This article presents an unbiased comparison of the political positions and policies of Bob Casey and Tom Smith, candidates for the 2012 senate elections in Pennsylvania.

RESULT: Casey beat Smith to win re-election.

Bob Casey Jr., a member of the Democratic party, is the incumbent. He is a lawyer and a politician by profession. In 2006, Casey defeated two-term incumbent Republican Senator Rick Santorum with a margin of 18 points, 59%-41%, one of the largest margin of defeat seen in Pennsylvania history. This was also the first time a Democrat was elected to a full Senate term from Pennsylvania since Joseph Clark was re-elected in 1962.

Tom Smith is the Republican nominee for the 2012 Senate elections in Pennsylvania. He is a businessman and a politician.

Comparison chart

Bob Casey versus Tom Smith comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartBob CaseyTom Smith
  • current rating is 3.68/5
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(41 ratings)
  • current rating is 3.47/5
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(47 ratings)
Bob CaseyTom Smith
Political Party Democrat Republican
Hometown Scranton, PA Armstrong County, PA
Religion Catholic Lutheran
Budget Supported Balanced Budget Amendment Supported Balanced Budget Amendment
Tax Policy Increase tax for those earning over $1 million. Tax cuts for small businesses Opposes tax increases
Social Security Opposes privatization Supports privatization
Health Care Supports health care reform Opposes health care reform
Abortion Opposes Opposes
Gay Rights Opposes gay marriage; supports civil unions Opposes gay marriage
Immigration Supports extensive reform and increased regulation Opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants
Education Supports increased public funding for school. Opposes school vouchers No clear stance
Women’s Rights Aims to end the gender pay gap No clear stance
Gun Control Opposes any restrictions Opposes any restrictions
Energy Policy Supports natural gas drilling and alternative energy sources Aims to reduce foreign dependence through oil and clean coal
Iran Supports economic sanctions No clear stance
Logo of Republican(Elephant) and Democratic (Donkey) parties
Logo of Republican(Elephant) and Democratic (Donkey) parties

Early Life and Career

Bob Casey was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and received his BA from the College of the Holy Cross in 1982. He earned his JD at the Catholic University of America in 1988 and practiced law from 1991 to 1996. In 1996, he was elected Pennsylvania State Auditor General and held this position until 2005, when he became the Pennsylvania State Treasurer. He won a place in the US Senate in 2006.

Tom Smith grew up on a farm in Armstrong County. After graduating high school, he went to work in a surface coal mine, and in 1989, he began to build his own series of companies in the coal business.

Differences in Economic Policy

Tax Policy

Bob Casey has proposed a tax credit to encourage employers to hire workers, as well as tax cuts for small businesses. [1] He wants to increase the tax rate for those earning over $1 million. [2]

Tom Smith opposes any tax increases [3]. He support a single-rate tax system. [4]


Bob Casey supported the Balanced Budget Amendment, a law that would prevent the US government from spending more than its income. [5]

Tom Smith supports a Balanced Budget Amendment and wants to limit federal spending growth to the per-capita inflation rate. [6]

Social Security

Bob Casey opposes the privatization of Social Security. [7]

Tom Smith supports privatizing social security. [8]

Healthcare Policy

Bob Casey supports Obama's health care reform. [9]

Tom Smith opposes Obamacare. He aims to repeal the health care bill and reduce the cost of care by increasing competition across state lines. [10]

Social Issues


Bob Casey opposes legal abortion, with exceptions to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape and incest. [11]

Tom Smith opposes legal abortion. [12]


Bob Casey supports extensive immigration reform, including stricter enforcement at borders. [13]

Tom Smith opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants. [14]

Gay rights

Bob Casey opposes gay marriage, but supports civil unions. [15]

Tom Smith opposes gay marriage and would support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. [16]

Women’s Rights

Bob Casey is dedicated to ending the gender pay gap through the Paycheck Fairness Act. He introduced the Campus SaVE Act to address domestic violence and sexual assault on college campuses. [17]

Tom Smith has not spoken about this issue.

Education Policy

Bob Casey supports increased federal and public funding for education. [18]

Tom Smith has not spoken about education policy.

Gun Control

Bob Casey supports the right to bear arms and opposed increased regulation of firearm ownership. [19]

Tom Smith is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and a member of the National Rifle Association. [20]

Energy Policy

Bob Casey supports natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. He supports legislation to develop technologies to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and aims to encourage investment in local alternative energy sources. [21]

Tom Smith aims to reduce American dependence on foreign energy sources by utilizing the country’s own resources, including oil and clean coal. [22]

Differences in Foreign Policy

Position on Iran

Bob Casey supports economic sanctions on Iran. [23]

Tom Smith has not spoken about his policy on Iran.

Opinion Poll Ratings

Poll source Date(s)
Casey, Jr. (D)
Smith (R)
Quinnipiac June 19-25, 2012 49% 32%
Quinnipiac June 5–10, 2012 51% 32%
Franklin & Marshall College May 29–June 4, 2012 42% 21%
Rasmussen Reports May 21, 2012 48% 41%
Public Policy Polling May 17–20, 2012 49% 33%
Public Policy Polling March 8–11, 2012 49% 31%
Public Policy Polling November 17–20, 2011 48% 32%


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