After months of either trailing or running neck-and-neck in polls testing his re-election bid, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) has jumped ahead of former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) in the latest Quinnipiac University survey.
Specter led 49 percent to 42 percent in the poll, taken Feb. 22-28.
Previous Quinnipiac surveys have found Specter ahead or in a statistical tie with Toomey, while polls from different polling firms have showed the Republican in the lead in recent months — sometimes even by double digits.
In the new poll, Specter also had a significant 53 percent to 29 percent lead over Rep. Joe Sestak (D), with the May 18 primary less than three months away. Specter’s lead in the primary has not changed significantly from similar polls this year, such as a poll last summer that showed him leading Sestak 55 percent to 23 percent.
Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Assistant Director Peter Brown chalked up much of Specter’s lead to to the gender gap, saying in a release: “Specter’s lead over Toomey is built upon a 52 to 36 percent margin among women voters, while Toomey has a small 49 to 46 percent lead among men, an indication that the gender gap remains alive and well.”
The poll showed that 65 percent of respondents have not heard of Toomey — up from 55 percent in the similar poll in December.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,452 Keystone State voters. The poll has a margin of error of 2.6 points.