State House Sound Bites

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

A month from Election Day, PA Senate polls are unstable

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 6, 2016 9:54 PM
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GOP incumbent Pat Toomey is ahead in state polls. Or he's behind...it all depends on which poll you look at. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- Anyone watching Pennsylvania's polls may have noticed some shifts lately.

Republican Donald Trump is down across the board this week--an average of Pennsylvania polls has him trailing by more than seven points.

But recent surveys on the US Senate race between GOP incumbent Pat Toomey and Democrat Katie McGinty are showing a wide range of results, and the average comes to a dead heat.

That's a little unusual. Generally when Trump's numbers have dipped, Toomey's have gone down as well.

Berwood Yost, with the Franklin and Marshall College poll, said the difference has to do with undecided voters.

"There are a lot of people who are still looking at this. The Senate race has not received the attention that the presidential race has received," Yost said. "I think because of that, you're going to see people continuing to make up their minds through Election Day."

Complicating the issue, major polls don't seem to agree on Toomey's spot.

The F&M poll actually has him down, but Quinnipiac University has him up eight.

The spread is partly because Quinnipiac counts undecided voters if they say they're leaning toward a certain candidate, while F&M doesn't include undecideds in its averages.

Yost said this could potentially mean more undecided voters are leaning to Toomey. But he's cautious about saying anything definitive.

The main takeaway, he said, is that the Senate race remains volatile.

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