Specter trails in Senate race, poll says

Longtime Sen. Arlen Specter is trailing a Republican rival in the race for the 2010 Senate seat, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll released this morning.

Mr. Specter trails former Congressman Pat Toomey, 41 to 27 percent, the poll said. Twenty-eight percent are undecided, however.

"Pennsylvania Republicans are so unhappy with Sen. Specter's vote for President Barack Obama's stimulus package and so-called pork barrel spending that they are voting for a former Congressman they hardly know," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Richards said Mr. Toomey "has strong conservative backing, but his challenge could be fractured if more Republicans crowd into the primary and split the anti-Specter vote,"

Even though Mr. Toomey lost the 2004 Republican primary to Mr. Specter by less than two points, 78 percent of all voters, including 73 percent of Republicans, said they don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

Overall, voters in the state have a favorable opinion of Mr. Specter by 45 to 31 percent, but he gets a 47 to 29 percent unfavorable score from Republicans. He gets a 60 to 16 percent approval from Democrats and a 41 to 35 percent positive from independent voters, the poll said.

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