Pennsylvania Democratic Primary Poll

TO:                  Interested Parties
FROM:            Brock McCleary
DATE:             February 24, 2014
RE:                  Key Findings – Pennsylvania Democratic Primary Poll

There are two notable recent events in the Democratic primary race for Governor: former Auditor General Jack Wagner announced his candidacy as the only hopeful from the Southwest region and York businessman Tom Wolf launched a multimillion dollar advertising campaign across the state, including the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh media markets. 

While the talk has been about Wagner’s potential for geographic advantage, the real impact in the race has been Wolf’s spending.  In fact, it has given form to a race that to this point has been filled with candidates who lack broad name identification beyond niche constituencies.

In our November 2013 survey, Wolf was in last place at a mere 5%.  He now leads the field with 40% of the total vote.  Wolf’s name identification in November was 23% among likely Democratic primary voters.  It is now 65%.  His image ratio was 11% favorable-to-11% unfavorable.  It is now 58% favorable-to-6% unfavorable.  That’s 42% bump in name identification and a 52% gain in image rating.

Regionally, Wolf’s strongest support comes from his home South Central region where he garners 56% of the vote.  In the Philadelphia/Southeast region, Wolf leads Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz 37-31%.  In the Pittsburgh/Southwest region, Wolf leads Wagner 36-18%.

There exists no gender or racial divide in Wolf’s support among Democratic voters.  Forty percent of women and 39% of men would vote for him.  Wolf receives 40% of the vote among whites and 38% among African-Americans.

Q. In the Democratic primary election for Governor, which of the following Democrats would you most likely support: John Hanger, Rob McCord, Katie McGinty, Allyson Schwartz, Jack Wagner or Tom Wolf?

Candidate Images

Lt. Governor Race

The race among a deep field of Democrats for the Lieutenant Governor nomination is predictably low=0profileand wide open.  However, the newest entrant in the race, Jay Paterno, begins his campaign in a virtual tie with former Congressman Mark Critz.

Critz leads in his home Pittsburgh/Southwest region 33-15% over Paterno.  Paterno leads Critz in the Northern Tier 23-13%.  The two are statistically tied at 25-24% in South Central PA.  State Senator Mike Stack is the only candidate to break double digits at 10% in the Philadelphia/Southeast region, where the virtually no one is aware of the candidates or even the race itself.  Paterno leads Critz 26-10% among seniors while Critz leads among the other three age groups.

In the Democratic primary election for Lieutenant Governor, which of the following Democrats would you most likely support: Mark Critz, Brad Koplinski, Brandon Neuman, Jay Paterno, Mark Smith and Mike Stack?

2016 Senate Primary

With Joe Sestak a declared candidate for Senate in 2016, Kathleen Kane hyping her own bid to keep Sestak from getting a head start.  But it’s Kane who has the head start as she leads the former Delaware County Congressman 47-24% in a head-to-head match-up for the Democratic nomination.

Kane’s lead is fueled by her strong support in the Pittsburgh/Southwest region where she leads 49-17%.  Sestak’s hard name identification in that region is only 37%.  Kane’s image with Southwest Democratic primary voters is 46% favorable to 10% unfavorable.

Sestak leads by 6% in the Philadelphia/Southeast region, 35-29%.  His image in the Southeast is 46% favorable to 9% unfavorable while Kane's image is 38-13%.  Kane holds a 31% lead among women and a 15% lead among men.

Q. In a hypothetical Democratic primary election for United States Senate in 2016, which of the following Democrats would you most likely support: Kathleen Kane or Joe Sestak?

The sample size for the survey is 501 likely voters and the margin of error is +/-4.38%.   The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) automated telephone survey was conducted February 22-23, 2014 by Harper Polling.  The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Harper Polling