Poll: Pennsylvania Senate Race Virtually Tied

A win for Hillary Clinton could be a win for Democrat Katie McGinty

Democrat Katie McGinty is in a tight Senate race against Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey in Pennsylvania. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Democrat Katie McGinty is in a tight Senate race against Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey in Pennsylvania. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted October 13, 2016 at 12:18pm

A new poll has Democrat Katie McGinty and Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey virtually tied in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

The Bloomberg Politics poll, conducted by Selzer & Company, showed McGinty running 2 points ahead of Toomey, 47 percent to 45 percent among likely voters. 

McGinty did better in the Philadelphia suburbs than statewide. She held a 37-point advantage among nonwhites, an 18-point lead among suburban women, and a 15-point lead among voters with college degrees.

Toomey had a 33-point advantage with independents, a 30-point lead with white men with no college degree, and a 21-point lead among rural residents. 

The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race a Tossup

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In the presidential race, Democrat Hillary Clinton had a 9-point lead over her Republican rival Donald Trump, 51 percent to 42 percent.

Clinton also has a strong 28-point lead in the once-reliably Republican Philadelphia suburbs, 59 percent to 31 percent. 

“Hillary Clinton’s strength in the Philadelphia suburbs may clinch the state for her,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, who directed the survey. “It’s possible she will carry McGinty to a win over Toomey in the U.S. Senate race.” 

Remarks by Trump in a recently unearthed 2005 video, in which he talks about groping and kissing women, have largely impacted the opinions of likely voters in Pennsylvania, Selzer said. 

About six out of 10 people said they were bothered a lot by the recording, including 24 percent of his own supporters. Sixty-nine percent of female voters were bothered a lot, compared to 51 percent of men.

[Female Democrats Work to Boost Senate Ranks]

In a two-way contest, Trump held a 32-point advantage among white men without college degrees, a 20-point lead with rural residents, a 15-point lead with Catholic voters, and an 11-point lead among western Pennsylvanians. 

Clinton had solid leads among nonwhites (49 points), voters with college degrees (26 points) and voters under 35 (22 points). 

Both candidates were viewed more negatively than positively by likely voters. Clinton was viewed unfavorably by a 51 to 48 percent margin. In contrast, 58 percent of voters viewed Trump unfavorably and 40 percent rated him favorably.

When asked about Trump’s possible legal evasion of income taxes for the past 18 years, 50 percent said it was wrong (even if it was legal), and 47 percent said it was OK because it was legal. 

The Bloomberg Politics poll surveyed 806 likely voters by landline and cell phones from Oct. 7-11. The margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.