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Poll: Casey’s Standing for Re-Election Improves

Sen. Bob Casey’s and President Barack Obama’s stocks are on the rise in Pennsylvania.

Quinnipiac University released new polling this morning suggesting that the Pennsylvania Democrat would enjoy a 10-point lead — 45 percent to 35 percent — over a generic Republican challenger if his re-election contest were held today.

And in the critical state on the presidential front, Obama would enjoy a 45 percent to 39 percent lead over a generic Republican.

The numbers, for both Democrats, are a mild improvement over a mid-December Quinnipiac poll. But the pollster noted that a significant portion of the electorate hasn’t made up its mind on Casey.

“Although Sen. Bob Casey, the son of a former governor with the same name, was a statewide elected official for eight years as state auditor general and has served four years as senator, it is somewhat surprising that 31 percent of Pennsylvania voters haven’t decided whether they think he is doing a good job,” wrote Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “That’s not that much lower than the 39 percent who don’t have an opinion about the Commonwealth’s other senator, Pat Toomey, who has been in office just six weeks.”

Specifically, 46 percent of those surveyed said that Casey deserves to be re-elected, compared with 28 percent that said he does not, and another 26 percent that did not know. Just 40 percent said Casey deserved re-election back on Dec. 16. Looking at the president’s 2012 chances, 48 percent of respondents said that Obama deserves to be re-elected compared with 45 percent that said he does not and 8 percent that did not know. Those numbers are up slightly from just 42 percent that favored him for re-election and 48 that did not in mid-December. And while it appears that both Casey and Obama are somewhat vulnerable, Republicans have struggled to identify a top-tier challenger for Casey.

The only announced GOP candidate, Marc Scaringi, previously a staffer for Sen. Rick Santorum (R), has struggled in early polling, likely because of low name recognition. And it’s unclear who else might join the race, although GOP Reps. Jim Gerlach and Charlie Dent have been mentioned as possibilities.

Casey’s lead against a generic Republican is far smaller than specific prospective matchups, according to numbers released last month by Public Policy Polling.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,366 registered voters on land lines and cell phones Feb. 8-14. The margin of error was 2.7 points.

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