A new Pennsylvania Senate poll found Republican challenger Tom Smith is virtually tied with incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), trailing him by just one point, 45%-44%, which is within the poll’s margin of error.
Wenzel Strategies, the right-of-center polling outfit that has been the most accurate in Senate races in Indiana and Nebraska this cycle, also found nearly 20% of Pennsylvania voters could change their minds before they cast their ballots.
Casey’s favorability rating in the polls is at 46%, a significant problem for any incumbent this late in the election cycle. Forty-two percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of Casey and 12% did not know enough to form an opinion.
Forty-three percent of Pennsylvanians viewed Smith favorably, 32% viewed him unfavorably, and 26% said they did not know enough about Smith to form an opinion, which means it will be critical how voters who may have tuned out the race when Smith was facing an 18-point deficit perceive Smith as he closes the gap in the final weeks and gets more media coverage.
The poll also found Libertarian candidate Rayburn Douglas Smith received 2% of the vote, which means he could be the spoiler and siphon the anti-Casey vote from Smith, a self-made business man in the coal industry.
According to the poll, “Casey has locked up just 78% of Democrats, and is losing 12% of Democratic support” to Smith while Smith “wins just 75% support from Republicans and loses 14% of GOP support to Casey.”
Wenzel Strategies surveyed 1,000 Pennsylvania voters on Oct. 22-23, and the poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.07 percentage points.