Polls: Specter/Sestak too close to call; Onorato and Corbett hold wide leads

A cluster of new polls predict next week’s Senate Democratic primary will be a nail biter.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll gives incumbent Arlen Specter a two-point lead over Congressman Joe Sestak. The gap between the two candidates is within the margin of error.

Assistant polling director Peter Brown says Sestak’s television advertising campaign has convinced some Specter supporters to change their minds, noting 53 percent of respondents backed the Republican-turned Democrat in April.

The latest Franklin and Marshall College poll gives Sestak a two-point lead over Specter, with about one in four Democrats still undecided.

Muhlenberg College’s daily survey gives Sestak a six-point lead. He’s been ahead of Specter in that poll for five days now.

Meantime, State Representative Sam Rohrer’s campaign claims today’s polls give the Republican a sign of hope in his uphill battle against Attorney General Tom Corbett.

Quinnipiac  gives Corbett a 57 to 14 lead, with about three in ten Republicans undecided. But Franklin and Marshall College’s latest survey shows a much more open race, with Corbett holding a 29 to 10 lead, with 60 percent of GOP voters unsure who they’ll support.

Rohrer advisor Jeff Coleman says in the absence of television ads they can’t afford, the campaign is sticking to a grassroots word-of-mouth strategy. He says the effort doesn’t show up in the polls.

On the Democratic side, both the Quinnipiac and Franklin and Marshall polls give Dan Onorato wide leads over the other three candidates.

Onorato holds leads of more than twenty points in both polls.

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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