Democratic challenger Katie McGinty maintains a slight lead over Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), according to a new Monmouth University Poll released Tuesday. That’s good news for Democrats, who are hoping to flip that seat in their push to retake the Senate.
The new poll is the seventh survey in the HuffPost Pollster average to show McGinty leading. The latest results bring her average up to 42.7 percent, with 42.4 percent for Toomey.
While the race is still tight, support for McGinty has increased by more than 2 percentage points since July, effectively erasing any lead that Toomey previously had.
McGinty leads Toomey by 45 percent to 41 percent among likely voters in the Monmouth poll, with 6 percent supporting Libertarian candidate Edward Clifford and 8 percent still undecided. The survey, conducted from Aug. 26 to 29, has a margin of error of 4.9 points.
The same survey finds Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump 48 percent to 40 percent among likely Pennsylvania voters.
The HuffPost Pollster average now shows Clinton with a commanding lead over Trump in Pennsylvania, a traditional swing state that has ultimately voted Democratic in the last six presidential elections.
One recent poll did find Toomey ahead by 7 points: In an Emerson College Poll of likely voters released Monday, the incumbent was up 46 percent to 39 percent. However, the automated poll surveyed only landline users. That method misses the many Americans who now rely on mobile phones, which is why such polls are no longer included in HuffPost Pollster’s data models.
McGinty’s lead is impressive considering that many Pennsylvanians have yet to form a definitive opinion about the former state official. (Most recently she served as Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff.) The Monmouth survey found that 27 percent of likely voters have a favorable view of McGinty and 17 percent have an unfavorable view. But 56 percent said they have no opinion at all.
On the other hand, 32 percent reported having a favorable opinion of Toomey, 30 percent had an unfavorable opinion and 38 percent were undecided. Still, 43 percent said they approve of the job Toomey is doing as senator.
Toomey’s struggles could be tied, in part, to Trump’s unpopularity in the state. Like many other Republican candidates, Toomey has struggled to articulate a clear distinction between his campaign and that of his party’s nominee. The senator has yet to endorse Trump and earlier said Trump was “not his first choice.”
Meanwhile, McGinty has benefited from the support of national Democratic super PACs and interest groups.