Sestak in position to win, become first Democrat to defeat Obama-backed incumbent in primary

by: Chris Bowers

Mon May 17, 2010 at 10:11



The final Quinnipiac poll of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary shows Jose Sestak leading Arlen Specter by a single point.  While a one point lead is far from a blowout or a sure thing, what is significant about this poll is that there are now exactly zero polling firms showing Arlen Specter ahead.  Here are the final polls from the six pollsters to conducts surveys of this campaign in May:

Final polls, Pennsylvania Senate primary, May
Pollster End Date Sestak Specter
Quinnipiac May 16 42 41
Muhlenberg May 15 44 44
Research 2000 May 12 45 43
Suffolk May 12 49 40
F & M May 9 38 36
Rasmussen May 6 47 42
Across these six polls, Sestak leads by 3.2% on the mean, and 2% on the median.  The 15-day average I use for other forecasts shows Sestak up 2.6%.

None of those leads make Sestak anywhere close to a sure thing.  However, Specter is only competitive in this primary due to his ongoing advantage in name ID, an advantage which averages 20% across five of these six polls (excluding F & M).  That means Specter still has a big advantage among low information voters (who have still never heard of Sestak), and as such will need high Democratic turnout to win (since these low-information voters are less likely to vote).  With Democratic turnout sharply down in primaries do far this year, that ain't too bloody likely.

I expect Sestak to win as this point, and to become the first Democrat to defeat an incumbent backed by Obama in a primary.  Admittedly, Specter's party switch made this campaign far more winnable than any of the other primary or legislative campaigns when progressives staked out a position to the left of the administration, so it may not really be a breakthrough moment yet.  From the very beginning of the campaign, Sestak was always ahead among Pennsylvania Democrats who had heard of both candidate, and he held a 2-1 lead among Pennsylvania Democrats who thought Arlen Specter switched parties to win re-election.  In the environment, Sestak did exactly what he had to do to win: run a grueling slog of retail politics and fundraising to gather up just enough ground supporters and resources in order to raise his name ID and run ads of Specter saying he switched parties to win re-election.  It wasn't easy to do that with the entire Democratic establishment working against him, but on the eve of the primary it seems likely that he has pulled it off.

Chris Bowers :: Sestak in position to win, become first Democrat to defeat Obama-backed incumbent in primary

Tags: , , , , , (All Tags)
Print Friendly View Send As Email

Wouldn't that be something (4.00 / 1)
I'm not convinced it will send a signal to the WH, but I think it would send a signal to Tim Kaine.  WH may have some favors to owe, so it doesn't matter to communications folks in the WH.    


Weather Forecast Tomorrow: Rain All Day (4.00 / 1)
Great, that'll make standing outside for 13 hours so much fun.  Hopefully it doesn't depress turnout in Delco too much.

Chris, I'd been meaning to ask: what has the Philly Dem machine been doing for this primary?  Are they "supporting" Specter half-ass-ly, or going full out?


I wonder that too ... (0.00 / 0)
but no one has answered my question .. which is .. if Bob Brady is as all-powerful as people seem to think .. how come he was only able to finish a distant 3rd to Nutter in 2007

[ Parent ]
buh-bye, Blanche! (4.00 / 1)
...Lincoln, of course.

They only call it class war when we fight back.

re: sestak (4.00 / 3)
The final Quinnipiac poll of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary shows Jose Sestak leading Arlen Specter by a single point.

I like it!


So who are the low-information voters (0.00 / 0)
who haven't heard of Sestak at this point but would still turn out for the primary? Philadelphia machine? Seems like it stands to reason that people who don't even recognize Sestak's name are not going to bother voting -- unless we're looking at vote buying and herding folks from the nursing home onto buses or something.

Primary (4.00 / 2)
"I expect Sestak to become the first Democrat to defeat an incumbent backed by Obama in a primary"

Didn't Obama back Lieberman in his primary race against Lamont?


Add A "President" Before Obama (4.00 / 2)
And then it works.  Good catch though.

[ Parent ]
President (0.00 / 0)
Duh, I should have figured that out.  Whoops!

[ Parent ]
Not to be canterkerous (4.00 / 1)
but while I share your excitement over a Sestak victory, I really wish you'd given this much front page attention to Jennifer Brunner in OH.

Liberals in PA, please vote for Joe Hoeffel in the Democratic primary for Governor (4.00 / 3)


Agreed! (0.00 / 0)
He's gonna get trounced, most likely, but I can't stand the other 3 candidates.  We're probably going to lose in the fall.  Who's the GOP nominee?  Corbett?  Great, PA is screwed.

Humorously, in my first election (2004), I voted for Joe Hoeffel against Arlen Specter.  So this election will have some nostalgia moments!


[ Parent ]
Also! (0.00 / 0)
Jonathan Saidel for Lt. Governor.  He's a firebrand liberal.

[ Parent ]
USER MENU

Open Left Campaigns

SEARCH

   

Advanced Search

QUICK HITS
STATE BLOGS
Powered by: SoapBlox