Sen. Bob Casey's Republican challenger continues to close the gap with the incumbent in two new polls.
A new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning found the Pennsylvania Democrat leading Tom Smith, a former coal company executive, by only 3 points in a horse-race matchup, 48 percent to 45 percent, among likely voters, with 7 percent undecided. That's down from the 18-point lead Casey held in a Quinnipiac University survey from August.
In a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released Monday, Casey led Smith by 2 points, 41 percent to 39 percent, with 18 percent of those likely voters polled undecided. That's down from Casey's double-digit lead in a September Muhlenberg College poll. Pennsylvania does not permit early voting, allowing a candidate who surges late to be competitive on Election Day.
The Democratic firm Public Policy Polling released its own poll Monday showing Casey with an 11-point lead, 50 percent to 39 percent. But PPP uses robopolls, a method considered less reliable and accurate than using live interviewers to question likely voters.
Meanwhile, Smith outraised Casey in the third quarter of this year, not including $10 million the wealthy Republican loaned his campaign.
Still, Pennsylvania structurally favors Casey and he retains the advantage in the race, especially with President Barack Obama on the top of the ticket. Obama is likely to motivate high voter turnout in heavily Democratic areas such as Philadelphia.
The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 1,519 likely voters on land lines and cellphones using live interviewers. It was in the field Oct. 12-14 and had a margin of error of 2.5 points.
The Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll surveyed 438 likely voters by live telephone interview. The poll was in the field Oct. 10-14 and had a margin of error of 5 points.
The PPP poll surveyed 500 likely Pennsylvania voters on only land lines using automated telephone interviewers. The poll was in the field Oct. 12-14 and had a margin of error of 4.4 points.