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In an internal polling memo released to CQ, Pat Toomey’s pollster, on Lerner, writes that analysts were slow to pick up on Sestak being close in PA, and on Toomey now re-consolidating his lead:

Pat Toomey's campaign was not surprised when public polling showed Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak gaining momentum in Pennsylvania's Senate contest last week, an internal memo examining the Tossup race shows.

The Republican's pollster detected the shift weeks before it was ultimately reported by various public polls late last week, prompting a slew of race ratings changes (including ours) and encouraging headlines for a Sestak campaign that hadn't led in any poll since May.(...)

"Notably, however, just as observers mistook Sestak's gradual consolidation of the Democratic base vote for a sudden shift in his favor, they are now also missing the shift that is taking place in Toomey's direction," Lerner wrote.

Um, ok. Is this the pro-Toomey shift we are supposed to be noticing?

Reuters / Ipsos. 1022-24. 400 likely voters. August 30th numbers in parenthesis:

Joe Sestak (D): 46 (37)
Pat Toomey (R): 46 (47)

Goal ThermometerYeah, that’s some big pro-Toomey shift alright.

Granted, the Muhlenberg tracking poll (PDF) shows Toomey with an 8-point lead. However, no one poll has a monopoly on the truth. The Rueters / Ipsos poll and the Muhlenberg poll basically cancel each other out.

Pennsylvania is a real microcosm for Democrats across the country. Sestak is narrowly behind Toomey, but he is far from being defeated. Nate Silver shows Sestak at a 16% chance of winning while Pollster.com puts Sestak’s chances at 18%. Both of those roughly the same odds as rolling doubles in Monopoly (16.67%). I’m a bit more optimistic at 29%, or roughly the same odds of your next birthday falling on a weekend.

We are down, but we are very much in it. Republicans are not pulling away, and you can still make a difference. As Nate Silver wrote tonight (emphasis mine):

Since there are a very large number of competitive seats, relatively small anomalies in the polling could potentially affect the outcome of dozens of races. Although the Democrats’ overall position is poor, it is not yet so poor that it couldn’t be salvaged if they beat their polling averages by 2 or 3 points nationwide.

Two or three points ain't that much. Keep fighting--both with GOTV, and with small contributions.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Oct 26, 2010 at 05:32 PM PDT.

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