The new Quinnipiac poll of Pennsylvania finds that Sen. Arlen Specter has a big lead in the 2010 Democratic primary against his challenger, Rep. Joe Sestak: Specter 50%, Sestak 21%.
Pennsylvania Democrats also have a 70% favorable rating for their newest Democratic Senator, to only 14% unfavorable, and they believe by a 64%-18% margin that he deserves to be re-elected. Sestak remains an unknown for now, with only a 27% favorable rating among Democrats to 3% unfavorable, and 70% having no opinion.
In a general election match-up with conservative former Rep. Pat Toomey -- whose Republican primary challenge scared Specter into switching parties -- Specter has a lead of 46%-37%, down from 53%-33% margin earlier this month. Specter also leads Rep. Jim Gerlach, a possible GOP primary opponent of Toomey's, by 45%-36%. Sestak edges Toomey 37%-35% and leads Gerlach 36%-30%, with the higher undecided rate owing to Sestak being less well known than Specter. And in a Republican primary, Toomey leads Gerlach 38%-10%.
The survey was conducted May 20-26, before we broke the news that Sestak is in the race.