New Poll Shows Specter, Toomey in Dead Heat

Posted October 1, 2009 at 9:00am

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) are in a dead heat in the 2010 Keystone State Senate race, according to a new poll released Thursday.The Quinnipiac University Poll showed Toomey barely leading Specter, 43 percent to 42 percent — a difference that is considered a statistical tie.In May, Specter led Toomey in a similar poll by a 20-point margin. Specter announced in late April that he was switching parties to run for re-election as a Democrat because polls showed he could not beat Toomey in the GOP primary.Specter, however, is polling far ahead of his Democratic primary opponent, Rep. Joe Sestak. The new Quinnipiac poll found Specter ahead of Sestak, 44 percent to 25 percent, in a ballot test of next April’s Democratic primary.Sestak, however, performed similarly to Specter in the general election test, trailing Toomey, 35 percent to 38 percent. Peter Brown, an assistant director at Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said this is because Toomey is relatively unknown in the state: 53 percent of voters reported they did not know enough about him to form an opinion.“Pat Toomey is pretty much a blank slate to half of the state’s voters and that is both his opportunity and his potential Achilles’ heel,— Brown said. “Unless Toomey shoots himself in the foot, Specter will have to do it for him by running a strongly negative campaign.—The survey of 1,100 Pennsylvania voters was taken Sept. 22-28 and had a margin of error of 3 points.