The Mark Patrick Flaherty campaign released some poll results that suggest that the name Flaherty still means something around here _ or maybe it’s just those stickers on the gas pumps. Anyhow, the survey showed that the controller and county executive candidate with a huge name recognition and commensurate trial heat lead over Rich Fitzgerald, his rival for the Democratic nomination.
Whether those numbers will hold up after they both go on television is anyone’s guess. According to the survey, Flaherty led his rival 46 percent to 17 percent among likely Democratic voters. Seven in ten voters recognized the Flaherty name, but only four in ten voters knew enough about Fitzgerald to express an opinion. All in all, you’d much rather have Flaherty’s numbers than Fitzgerald, but the big undecided suggests plenty of opportunity for movement in the race between now and May17. You’ll find the memo after the jump:
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Mark Patrick Flaherty for County Executive Campaign
FROM: Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group
DATE: March 24, 2011
RE: Recent Survey Among Democratic Primary Voters
Our March 18 to 20 survey among 502 likely Democratic primary voters in Allegheny
County (margin of error ±4.5 percentage points) shows that Mark Patrick Flaherty
remains well-positioned to be elected the next county executive. In fact, Mark’s
advantage over Rich Fitzgerald is UNCHANGED from our August survey:
August 2010 % March 2011 %
Mark Patrick Flaherty 44 46
Rich Fitzgerald 16 17
Undecided 40 37
Much as we found in the August survey, the depth and scope of Mark’s electoral support strongly shows his broad-based acceptability throughout the Democratic primary electorate:
_ Mark leads by better than two to one among liberals, moderates, and conservatives.
_ Mark leads by 28 points among the heavy majority of voters who approve of Dan
Onorato, and he leads by three to one among the small proportion who disapprove.
_ Mark leads by 33 points among union households, while he leads by more than 20
points among college graduates.
Mark’s status as the front-runner is based on two important factors. First, Mark is
recognized by 71% of Democratic primary voters, and he is extremely WELL-LIKED
among those who know him, enjoying an image that is positive by nearly five to one.
Second, during a period in which taxes and spending is at the forefront of voters’ minds, Mark’s position as county controller is an important credential, and he elicits strong job performance marks of 52% approve and just 8% disapprove.
GARINHARTYANG RESEARCH GROUP
Rich Fitzgerald, on the other hand, lags behind in visibility, with just two in five (39%)
Democratic primary voters who are familiar with him, which is a modest improvement
from his August 2010 name recognition of 31%.
The one note of caution for the Flaherty campaign is that the electorate remains fluid and voters have not yet firmly settled on their choice: three-quarters of Allegheny County Democrats are undecided or have soft commitment to Flaherty or Fitzgerald. But with Election Day drawing near and the fundamental dynamics of the primary working in Mark’s favor, he is in a strong position to emerge victorious on May 17, provided he has the financial resources to SOLIDIFY his support.