Bob Casey narrowly overtook Dave McCormick in Pennsylvania, where he also overtook Joe Biden

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is narrowly ahead of Republican challenger Dave McCormick in the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania with six months until the election, according to a modern Inquirer/New York Times/Siena College poll.

Casey leads McCormick 46% to 41% among Pennsylvania registered voters, which is just within the poll’s margin of error. An additional 13% of voters were undecided. The survey was conducted between April 28 and May 7.

Casey, who has represented the state in the Senate since 2007, had a similar lead over McCormick in an April poll conducted by Emerson College.

The race, which the nonpartisan Cook Political Report describes as “leaning toward Democrats,” is one of several that could determine which party controls the Senate.

Bob Casey is doing better than Joe Biden

While Casey and McCormick rank close to each other in the state, Casey is also ahead of his party’s presidential nominee, President Joe Biden.

Casey leads President Joe Biden by 2 percent points when voters are asked about the two-person race between Biden and former President Donald Trump. When third party presidential candidates including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Casey is ahead of Biden by a much larger 10 points.

“I don’t know much about Bob Casey, but I haven’t heard anything bad about Bob Casey,” said Charles Kestener, 41, a registered independent resident of Allentown who plans to vote for Casey but not Biden.

Kestener, a truck driver, criticized Biden’s handling of the economy and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. He said he would support Green Party candidate Jill Stein in the presidential race over a candidate from either major party.

Casey leads McCormick with women and voters identifying as independents, as well as juvenile and nonwhite voters – two groups that have drifted away from Biden in the state.

“People know the Casey family,” said Eric Stern, former deputy campaign manager for Sen. John Fetterman. “They know Senator Casey very well, and even if their feelings toward national Democrats cool… They don’t necessarily hold the senator accountable for his feelings about the economy, national issues or inflation.”

Still, Stern said he expects the gap between Casey and Biden, two longtime political allies, to narrow. “There just aren’t enough swing voters anymore. Even if Casey runs the best campaign in the world, he won’t overtake Biden by 10 points.

Trump is ahead of McCormick in the head-to-head presidential contest and is gaining similar support when voters are asked about third-party candidates.

GOP political consultant Vince Galko, who worked on both of former Sen. Pat Toomey’s re-election campaigns, said if McCormick can overtake Trump in suburban areas, where he currently trails Casey by a wide margin, there could be benefits.

“He can go after independents and influence voters in the suburbs that Trump won’t win,” Galko said. “He has a military background and an economic message, so it doesn’t even have to be big numbers, but in the suburbs of Philadelphia, a point and a half can be a huge value.”

Biden and Trump remain unpopular candidates in the state, with 55% of registered voters disapproving of Trump and 57% being dissatisfied with Biden.

Casey is showing favorably in the polls – 49% of voters, compared to Biden, who enjoys the support of 41% of voters. McCormick and Trump are even favorable, with 41% and 42% of voters viewing them as favorable candidates.

Mike Mikus, a Democratic political consultant who has worked on Senate campaigns in the state, said the 49% favorability rating is a good sign for Casey.

“Those are really strong numbers in this environment for Democrats,” Mikus said. “It will take a lot of money and effort to make Bob Casey an unfavorable figure in Pennsylvania. This is one of McCormick’s biggest challenges.”

McCormick remains relatively unknown to 34% of Pennsylvania voters

More Pennsylvanians had a favorable (42%) than unfavorable (24%) opinion of McCormick, but 34% either hadn’t heard of him or had no opinion of him. That’s about 14 points higher than the 20% who didn’t know what they thought of Casey or said they hadn’t heard of him.

It’s a sign that McCormick is still introducing himself to voters who may not remember him from the thrilling 2022 GOP primary two years ago, when even Trump criticized him.

And while Democrats have been accusing McCormick for months of being a carpet salesman based primarily in Connecticut, his favorability numbers do not clearly indicate whether the attacks have had any resonance.

It’s early in the campaign cycle, and both campaigns are expected to ultimately spend millions in advertising to get their names and messages out to the state.

John Fetterman maintains support

Fetterman, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, is not seeking re-election but often makes headlines for his boldly free-spirited political style and mighty support for Israel.

The senator isn’t afraid to stir things up, and voters seem divided on what they think. Fetterman’s overall approval rating was 48%, just 1 percentage point lower than Casey, his calmer counterpart in the U.S. Senate. An additional 41% of registered voters he had unfavorable views of Fetterman.

Fetterman, a freshman senator, is slightly better known than Casey – just 6% of voters said they hadn’t heard of him.

Stern, Fetterman’s former campaign manager, said this was no surprise for the heavily covered Democrat:

“John Fetterman takes out the trash and there are three articles about it.”

The New York Times’ Shivani Gonazalez contributed reporting.

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts