Commentary
Published: Feb 18, 2009
Rasmussen: Stimulus Vote Costing Specter
by Salena Zito


From Rasmussen:

Senator Arlen Specter is one of only three Republicans to support the economic stimulus bill in Congress, and the latest Rasmussen Reports survey in Pennsylvania shows that his position is costing him support back home.

Just 31percent of Keystone State voters say are more likely to vote for Specter because of his position on the stimulus package while 40 percent are less likely to do so.

A look inside the numbers shows the problem for Specter may be even more significant. Fifty-eight percent of Republican voters in the state are less likely to vote for Specter. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, just 27 percent are more likely to support the long-time incumbent while 48% are less likely to do so.

These numbers are not surprising given the partisan response to the stimulus bill itself. Nationwide, support for the stimulus legislation increased following President Obama's nationally televised press conference earlier this week. Still, the legislation is perceived as being what Democrats want rather than a bipartisan product.

In Pennsylvania, 69 percent of Republicans oppose the package while 73 percent of Democrats favor it. Those not affiliated with either major party are evenly divided. That partisan divide places Specter in a difficult position. Even though Specter has aligned himself with the president and other Democrats on the stimulus, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has announced that the Pennsylvania Republican is one of their top targets for the 2010 election cycle.

Specter won re-election in 2004 by a 53 percent to 42 percent margin. However, Specter barely survived a conservative primary challenge from then-Congressman Pat Toomey. Even though he had the support of the state's Republican establishment, Specter was able to defeat Toomey only by two points, 51 percent to 49 percent.

Overall, Pennsylvania voters support the stimulus measure by a 47 percent to 41 percent margin. Still, 52 percent say the legislation is at least somewhat likely to make things worse instead of better.

In December, Rasmussen Reports polling showed Specter in a tight re-election match-up against MSNBC television anchor Chris Matthews. Matthews has since indicated that he will not run for the seat.

In that December survey, 60 percent of Pennsylvania voters had a favorable opinion of Specter, including 20 percent Very Favorable. Specter was viewed unfavorably by 37 percent including 13 percent who had a Very Unfavorable opinion.

READ MORE HERE

Salena Zito is a Tribune-Review Political Reporter




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