U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak doesn’t have the same institutional support as his Democratic primary opponent Katie McGinty, but he has a barely-there lead over her among Pennsylvania voters — when you discount the two-thirds who are still undecided.
A Franklin and Marshall College Center for Opinion Research poll released Thursday shows Sestak leads McGinty by three points — 16 percent to 13 percent — with 66 percent of Democrats undecided.
But in a general election match-up, incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey — whose approval rating has gone up to 40 percent from 34 percent in June — leads Sestak by 12 points, 41 percent to 29 percent. Toomey leads McGinty by just 7 points, 35 percent to 28 percent.
Interesting that among Democratic primary voters, Sestak has a narrow lead, but in the general, McGinty does better against Toomey.
F&M pollster G. Terry Madonna said it’s too early to discern why this may be the case. Both Democrats, he said, are little known. But the figures do make one thing clear, he said — that Toomey will tough to beat.
“He’s not provocative, he’s not boisterous, he doesn’t step into big controversies,” Madonna said.
Expect to the see numbers shift as both Democrats try to boost their name recognition with television ads, Madonna said. The race will become flooded with money because it’s one of the seats Democrats seek to win to take back control of the Senate.
“Eventually the two of them have to point out their differences,” Madonna said. “We’re going to see how that plays out, and who can raise the money.”
McGinty is a recent entry to the race, having left Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration in July specifically to run. She joined Wolf’s cabinet after running against him the gubernatorial primary — and finishing fourth of four. Since her announcement, she’s racked up endorsements from the well-funded labor union United Steelworkers, pro-choice political organization EMILY’s List, and her one-time boss in Harrisburg former Gov. Ed Rendell.
Endorsements, however, don’t always translate into votes.
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