Hoeffl's chances are lowKos is excerpting from a Congressional Quarterly article that is talking about the Hoeffl campaign and how he hopes to win. The basic strategy is that people really do not like Arlen Specter (30% job approval rate) but they do not know Joe Hoeffl (50% name ID) and as they get to know Hoeff they'll switch over to Specter. The means to do this is with sunny intro TV ads and lots of handpressing and shaking.
This is a good strategy IF and ONLY IF Hoeffl was able to execute this strategy during the summer. The election will be held five weeks from yesterday and half of the state does not know that Joe Hoeffl is running for Senate or that he is a Democrat. I just saw the first positive, puffy bio TV ad for Joe Hoeffl this weekend and while it was a good ad to tell me that he exists, it did not provide an undecided or persuadable voter a good reason to vote for him. People may not like actively like Arlen Specter, but he has always been able to tamper down the amount of active dislike and discomfort with him. He is like that pair of sneakers that you really should have gotten rid of six months ago; slightly wholey, slightly smelly but good enough to put on to run to the corner store because they are comfortable. That is the problem Joe Hoeffl has to face; Specter knows how to make himself the least offensive choice.
I would love it if Hoefll was to win the Senate seat, but I find his odds to be extremely unlikely. I believe he will do better than the 37% he is at right now, but he would need a perfect storm to win the seat; a Kerry +8 victory, new voters voting straight party lines, and the Christian Right (Toomey's supporters) staying home or abstaining from the Senate race. I doubt the Christian Right is staying home as that is the core of the Bush's campaign GOTV efforts and I have no idea if they would abstain. I am pretty sure Kerry will win the state but I do not see a landslide and I have no idea on how many new voters will turnout as well as their behavior. It is a long shot hope at best.