( - promoted by Chris Bowers)
Note: If you are looking for information on Elena Kagan, I posted an extensive article just below this one--Chris Bowers
This morning's Muhlenberg / Morning Call tracking poll on the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary shows Joe Sestak ahead of Arlen Specter, 47%--42%. Confirming the tracking poll, Rasmussen shows exactly the same margin for Sestak, 47%--42%. It seems safe to assert that Sestak is now narrowly leading this campaign.
The two polls show very different favorable numbers. Morning Call puts Specter at 52% favorable, 35% unfavorable, while Rasmussen gives him 67%--31%. For Sestak, the numbers are 55%--14%, and 63%--22%. Essentially, the two candidates are running even in terms of favorable ratings, but Specter has higher name ID and higher unfavorables (by about 15% in each case).
If Specter is going to have any shot in this campaign, he is going to have to drive up Sestak's negatives. However, this is going to be very difficult:
Now, with all that said, Sestak is still only ahead by 5%, and riding a pretty big wave of new, which often means movable, supporters. Maybe there will be something that Specter can come up with over the next eight days that will turn this around for him. Get involved in Joe Sestak's campaign, and let's close this one out:
- Sestak is more electable than Specter The first attack Specter will use will be to argue that he is more electable than Sestak. Problem is, this simply isn't true. Even before Sestak's surge in the polls, he needed 68.2% of the undecided vote to hit 50.1% against Pat Toomey (17.4% of 25.5% undecided), while Specter needed 75.5% (10.5% of 13.9% undecided). Given that the general election polls used for those numbers were all taken before Sestak gained 25 points on Specter in the primary, it is highly likely that margin, which was already favorable to Sestak, is much more favorable to now. It is just flat wrong to say that Specter is more electable.
- Democrats will not appreciate attacks against the military record of another Democrat The most memorable negative attack of the 2004 Presidential campaign were the Republican slanders against John Kerry's military record. Attacking Joe Sestak's military record has been the most common negative approach Specter has taken in this campaign. He is directly making these attacks "himself" over Twitter (three of his last four tweets have been to this effect), and has even run paid advertising using this attack. This is the sort of attack that Republicans have usually employed, and as such it is extremely hard to imagine how this sort of Swiftboat attack is going to appeal to Democrats. If anything, it will backfire. At a time when Sestak is running ads showing Specter with Bush, this could well just disgust Democrats and reinforce Sestak's attack.
- Kagan could keep pressure on Specter The main attack Sestak is using against Specter is an ad featuring Specter saying he switched parties to win re-election, and George W. Bush saying that Specter is with him when it matters most. The major news story for this week will put Specter in exactly that box, as he voted not to confirm Elena Kagan for Solicitor General last year when he was still a Republican. As such, any move Specter makes in response to the dominant news story will reinforce that narrative. He is either still a Republican when it matters most, or he is an opportunist who only cares about re-election.
Specter's vote against Kagan is already the dominant news story on him today. In the middle of this news story, how trying to pivot to an attack on Sestak's military record will appeal to Democrats is impossible to imagine. This is just a terrible, terrible situation for Specter.
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