Joe Sestak, Comeback Kid?

By
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 11:06 am

Can Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) make two improbable comebacks in one election season? Some internal polls released last week indicated that he was closing the gap considerably in his race to catch former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), but they were quickly dismissed by pundits who pointed to a Rasmussen poll that had him trailing by a solid ten points. The New York Times’ Nate Silver asked why anyone took internal polls seriously anyway and said that while primary polling could be very volatile, you don’t usually see candidates making big last-minute comebacks in a general election with fewer swing voters and better polling methods.

But sure enough, a new Public Policy Polling survey released today has the two candidates virtually tied.

The main reason, says PPP, is that Pennsylvania’s sizable Democratic base, which enjoys nearly a one million vote registration advantage over Republicans, appears to finally be waking up:

Democratic voters are getting more engaged as election day moves closer. Barack Obama won Pennsylvania by 10 points in 2008 but our August survey in the state found those planning to vote in November had actually supported John McCain by a point in 2008, suggesting a massive drop off in Democratic turnout. Now those saying they will vote next month supported Obama by 4 points in 2008. The enthusiasm gap is still there but it’s not as severe a problem for Democrats as it was 2 months ago.

Of course, many of those Obama voters are now not so sure about their choice: 51% of Pennsylvania voters disapprove of the job the president is doing, while only 43% approve. That makes Sestak’s climb that much tougher, but he’s been making real strides among independent voters since August as well. Whether this is because independent voters are taking to Sestak or simply becoming more familiar with some of Toomey’s more extreme views, he’s polling better than most Democrats among this group as well, according to PPP.

Naysayers will call the poll as an outlier, but it will likely generate much-needed enthusiasm among Democrats in the state. And having followed Sestak around on the campaign trail during his primary run, I can testify to the fact that the man is tireless and seems to possess the magical ability to finish strong in a long and grueling race.

Follow Jesse Zwick on Twitter


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PulSamsara
Comment posted October 19, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

Rassmussen polls are ALWAYS bent to the right.

Who takes a Rassmussen poll seriously ? Besides Fox I mean ?


JNagarya
Comment posted October 19, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

The outlier poll is the right-wing Rasmussen, which the media loves to rely upon — almost exclusively — in order to depict political races in ways that will get readers to buy their papers, or tune in to their TeeVee programs. And in some instances as effort to influence the outcomes.

Same goes for the buzz-falsehood that “the country is evenly divided”. In reality, some 73 per cent are pro-choice, and pro-gun control. But we don't hear those facts. Instead we hear everything the extremist anti-choice and gun-nut MINORITIES have to say on those issues. And thus the media enables right-wing politicians to run on BOGUS issues while falsely claiming they represent a majority of the electorate.


Rafaelblock
Comment posted October 19, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

My local rag did the same thing: When two polls, including one from Time, disagreed with Rasmussen, they ran an article trying to explain how it was the RASMUSSEN poll that was correct! Laughable!


Doc3
Comment posted October 19, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

The stench of fear from the Democratic Progressive Socialist Communist Elitist Statist Party is becoming an EPA violation. These last minute polls are just whistling past the graveyard. Americans have awoken to the dangers of the “progressives” with more entitlements, more debt, more government and more taxes. The only question is how will the Democratic Party divide? The old time Democrats that are not socialists, communists, statists, elitists or progressives will be looking for a new home, or they will drive them out of the Democratic Party. If the debt and spending are not curtailed by 2012 we may see a Third Party.


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Comment posted October 19, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

I'm more interested in seeing how Republicans divide. Will the fiscal conservative Tea Partiers forsake the foreign policy neocons for the more isolationist old schoolers? And where will the Christian fundamentalists align? 2012 is looking to be an exciting time!


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Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

Well if any of you could please tell me how you continue to vote or take seriously a man who first accused the WH of trying to buy him off during the dems primary then claims it was Clinton who by the way denied the conversation. How about sestak come clean about the whole issue or does he get a pass because he is obama's aka unions aka socilist choice!


judy22
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

Well if any of you could please tell me how you continue to vote or take seriously a man who first accused the WH of trying to buy him off during the dems primary then claims it was Clinton who by the way denied the conversation. How about sestak come clean about the whole issue or does he get a pass because he is obama's aka unions aka socilist choice!


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