Arlen Specter Leads Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak, New Poll Shows

(CBS)
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter is making headway in his campaign to be re-elected as a Democrat, a new poll shows.

Specter now leads in a match up against Democratic primary challenger Rep. Joe Sestak, 53 - 29 percent, and against Republican candidate Pat Toomey, 49 - 42 percent, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.

Toomey had an edge over Specter last October and the two candidates were tied in Quinnipiac's December poll. Last year Specter switched from the Republican party to the Democratic party after it became clear he would not be able to overcome a primary challenge from Toomey.

Sestak's challenge in the Democratic primary poses less of a threat for Specter -- the incumbent has the support of the Democratic establishment behind him.

Specter has the advantage of name recognition against both candidates. While only 11 percent of voters surveyed by Quinnipiac said they didn't know enough about Specter to have an opinion about him, 74 percent of voters -- including 73 percent of Democrats -- said they did not know enough about Sestak. As many as 65 percent said they did not know enough about Toomey.

Specter and Sestak will face off in the Democratic primary on May 18.

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