A Quinnipiac poll out this morning has good news in it for Sen. Bob Casey and for President Barack Obama's chances in Pennsylvania. Let's throw out the important caveats that November 2012 is 17 months away and this is but one polling snapshot, but Casey in particular looks strong.
He has a job approval of 47 to 26 percent, a healthy margin though it's short of the crucial 50 percent threshold for incumbents. Most striking is that Republicans barely disapprove of the job he's doing: 37 percent in favor, 38 percent disapprove. The lack of a strong Republican challenger to Casey is well-documented, and is likely part of the reason Casey defeats an unnamed Republican challenger 47-32 in the poll.
As Quinnipiac University Polling Institute assistant director Tim Malloy (no relation) notes, "You can't beat somebody with nobody and right now nobody is emerging as a possible Republican challenger to Sen. Bob Casey, Jr."
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party, naturally, was pleased with the news with spokesman Mark Nicastre saying in an email, "Sen. Casey is working hard to create jobs and grow manufacturing opportunities in Pennsylvania. Sen. Casey's hard work and focus on jobs puts him in a strong position for 2012."
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Chris Bond noted that Democrats have failed to pass a budget in two years and said "voters in Pennsylvania will have plenty of time to examine Casey’s record of broken promises and reckless spending in Washington.”
As for Obama, he gets an 48-48 approval rating in Pennsylvania -- a jump from the April 28 Q-poll showing him with a 42-53 rating. He also beats his most likely general election challenger, Mitt Romney, in a hypothetical matchup 47-40. Against Pennsylvania's favorite son Rick Santorum, Obama leads 49-38.
Among GOP presidential primary candidates Romney tops the list at 21 percent, followed by Santorum at 16, Sara Palin at 11 and Herman Cain at 8 percent.