Casey’s Job Approval Sinks, but He Is Polling Well for 2012

December 19, 2010

By Steve Peoples, Roll Call

Pennsylvania voters gave Sen. Bob Casey “OK marks” heading into the 2012 election, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday that suggests the freshman Democrat could be vulnerable.

Just 39 percent of voters polled between Dec. 6 and 13 approved of Casey’s job performance; 29 percent disapproved and 32 percent didn’t know or didn’t answer. His approval rating is down significantly from a high of 56 percent in May 2009.

“Although there is a sense in the political community that Casey will be a strong bet for re-election, his numbers are not overwhelming,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Indeed, many Keystone State Democrats and Republicans think Casey is a strong bet for re-election largely because of the GOP’s weak prospects. A challenger has yet to emerge, and despite major Republican gains in the midterms, the evolving list of potential candidates isn’t particularly frightening for the Casey campaign.

Perhaps that’s why Quinnipiac didn’t test head-to-head matchups, as other pollsters sometimes do in similar situations. Instead, Quinnipiac simply asked voters if they would support Casey “or the Republican candidate” in 2012.

Casey led the generic Republican 43 percent to 35 percent with another 11 percent saying it depended on the candidate and 11 percent more saying they did not know. Roll Call Politics rates this race as Leans Democratic.

Not surprisingly, the state Democratic Party said the numbers show the incumbent Democrat “is popular and in a strong position for re-election.”

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