Pennsylvania: Three Polls Show Senate Primary Very Close

Posted May 12, 2010 at 5:16pm

Three polls released Wednesday gave three different totals but came to the same conclusion: The Democratic primary between Sen. Arlen Specter and his challenger, Rep. Joe Sestak, is too close to call.

Here are the numbers:

• Quinnipiac University poll — Specter 44 percent, Sestak 42 percent; sample size of 945 and a 3.2-point margin of error.

• Muhlenberg College/Allentown Morning Call tracking poll — Specter 45 percent, Sestak 45 percent; sample size of 407 and a 5-point margin of error.

• Franklin & Marshall College/Times-Shamrock Newspapers poll — Sestak 38 percent, Specter 36 percent; sample size of 150 and a 7.9-point margin of error.

The numbers are not precisely comparable because the polls vary widely in size and were not in the field on the same days. The Franklin & Marshall sample was taken May 3-9; Quinnipiac, May 5-10; and Muhlenberg, May 8-11.

Quinnipiac found that support for both candidates is soft; 29 percent of those who expressed a preference said they might change their minds.

To try to firm up support before the May 18 primary, the Sestak campaign circulated a Tuesday speech in which Specter got his parties mixed up. “I thank the Allegheny Republican Committee for endorsing me for the Democratic nomination,” Specter said.