Arlen Specter Aftershocks

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A new poll by Quinnipiac University shows that (no surprise) Arlen Specter has boosted his prospects considerably by switching to the Democratic Party, but that former Governor Tom Ridge, if he runs, could make it a pretty interesting race. He trails by only five percentage points. The poll is also bad news for former Congressman Pat Toomey–and the Club for Growth. It shows Specter beating the man who drove him from the Republican Party by 20 percentage points in a general election.

A number of our commenters have wondered whether Pennsylvania Democrats are happy with the prospect of Specter as their standard-bearer. The numbers suggest that any other Democrat would likely have an uphill climb against Specter in a primary, even without the support and resources that Barack Obama and Governor Ed Rendell have promised their new fellow Democrat. More than three quarters of the Democrats surveyed say they have a favorable impression of Specter. Fully 81% of Democrats say they approve of the way he is doing his job; that’s significantly higher even than the 66% of Democrats who approve of the way that junior Senator Bob Casey is doing his.