That this race is included in a list of the country's closest is something of a surprise.
While Pennsylvania has a Democratic advantage among registered voters, it’s been getting more conservative, and there is a lot of dissatisfaction toward President Obama’s policies. For most of the last few months, the Republican candidate, Pat Toomey – a tea party favorite – has had a sizeable advantage.
But in recent weeks Joe Sestak, his Democratic opponent, has enjoyed a surge in the polls, and suddenly the race seems to be back in the “toss up” column.
Mr. Sestak was apparently hoping for a late-campaign surge, and has played his hand well. Still, a win by him would be a surprising coup, given that most polls still give the edge to Mr. Toomey and most Pennsylvania voters say they are decided.
Moreover, Republican voters seem to be more enthusiastic and also tend to be better at getting out the vote. New York Times polling expert Nate Silver gives Sestak just a 17 percent chance of winning the seat.