The good news for Tom Wolf’s opponents is that roughly half of Pennsylvania’s Democrats have yet to make a choice in the race for governor.
But that may be small consolation in a contest in which the York businessman’s money and early advertising have built a big and so far unchallenged lead. In the latest survey from Franklin & Marshall College, Mr. Wolf maintained a daunting advantage over his rivals. At 33 percent, his support was greater than that of the other three candidates combined. His tally dwarfed those of U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, at 7 percent; Treasurer Rob McCord, 6 percent; and former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty, 4 percent.
While, there’s still time for churn in the standings in the weeks before the May 20 primary, his lead, little changed from F&M’s last survey in February, remains formidable. The new numbers came after a few weeks in which McGinty and McCord had launched their own advertising campaigns with no evidence yet that those ads had given them any real traction. Schwartz has yet to begin to advertise. Her slender advantage over McCord and McGinty was within the survey’s margin of error.
Mr. Wolf led in every region of the state. Ms. Schwartz managed to crack double digits only in her home base. She had 11 percent among Philadelphia voters, while Mr. Wolf had 35 percent. IN the surrounding suburbs in the state’s southeast, Mr. Wolf had 30 percent compared to 16 percent for Ms. Schwartz. Like Schwartz, McCord is from Montgomery County in the Philadelphia suburbs, but his support in the southeast was just 4 percent. His stronger areas were the Northeast and the central part of the state, where he polls 14 percent and 10 percent, respectively, still far behind Wolf.
As the race approaches its home stretch, the candidates remain unknown to many voters.
When the respondents were asked to offer and opinion on whether they had a favorable or unfavorable view of the candidates, “don’t know’’ was the most frequent answer. Commensurate with the trial heat results, Wolf led again in this category. Forty-four percent said they held a favorable view of the York businessman; just 3 percent, an unfavorable view; 11 percent were undecided and 41 percent said they didn’t know enough to offer and opinion. The favorable/ unfavorable rations for the other three were: Schwartz, 25/6; McCord, 16/2; and McGinty, 14/3.
Three out of five voters didn’t know Schwartz; 71 percent said they didn’t know McCord; and 86 percent didn’t know McGinty.
When the poll looked at combined firmer support with those leaning toward a candidate, Mr. Wolf’s lead grew. With leaners, the horse race tally was Wolf, 40 percent; Schwartz, 9 percent; McCord, 6 percent; and McGinty, 6 percent. Among the most reliable primary voters, a smaller group whose results carried a greater margin of error, it was Wolf, 38; McCord, 9; Schw3artz, 6 and McGinty, 2.
The survey, conducted from March 25 through March 31, included interviews with 524 registered Democrats and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent.