Strange things seem to be underfoot here in Pennsylvania. After a week of optimistic rhetoric from Joe Sestak’s campaign about “closing the gap” — according to internal polling — and generating enthusiasm to squelch Pat Toomey’s senate bid, a new Public Policy Polling survey seems to confirm their optimism.
The PPP poll, out today, shows Joe Sestak leading Pat Toomey by one point. Leading, 46-45 percent, after months of running as many as ten points behind according to Rasmussen and others.
This troubling news comes on the heels of optimistic talk from the AFL-CIO about the power of union members to close ranks and boost Sestak on Election Day, and news out yesterday that Sestak actually has more cash on hand than Toomey, despite being consistently out-fundraised.
Is Pat Toomey losing Pennsylvania?
As Jim Geraghty explained at The Campaign Spot, the PPP survey puts Sestak ahead only by playing with the numbers:
The sample in the last poll in Pennsylvania from Public Policy Polling before today: 46 percent Democrat, 44 percent Republican, 9 percent independent/other.
The sample in the new poll in Pennsylvania from Public Policy Polling from today: 48 percent Democrat, 41 percent Republican, 11 percent independent/other.
And Real Clear Politics still has Toomey ahead by a 6.3 percent average, even with today’s PPP poll included.
Nachama Soloveichik, communications director for the Toomey campaign, spoke with Battle ‘10 about the numbers, — both polling and fundraising — and the state of the campaign.
“We’ve outraised Sestak every single quarter,” said Soloveichik, “and I’m confident in these final days, we’ll outraise him again. We’ve been on-air since July, and have had a chance to communicate with a lot more people than Sestak has.”
“The environment is in our favor,” a tired but assertive Soloveichik told Battle ‘10, and while “some Democrats will come home at the end, there’s still a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction with the economy.”
Soloveichik told Battle ‘10 she would find it hard to beieve that a “majority of voters” in Pennsylvania would opt for Joe Sestak’s “bailouts and deficits” over Pat Toomey’s “small government and jobs” platform.
In the context of an unemployment rate hovering at 10 percent, and an undercurrent of enthusiasm for more conservative Republican candidates across the nation, it’s a challenge to justify the PPP assumption — inherent in its latest poll — that more Democrats will turn out on Election Day 2010 than they did during the year of Obama in 2008.
Battle ‘10 has also learned that absentee ballot requests are favoring Republicans by at least an eight point margin, indicating that the much ballyhooed enthusiasm gap will be a reality as votes are counted.
Despite indications on both sides of the aisle, though, there’s little doubt Pat Toomey could use all the support he can get. This is still Pennsylvania, and Democrats still outnumber Republicans by more than one million.