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Poll: Sestak Leads Toomey in RMU Poll, But Undecided Exceeds Both

Monday, June 8, 2015

Pittsburgh, June 8, 2015 — Pennsylvania’s race for United States Senate shows virtually no movement, with a plurality of those polled favoring Democrat Joe Sestak over Republican incumbent Pat Toomey, but with most of them undecided, according to a poll by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute.


The poll, sponsored by Trib Total Media, shows Sestak with 34.2 percent to 28.5 percent for Toomey. The poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.


“People are just disengaged. It’s like asking someone what they’re going to have for breakfast 100 days from now,” said Philip Harold, an RMU professor of political science.


Harold said he had expected a slight uptick in Toomey’s favorability ratings and that even with a large number undecided, the incumbent senator faces a serious challenge in any rematch with Sestak, who he narrowly defeated in 2010.


“I think it’s very precarious for him [Toomey]. I think he knows that,” Harold said.


Toomey’s favorability rating posted at 40.3 percent, with 28 percent of those surveyed holding an unfavorable view. That marks a slight change from a February RMU poll that put Toomey’s favorable-unfavorable numbers at 43.7-25.8.


In a potential Democratic Primary nominating contest between Sestak and three-term Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Sestak easily led among those surveyed, 44.7 percent to 11.1. A minority of those surveyed, 44.3 percent, were undecided.


Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf also remained popular among Pennsylvanians surveyed, something that Harold said could shift, as a potentially contentious state budget season gets under way.


Wolf enjoyed a 54.8 favorability rating, down slightly from 56.7 percent in the last RMU poll. The shift is well within the poll’s 4.5-percentage point margin of error.


ABOUT THE POLL: The poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute. Polling by the institute is conducted on a regular basis and may also include spontaneous polling on occurring events. RMU polls have been featured in national media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and Huffington Post. Go to rmu.edu/poll for more information.


METHODOLOGY: The poll sampled opinions of 529 Pennsylvania residents statewide.  The survey was conducted May 8-16, 2015. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 4.5-percentage point margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.