Toomey surges ahead of Specter in latest poll

Republican Senate hopeful Pat Toomey, three-term Pennsylvania Congressman, surged ahead of incumbent Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat Senator Arlen Specter in the latest Daily News/Franklin & Marshall Poll.

According to the article:

… Toomey jumped out to a 14-point lead when the poll targeted “likely voters,” people who said they are certain to vote and are paying close attention to the race.

Among that group, Toomey led Specter 45-31 percent, with 20 percent undecided.

Pennsylvania voters remember that Arlen Specter only narrowly defeated Toomey in the Republican primay in 2004, by less than two percentage points or about 26,000 votes. As Pennsylvania voters react in the wake of a Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts, one can only expect Toomey’s poll numbers to increase over his Democratic opponent’s through the general election. Note: Specter himself is being challenged by Congressman Joe Sestak; however, the incumbent Senator holds a commanding lead over his challenger.

What are the issues that matter most to Pennsylvanians? According to the article, “The poll found health care, the economy and jobs to be the top issues in the race.” These are all issues which many Americans feel like the President is handling poorly. As Obama’s poll numbers continue to sink, expect him to drag Democratic incumbents down significantly.

Rasmussen Reports polled potential voters this month, revealing that voters would likely support the (R) label over the (D) label in any given Congressional race by 46 – 37. On a more striking note, among unaffiliated voters, “the GOP leads this week by a near two-to-one margin, 46% to 24%.”

Tonight’s State of the Union Address might allow President Obama to regroup and refocus his message on job creation and stimulating the economy. If he doesn’t make headway soon, it could spell certain doom for Congressional Democrats.

Columnist Michael Barone hypothesized a Democratic stumble in the same way Republicans were rebuked in the wake of the Watergate scandal. From today’s column: