Bob Casey's approval ratings are nothing to write home about, but he continues to have a large lead over all of his potential Republican opponents.
38% of Pennsylvania voters approve of the job Casey is doing to 36% who disapprove. A higher than usual 26% have no opinion. Usually a Senator with a 38% approval rating would be in a lot of trouble. But Casey actually has an unusual amount of crossover support from Republicans, with 22% approving of him. The reason his numbers are low is that only 58% of Democrats approve of him to 23% who disapprove. Usually Senators are in the 70-80% range with members of their own party.
Casey may have only 58% of Democrats who approve of the job he's doing, but 76-78% of them still commit to voting for him in the general election against any of his potential Republican opponents. In addition to strong support from the Democratic base he takes anywhere from 17-22% of the GOP vote against his possible foes, and leads with independents by 17-23 points.
It all adds up to a 15-20 point early lead no matter who runs against him. Sam Rohrer comes the closest of the Republicans, trailing by 15 at 49-34. Tom Smith and David Christian trail by 18 points at 49-31 and 50-32 respectively. Marc Scaringi and Steve Welch do the worst, trailing by identical 20 point margins at 49-29.
In addition to being the strongest Republican candidate against Casey Rohrer is also leading the GOP primary field for the time being. He's at 16% to 12% for Tom Smith, 10% for David Christian, 8% for Marc Scaringi, and 5% for Steve Welch. The big winner though is undecided- 48% of voters say they don't yet know who they'll choose.
The indecision among Republican voters is mostly a function of the fact that they don't know who any of these candidates are. Rohrer has the 'highest' name recognition, but even he is known to only 27% of primary voters. Smith has 25% name recognition, and after that it's Marc Scaringi and Steve Welch at 16% and David Christian at 15%.
The one thing that's good news about the GOP hopefuls being so little known is that once one of them becomes the nominee they'll probably pull closer to Casey. In the head to head match ups there are a lot more undecided Republicans than Democrats so once they get around a candidate the race will tighten. But Casey looks like a strong favorite by any measure.
Full results here