Pennsylvania Democratic Primary Poll
April 21-23, 2016


Our final survey of Pennsylvania’s 2016 Democratic primary election shows Katie McGinty surging to the lead in the waning days of the campaign for U.S. Senate.  Backed by the state and national Democratic establishment, McGinty is poised to defeat Joe Sestak who has lead every poll taken in the race until now.

The Race for Senate

Katie McGinty

Katie McGinty’s favorability has improved 3% since early April, with the entirety of the improvement in the very favorable category (24% to 27%). Much of this improvement is based in the Philadelphia/Southeast region of the state, where her favorability has increased from 59% to 67% (very favorable: 20% to 28%). 

Her intensity of support on the ballot has improved substantially, as the portion of her voters who say they are definitely voting for her on Tuesday has increased 8% (64% definitely, 30% probably: 4/2: 52%/42%). McGinty has solidified her support in the South Central (61% definitely, 4/2: 44%) and Philadelphia/Southeast regions (63%, 4/2: 51%). Women voters backing Katie McGinty have intensified their support for her (63% definitely, 4/2: 54%). 

(Asked only of McGinty voters)
Q: And would you say you are definitely or probably going to vote for Katie McGinty?

Voters are hearing more about McGinty (69% yes, 4/2: 60%) of late, particularly in the Philadelphia/Southeast region, where the portion of voters hearing about her has increased more than 20% (73%, 4/2: 52%). McGinty’s information flow margin has narrowed slightly, from +53% favorable (68% favorable/15% unfavorable) to +44% favorable (66%/22%). Most of this narrowing is occurring in the Pittsburgh/Southwest region of the state (58% favorable/28% unfavorable; 4/2: 72%/17%). 

Q: Have you seen, read or heard anything recently about Katie McGinty?
(Asked only of Yes respondents from McGinty SRH)
Q: Has that information given you a more favorable or a more unfavorable opinion of Katie McGinty?

Joe Sestak

Joe Sestak’s information flow has seen a significant turn toward the negative as voters are hearing more about him (73%, 4/2: 63% yes), particularly in the Philadelphia/Southeast (79% yes, 4/2: 67%), Scranton/Lehigh Valley (81%, 4/2: 74%) and South Central regions (71%, 4/2: 59%). His information flow is a net -22% since early April (55% favorable/23% unfavorable; 4/2: 67%/13%), worsening substantially in those same three regions (Philadelphia/SE: 57%/21%, 4/2: 71%/12%, Scranton/LV: 52%/32%, 4/2: 72%/8%, South Central: 39%/32%, 4/2: 60%/11%).

Sestak’s favorability has decreased 3%, while McGinty’s has increased 3% (67% favorable/19% unfavorable; 4/2: 70%/15%), and his intensity of favorability has decreased significantly (27% very favorable, 4/2: 36%). His favorability is notably weaker among women (24% very favorable; 4/2: 34% very). Sestak’s intensity of support on the ballot has dropped just slightly (60% definitely, 4/2: 62%). 

(Asked only of Sestak voters)
Q: And would you say you are definitely or probably going to vote for Joe Sestak?
Q: Have you seen, read or heard anything recently about Joe Sestak?
(Asked only of Yes respondents from Sestak SRH)
Q: Has that information given you a more favorable or a more unfavorable opinion of Joe Sestak?  

John Fetterman

John Fetterman’s favorability has grown slightly along with an increase in his name identification (42% favorable/23% unfavorable/35% not sure; 4/2: 39%/18%/42%). Although he has less ballot support than the other candidates, his intensity of support is the strongest of the three candidates (67% definitely; 4/2: 61%). This intensity has grown the most among his supporters in the Philadelphia/Southeast region (71% definitely, 4/2: 54%). More voters are hearing about Fetterman (34%, 4/2: 23%), but the portion of voters hearing about him is still less than half that of McGinty (69%) and Sestak (73%).

(Asked only of Fetterman voters)
Q: And would you say you are definitely or probably going to vote for John Fetterman?  

Q: Have you seen, read or heard anything recently about John Fetterman?
(Asked only of Yes respondents from Fetterman SRH)
Q: Has that information given you a more favorable or a more unfavorable opinion of John Fetterman?

Ballot Test

Katie McGinty has taken the lead in the Democratic primary race for Senate.

Q: If the Democratic primary election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: John Fetterman from Allegheny County, Joe Sestak from Delaware County, Katie McGinty from Chester County or Joseph Vodvarka from Allegheny County?

4/21/16

4/2/16

3/1/2016

1/22/16

Vodvarka

3%

N/A

4%

N/A

Fetterman

15%

9%

15%

11%

Sestak

33%

41%

33%

33%

McGinty

39%

31%

17%

28%

Undecided

11%

19%

32%

28%

 

Much of the ballot movement in the final three weeks has been regionally driven. McGinty now leads in the Philadelphia/Southeast region (43-40% Sestak), where Sestak was earning a majority of the vote in early April (50-24% McGinty). She continues to hold the advantage in the South Central region (40-32%, 4/2: 39-36%) and has taken the lead in Scranton/Lehigh Valley (45-32%, 4/2: 51-31%). The race is still tight between McGinty and Sestak in the Northern Tier (31% Sestak-30% McGinty, 4/2: 32%-29%). John Fetterman now has a narrow lead over McGinty in the Pittsburgh/Southwest region (32%-31%- 26% Sestak, 4/2: 38% McGinty-28% Sestak- 18% Fetterman). Sestak continues to lead among men, albeit by a small margin (38%-36% McGinty, 4/2: 44-30%) but McGinty now leads among women (41-30% Sestak, 4/2: 38-32%). McGinty is now winning among African-American voters (52-25%, 4/2: 46% Sestak-24% McGinty). Clinton voters support McGinty (48-35% Sestak) while Sanders voters choose Sestak (33%- 26% Fetterman-24% McGinty). 

Q: If the Democratic primary election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: John Fetterman from Allegheny County, Joe Sestak from Delaware County, Katie McGinty from Chester County or Joseph Vodvarka from Allegheny County?

The Race for Attorney General

Josh Shapiro continues to lead in the Democratic primary for Attorney General (41%), followed by Stephen Zappala (23%) and John Morganelli (15%). Twenty-one percent of likely Democratic primary voters are still undecided. Both Shapiro and Zappala have had positive movement on the ballot since early April, but Shapiro has been able to stay out in front thanks to the early advantage he gained in March. Shapiro now earns 61% of the vote in the Philadelphia/Southeast region (61%-10% Zappala/Morganelli, 4/2: 48%-11% Morganelli). Zappala is earning a majority of the vote in the Pittsburgh/Southwest region (57%-27%, 4/2: 49-22%). The race is essentially tied in the Northern Tier (29% Zappala- 28% Shapiro) and Shapiro leads in South Central (39%-20% Zappala). Morganelli’s lead over Shapiro has narrowed somewhat in Scranton/Lehigh Valley (38-31%, 4/2: 37-25%).

Q: If the Democratic primary election for Attorney General of Pennsylvania were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: John Morganelli from Northampton County, Josh Shapiro from Montgomery County, or Stephen Zappala from Allegheny County?

The Race for President

Hillary Clinton’s image has improved a net +4% (77%/22%; 4/2: 75%/24%) while Bernie Sanders’ has worsened a net -5% (68%/29%, 4/2: 71%/27%). Clinton’s intensity of favorability has strengthened among Moderates (48% very favorable, 4/2: 38%). Sanders’ image is weaker among Very Liberals (51% very favorable, 4/2: 64%).

On the ballot, Clinton’s support has grown 6%, while Sanders’ remains stagnant (61-33%, 4/2: 55-33%). Clinton has expanded upon leads among Moderates (65-28%, 4/2: 58-28%) and Somewhat Liberals (65-32%, 4/2: 60-31%) and has taken the lead among Very Liberals (50-44%, 4/2: 45-51%). 

Q: If the Democratic primary election for President were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: Hillary Clinton OR Bernie Sanders?

Results & Methodology

METHODOLOGY: The sample size for the survey is 641 likely Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania and the margin of error is +/-3.9%. Responses were gathered through cell phone interviews conducted using live operators and land line interviews conducted using Interactive Voice Response. The survey was commissioned, paid for and conducted by Harper Polling April 21-23, 2016. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Harper Polling