The new survey of the Pennsylvania Senate race by Public Policy Polling (D) shows a tied race between Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak, who defeated incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in the Dem primary after Specter’s switch from the Republican Party, and Republican former Rep. Pat Toomey.
The poll has Sestak and Toomey at 41% each. The survey of registered voters has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous PPP survey, from all the way back in early April, Toomey led Sestak by 42%-36%. The TPM Poll Average gives Sestak a narrow edge of 41.4%-40.9%.
The pollster’s analysis suggests that the controversy involving the White House’s past efforts to get Sestak to drop out of the Democratic primary are not hurting the Dems here — but instead, the bigger problem for Democrats is a more Republican-friendly electorate than in 2008. Both candidates are fairly unknown, with a 29%-28% favorable rating for Sestak and a 30%-28% favorable rating for Toomey. But this polling group reports voting for John McCain by a 48%-47% margin in 2008, compared to the actual result of 55%-44% for Obama
PPP’s Tom Jensen writes: “These results seem to make it clear that the controversy about Sestak and the White House is not hurting him and that the race is now a pure tossup. Democratic prospects are much brighter than they were when it still looked like Arlen Specter would be the nominee and this contest is likely to be one of the closest in the country right on through the fall.”