State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

PA poll shows tight race between Toomey and McGinty

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 4, 2016 9:14 PM
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Toomey is trailing challenger McGinty slightly, and pollster Terry Madonna said Donald Trump's poor numbers might be at the root of the incumbent's problem. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- With less than 100 days until Election Day, a new poll is showing that the Pennsylvania US Senate race is neck and neck.

The poll, which was released publicly Thursday morning by Franklin and Marshall College, has Democratic challenger Katie McGinty leading GOP incumbent Pat Toomey by a hair.

She has a one-point lead over Toomey among likely voters, but an eight-point lead among registered voters.

Poll director and professor at Franklin and Marshall, Terry Madonna, said the presidential election is having an outsize impact on the Senate race.

Currently, he notes the poll has Clinton leading Trump 49 to 35 percent among likely voters in Pennsylvania.

"McGinty does better against Toomey when Clinton does better...and when you look at registered voters, where she's ahead by 8, that translates to Democrats not ticket splitting, but voting a straight party. And so that's important," Madonna said.

Madonna said there has been a decline in ticket splitting--where a person votes for different parties in one election.

He added that Toomey is likely being burdened by Donald Trump's relatively low numbers in Pennsylvania.

"Now, Pat Toomey is generally thought of--even by people who disagree with him, even by people who are conservative--as thoughtful, as mild-mannered. He's not given to hyperbole, he's not given to provocative statements," Madonna said. "Overall, I think he's run a pretty effective campaign."

Toomey has recently been pressed by some voters on when he plans to endorse Trump as the Republican presidential candidate.

Madonna said polls are still somewhat in flux following the national conventions. He noted that they'll be even more accurate by the middle of the month.

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