Reuters/Ipsos poll: Republican leads in Pennsylvania for Specter’s Senate seat

August 31, 2010

Republicans have the momentum going into Election Day for the U.S. Senate seat held by Arlen Specter for three decades in Pennsylvania. USA/

A Reuters/Ipsos poll  of likely voters showed Republican Pat Toomey with a 10-point lead, 47-37 percent, over Democrat Joe Sestak. That gap narrowed among a broader pool of registered voters to 40-37 percent.

Sestak beat Specter in the Democratic primary after the senior senator from Pennsylvania turned Democrat in April 2009 ahead of his battle for re-election to the Senate seat he first won as a Republican 30 years ago. President Barack Obama had backed Specter.

The poll shows it wouldn’t have made  any difference if Specter had won the Democratic primary, with likely voters in Pennsylvania  supporting Toomey over Specter 52-40 percent.

“This suggests that the GOP has genuine momentum here outside of the identities of individual candidates and isn’t necessarily just benefiting from the fallout from the Democratic Primary,” Ipsos pollsters say.

Did the president influence Pennsylvania voters? Fifty-nine percent of registered voters said Obama’s endorsement of Specter over Sestak made no difference in their decision on how to vote.

The Republican candidate also leads in the Pennsylvania governor’s race — Tom Corbett has 15 points over Democrat Dan Onorato, 49-34 percent, among likely voters. That gap narrowed in a broader pool of registered voters to 43-37 percent.

See here for Reuters Election 2010 coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Senator Specter walks across tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base in June)

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