h/t to Geraghty
I got into a bit of a tiff over the weekend for saying to not panic over the polls showing the Toomey/Sestak race is tightening. I didn’t put much stock in the previous polls showing things like a 12 point race, because they were only showing a differential, not the base level of support for the candidates out of the entire electorate.
Now that we are closer to election day, people who were undecided are deciding. Unsurprisingly, a number of Democrats are deciding they will vote for the Democrat. This is bringing Sestak’s number up from the mid 30s to the low 40s. Because the previous lead was being reported as a differential, Toomey’s support really hasn’t changed a great deal, but the undecided Dems are now saying they will vote (we will see if they really do).
Morning Call/Muhlenberg has started offering a daily tracking poll on this race, which I find questionable because of its likely voter model. However, it does offer some useful insight. Let’s look at the last 5 reports on this track:
Sestak 44 – Toomey 41
Sestak 43 – Toomey 43
Sestak 43 – Toomey 43
Sestak 42 – Toomey 45
Sestak 42 – Toomey 47
What can we draw from this trend? Well one thing that people might try to draw is “Toomey is surging! He went from -3 to +5 in 5 days! Whoo Hoo!”. Fine, temper the enthusiasm, he isn’t over 50 and to my knowledge never has been. The important point is that Sestak’s core support is around 43, which is where you would expect a Democrat in a heavily Democrat state to be, if he is losing a large section of the Independents.
Sestak has benefited from his base finally saying things to pass through a likely voter screen, and he is showing a flat level of support as a result. It isn’t growing and you could argue it is eroding a bit (again, I don’t trust this poll to be getting their turn out or likely voter model correct).
Toomey will be fine next Tuesday as long as he executes his final week’s strategy. GOTV, rallies, and final advertising push will net him a 4 to 6 point win, and there really isn’t anything Sestak can do to stop that. So sure, send some extra money and help make phone calls. But don’t panic over these polls.