Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter would defeat Republican rival Pat Toomey by a large margin if the 2010 Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race was held today, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll released this morning.
Mr. Specter, now a Democrat, holds a 55 to 33 percent edge over Mr. Toomey, his former Republican party rival.
However, the poll says if popular former Gov. Tom Ridge becomes the Republican candidate, Mr. Specter would lead by only 46 to 43 percent.
"A former Republican senator running as a Democrat against a popular former Republican governor seeking to make a political comeback would be a battle royal in Pennsylvania," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Gov. Tom Ridge is probably the only political figure in Pennsylvania who could give Sen. Arlen Specter a run for his money.
"But even if he gets a strong challenge from a Republican, Specter is still better off for having changed parties -- he seemed headed to certain defeat had he stayed a Republican and faced Toomey in a primary."
Voters said 49 to 41 percent that Specter, 79, deserves to be reelected. They also said by 60 to 37 percent that he is not too old to serve another six-year term. Even voters 18 to 34 years old said, by 67 to 31 percent, that Specter is not too old.
From Thursday through last night, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,120 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.