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Toomey edges Specter by 6 in new poll

Toomey edges Specter by 6 in new poll

Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey holds six-point lead over Senator Arlen Specter thanks to his strength with Republicans, likely voters and independents, according to a new poll.

The survey, by the GOP firm Susquehanna Polling & Research, found Toomey winning 42 percent of likely voters, compared to 36 percent for Specter and 18 percent who are still undecided. The results cut against a couple recent polls that showed Specter retaking the lead against Toomey, but they’re in line with many other surveys conducted over the last several months. One key reason for the difference is Susquehanna’s specific selection of respondents; it polled only those who voted in general elections from 2005-2008, emphasizing off-year voters “to reflect likely turnout in a non-presidential general election.”

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Specter up by 7, while a Research 2000 poll showed him leading by 6.

Susquehanna did not poll the Democratic Senate primary, nor did it survey a general election matchup between Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak.

In its poll of 700 voters, which has a margin of error of 3.7 percent, Toomey won 75 percent of Republicans and 40 percent of independents (a 10-point lead over Specter in that group). Democrat favor Specter 59 percent to 14 percent, with 20 percent still undecided.

In an encouraging sign for Toomey, he leads Specter 43 percent to 33 percent among “super voters,” those who have voted in at least three of the last four general elections, according to the poll.

The poll also found that the voters who remain undecided are “historically most favorable” to the Democrats, including voters in Philadelphia, females, younger voters and moderates.

Click here to see the poll.

March 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm

--Dan Hirschhorn

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comments [26] | post a comment

  1. IntelligentVoter

    Mar 15th, 2010

    It is quite a mistake for the establishment not to do polling on Sestak v. Toomey. Hiding the fact will only result in upsets as we saw in Mass where Brown was 20 points down just days before the race.

    While many people are saying publicly that they are selecting Specter over Sestak, they are privately saying the opposite….. Citing that anything against a sitting Senior Senator can indeed be intimidating.

  2. HateSestak

    Mar 15th, 2010

    Supposedly IntelligentVoter: Poppycock. What people are privately discussing is what a fiasco Sestak’s Senate bid has become. Abysmal poll numbers. Critical campaign staffers (his Political Director, Communications Director, etc.) relinquishing their positions. Minimum wage payments to remaining staffers. Utterly rejected by Montgomery County Democrats. Unsubstantiated accusations against the incumbent Democratic President of the United States. An endorsement from a degenerate freak Congressman who fondles the gentials of unsuspecting young males. Sestak’s Senate bid is an unprecedented debacle. Pundits are now dismissive – and with good reason.

  3. Frank

    Mar 15th, 2010

    Like David Diano, I refuse to believe anything that isn’t directly from the Daily Kos. Perhaps if the Black Panthers, Nation of Islam, La Raza, CAIR, Code Pink, PETA, or some other mainstream Democrat organization put out a poll showing Toomey with the lead I’d be worried. But at this point I’m very optomistic for Specters chances. When November comes around GDP will be at 12%, unemployment will be at 3%, the Dow will be at 12,000 and people will chanting “YES WE CAN” in the streets again. Specter has this locked up. Case closed.

  4. […] leading, this pollster used a much better pool of voters. One key reason for the difference is Susquehanna’s specific selection of respondents; it polled only those who voted in general elections from […]

  5. Bruce Bailey

    Mar 15th, 2010

    Take a look at the crosstabs on this poll and you’ll see what a crock it is. And ANY horse-race poll this far out from November is ridiculous anyway, let alone one executed by a self-described “GOP firm”. Even polling Dem voters on the primary at this point would be sort of pointless until we get within about four weeks of the voting.

    And of course when Rick says “people are privately discussing” he means he and Dave.

  6. BB

    Mar 15th, 2010

    Please don’t vote for any of these candidates. Zero leadership, all three are simply bureaucrats. Until we change the culture in this state it will be the same old, same old. None of these three should be in the U.S. senate representing Pa. None. We need to replace the two party system and make it easier for other candidates to get on the ballot. Get rid of all the political insiders, lobbyists and those that hang on to their coat tails. ENOUGH ALREADY the taxpayer in Pa. deserves far better. It’s time to CHANGE THE CULTURE!!!


    Mar 15th, 2010

    My respected opponent, David Diano, will doubtless have an explanation for why this is crazy, but the demographics of this poll are quite interesting and diametrically opposed to the Research 2000 poll. This poll has a substantially stronger showing for the middle age and older age groups and the especially the seniors than Research 2000 which is using the national Obama-McCain age breaks. While these demographics (for instance) don’t appear to affect the spread between Corbett vs. Wagner in their race much, they do lead to a quite dramatic reversal of fortune in the Specter vs. Toomey race.
    If indeed the electorate is, as has been the case in 2009 races, older and less Obamanized, then Toomey appears to do even better with the electorate that knows Arlen best. Familiarity breeds something or other.

  8. Bruce Bailey

    Mar 15th, 2010

    When 52% of those polled self-identify as “conservative,” your poll has a problem.

  9. David Diano

    Mar 15th, 2010

    The skewing of the poll by pre-selecting voters from 2005-2008 ignores voters who came out in 2009, new voters, etc.
    A better approach would have been to show them as a sub-sample in the cross tabs.

    The phrase “GOP firm Susquehanna Polling & Research” should give us pause.

    After the weak turn outs in 2009, we have a new class of super-voters.
    I find it difficult to believe that Toomey can hold Independents, once they realize he is to the Right of Santorum.

    The reality is the Specter/Toomey is a coin flip (with dependence on jobs/economy/Obama) and Sestak gets slaughtered.

    If you dismiss this poll and the Daily Kos as biased, you are stil left with Quinniapac.

    Without Toomey vs Sestak, this poll is useless to Primary voters trying to evaluate (debunk) Sestak’s claims that he could do better in November.

    I wonder if they did poll on Sestak, but the results were suppressed because they didn’t fit the GOP narrative pushing Sestak.

  10. Brett

    Mar 15th, 2010

    I said it from the beginning Spector will beat Sestak and Toomey will win over Spector. I will also predict the point spread..5pts


  11. 95 South

    Mar 15th, 2010


  12. HateSestak

    Mar 15th, 2010

    Brett: Senator Specter has an overwhelming fundraising advantage over Mr. Toomey – so overwhelming, in fact, that victory is beyond the bounds of possibility for the presumptive GOP nominee. When Representative Sestak reluctantly brings his floundering, ill-considered campaign to a halt (and he undoubtedly will, inasmuch as he will soon discover he has no choice in the matter), Senator Specter will emerge from the Democratic primary unscathed – with upwards of $9 million at his disposal. Toomey simply cannot compete in this arena. No matter how extenuating the cirstumstances, Specter’s $9 million war chest assures him ultimate victory. Villify “Snarlin’ Arlen” all you wish, folks – Specter has the resources, Toomey simply does not. Unless Toomey enjoys unprecedented success in the realm of fundraising later this year (improbable), his defeat is all but certain. Ideology, economic conditions, party affiliation -all are irrelevant. Specter has the wherewhithal, Toomey does not. Game, set, match.

  13. HateSestak

    Mar 15th, 2010


    Once upon a time, there was a corrupt union boss, who took out two debt consolidation loans from a federally chartered institution. The boss was quite pleased with himself, inasmuch as he got very, very good terms on both loans (it pays to know the Board members, boys and girls). And the boss lived happily ever after – until someone told federal agents that he didn’t report the loans to the Department of Labor as required by federal law. Now, the union boss is in deep @#! and doesn’t even know it.

    Always adhere to federal law, boys and girls. Oh – and be careful who you accept endorsements from.

    Sleep tight, Baby Sestak. Eric Massa is in the bottom bunk for your protection.

  14. EK

    Mar 16th, 2010

    David Diano: Toomey’s only to the right of Santorum on economic issues… but certainly not on social ones or those of foreign relations.

  15. David Diano

    Mar 16th, 2010

    Toomey’s socially conservative too.
    He’s got a ZERO Naral rating.
    He voted against gay adopting (and of course voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage).
    Very pro-gun (actually pro gun manufacturers and dealers).
    Very anti-immigrant.
    For drilling in ANWR, and against raising CAFE standards.

    Here’s Pat on the issues:

  16. Tom

    Mar 16th, 2010

    Wow, a ZERO Naral rating? So, he is pro-life to the core? NOOOOOOOOOO! I hope my fellow western pennsylvanians realize this when they go to the polls. A lot of people here love Toomey, but I don’t think they realize that he’s so pro-life, so pro-gun, and against gay marriage. They think he’s a moderate RINO joke like Tom Ridge. Gee whiz, when David Diano lets everyone know that Toomey’s a conservative, this election is over! Luckily we have fine citizens like Dave here in PA to help us idiots out west pick our candidates.

  17. Bruce Bailey

    Mar 16th, 2010

    Tom & EK –

    Here’s how your supposed “Guns & Bible” SW PA counties voted in 2008:

    County Obama McCain
    Allegheny 373153 272347
    Beaver 40499 42895
    Bedford 6059 16124
    Cambria 32451 31995
    Fayette 25866 26081
    Greene 7829 7889
    Somerset 12878 21686
    Washington 50752 46122
    Westmoreland 72721 102294
    622208 567433
    52.3% 47.7%

  18. Tom

    Mar 16th, 2010

    Bruce, if you take out Allegheny I think you’ll see a different picture. Also, since when did Cambria become party of southwestern pa? Plus, you have Washington County’s numbers reversed. McCain won every county in Western PA outside of Allegheny, and that includes Washington. You lie…just like your racist, socialist president.

  19. Bruce Bailey

    Mar 16th, 2010

    Fine, let’s take out Cambria and correct Washington. Then we’ll compare Allegheny against what’s left

    Allegheny: 373153 272347
    The Rest:
    Beaver 40499 42895
    Bedford 6059 16124
    Cambria 32451 31995
    Fayette 25866 26081
    Greene 7829 7889
    Somerset 12878 21686
    Washington 46122 50752
    Westmoreland 72721 102294
    The Rest Total: 244425 299716

    So as always in the state of PA, the SW counties can’t hope to counter the voter coming out of Allegheny, and the much-vaunted “T” can’t outweigh Philly+SE counties. Dems win. If you don’t like it, Alabama is looking for recruits.

  20. […] here for a pa2010 article on the poll. Click herefor a PoliticsPA article on the […]

  21. Isaac L.

    Mar 16th, 2010

    Tom – “racist, socialist president”? How do you figure? Or are you just quoting Rush and Glenn instead of thinking for yourself?

    The fact of the matter is that Toomey is way more conservative than even Rick Santorum. He’s a disciplined politician and he’s a pretty smart guy, so he knows not to let on with the ultra-conservative in a purplish blue state like PA. If he were to get in office, we’d see a massive jump to the Right, just like when he ran as a moderate for the House back in the 90s and then jumped far to the Right after he was elected.

  22. HateSestak

    Mar 16th, 2010

    I reiterate: whether Tommey is prepared to assume this responsibility or not, it is a moot point. The impending exit of Representative Sestak (voluntarily or otherwise) all but ensures that Senator Specter will emerge from the primary season unscathed, with a staggering $9 million war chest. How, exactly, can Toomey overcome this obstacle? Senator Specter will command almost THREE TIMES as much money as the presumptive GOP nominee. Ideology, party affiliation, economic issues – all are immaterial. No candidate, no matter how compelling, can surmount such an overwhelming fundraising advantage. Specter will be able to innundate the airwaves with advertisements, whereas Toomey’s capacity to reach audiences will be far more limited. Toomey’s advocates and the press take note: a Toomey/Specter “contest” exist only in your fertile imaginations. Sestak’s political demise essentially signals the end of the Senate race. That is the empirical reality, whether it is palatable or not.

  23. Steve

    Mar 16th, 2010

    Bruce, you’re insane. By your own words, SEPA rules the day and Democrats cannot be beat in any statewide election. Please. What will your excuse be when Corbett and Toomey win? What will happen to your SEPA-dominant analysis then? If you really think that Democrats can’t be beat, then why are you even on this site? Why even bother talking politics if it’s such a done deal? Go golfing. Oh wait, you’re liberal. Go to a gay pride rally. Don’t even worry about politics because according to the Bruce Bailey poll and the David Diano poll every Democrat will win in PA and that’s a fact. Whatever community college you went to did a poor job of educating you.

  24. Bruce Bailey

    Mar 16th, 2010

    It’s a new reality Steve, welcome to it. When do you leave for Alabama?

  25. Steve

    Mar 17th, 2010

    Bruce, you don’t sound very tolerant. Why do you want everyone that disagrees with you to leave the state? Are you too cowardly to debate anyone with different views? Seems like Democrats are always quick to respond to their opponents with threats of deportation or imprisonment in “education” camps. You’re a very scary person with a very sick way of seeing the world. Perhaps you and your comrads should leave the state. I believe you’d enjoy Detroit. It’s one of the most progressive cities in the world and has voted overwhelmingly Democrat for over 50 years. It’s paradise.

  26. Toomey Has Lead in PA «

    Mar 23rd, 2010

    […] new Susquehanna Polling & Research (R) survey in Pennsylvania finds Pat Toomey (R) leading Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), 42% to 36%, with 18% still […]

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