Posted by Jack @ 9:02 pm on June 17th 2009

Rasmussen Poll gives Specter 19 point lead on Sestak

The poll summary, and the questions and toplines.

Specter 51, Sestak 32 in this recent phone poll, which is about what we should expect at this point given Sestak’s low name recognition. The biggest surprise seems to be Specter’s favorable rating of 72%, much higher than I would have guessed.

Sestak’s latest fundraising email strikes me as hedging, in that he implies (or perhaps I just infer?) that he has not entirely made up his mind to run, and it depends on, you guessed it, fundraising success:

Dear Jack,

I did mention that we are still on a first name basis, right?

We have a big decision coming up, and an important help in the success of that decision is what you do right now.

What other decision could he be talking about? And then he transitions into the “the establishment won’t tell us how to vote” meme:

Pennsylvania Democrats should not be told who to vote for — they should get a say in choosing their nominee for U.S. Senate, not the Washington establishment. I’d like to give Pennsylvanians that opportunity!

I think Sestak will make this a staple of his campaign, he certainly hits it pretty hard in the letter:

Are we Pennsylvania Democrats, now struggling every day to survive the legacy of the Bush Administration, being told that we have to sit these fights out because the Washington establishment has chosen to annoint a nominee who consistently voted for, and supported, the Bush policies? That our interests are best represented by an individual who was registered with, and who for fought for, the Republican Party and its principles the past 45 years, including the last 8 years of the Bush Presidency? That we have no choice who gets to speak for us … or who we are to vote for?

But that’s exactly what the Washington establishment is telling us Pennsylvanians.

This is probably a reasonable item with which to beat Specter during the primary, but I suspect it will become hollow pretty fast. If Sestak can clear some early fundraising hurdles I think the Washington establishment will stay clear of the race. Those that actually do want to support Specter for coming over to the Democratic Party will recognize that overt support for the former Republican could result in a backlash and give this “don’t tell us who to vote for” concept real legs and resonance. And plenty of party establishment Dems would be perfectly happy to see a “real” Democrat win.

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