PA-Sen, PA-Gov: Plenty o’ Pennsylvania

Suffolk (9/24-27, registered voters, no trendlines):

Joe Sestak (D): 40

Pat Toomey (R): 45

Dan Onorato (D): 40

Tom Corbett (R): 47

(MoE: ±4.4%)

Suffolk (who, as they don’t hesitate to point out themselves, was the closest pollster to nailing the scope of Joe Sestak’s primary victory over Arlen Specter) has an interesting methodological variation: they do a likely-voter oversample of Erie County, which they consider the state’s best bellwether, and it’s much closer, with Toomey leading 42-41 and Corbett leading 43-42.

Franklin & Marshall (9/20-26, likely voters, 8/16-23 in parentheses):

Joe Sestak (D): 29 (31)

Pat Toomey (R): 38 (40)

Undecided: 32 (26)

Dan Onorato (D): 32 (27)

Tom Corbett (R): 36 (38)

Undecided: 38 (31)

(MoE: ±4.4%)

Franklin & Marshall, as is their usual style, has a buttload of undecideds. With a registered voter model, there’s even more: among RVs, Toomey leads the Senate race 32-29, and Corbett leads the Governor’s race 33-30. (Interestingly, that means there’s a lot of enthusiasm gap at work in the Senate race, but almost none in the gubernatorial.)

Muhlenberg for Allentown Morning Call (9/18-23, likely voters, 4/5-7 in parentheses):

Joe Sestak (D): 39 (22)

Pat Toomey (R): 46 (33)

Undecided: 14 (34)

Dan Onorato (D): 37 (18)

Tom Corbett (R): 46 (42)

Undecided: 17 (40)

(MoE: ±5%)

Magellan (9/21, likely voters, no trendlines):

Joe Sestak (D): 41

Pat Toomey (R): 49

Undecided: 8

Dan Onorato (D): 38

Tom Corbett (R): 50

Undecided: 9

(MoE: ±2.6%)

Just a little caveat: Magellan has previously done micro-targeting work for the Toomey campaign.

Susquehanna for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (9/23-26, likely voters, no trendlines):

Dan Onorato (D): 40

Tom Corbett (R): 46

(MoE: ±3.5%)

Putting all these polls together, we see, well, pretty much what we already knew: that Pat Toomey’s leading Joe Sestak in a narrow, consistent band in the high single digits. (Suffolk comes within 5, but they’re still using a registered voter model here.) There’s a little more variation in the gubernatorial race results, with Tom Corbett’s lead ranging from 4 to 12, but averaging out to basically the same thing: high single digits too.

55 thoughts on “PA-Sen, PA-Gov: Plenty o’ Pennsylvania”

  1. If Sestak can close in the last month like he closed in the primary, he may still have a shot. In this case, he’s probably glad there’s no early voting in PA.

  2. The Governor’s race was consistently double-digits for a long time, but now 4 of the last 5 polls have it a single-digit race.  The exception is partisan GOP outfit Magellan.

    The graph doesn’t show the tightening with only medium-level sensitivity, but their chart sure does with the polls in chronological order.

    It seems to me Onorato still can make a race of it if he has the money.  He might not win, but if he can make it close, and Sestak can do better and make it close like his race USED to be, then we might be able to save some House members downballot.

  3. I miss his analysis, but understand that he frequently went over the line w/r/t enforced standards here. Is he just on “timeout” or gone?

  4. The Susquehanna poll in this diary showing a competitive 6-point race is not yet in the chart.

    I kinda thought recently the Gov race seemed to be getting a little close, and sure enough I wasn’t imagining it.

    I think we shouldn’t ignore this.  Unless it turns out Onorato is burning through all his money and soon to run on fumes, in which case this is fleeting.  But I have no idea what the money situation is.

  5. I enjoyed his analysis, particularly regarding Pennsylvania since it’s such an important state this year. And to be honest, I did enjoy having an additional Republican among the frequent commentators! Although there have been a few more right-leaners who have joined over the past few months, in addition to of course GOPVoter who is essentially our Minority Leader.

  6. …I think it’s safe to say he really is gone.

    He did cross the line a LOT, so I understand it, but he also was a sober campaign junkie, so too bad.

    I, too, was thinking of him when I posted my Onorato comment here, because Ryan was so certain that Dems were in for an epic bloodbath, and the data certainly confirmed it when he was spouting that argument.  But if the Governor’s race really does tighten, that’s a big deal in limiting coattails.  It helps Sestak because an Onorato surge into contention can wake up Dems and give them a reason to show up and vote, when they otherwise wouldn’t be interested in showing up for what’s already a certain defeat.

    I can tell you firsthand that mere competitiveness matters downballot.  I lost my Democratic Delegate to the Virginia House last year in a Democratic-leaning district all because Deeds got crushed so badly that a lot of Democrats didn’t bother to vote.  If Deeds had been within 8-10 points, we would’ve had enough turnout to save my Delegate and many others.

    Onorato might just prove to be the medicine PA Dems need.

  7. He did cross the line a LOT, so I understand it, but he also was a sober campaign junkie, so too bad.

    I knew he was a Republican, but I didn’t notice all that much line-crossing.  Was it usually on open threads (which I typically don’t follow)?

  8. …Corbett has this in the bag and is winning in a blowout, so there’s nothing to talk about.

    It’s a recent thing that Onorato is rising.  A lot of his rise is really just base Democrats rallying around him, he’s not pulling down Corbett’s numbers much if at all.  But that doesn’t matter, what matters is that it’s a single-digit race now, and with almost 5 weeks left and momentum on Dan’s side that makes it worth closer attention.

    But I have no idea what Onorato has done in his campaign beyond a couple positive ads he’s aired.

  9. Onorato had farther to move up, so it doesn’t shock me that with more space to move up he’d climb more rapidly.

  10. Is Onorato more “dialed in” to the D party structure? How’s the “ground game” in PA? Have the PHL and PIT machines geared up for him? Perhaps they’re getting the word out, and see Sestak as a (relative) “outsider”?

    Those are actually my wild guesses, but as I know little about Onorato, I have to phrase them as questions.

  11. And I was starting to wonder myself. If Suffolk and Susquehanna are right, then Sestak is quite within reach and a month may be enough time for him to turn it around.

  12. It was no given Onorato WOULD move up to a single-digit deficit with almost 5 weeks to go.  He easily could’ve remained down double-digits the whole time and lost big.  So he’s trending up, and has real hope.

    Meanwhile, Sestak fell clearly behind Toomey in the summer and has not made any move at all to close the gap.

    I won’t be shocked if the final Gov result is closer than the Sen result.

    I wonder, but don’t know, if maybe Corbett was taking his lead for granted, and Onorato has snuck up on him.  Toomey KNEW he couldn’t take anything for granted, and didn’t.

  13. he can be a pretty good campaigner. No one thought he could take away so much of Crist support and the way the trend lines are going Meek might be in second place by election day. Might is the operative word.

  14. Note that the indies are breaking for Sestak, which seems a little off to me. Also, Sestak will need to consolidate Democratic support even more.

    Independents support Sestak over Toomey, 41 percent to 30 percent. Eighty-three percent of Republicans support Toomey, compared with Sestak’s 70 percent support among Democrats, according to the poll. But there are 1.2 million more Democrats than Republicans registered in Pennsylvania.

  15. That had Sestak doing better than expected with indies. He can still do this by consolidating the base and getting them to vote.

  16. On the chart there’s no previous poll by Susquehanna or this Pittsburgh paper.

    One or even two do not make a trend, I want to see more before I believe Sestak is gaining with indies.

    I’m actually VERY skeptical of our chances here simply because Toomey and IE groups are slamming Sestak HARD on TV, big buys and heavy rotations from what I’ve read.  And it’s been going on for months.  It will be remarkable to me if Sestak recovers and wins.

  17. A big part of it is Sestak finally starting to respond to the hammering. The anecdote at the link shows the “Too close to Wall Street” tag is sticking.

  18. Especially today.  This is a fairly large sample, 800, and this pollster has a history in PA, if not in this race.

    Just as an example, they had Critz pulling ahead in the PA-12 special when others, including PPP, has him behind:

  19. PA is conventional in that numbers don’t move real fast for either party, it takes time and effort for campaigning to sink in.

    PA has been so fast and furious that I haven’t been able to keep up with the massive ad buys, and I don’t really know what all Sestak and the DSCC and unions have been doing on the air.

    All I remember is the early ad war between rival Jewish groups arguing over Sestak’s commitment to Israel, which seemed like a lot of idiotically large expense and effort to reach an extremely small number of persuadable voters (i.e., people for whom Israel is a voting issue and are not already partisan Democrats or partisan Republicans).

  20. It would have been interesting to hear what he thinks about the Democratic comeback in Pennsylvania.

    That said, I saw the thread where he got banned, and I knew it was coming as soon as he posted. I bet Ryan caused the moderators more heartburn than anyone else, because he does provide good commentary, but he also allows himself to get baited into policy discussions which are pretty much verboten on this site.  

  21. Blue leaning swing state considering the top of the ticket carried it every time since 1992 even when going down nationally. PVI is D+2 remember.  

  22. Brown ran a horrible campaign all year until after Labor Day, his GOP opponent spent over $100 million in that time hammering him on TV, Meg staked out a modest but clear and consistent lead, and just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse Jerry brings up Monica Lewinsky!

    And now, 3 weeks later, Jerry has a clear lead and is on track for victory!

    Brown ran a FAR WORSE campaign than Sestak for most of the year, and Whitman spent FAR MORE money than Toomey and allies combined all year.  And yet she’s losing and Toomey’s winning.

    My point is that Sestak is not in a state where he can flip voters back to him in a heartbeat like Jerry could.  Hell, I didn’t think CA had become a state where that could be done.  But I KNOW PA is not that state.

    I hope the Susquehanna poll is on to something, because if so, Sestak might win this yet.

  23. First, the ‘swing’ back to Sestak may or may not exist, as it’s close to being statistical noise.

    I’m suggesting that a new “wave” of ads from a candidate have a tendency to boost his numbers, especially if that candidate has been quiet for a long time.

    Yes, the boost would be smaller in a less blue state like PA. If I understand correctly, underlying your argument is the assumption of a “baseline” D vote, a “baseline” that’s significantly higher in CA. That’s certainly an important factor in Brown’s favor.

    Nevertheless, what I suggest is based on a publicity boost, similar to the poll boost that’s frequently seen after a “hard-fought” primary victory. If I remember right, Sestak got some boost from his primary win. I suggest that Sestak on the air may be getting an echo of that kind of boost.

  24. could have actually been strategic, driven by an insurmountable financial deficit.

    He was probably figuring (hoping) he could coast on his name ID for a while, and then engage with force in the last couple months. That’s essentially what happened, though Whitman opened up a lead in the mid single digits for a while there. That was probably a risk he had no choice but to take, figuring a lot of her support would be soft, and Dems would likely come home.

  25. The person who finished second gets the same prize as the person who finished last.  If he can’t win, he no longer merits Dem support.

  26. This is not the first time what I tell he is closing the race, and I think now he is holding up and picking up all the democratic side in PA.

    Until few months we was ahead fundraing. He is so good fundraiser.

  27. I’m not really commenting on whether he merits Dem support — though I do believe he’s a better bet than Crist on election day, since independent candidates’ support tends to crater in the runup to an election.  My comments about him are really about his campaigning skills relative to a future election.  I keep bringing him up because I think he’s proven his mettle in statewide Florida politics, not because I expect him to win this race, or really ever did.

  28. he may not win, but he was dually selected by the Democratic Primary voters of Florida. They still support him and he deserves their support. But I guess it’s besides the point.  

  29. Who won the Senate primary?  And who won the Phila mayoral primary in 2007?  The establishment candidates or the insurgents?

  30. First, Meek has consistently raised a lot more money than anyone thought him capable of.  Second, he pulled within single digits of Rubio before this became a three-way race.  Third, he absolutely thrashed Jeff Greene despite getting vastly outspent, and in a similar situation to the one in which Bill McCollum lost.  Fourth, his poll numbers have been climbing steadily since he won the primary.

    Not all races are created equal.  If Scott McAdams gets 30% in AK-Sen, or if Roxanne Conlin cracks 40% in IA-Sen, or if Rodney Glassman breaks 40% in AZ-Sen, I’ll consider those performances that exceeded expectations.  Same with Meek.  It doesn’t mean we should endorse him or make him a prime fundraising target or even vote for him over Crist.  All it means is that he’s proved his mettle for a future race, and should no longer be regarded as a political lightweight.

  31. Again: according to the Quinnipiac Poll, Crist leads among Dems 46-43.  And as Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven, deserves got nothin’ to do with it.  Beating Rubio matters more than picking the most liberal option.

  32. he is the more liberal option (by the way Crist is no liberal, nor moderate). This is about the fact that he was chosen by the Democratic primary voters to represent them. He DOES have every right to be in this race. Neither you nor I can make this decision. I personally detest Crist, but he is a sadly better option than Rubio.  

  33. If Dems unite behind Crist, I think he would win.

    If they unite behind Meek, I think indies and conservative Dems stay home or flee to Rubio, and Rubio wins.

  34. All reports on the Brown campaign all year until after Labor Day were that he was invisible.  He was Creigh Deeds all over again, by all appearances.  He raised money reasonably well, just like Deeds did, but otherwise Brown just wasn’t making his presence felt at all.  Whitman was more energetic in every way, both personally and through her campaign organization.

    That’s what made Brown look like a loser.

    And yet he’s really turned it on, almost like an on-off switch.

    CA has really changed since the 70s, to his benefit.

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