Despite President Obama’s last-gasp visit to Pennsylvania this weekend to drum up Democratic votes and the First Lady’s own scheduled rally today, it looks like a GOP sweep is on the cards in that state’s hotly contested Senate and gubernatorial races. A new survey by Public Policy Polling shows a GOP double-win, albeit by slimmer margins than previously expected, in the Joe Sestak-Pat Toomey senate race and Dan Onorato-Tom Corbett battle for the governor’s mansion.
According to PPP, Toomey, former president of the conservative Club for Growth, leads Sestak, a House congressman, by a 5-point margin, 51 percent to 46 percent. The gap is the gubernatorial race is slightly wider, with Corbett leading Onorato by 7 points, 52 percent to 45 percent.
The driving force behind this latest surge in support for Pennsylvania’s GOP candidates? Obama-weary Democrats. As PPP’s Tom Jensen noted over the weekend, 21 percent of Democrats in Pennsylvania disapprove of Obama—and more importantly, those jaded Democrats are breaking for Republicans Toomey and Corbett by margins of 68-23 and 69-25, respectively. Jensen adds:
What that leads to overall is 15-19 percent of Democrats voting Republican in these two races. Meanwhile GOP voters are extremely unified, giving each of their nominees 88 percent. Independents are splitting pretty evenly so it is that party unity advantage that has the GOP candidates in a position to win here.
As is the case for him throughout the Midwest Obama’s very unpopular in Pennsylvania with 54 percent of voters disapproving of him to just 40 percent who think he’s doing a good job. Outgoing Governor Ed Rendell has also fallen strongly out of favor, posting only a 34 percent approval number while 53 percent of voters disapprove of him. As we saw in Wisconsin earlier this week the combination of an unpopular Democratic President and an unpopular Democratic Governor has the potential to be lethal for the party’s hopes of keeping some of these offices under their control.