The latest Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania, with two weeks to go, confirms the movement seen in other polls in the Democratic Senate primary.

U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak is within striking distance of U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, trailing the long-time incumbent 47 – 39 percent among likely primary voters, compared to his 53 – 32 percent gap April 7, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

“The Senate race is closing and could be headed for a close finish, while the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination is moving in the opposite direction,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “With only two weeks until the May 18 primary, Onorato can feel somewhat confident, while Sen. Specter should be more concerned.”

Simply put, Sestak marshaled his resources until people started tuning into the race, blitzed the state with advertising, and raised his profile. His favorables are pretty good and still have room to go. The only thing going for Specter is the perception, by 60-23 percent, that he is more likely to win the general election, as opposed to Sestak. But a Sestak-Pat Toomey head-to-head at this point, after this blitz, could change that perception.

The Allentown Morning Call tracking poll now shows Sestak within 4 points.

I think there’s a post of mine somewhere with me predicted that Sestak would win. He’s making me look pretty good right now. With this anti-incumbent mood in the country, I think it’s entirely possible that Sestak nips Specter at the wire, though I do think Specter has the edge because he holds the hole card of the political machine in the state, which will help for turnout.

UPDATE: The DSCC is now spending money on Arlen Specter, with a $300,000 ad buy. They must feel they have to, because Sestak wisely waited until the last minute and is now outspending Specter on air on cable, though not on broadcast.

OK, how terrible is the DSCC? They’re backing Specter with a cash buy. They’re backing Cal Cunningham in North Carolina and Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas. All three may lose. Michael Bennet might just tell them to butt out.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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