A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows longtime Senator Arlen Specter trailing former Congressman Pat Toomey 41 - 27 percent in Pennsylvania's Republican primary for the 2010 Senate race.

According to the poll, Pennsylvania voters overall have a 45 - 31 percent favorable opinion of Specter, but among Pennsylvania Republicans, he has a 47 - 29 percent unfavorable score.

Among Democrats, on the other hand, Specter gets a 60 - 16 percent favorable score and a 41 - 35 percent favorable score from independent voters.

Pennsylvania Republicans are so unhappy with Senator Specter's vote for President Barack Obama's Stimulus Package and so-called pork barrel spending that they are voting for a former Congressman they hardly know, said Clay Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The poll found that, even though Toomey lost the 2004 Republican primary to Specter by less than two points, 78 percent of all voters, including 73 percent of Republicans, don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

Toomey came close last time and has strong conservative backing, but his challenge could be fractured if more Republicans crowd into the primary and split the anti-Specter vote, Richards added.

If the 2010 election for the seat were held today, the poll found, 31 percent of voters say they would vote for Specter while 33 percent say they would vote for an unnamed Democratic challenger, with 35 percent undecided.

Under these circumstances, Specter's Republican support jumps to 47 percent favorable while his unfavorable rating jumps to 48 percent among Democrats and 35 percent among independents.

If Specter can get past the primary, Richards said, the controversial veteran has a lot going for him in his bid for reelection, especially without a strong Democratic candidate on the horizon.

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