Political Polling in Pennsylvania: Wave 2

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Washington, DC - The PA Senate race has tightened up considerably. The current survey shows the race as a dead heat at 46% apiece including undecided voters who lean towards one candidate or the others. Our August survey showed the Republican Pat Toomey with a 10 percentage point advantage among likely voters (Toomey 47% vs. Democrat Joe Sestak 37%). There are only 6% remaining who are undecided so this race will most likely continue to be hard fought until election day.

  • Sestak’s ability to fight back into the race appears to be based in part on his ability to convince Pennsylvanians that he is best positioned on a number of important economic issues:
    • Pluralities say that Sestak has better policies on “America’s policies towards China” (Sestak 33% vs. Toomey 28%), “Keeping jobs in this country” (Sestak 37% vs. Toomey 31%), and “Standing up for America’s interests” (Sestak 40% vs. Toomey 34%).
  • Toomey has more credibility on “Balancing our national budget” (Toomey 36% vs. Sestak 28%).
  • The two candidates are split on “Creating jobs for the people of PA” (Sestak 34% vs. Toomey 34%) and “Abortion” (Sestak 31% vs. Toomey 31%).

The race to become the next governor of Pennsylvania is a little more clear-cut. Currently Republican Tom Corbett enjoys a 6 percentage point advantage among likely voters over Democrat Dan Onorato (Corbett 49% vs. Onorato 43%). This is a significantly closer race than we observed in August when Corbett enjoyed a 15 percentage point advantage (Corbett 49% vs. Onorato 34%) but it remains outside the margin of error.

The majority of Pennsylvania likely voters (54%) disapprove of the job Ed Rendell is doing as governor. However, there remains a large proportion of the population (42%) who approve of Rendell.

Much of the discontent in Pennsylvania, as across the country, can be traced back to the economy. In our October survey, 63% of registered voters say the economy or jobs are the biggest problem facing PA. This is an increase of 15 percentage points from the 48% who said the same in August.

  • The Democrats’ effort to push “fair trade” appears to be reaching fertile ground. In our current survey a plurality of Pennsylvanians (48%) agree that “Free trade is damaging to US interests because it subjects American companies and products to unfair competition from cheap labor abroad.” Slightly fewer (44%) agree with the free trade position “Free trade is a good thing because it opens global markets for American products.”

More data and full technical details are available in the topline document which is available for download on the right-hand side of this page.

For more information on this press release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Senior Research Manager
Ipsos Public Affairs

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Political Polling in Pennsylvania: Wave 2

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Topline Results


Chris Jackson
Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs