What Rasmussen giveth, Rasmussen taketh away

Earlier this week, supporters of Senator Arlen Specter were thrilled with the results of a Rasmussen poll showing the incumbent up 53 to 32 in his primary race against Congressman Joe Sestak.

Today’s Rasmussen poll tells a different story — it has Republican Pat Toomey up 49 to 40 on Specter. (Toomey also holds a 43-35 lead over Sestak.)

From the pollster’s website:

Republican Pat Toomey now leads incumbent Senator Arlen Specter 49% to 40% in Pennsylvania’s race for the U.S. Senate. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Pennsylvania voters also finds Toomey with a 43% to 35% lead over Democratic challenger Joe Sestak.

A month ago Toomey led Specter by four and Sestak by six. In the state’s Democratic Senate Primary race, Specter now leads Sestak by 21 points.

Just 41% of Pennsylvania voters favor the health care legislation currently before Congress while 57% are opposed. Those figures include 22% who Strongly Favor the legislation and 47% who are Strongly Opposed. Those who Strongly Oppose the health care plan overwhelmingly prefer Toomey over either Democrat. Those who Strongly Favor the plan prefer the Democrats.

Pennsylvania attitudes towards the health care plan are similar to the national average. The health care issue played a key role in Tuesday’s stunning Massachusetts special Senate election.

Just five percent (5%) of Pennsylvania voters rate the economy as good or excellent while 51% say poor. Only 31% say it’s getting better, while 42% say it’s getting worse.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

Political analyst Larry Sabato now rates the Pennsylvania Senate race as a toss-up, but, given the current political climate, he says Toomey would be the winner if the election were held today. Sabato also projects that if the election were held today, the Democrats’ 59-seat majority in the Senate would be down to 52.

Specter is viewed very favorably by 16% of Pennsylvania voters but very unfavorably by more than twice as many (33%).

Twelve percent (12%) have a very favorable view of Toomey, while 10% regard him very unfavorably. For Sestak, very favorables total eight percent (8%), and very unfavorables stand at 11%.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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