May 4, 2010 - Sestak Gains On Specter Among Pennsylvania Democrats, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Onorato Tops Field Of Unknowns In Governor's Primary

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U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak is within striking distance of U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, trailing the long-time incumbent 47 - 39 percent among likely primary voters, compared to his 53 - 32 percent gap April 7, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

In the Democratic primary for Governor, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato has 36 percent to lead a pack of largely unknown candidates, none of whom tops 9 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds. Another 37 percent are undecided and 60 percent of likely primary voters who express a choice say they might change their mind.

"The Senate race is closing and could be headed for a close finish, while the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination is moving in the opposite direction," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "With only two weeks until the May 18 primary, Onorato can feel somewhat confident, while Sen. Specter should be more concerned."

The narrowing of the Specter/Sestak race is confirmed by other measures as well:
  • Democrats trust Specter more than Sestak to do what he says he will do 42 - 31 percent, compared to 43 - 26 percent April 7;
  • Voters give Specter a 57 - 31 percent favorability, compared to 60 - 26 percent;
  • Sestak gets a 43 - 11percent favorability, compared to 33 - 6 percent.
But Democrats say 60 - 23 percent that Specter is more likely to win in November, little changed from April 7.

Only 14 percent of Pennsylvania likely Democratic primary voters remain undecided and 35 percent of those who have picked a candidate say they might change their mind.

"Sen. Specter switched parties because he was worried about losing in the Republican primary. His big lead among likely Democratic primary voters has disappeared and although he remains ahead, momentum is clearly on Sestak's side at this point," said Brown. "As a Republican, Specter did well among Democrats, but large majorities of Democrats have been voting against him for 30 years and that might be a tough habit for many of them to break. In addition, Specter's big lead in name identification has begun to erode as Sestak television commercials introduce him to the voters outside his suburban Philadelphia base."

Onorato, who has outspent his competitors on television, gets 36 percent of Democratic primary voters, compared to 9 percent for Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel and 8 percent each for Auditor General Jack Wagner and State Sen. Tony Williams. In Quinnipiac University's April poll of likely primary voters, Onorato was at 20 percent, Hoeffel 15 percent, Wagner 13 percent and Williams 5 percent.

"Onorato has outspent his opponents on the campaign trail, especially on television, and it shows in the results," said Brown. "Although only slightly more than half of likely voters know enough about him to have an opinion, 46 - 5 percent favorable, 73 to 77 percent of Democrats don't know enough about any of the other three to have an opinion about them. At this point, less than 20 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Wagner, Hoeffel or Williams. That is a big advantage for Onorato entering the home stretch of the campaign."

From April 28 - May 2, Quinnipiac University surveyed 930 Pennsylvania likely Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 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.

1. 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 q1) As of today, would you say that you lean a little more toward Onorato, Wagner, Williams or Hoeffel? (This table includes "Leaners".)
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Onorato              36%    35%    37%
Wagner                8      9      8
Williams              8      7      9
Hoeffel               9     12      7
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -
DK/NA                37     36     38
 
TREND: 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 q1) As of today, would you say that you lean a little more toward Onorato, Wagner, Williams or Hoeffel? (This table includes "Leaners".)
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Onorato              36      20
Wagner                8      13
Williams              8       5
Hoeffel               9      15
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -       -
DK/NA                37      47
 
 
1a. (If express choice q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS.....
                     CAND CHOICE GIVEN Q1..........
                            CAND CHOICE Q1.........
                     Tot    DO     JW     TW     JH
Made up              36%    46%    17%    29%    19%
Might change         60     51     77     63     78
DK/NA                 4      3      6      8      4
 
TREND: (If express choice q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS....
                     CAND CHOICE GIVEN Q1
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Made up              36      27
Might change         60      70
DK/NA                 4       2
 
 
2. Is your opinion of - Dan Onorato favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            46%    44%    47%
Unfavorable           5      5      5
Hvn't hrd enough     46     47     46
REFUSED               3      4      3
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Dan Onorato favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Favorable            46      27
Unfavorable           5       6
Hvn't hrd enough     46      64
REFUSED               3       2
 
 
3. Is your opinion of - Jack Wagner favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            17%    17%    17%
Unfavorable           6      6      6
Hvn't hrd enough     75     75     76
REFUSED               2      2      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Jack Wagner favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Favorable            17      20
Unfavorable           6       5
Hvn't hrd enough     75      73
REFUSED               2       2
 
 
4. Is your opinion of - Joe Hoeffel favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            15%    19%    13%
Unfavorable           6      5      6
Hvn't hrd enough     77     72     79
REFUSED               2      3      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Joe Hoeffel favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Favorable            15      18
Unfavorable           6       4
Hvn't hrd enough     77      75
REFUSED               2       2
 
 
5. Is your opinion of - Tony Williams favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            17%    16%    17%
Unfavorable           7     10      6
Hvn't hrd enough     73     70     75
REFUSED               3      4      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Tony Williams favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Favorable            17       6
Unfavorable           7       3
Hvn't hrd enough     73      90
REFUSED               3       1
 
 
6. If the Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today, would you vote for Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak?(If undecided q6) As of today, would you say that you lean a little more toward Specter or Sestak? (This table includes "Leaners".)
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Specter              47%    45%    49%
Sestak               39     41     37
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -
DK/NA                14     13     14
 
TREND: If the Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today, would you vote for Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak? (If undecided q6) As of today, would you say that you lean a little more toward Specter or Sestak? (This table includes "Leaners".)
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Specter              47      53
Sestak               39      32
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -       -
DK/NA                14      15
 
 
6a. (If express choice q6) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     CAND CHOICE GIVEN Q6.
                            CAND CHOICE Q6
                     Tot    AS     JS
Made up              63%    62%    65%
Might change         35     37     32
DK/NA                 2      1      2
 
TREND: (If express choice q6) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     CAND CHOICE GIVEN Q6
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Made up              63      62
Might change         35      37
DK/NA                 2       2
 
 
7. Is your opinion of - Arlen Specter favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
	                   LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            57%    55%    58%
Unfavorable          31     33     29
Hvn't hrd enough      9      9      9
REFUSED               4      4      3
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Arlen Specter favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Favorable            57      60
Unfavorable          31      26
Hvn't hrd enough      9      12
REFUSED               4       2
 
 
8. Is your opinion of - Joe Sestak favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            43%    46%    40%
Unfavorable          11     11     11
Hvn't hrd enough     44     41     47
REFUSED               2      2      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Joe Sestak favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Favorable            43      33
Unfavorable          11       6
Hvn't hrd enough     44      58
REFUSED               2       2
 
 
9. 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?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Specter              42%    40%    43%
Sestak               31     35     28
NO DIFF(VOL)          7      6      7
DK/NA                20     18     22
 
TREND: 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?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Specter              42      43
Sestak               31      26
NO DIFF(VOL)          7       6
DK/NA                20      25
 
 
10. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - believe most shares your values, Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Specter              41%    40%    41%
Sestak               34     38     31
NO DIFF(VOL)          3      3      4
DK/NA                22     20     23
 
TREND: Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you believe most shares your values, Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Specter              41      42
Sestak               34      26
NO DIFF(VOL)          3       4
DK/NA                22      27
 
 
11. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - see as more consistently liberal, Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Specter              35%    37%    34%
Sestak               29     31     28
NO DIFF(VOL)          3      3      3
DK/NA                33     29     35
 
TREND: Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you see as more consistently liberal, Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Specter              35      35
Sestak               29      26
NO DIFF(VOL)          3       2
DK/NA                33      36
 
 
12. 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?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Specter              60%    58%    61%
Sestak               23     27     20
NO DIFF(VOL)          1      1      1
DK/NA                17     14     18
 
TREND: 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?
                     LIKELY DEM PRIMARY VOTERS
                     May 4   Apr 7
                     2010    2010
Specter              60      58
Sestak               23      21
NO DIFF(VOL)          1       1
DK/NA                17      20