WASHINGTON – Pat Toomey isn't named in the latest Quinnipiac Poll, but the Republican senator probably likes it anyway.
The poll, out Tuesday morning, shows Hillary Clinton's numbers sinking in Pennsylvania – and that could be a key factor in Toomey's tough 2016 re-election fight.
The poll, one of three Quinnipiac released in swing states (Ohio and Florida are the others), shows a sharp drop in Pennsylvanians approval of Clinton, the Democratic front-runner in waiting. Her favorability in Pennsylvania stood at 48-47, according to the poll, down from 55-38 Feb. 3. And her lead in the commonwealth has narrowed in head-to-head matchups against Republican hopefuls like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. Clinton even trails Rand Paul, 45-44. (Clinton's ratings also fell in Ohio and Florida, the survey found).
Q Poll assistant director Tim Malloy called it "a red flag in blue state Pennsylvania."
That's bad news for Keystone State Democrats, who are counting on a Clinton surge to help them knock out Toomey – a key to their party taking back the Senate. Talk to Democrats around the state, and most express grudging admiration for Toomey's political skills, saying he has done as well as a Republican could hope while preparing to run for re-election in a state that has gone blue for the past six presidential races.
But Democrats say that Clinton's strength, and in particular her appeal to the working-class white voters, gives them a good shot at beating Toomey, who won by just two percentage points in 2010, even with an historic GOP wave behind him. If she weakens, so does that argument.
There are obviously many, many months until the election, and there will surely be more spikes and dips for presidential contenders on both sides of the aisle. But for now, bad news for Clinton is good for Toomey.
In Pennsylvania, the poll surveyed 1,036 voters with a 3 percentage point margin of error. It was done from March 17 – 28.