Jonathan Chait

Is Toomey Too Looney?

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Harry Enten marvels at the possibility that Pat Toomey could win a Senate election in Pennsylvania:

Toomey ranked more conservative than 97.9% of all United States legislators since 1995. He had a more conservative voting record than J.D Hayworth, Jim DeMint, and was about as conservative as Jesse Helms. Only Tom Coburn and Tom Tancredo scored further to the right.

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To put it into prospective, Pat Toomey would most likely be the second most conservative Republican in the United States Senate, which would be quite an accomplishment considering Pennsylvania has supported every Democratic Presidential candidate since 1992 (and Obama won it by 10%).

Toomey's election, which currently looks like a toss-up or slightly better, would certainly be another body blow to the "median voter theorem," which holds that voters almost invariably choose the candidate closest to the center of the political spectrum of that electorate.

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