A newly released Quinnipiac University poll confirms that the Pennsylvania US Senate Race between Republican Pat Toomey and Democratic Socialist candidate Joe Sestak has tightened, but finds Toomey slightly ahead where two earlier polls found him trailing slightly.
Quinnipiac concludes that Toomey has the support of 48% of likely voters while Sestak has 46% support.
I promised myself that I wasn’t going to get into arguing sample and weighting this season, but these details leave me wondering.
Toomey is beating Sestak 88 – 8 percent among Republicans and 56 – 35 percent among independent voters. But Sestak is winning 89 – 7 percent among Democrats. Thirteen percent of Toomey’s voters and 9 percent of Sestak backers say they might change their mind before Election Day. The 5 percent of undecided voters includes 9 percent of independent voters.
Look, everyone knows this election is all about enthusiasm by Republicans and the kinds of conservative-minded independents that we have in Pennsylvania (outside Filthadelphia).
So how can they be tied after the findings that Toomey is so far ahead with independent voters and the two are getting comparable support within their own parties?
In other words, I believe independent voters are woefully underrepresented in the results and Quinnipiac is incorrectly crediting Democrats with higher turnout than they will ultimately receive. It seems like they are weighting the results for a turnout like that in 2008, which saw massive Democrat turnout in PA (44% D/37% R/18% I), rather than like that of 2004, which was more in keeping with the Pennsylvania norm (41% D/39% R/20% I).
There’s no way Democrats are going to have a 7% turnout edge this year, so there’s no way Toomey can be at 48% support while getting 56% of Independents and 88% of Republicans.
Plus, Sestak’s sleepy, wooden and at times incoherent performance during last night’s debate didn’t do him any favors.
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Tagged2010 Election, Joe Sestak, Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Senate, Polling Data
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