Two of the nation’s top election handicappers have upgraded Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race in light of recent polling that shows Republican Tom Smith gaining on Sen. Bob Casey. Larry Sabato and Roll Call each moved the race from “likely Democratic” to “lean Democratic.”
Casey leads by an average of 5.3 points in the polls, according to Real Clear Politics.
Wrote Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia:
We also cannot ignore the polls showing tightening margins in both Pennsylvania’s presidential and Senate contest, so we’re moving both to leans Democratic, down from likely. Romney probably only wins Pennsylvania in a decisive national victory — we’ll be stunned if it accounts for his 270th electoral vote — and the challenger’s campaign is wise todownplay his chances both in the Keystone State and Michigan. Meanwhile, it appears that Sen. Bob Casey (D) is running a subpar campaign, and businessman Tom Smith (R) is hammering him with ads. Last month, we ran a list of potential Senate shockers — but none of them would compare to a Casey loss.
And in a longer story about Smith and the race, Shira Toeplitz of Roll Call wrote:
Roll Call is changing this race rating to Leans Democratic. There’s an opportunity in the Keystone State for Republicans, but Casey is still favored to win — even if it’s by a smaller margin than most anticipated.