MUHLENBERG COLLEGE MORNING CALL: TRACKING POLL RESULTS –OCTOBER 20th TRACKING PERIOD from Oct. 16-19 – Sestak 44%, Toomey 41%. The previous tracking period Sept. 28 – Oct. 4 had Toomey ahead 46%-39%. Average sample size 400, margin of error +-5% at a 95% level of confidence. From Allentown Morning Call: “The numbers are the first from a nonpartisan source to confirm the race has tightened two weeks before Election Day.. Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling on Tuesday put Sestak up by 1 percentage point. And two internal Democratic Party polls last week showed the Pennsylvania contest closing. It wouldn’t be the first time Sestak surged with the finish line in sight. In two previous elections, when political pundits had counted him out, Sestak came from behind with just weeks to go and emerged victorious. In May, the same tracking poll was the first to show Sestak catching and eventually surpassing U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary.”
Public Policy Polling – October 19: “The race for Senate in Pennsylvania has seen dramatic movement over the last two months and Joe Sestak has now taken the slightest lead over Pat Toomey, 46-45. On PPP’s previous survey of the state, in mid-August, Toomey led by a 45-36 margin. Three things have happened in the last 2 months to move this race back to toss up status: Sestak has made up a large deficit with independents, he’s consolidated his base, and Democratic interest in the election has picked up with election day moving closer. In that August survey Toomey held a commanding lead with independents, 50-23. Sestak has picked up the support of virtually all of the undecided independents and has pulled into a virtual tie with Toomey with that voting group, trailing now only 49-48.” Survey taken Oct. 17 and 18 with 718 likely votes, margin of error is +/-3.7%. .
Chris Cillezza in Washington Post of October 20: “When we moved the Pennsylvania Senate race to “leans Republican” in late September, Democratic strategists warned us that we would be moving it back to “Toss Up” before the election ended. They were right. Amid an onslaught of spending by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — $4.7 million in independent expenditures to date — Rep. Joe Sestak (D) has climbed back into a statistical dead heat with former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) in the Keystone State . . . No matter what happens on Nov. 2, this race seems headed to a photo finish. And that makes it a “Toss Up” in our ratings.”
Nate Silver 538 (after Public Policy Polling but before Muhlenberg College poll): “The most prudent conclusion is that Mr. Toomey still holds a lead, but it is probably smaller than the one he held before. . . When I reran our numbers with the Public Policy Polling survey included, Mr. Sestak’s chances were improved, but only to 10 percent. With that said, our Senate model does not use partisan polling in its forecasting. But publications like The Hotline have indicated, and some contacts of mine have related, that not only do Democratic internal polls show the race tightening, but Republican ones do as well. For that reason, I would be inclined to take Mr. Sestak’s side of the 9:1 odds that our model is offering him. We’ll need quite a bit more evidence, however, before the race can rightly be thought of as a tossup.”