Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., is a heavy favorite to win reelection, according to a Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday. Casey leads Republican Tom Smith 49 percent to 32 percent, according to the poll. Seventeen percent of Keystone State voters said they are undecided.
The poll shows a much more competitive presidential race in Pennsylvania. President Obama leads Mitt Romney 45 percent to 39 percent in the traditionally-blue state.
The difference in the results of the two contests partially stems from the preference of independent voters. In the Senate race, Casey has a 14 percentage point advantage among independents - 44 percent to 30 percent. But Romney leads Obama 43 percent to 37 percent in that category.
Casey also outperforms Obama among working-class whites, a key voting bloc in the state. While Obama trails Romney 43 percent to 36 percent among white voters without a college degree, Casey leads Smith 46 percent to 34 percent among the same group.
Smith emerged from relative obscurity to capture the Republican nomination after spending $5 million of his own money on his primary campaign. Still largely unknown in the state, Smith may need to make another heavy personal investment to introduce himself to voters and keep pace with Casey, whose father served two terms as governor.
The Quinnipiac poll, which was conducted June 19 through June 25, surveyed 1,252 Pennsylvania voters. It carries a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.8 percentage points.