Temple/Inquirer Poll: Bob Casey Increases Lead Over Rick Santorum
In one of the nation’s key senate races, Democratic candidate Bob Casey has increased his lead over Republican incumbent Rick Santorum, according to the October Temple/Inquirer Poll, a collaboration between Temple University’s Institute of Public Affairs and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Casey’s lead over Santorum among likely voters has increased to 54 percent to 38 percent in October, up from 49–39 in September.
There are other indications in the poll that Santorum’s standing in the Pennsylvania electorate has slipped over the past month. The percentage of likely voters approving of Santorum’s handling of his job has declined from 41 to 37, and the percentage saying that they have an unfavorable opinion of Santorum has climbed from 43 to 48.
“The picture in the poll confirms what has been implicit in the recent reports in the press about the reallocation of Republican Party resources away from Pennsylvania and about changes in the Santorum campaign’s advertising strategy,” according to Michael G. Hagen, director of IPA. “After a month of bad news for Republicans in Congress, the Pennsylvania electorate has slipped farther away from Sen. Santorum.”
Support for Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives also has declined markedly among Pennsylvania’s likely voters. Asked whether they would vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in their congressional district, likely voters’ responses indicated support for Democrats rose from 48 percent in September to 52 percent in October, and support for Republicans fell from 38 to 32 percent.
The poll found that Gov. Ed Rendell’s lead over challenger Lynn Swann remains virtually unchanged. In September, 60 percent of likely voters supported Rendell, while 33 percent supporter Swann. In October, 58 percent support Rendell and 34 percent support Swann.
The Temple/Inquirer Poll suggests that the changes in the Pennsylvania electorate are most closely tied to voters’ views of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. The president’s job approval rating in the state has decreased from 39 percent in September to 36 percent in October, while his job disapproval rating has risen from 54 to 59. In addition, the percentage of likely voters who think the war in Iraq has made the United States safer has fallen from 40 percent to 34 percent.
For the October Temple/Inquirer Poll, a random-digit dial sample of Pennsylvania adult residents were interviewed between Oct. 16 and 25, 2006. The sample included 698 likely voters. With a sample of this size, the overall margin of error attributable to sampling is 3.8 percentage points. The sampling error for subgroups is larger. More information and results are available on the Web site of the Institute for Public Affairs: www.temple.edu/ipa.
Information from the October Temple/Inquirer poll was first reported in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Oct. 29.
— Alix Gerz