Republican challenger gaining on Specter

A new poll shows former Rep. Pat Toomey tied with the newly-minted Democrat

By Salon Staff

Published July 22, 2009 3:20PM (EDT)

It's funny: Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter left the Republican Party in order to escape a primary challenge from former Rep. Pat Toomey, because Toomey would almost certainly have won. But even now that Specter's a Democrat, he might still lose to his old foe.

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows the two men, who would face each other in the general election in 2010, in a statistical tie. 45 percent of respondents said they'd vote for Specter, and 44 percent said they'd back Toomey. Just a few months ago, Specter had a 20-point lead.

Of course, it's extremely early for a poll like this, which is really just a snapshot in time -- and one that happens to have been taken when Pennsylvania voters are more skeptical about President Obama and his handling of the economy. But it does show that Toomey can, at the very least, make the general election a real race, which wasn't immediately obvious when Specter switched parties.

That's assuming Specter even makes it to the general election: Rep. Joe Sestak says he's going to run in the Democratic primary against the incumbent, though he's also repeatedly delayed any sort of official announcement.


Salon Staff

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