GOP's Toomey has big lead in Pennsylvania Senate race
© Getty Images

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyMeet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Black women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal MORE (R-Pa.) begins his 2016 reelection efforts with a big lead over former Rep. Joe Sestak (D), according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Monday.

The survey shows Toomey taking 48 percent support compared to 35 percent for Sestak.

ADVERTISEMENT

Voters in Pennsylvania have largely positive views of Toomey. Forty-nine percent say he’s doing a good job, compared to 24 percent who say he isn’t. In addition, 44 percent view him favorably, while only 23 percent have an unfavorable view of the senator.

Sestak, meanwhile, suffers from low name recognition. Sixty-one percent of Pennsylvania voters say they don’t know enough about him to have an opinion.

“It’s an uphill fight for Joe Sestak who has to chip away at U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s approval numbers while trying to win over Pennsylvanians who just don’t know enough about him,” Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement.

Toomey and Sestak faced off in 2010, after the Democrat ousted former Sen. Arlen Specter (D) in a primary before narrowly losing to Toomey, 51 percent to 49 percent.

Many Democrats in the state still hold a grudge over Sestak’s last bid. He didn’t give the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee a heads up that he was running again in 2016, and his buggy campaign launch has raised doubts that he’s ready to topple a strong incumbent like Toomey.

Toomey ended 2014 with more than $5.8 million in his campaign fund. Sestak ended the year with more than $1.5 million.