In the latest round of polls out today, Pat Toomey maintains his lead over Joe Sestak in two independent surveys of likely voters. Franklin & Marshall, releasing its final poll of the election season, puts Toomey up by seven points, while today’s Muhlenberg daily tracking poll shows him up by five over Sestak.
With Toomey appearing to recapture the momentum in this critical senate race, eyes are beginning to turn to Philadelphia, where Democrats are hoping for a turnout large enough to offset Republican votes in the rest of the commonwealth:
Across the state, some 225,000 Republicans switched their party affiliation to Democrat in the run-up to the 2008 presidential race, with a majority of those switches coming in Philadelphia’s crucial suburbs, which are comprised of four key counties — Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware.
Both candidates have been making a play for centrist voters in the suburbs, with Sestak painting Toomey as too far right for Pennsylvania’s electorate. The Democrat has also used Toomey’s endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin against him, and tried to tie the former congressman to Delaware Republican candidate for Senate, Christine O’Donnell.
Toomey has focused on spending and the deficit, labeling Sestak a pawn of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The Republican brought in former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to rally voters in Montgomery County last week.
Maximizing turnout in Philadelphia is a top priority for Democrats — and for good reason, said Franklin and Marshall pollster Terry Madonna, who noted that Democratic turnout in Philadelphia during the primary this past year was about 5 percent lower than the rest of the state.
“Democrats are working hard in this state, I’ll give them that,” said Madonna. “But our data hasn’t picked up anything that suggests a real turnout surge for Democrats.”