Pennsylvania: Poll Gives Dent 12-Point Edge Over Callahan

Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:39pm

Rep. Charlie Dent (R) is leading his Democratic opponent by 12 points, according to a new poll from the Allentown Morning Call and Muhlenberg College.

Dent led the likely Democratic nominee, Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, 43 percent to 31 percent, with 24 percent undecided.

Dent was viewed favorably by 53 percent of those surveyed, while 43 percent had a favorable opinion of Callahan.

The poll took the opinions of 303 likely voters April 19-27 and had a 6-point margin of error.

Callahan is a top recruit of national Democrats this cycle, and the race is expected to be competitive.

On Health Care, Specter Regrets Party Switch

In the middle of a primary that points to nothing but a tough general election campaign, Sen. Arlen Specter (D) found himself in what might have been an ill-timed moment of introspection.

“Well, I probably shouldn’t say this, but I have thought from time to time that I might have helped the country more if I’d stayed Republican and tried to bring people across the aisle on health care. I might have brought a few across the aisle,” he said in an interview with the Allentown Morning Call.

Specter’s staff provided a transcript of a recording of the quote to back up its contention that the newspaper took the Senator’s remark out of context.

The newspaper paraphrased Specter rather than using the Senator’s full quote, writing: “Specter mused that perhaps if he’d remained in the caucus he could have persuaded one or two of his GOP colleagues to support health care reform.”

The newspaper also quoted Specter expressing nostalgia for bipartisanship.

“‘Coalition building has gone out of style in this wing of the building,’ he said. Breaking from party ranks to vote with the other side is a ‘very unpleasant experience.'”

It was a year ago this week that Specter bolted from the Republican Party in the face of poll numbers showing that he faced a herculean effort to win renomination.

Now he’s facing voters as a Democrat.

The most recent polling shows Specter comfortably ahead of Rep. Joe Sestak, his challenger for the Democratic nomination, but in a competitive general election race with the candidate who almost beat him in the 2004 GOP primary, former Rep. Pat Toomey.

Since switching parties, Specter has voted consistently with Democrats, including on the historic health care legislation.

He told the newspaper he would have voted for that bill regardless of his party affiliation.