Ominous Numbers For Arlen Specter

“This is a big part of the reason that I don’t think it made that much sense for Specter to switch instead of retire. The reality is that the liberal activist groups have a lot of reason to primary him — and if they find a credible challenger to do so, he’s highly likely to lose.

Then, even if he doesn’t, Republicans will be howling to pay him back for his betrayal while his supporters will consider him to be an unprincipled mediocrity who doesn’t believe in “anything beyond his title and choice parking spot near the Capitol.”

Given those circumstances, I think it’s very unlikely that Specter will be able to run the gauntlet and get back to the Senate. Of course, Pennsylvania is the same state that keeps sending John Murtha back to DC, no matter how corrupt he is or how many times he insults his own constituents, so who knows?” — John Hawkins. April 29, 2009

Fast forward to today.

Only 31 percent of Pennsylvania voters believe Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter should be re-elected, and 59 percent believe it’s time to give someone else a chance, a state poll released today shows.

Specter’s numbers are “staggering,” said pollster Jim Lee, president of Susquehanna Polling and Research. An incumbent typically is vulnerable if fewer than 40 percent approve of his or her re-election, Lee said. The poll of 700 registered voters, conducted Oct. 7-12, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

“When I see a re-elect in the low 30s, that’s … near fatal,” Lee said.

A Susquehanna Poll in February found 38 percent of Pennsylvanians believed Specter deserved to be re-elected.

Specter, 79, of Philadelphia holds a 44-16 percent lead over Rep. Joe Sestak, his challenger in the 2010 primary, with 22 percent of voters undecided. Eighteen percent of those polled said they would not vote for either candidate or would vote for someone else.

…Specter remains locked in a statistical dead heat with Republican Pat Toomey, drawing 42 percent support to Toomey’s 41 percent, with 12 percent undecided. Four percent said they would choose neither candidate.

Let’s see: A primary opponent for Specter who will probably beat him after he becomes better known across the state? Check. Pat Toomey looking likely to beat Specter even if Sestak doesn’t? Check. Voters across the state who don’t like the idea of sending an old, unprincipled hack back to the Senate for 6 months? Check.

Everything’s playing out just like I thought it would back in April and it still looks “very unlikely that Specter will be able to run the gauntlet and get back to the Senate.”

That’s good news because Pat Toomey would make a fantastic addition to the Senate and additionally, sending Specter home? That would send all the right messages to the squishy Republican crowd that seems to think they can be indifferent to the wishes of the people who put them in office without ever paying a real price for it.

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