The new Quinnipiac poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race shows Republican former Rep. Pat Toomey retaking a lead over his long-time nemesis, incumbent Democrat and ex-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter.
The numbers: Toomey 46%, Specter 41%, with a Â±2.6% margin of error. Toomey also leads Specter’s challenger in the Democratic primary, Rep. Joe Sestak, by 42%-34%. A month ago, Quinnipiac showed Specter taking a lead of 49%-42%, and Toomey had an edge of 39%-36% over the lesser-known Sestak. The TPM Poll Average currently gives Toomey a lead over Specter of 43.1%-39.6%, and a lead over Sestak of 38.9%-32.0%.“A Toomey-Specter race could continue swinging back and forth until November because most voters won’t begin to focus on it until after Labor Day,” writes Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “On paper, Sen. Specter is vulnerable in the general election because only 36 percent of voters say he deserves another term. But Toomey is so little known that the electorate is torn which way to go.”
Specter was first elected to the Senate as a Republican in 1980. As a moderate Republican, he was challenged from the right for the GOP nomination in 2004 by then-Rep. Pat Toomey, and won by only a 51%-49% margin. Specter’s support among Republicans plummeted after he provided a crucial vote to pass President Obama’s stimulus package, and he subsequently switched parties when polls showed he would lose a primary rematch against Toomey.
Toomey’s campaign recently announced that they raised $2.3 million in the first quarter of 2010, and have over $4 million in cash on hand.