Pennsylvania CD-9 GOP Primary Poll

To:                        Interested Parties
From:                   Brock McCleary
Date:                    October 2, 2013
Re:                        Key Findings from PA-9 GOP Primary Poll

The poll shows little vulnerability for Pennsylvania Congressman Bill Shuster in what is being billed as one of the nation’s top tea party primary challenges to a sitting Republican incumbent.

Q: In a Republican primary election for Congress, which of the following Republicans would you most likely support: Art Halvorson or Bill Shuster?

Shuster draws 62% of the Republican primary vote against Art Halvorson and Travis Schooley, who garner 11% and 5% respectively.  Among Republicans who support the tea party, Shuster leads his closest competitor by 54%.

The vast geographic district has three main media markets.  In Shuster’s home market of Johnstown-Altoona, he leads by 47%.  In the Pittsburgh media market, which represents much of the district’s new territory resulting from 2011 redistricting, Shuster holds his biggest lead at 62% over Halvorson and Schooley.

Candidate Images

Shuster’s image with Republican primary voters is a net +28% (54% favorable to 26% unfavorable).  His image with tea party supporters, which represent 57% of the sample, is significantly better (60% favorable to 24% unfavorable) than those who do not support the tea party (41% favorable to 38% unfavorable).

Self-identified “very conservative” (59% favorable to 23% unfavorable) and “somewhat conservative” (60% favorable to 24% unfavorable) Republicans hold decidedly positive opinions of the Congressman.

Halvorson and Schooley register severely low name identification at 18% and 14% respectively.

Father & Son

The survey asked voters their opinion of former Congressman Bud Shuster who represented the district from 1973 until 2001 when his son Bill won the seat in a special election.  Bud Shuster’s image (54% favorable to 24% unfavorable) nearly matches that of his son (54% favorable to 26% unfavorable).

However, there are a few areas of difference between the Shusters.  While their numbers in the Johnstown-Altoona media market are practically identical, the elder Shuster’s net image rating is 9% better in the Harrisburg-Lancaster-York market.

The younger Shuster is marginally better among “very conservative” voters while the former Congressman is held in higher esteem among those who do not support the tea party.  

METHODOLOGY:
The sample size for the survey is 555 likely Republican primary voters and the margin of error is +/-4.16%.  The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) automated telephone survey was conducted September 30 – October 1, 2013 by Harper Polling.  The total percentages for responses to any given question may not equal 100% due to rounding.