Jul 14  May 13  Apr 8   Mar 2   Dec 18  May 13  Mar 2
                     2010    2010    2010    2010    2009    2010    2010*
Favorable            31      32      20      18      20      32      18
Unfavorable          20      14      11       6       9      14       6
Hvn't hrd enough     47      52      68      74      70      52      74
REFUSED               2       2       1       1       1       2       1
 
 
7. Is your opinion of - the Republican Party favorable, unfavorable, or haven't you heard enough about it?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Favorable            39%    79%    11%    36%    43%    36%    38%
Unfavorable          43     11     67     43     42     44     45
Hvn't hrd enough     14      6     19     16     11     16     13
REFUSED               3      3      2      5      4      3      3
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable            35%    14%    47%    38%    43%    39%    50%
Unfavorable          47     62     40     46     45     40     33
Hvn't hrd enough     16     22     12     11      8     18     13
REFUSED               2      2      1      5      5      3      5
 
TREND: Is your opinion of the Republican Party favorable, unfavorable, or haven't you heard enough about it?
                     Jul 14  Apr 8
                     2010    2010
Favorable            39      41
Unfavorable          43      41
Hvn't hrd enough     14      13
REFUSED               3       5
 
 
8. Is your opinion of - the Democratic Party favorable, unfavorable, or haven't you heard enough about it?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Favorable            41%     9%    78%    28%    34%    48%    48%
Unfavorable          45     79      9     53     55     35     41
Hvn't hrd enough     11     10     12     13      7     15      7
REFUSED               3      2      1      6      4      2      4
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable            48%    64%    37%    47%    38%    37%    29%
Unfavorable          37     22     50     43     51     47     53
Hvn't hrd enough     12     13     11      6      8     13     14
REFUSED               4      -      2      4      3      3      4
 
TREND: Is your opinion of the Democratic Party favorable, unfavorable, or haven't you heard enough about it?
                     Jul 14  Apr 8
                     2010    2010
Favorable            41      41
Unfavorable          45      46
Hvn't hrd enough     11       9
REFUSED               3       4
 
 
9. Is your opinion of - the Tea Party movement favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about it?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Favorable            34%    53%     9%    45%    44%    25%    30%
Unfavorable          27      9     43     24     27     27     33
Hvn't hrd enough     37     35     45     31     27     46     36
REFUSED               2      2      2      -      2      2      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable            32%    21%    35%    32%    35%    39%    39%
Unfavorable          31     37     26     39     21     17     19
Hvn't hrd enough     35     42     36     26     43     44     41
REFUSED               1      -      3      3      1      1      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of the Tea Party movement favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about it?
                     Jul 14  Apr 8
                     2010    2010
Favorable            34      33
Unfavorable          27      30
Hvn't hrd enough     37      35
REFUSED               2       2
 
 
10. Do you consider yourself part of the Tea party movement or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Yes                  12%    22%     1%    16%    16%    10%    11%
No                   82     73     89     82     80     84     85
DK/NA                 6      4     10      2      4      7      5
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Yes                  10%     4%    12%    12%    12%    21%    15%
No                   87     90     83     85     77     73     79
DK/NA                 3      6      5      3     11      6      6
 
TREND: Do you consider yourself part of the Tea party movement or not?
                     Jul 14  Apr 8
                     2010    2010
Yes                  12      14
No                   82      80
DK/NA                 6       6
 
 
15. 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              46%    16%    76%    40%    40%    51%    51%
Disapprove           49     82     19     53     57     42     44
DK/NA                 5      3      5      8      3      7      5
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jul 14  May 13  Apr 8   Mar 2   Dec 18  May 4   Apr 8
                     2010    2010    2010    2010    2009    2009    2010
Approve              46      46      45      49      49      66      45
Disapprove           49      48      49      46      45      29      49
DK/NA                 5       6       6       4       6       5       6
 
 
16. If the 2012 election for President were being held today, do you think you would vote for Barack Obama the Democratic candidate, or the Republican candidate?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Obama                40%     6%    75%    33%    35%    45%    47%
Republican           41     82     12     37     47     36     36
DEPENDS ON CAND(VOL) 12     10      9     19     12     12     14
DK/NA                 7      3      4     12      6      7      3
 
 
17. Looking ahead to the 2012 election for President, do you feel that Barack Obama 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         42%    11%    73%    35%    36%    47%    49%
No/does not          48     83     17     51     55     42     42
DK/NA                10      6     10     14      9     12      9
 
 
23. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - the economy?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Approve              40%    13%    71%    32%    35%    46%    51%
Disapprove           55     86     25     60     62     49     47
DK/NA                 5      1      5      8      4      6      3
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy? (*Low also 40% Apr 2010)
                                                             APPROVE......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jul 14  Apr 8   Mar 2   Dec 18  Oct 1   Feb 12  Jul 14
                     2010    2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2010*
Approve              40      40      44      45      46      59      40
Disapprove           55      55      51      50      47      26      55
DK/NA                 5       5       5       5       7      16       5
 
 
24. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Approve              36%    17%    54%    35%    34%    39%    42%
Disapprove           54     76     35     56     58     51     51
DK/NA                 9      7     11      9      8     10      8
 
 
25. 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              46%    27%    60%    48%    46%    45%    49%
Disapprove           45     64     31     42     47     43     44
DK/NA                10      9      9     10      7     12      7
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the situation in Afghanistan?
                     Jul 14  Dec 18
                     2010    2009
Approve              46      51
Disapprove           45      41
DK/NA                10       8
 
 
26. Do you think the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan now, or should the U.S. not be involved in Afghanistan now?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Right thing          48%    61%    36%    50%    57%    39%    52%
Shld not be invl     45     33     59     40     38     51     44
DK/NA                 7      6      5     10      5      9      4
 
 
27. Do you approve or disapprove of the federal health care overhaul?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Approve              37%    11%    60%    34%    34%    39%    46%
Disapprove           54     84     28     56     60     50     47
DK/NA                 9      5     12     10      6     11      7
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Approve              37%    62%    34%    46%    31%    25%    26%
Disapprove           50     28     56     48     64     62     65
DK/NA                13     10      9      7      4     13      9
 
 
28. If your member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for the health care overhaul plan, would that make you more likely to vote for him or her in November, less likely, or doesn't it make a difference?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
More likely          19%     4%    34%    15%    17%    21%    23%
Less likely          38     67     12     41     47     31     32
No difference        38     25     49     40     32     44     42
DK/NA                 4      3      5      5      4      4      3
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
More likely          16%    34%    18%    25%    18%    11%    14%
Less likely          33     18     37     38     55     44     44
No difference        48     41     41     31     26     43     39
DK/NA                 3      8      4      6      1      3      3
 
TREND: If your member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for the health care overhaul plan, would that make you more likely to vote for him or her in November, less likely, or doesn't it make a difference?
                     Jul 14  Apr 8
                     2010    2010
More likely          19      20
Less likely          38      39
No difference        38      39
DK/NA                 4       3