Three More Blows For Specter

Today is not a good day to be former Repub Arlen Specter. First, a second polling firm now shows him well behind retired Admiral Rep. Joe Sestak in the PA-SEN Democratic primary. Second, Specter has fallen well behind Sestak in both state-wide favorability ratings and general election matchups, giving Sestak all the electability cards. Third, you just know Specter had to be rooting against Obama nominating Kagan for the Supreme Court, and that's going to hurt him.

Reflecting the same results as the Muhlenberg tracking poll, Rasmussen now shows Sestak in the lead. Both polls show a 47-42 race, right at the 5% MOE. This is the third day in a row Sestak has led the Muhlenberg poll and his largest lead yet; it is the first time he has led in a new Rasmussen poll. Muhlenberg has 11% undecided; Rasmussen 8%. (Rasmussen included "some other candidate" among the choices, which grabbed the other 3%.) These polls used different methodologies to find virtually the same results.

Another new Rasmussen poll shows that Sestak is surging almost as much with the general public as he is the Democratic electorate. Sestak's favorable rating is now 50%, tied with Toomey's 51% and far ahead of Specter's 41. If the general election were held today, Specter would lose to Toomey 50-38, whereas Sestak is virtually tied at 42-40. In February, both trailed 47-38. It's clear where the momentum lies.

Also, this nugget from NBC's First Read sugests the President's new nominee to the Supreme Court may have an impact on the PA-SEN race:

As we predicted in First Thoughts, Joe Sestak's campaign is seizing on Arlen Specter's vote against Elena Kagan in 2009, when the Senate was confirming her to be U.S. solicitor general. Specter voted against her before his switch to the Democratic Party...

But he added: "My opponent, Sen. Specter, has already made his views about the president's nominee clear by voting against her confirmation to be Solicitor General, even as seven of his fellow Republicans approved her nomination. I expect Sen. Specter may backtrack from his earlier vote on Ms. Kagan this week in order to help himself in the upcoming primary election, but the people of Pennsylvania have no way of knowing where he will stand after May 18.

PA-SEN: Sestak’s Lead Expands, Favorables Rise

Friday’s Muhlenberg tracking poll showed retired Admiral Rep. Joe Sestak taking the lead over recent Republican Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary. Saturday’s poll, released a few minutes ago, shows that lead growing.

From May 5-8, Sestak lead Specter 46-42 with 12% undecided, almost outside the 5% MOE. From May 4-7, Sestak lead Specter 44-42 with 14% undecided. Just as importantly, in the past week Sestak’s approval has risen 7 points from 45 to 52 while Specter’s has plummeted even more, from 58 to 50.

Regarding the general election, 35% have no opinion of Sestak, compared to just 14% for Specter. Specter had slightly better numbers than Sestak in the last general election poll, but if indie numbers are anything like Democratic numbers, then the undecideds suggest he’s at a November ceiling whereas Sestak still has room to grow. Pollster’s Harry Enten thinks that’s exactly the case, writing on his personal blog Friday that while “it is true that Specter only trails [Repub Toomey] by 6.9% (while Sestak trails by 9.1%), the Sestak vs. Toomey matchup also has a larger pool of undecided voters. Thus, Sestak would have a greater opportunity to pick up voters and close any gap between Toomey and himself.”

Enten’s analysis is of April polls, conducted well before Specter’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. Since then, his popularity has only fallen while Sestak’s has grown. Sestak’s new ad on Specter’s self-serving party switch as well as Specter’s own counterproductive attacks on Sestak’s military service have clearly taken their toll, so one can only assume that the numbers are even worse for Specter now. If another poll validates Sestak’s lead before the May 18 primary, we’ll know the race has a new favorite. There are 3-4 polls in the field now, so we should find out soon.

There's more...

PA-SEN: Sestak and Specter Tied

Yesterday morning, Marc Ambinder Tweeted, "Senior Dem Politico in DC thinks Sestak will beat Specter. WH puts odds at 50-50." Now we know why.

In the latest Muhlenberg College/Morning Call poll of the PA-SEN Democratic primary, retired Admiral Rep. Joe Sestak is tied with incumbent Arlen Specter. Both candidates are polling at 43% with N = 410 LVs, a 5% MOE, live interviewers, and a time frame of May 3-6. In Muhlenberg's previous poll, conducted May 2-5, Specter led 45-40. Prior to that, it was 49-40 for Specter. While a tie is certainly within the MOE, you can't deny that these polls show a trend and that it's not good news for Specter. RCP shows an average of Specter up 3.4, but since they only include the latest poll from each firm, their numbers don't reflect the last week's trend. Also in the latest poll, Specter's favorable rating remains slightly higher than Sestak's, but his unfavorables are much higher - 54-34 Specter and 48-13 Sestak.

It's been a rough few weeks for Specter. He mused aloud that maybe he should have stayed a Republican, and Sestak has taken the opportunity to hit him hard for the party switch with a tough new ad:

Hey Arlen, still think it's a good idea to smear our vets for their service? That may work for Repubs, but you keep forgetting - you're a Democrat now, and we don't stand for that kind of anti-American bull.

Elsewhere in new polling, Dems continue to cruise toward victory in AZ-GOV against all candidates, including the pro-profiling incumbent Jan Brewer, and two separate polls show Sen. Patty Murray finally finding her footing against Repub Dino Rossi in WA-SEN.

PA-SEN: Sestak and Specter Tied

Yesterday morning, Marc Ambinder Tweeted, "Senior Dem Politico in DC thinks Sestak will beat Specter. WH puts odds at 50-50." Now we know why.

In the latest Muhlenberg College/Morning Call poll of the PA-SEN Democratic primary, retired Admiral Rep. Joe Sestak is tied with incumbent Arlen Specter. Both candidates are polling at 43% with N = 410 LVs, a 5% MOE, live interviewers, and a time frame of May 3-6. In Muhlenberg's previous poll, conducted May 2-5, Specter led 45-40. Prior to that, it was 49-40 for Specter. While a tie is certainly within the MOE, you can't deny that these polls show a trend and that it's not good news for Specter. RCP shows an average of Specter up 3.4, but since they only include the latest poll from each firm, their numbers don't reflect the last week's trend. Also in the latest poll, Specter's favorable rating remains slightly higher than Sestak's, but his unfavorables are much higher - 54-34 Specter and 48-13 Sestak.

It's been a rough few weeks for Specter. He mused aloud that maybe he should have stayed a Republican, and Sestak has taken the opportunity to hit him hard for the party switch with a tough new ad:

Hey Arlen, still think it's a good idea to smear our vets for their service? That may work for Repubs, but you keep forgetting - you're a Democrat now, and we don't stand for that kind of anti-American bull.

Elsewhere in new polling, Dems continue to cruise toward victory in AZ-GOV against all candidates, including the pro-profiling incumbent Jan Brewer, and two separate polls show Sen. Patty Murray finally finding her footing against Repub Dino Rossi in WA-SEN.

PA-Sen Outrage: Specter Swift Boats Sestak's Military Career

I've never written much about PA-Sen because, unlike most of the Netroots, I've been inclined to support Arlen Specter. No more.

Specter has added his name to those of Johnny Isaakson and the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth." He went lower than low this week, airing a new ad that attacks primary opponent Rep. Joe Sestak's service as a retired three-star Admiral.

Like many veterans, Dr. Sestak (he's also got a PhD) is too modest to list his decorations on either his Congressional webpage or his campaign biography, but per Wikipedia he has earned the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit awards, two Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals, and the Navy Achievement Medal. According to Specter, however, the only thing you need to know about Sestak's Naval career is that he was removed from one of his assignments for creating a "poor command climate." That claim only gets a couple seconds' mention in Specter's new ad, but it's also the very first thing in the ad and is accompanied by your stock grainy photo, ripped headline, and spooky voice. I'm not going to dignify the disgraceful spot by posting it here, but you can watch it on YouTube.

I am shocked that Specter would be stupid enough to think he could get away with this kind of unpatriotic smear campaign in a Democratic primary. I was supporting Specter, but now I'm going to donate $20 to Admiral Sestak's campaign.

Credit to Vote Vets for bringing this shameful attack on a dedicated American serviceman to my attention via a press release posted on their Facebook page.

The largest progressive group of veterans in America with over 100,000 members, VoteVets.org PAC, today slammed Arlen Specter for his latest ad attacking Congressman Joseph Sestak's service to America in the Navy, and called on Specter to prove his charges, or pull the ad.

Jon Soltz, Iraq War veteran, graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, and Chairman of VoteVets.org said, "This ad is even beneath Snarlin' Arlen Specter, and he should be ashamed of himself for attacking a man who spent most of his adult life in military service.  It's the kind of low, slimy swift-boat tactics used by the extreme right-wing against veterans, and it's shameful that Specter would adopt those right-wing tactics." 

"This ad makes charges about Sestak's service based on unattributed hearsay contained in a single article, that offers no evidence in support of the charge. Baselessly attacking a veteran's service has no place in our politics, or our nation. Specter should pull this ad immediately," he added.

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