Pennsylvania Poll Shows Toomey Catching Specter, But Pro-Lifers Confused

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 18, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pennsylvania Poll Shows Toomey Catching Specter, But Pro-Lifers Confused

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
March 18, 2004

Harrisburg, PA ( — New polling data in Pennsylvania shows that pro-life Congressman Pat Toomey is making advances in his bid to unseat pro-abortion U.S. Senator Arlen Specter in the Republican primary. However, the poll results also indicate confusion about where the two GOP candidates stand on such issues as abortion and human cloning.

A poll conducted for a group of Pennsylvania television stations shows Toomey leading Specter in Northeast Pennsylvania. Across Pennsylvania, Specter still holds a nine-point edge over Toomey, according to the survey, which was conducted between March 13 and March 15.

The results mean that, over a period of six weeks, Specter’s lead over Toomey has plummeted 14 points. The dramatic decline is encouraging to many Pennsylvania pro-lifers, who see Toomey as their best hope for gaining a pro-life seat in the U.S. Senate.

"Congressman Toomey is considered the strongest challenger Specter has ever faced in a Republican primary," said Mary Beliveau, director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Political Action Committee, told

The pro-life group’s PAC has endorsed Toomey based upon Toomey’s 100 percent pro-life voting record in the 108th Congress. Specter, on the other hand, is a vocal supporter of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion and has been criticized for leading the charge in the Senate to authorize destructive research that destroys human embryos.

Despite the clear differences in the views of the candidates, the television poll shows Specter has a two-point lead over Toomey among people who identify themselves as pro-life. While those findings may be troubling to the Toomey camp, they are not surprising, according to seasoned pro-life leaders.

They say that’s because Specter has a habit of disguising his hard-line pro-abortion stand in Republican primaries. GOP primaries tend to attract pro-life voters.

"Specter’s traditional primary election ‘dance’ on issues is amusing to some and disturbing to others, especially when they know his ‘shift’ is only temporary — before a primary," Beliveau said.

However, Beliveau says Specter’s recent actions along the campaign trail indicate that he sees Toomey as a credible threat in the April 27th primary.

"There is no doubt that Specter is worried," Beliveau said. "He is feverishly courting pro-life audiences, using Christian radio in attempts to fool listeners into thinking he shares their values by touting support for abstinence programs and a partial-birth abortion ban."

"Yet, at the same time he voted for the partial-birth abortion ban, he voted for an amendment to support the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand throughout nine months of pregnancy…This was his signal to (the pro-abortion group) NARAL that his position did not change," Beliveau added.

According to the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation PAC voters’ guide, Toomey "supports the protection of human life … and opposes the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion." Toomey also supports a ban on all human cloning.

In contrast, Specter believes in the use of tax dollars for abortion and his pro-cloning views are on display in the bill he has sponsored, S. 303, which pro-lifers have dubbed the "clone and kill" bill.

The winner of the Specter-Toomey showdown will go on to compete against Democrat Joe Hoeffel, a pro-abortion Congressman who voted against the federal ban on partial birth abortion.

Meanwhile, the Toomey campaign is also touting another poll which shows Specter and Toomey separated by ten percentage points. The Club for Growth/the polling company survey shows Toomey has cut Specter’s lead by more than half since January.

"These polls confirm the tremendously positive reception we’ve been getting from Republican voters to the idea of replacing liberal Arlen Specter with Pat Toomey, a proven leader in defending Republican values," Toomey campaign spokesman Joe Sterns said.

"Our campaign is rapidly catching fire with the launch of our statewide advertising and our continued grassroots effort. Senator Specter’s days of siding with Democrats are numbered," Sterns added.

Related web sites:
Toomey for Senate campaign –
Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation –