Q-Poll: most Democrats still don’t know about Sestak

About two and a half months before Pennsylvania’s primary election, more than seven in ten Democrats say they haven’t heard enough about Senate candidate Joe Sestak to form an opinion. That’s according to a new Quinnipiac University poll, which gives incumbent Arlen Specter a 53-29 lead over Sestak in the Democratic matchup, with fourteen percent of voters undecided.

Assistant polling director Peter Brown says the survey holds a glimmer of good news for Sestak. “One of the things that we did find in our analysis was that among the relatively small share of the voters who knew both candidates in the Democratic primary, among Democrats, that is – Sestak has a lead.”

That’s partially due to the fact Specter’s reelect numbers are still low. Just 38 percent of respondents said Specter deserves another term. (Though among Democrats, Specter’s re-elect number is 60 percent.)

Brown says Sestak needs to majorly increase his name ID in order to compete against Specter, who’s held his seat since 1981. “This is a race, again, where name recognition really matters,” he said. “And until Mr. Sestak is able to tell voters who he is and what he’s for, Specter has a lead.” The easiest way to do that is on television. PA2010 has a good take on how a few weeks of solid advertising could quickly change the primary’s dynamics. As Dan Hirshhorn points out, Neil Oxman’s Campaign Group will produce Sestak’s ads, so the messages will certainly pack some punch.

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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