Specter only beating Sestak only among Democrats who don’t know both.
Nobody loves a traitor.
A little while back Greenberg* Quinlan Rosner put out a poll that showed Specter leading 55-34 over Sestak in the primary. Interestingly, (via DoubleplusUndead, via @JustKarl), one hope for Sestak is apparently that he actually leads Specter among Democrats who know both candidates, 52-44. The difference is due to the fact that Sestak is only known to about 30% of the PA Dem electorate.
Full disclosure: I don’t care who wins this primary, just as long as it’s won ugly, expensively, and with a lot of promising political careers permanently blighted by petty spite and bitter grudges. That being said, both candidates have complications:
- Sestak – more accurately, Sestak’s supporters – are probably assuming that getting his recognition numbers up will not erode his lead among voters aware of both. That may be justified; on the other hand, most of the voters aware of both are probably also more committed or ideological Democrats. Assuming Sestak runs, how more moderate and conservative voters will react once they take a good look at him will be interesting to see.
- Specter’s major problem? If you believe this poll, he faces the problem that if he wants to win the primary he has to start voting the Democratic party line on everything. No more contrary votes for him, which is going to make it problematical when/if he gets out of the primary to face Pat Toomey**.
This is not the primary campaign that the VRWC contemplated happening a year ago, but it’s got its points. Believe the internals of that poll, and either way Toomey will be facing a candidate that’s going to be squarely identifying himself with a Democrat who’s more palatable to his base than, perhaps, the Pennsylvanian electorate. And it’ll be interesting to see just how the parties are perceived next year, because even right this second they’re not really all that far apart…
*Yeah, the same guy that gave Rahm Emanuel free rent while Emanuel was doing DCCC business with his company. And whose wife put up that legislation designed to gut the organic food industry. What’s your point?
**Who, by the way, comes across as pretty sharp when you talk to him.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.