Pennsylvania Statewide Poll

September 21-22, 2016

Electoral Environment

Direction of Country

 
Nearly two-thirds of likely voters in Pennsylvania believe things in the country are on the wrong track (62%, 32% right direction). Pessimism increases dramatically among voters who plan to vote for Trump (97% wrong track) while Clinton voters are more optimistic (65% right direction/26% wrong track).

Q: Would you say that things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?


Wolf Image


Tom Wolf has a positive image with Pennsylvania voters (41% favorable/34% unfavorable). Slightly more voters have a very unfavorable view of Wolf (23%) than have a very favorable opinion (17%). Wolf is viewed favorably by a majority of Democrats (60%/16%) and a plurality of Independents (38%/29%), but unfavorably by most Republicans (20%/57%). 


Voter Enthusiasm

 
A solid majority of likely voters say they are “very enthusiastic” about voting in November (58%), while 19% say they are “somewhat enthusiastic” and another 19% are “not enthusiastic.” Republicans and Democrats are comparably enthusiastic (Republican: 60% very, Democrats: 58%) while Independents are more likely to be “not enthusiastic” (28% not, 53% very). 

Q: And how would you describe your level of enthusiasm about voting in the November elections?

The Race for President

Candidate Images

A majority of likely voters have an unfavorable opinion of both Donald Trump (46% favorable/50% unfavorable) and Hillary Clinton (44%/52%). A comparable portion of voters have a very favorable opinion of both candidates (Trump: 31%, Clinton: 28%) and identical amounts have a very unfavorable opinion (43%). Voters who are “very enthusiastic” about voting in November have a net positive view of Trump (52%/47%) and are divided on Clinton (50%/50%). Both candidates are viewed unfavorably by Independents (Trump: 31%/62%, Clinton: 35%/60%).

 
The table below demonstrates that Pittsburgh and the Southwest is becoming the battleground of this race. The image numbers are the candidate’s favorable-to-unfavorable margin in the region. There is differentiation in all regions, with the exception of Pittsburgh/Southwest, where the candidates have very similar image margins.


Presidential Ballot

Hillary Clinton has a slight 2% lead over Donald Trump in the race for President (45% Clinton-43% Trump, Johnson: 8%, Stein: 1%, Undecided: 4%). Geographically, Trump has a lead in the Northern Tier (29-55%), South Central (29-57%) and Scranton/Lehigh Valley regions (42-50%) while Clinton leads in Philadelphia/Southeast (60-28%). The race is tight in Pittsburgh/Southwest (47-44%). One note of contrast to the past: In our final survey of the gubernatorial race in 2014, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf was winning Scranton/Lehigh Valley by 14% (41-55%). Women choose Clinton by a larger margin than men choose Trump (Women: 47-42%, men: 42-44%). Clinton leads among Independents, with 21% going for Johnson (40% Clinton-27% Trump). Younger voters choose Clinton, but are the most likely to support Johnson (47% Clinton-32% Trump, 19% Johnson).

An education divide appears, with those who are high school graduates or below or have a degree from a technical or vocational school choosing Trump (HS below: 48-52%, HS graduate: 38-51%, technical/vocational: 33-48%) while college graduates (45-44%) and those with a post graduate degree choose Clinton (52-33%). 

Q: If the election for President were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump, Libertarian Gary Johnson OR Green Party candidate Jill Stein?

A Closer Look By Harper


Image testing and the horse race are great, but we asked a few questions to figure out what is really going on in voters’ minds. 

But really, who is going to win?

When asked, “regardless of who you plan to vote for, who do you expect to win the election for President?” a near-majority of Pennsylvania voters believe Clinton will win (49-38%). Both women (47-39%) and men (51-36%) say Clinton will win. Even in the places where Trump posts his largest leads on the ballot, in the Northern Tier and South Central, his margin narrows on the Presidential Winner ballot (Northern Tier: 32-51%, South Central: 37-44%). 

Q: Regardless of who you plan to vote for, who do you expect to win the election for President? Hillary Clinton OR Donald Trump?



Down-ballot Impact…

A majority of Clinton voters say they will vote for Democrats at all levels of elected office (52%, 43% open to voting for Republicans). In contrast, Trump supporters in Pennsylvania are more open to voting for Democrats for other offices (40% will vote Republican at all levels, 51% open to voting for Democrats). 

(Asked only of Clinton voters)
Q: As a Hillary Clinton supporter, do you plan on voting for Democrats at all levels of elected office, OR are you open to crossing party lines and voting for Republican candidates for other offices?

(Asked only of Trump voters)
Q: As a Donald Trump supporter, do you plan on voting for Republicans at all levels of elected office, OR are you open to crossing party lines and voting for Democratic candidates for other offices?


Health vs. Temperament

Voters decidedly choose “a candidate’s temperament” (69%) as the more important factor in determining their vote for President, rather than “a candidate’s health” (19%). Clinton voters overwhelmingly say “a candidate’s temperament” (92%) while Trump voters are significantly more likely to say “a candidate’s health,” although a plurality still choose temperament (37% health, 42% temperament). A majority of Republicans (51%), Democrats (82%) and Independents (74%) say a candidate’s temperament is more important, with Republicans most likely to choose a candidate’s health (30%). 

Q: Which is a greater concern in determining your vote for President: a candidate’s health OR a candidate’s temperament?


The Yard Sign Battle

It looked to be true from our vantage point in South Central PA, but now we have data to prove it: Trump yard signs are everywhere. A majority of likely voters see more yard signs for Donald Trump than for Hillary Clinton in their community (55% Trump, 17% Clinton). Voters in the Northern Tier (78%) and South Central (81%) regions are the most likely to say they see more Trump signs. A solid majority in the Pittsburgh/Southwest region agree (59%) as do a near-majority of Scranton/Lehigh Valley voters (20% Clinton, 49% Trump). The yard sign battle is essentially a dead heat in the Philadelphia/Southeast region (30% Clinton, 31% Trump). 

Q: In your community, do you see more yard signs for Hillary Clinton or for Donald Trump?

The Race for Senate 

Generic Ballot for Senate

A Democrat has a narrow 1% advantage over a Republican on the generic ballot for Senate (45% Republican-46% Democrat). A majority of self-identified Moderate voters prefer to vote for a Democrat (35-51%) while Independents are more divided (35-39%). Likely voters in the “T” region of the state would rather vote for a Republican (Northern Tier: 60% Republican-31% Democrat, South Central: 63-29%), while those in the remainder of the state choose a Democrat (Philadelphia/Southeast: 31-56%, Pittsburgh/Southwest: 40-52%, Scranton/Lehigh Valley: 45-49%).

Q: In an election for United States Senate, would you generally prefer to vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?


Candidate Images

Senator Pat Toomey (39% favorable/36% unfavorable) and Democrat Katie McGinty (37%/34%) have nearly identical images, and about a quarter of likely voters have still not formed an opinion about the Senate candidates (26% no opinion Toomey, 29% McGinty). Among Moderates, McGinty approaches majority favorability (47%/29%) while Toomey’s image is slightly negative (35%/42%). McGinty’s image among Somewhat Liberals (68%/10%) is better than Toomey’s among Somewhat Conservatives (52%/17%). The candidates have comparable images among Independents (Toomey: 30%/41%, McGinty: 33%/41%). Likely voters who have seen, read or heard about both candidates recently view Toomey more favorably than McGinty (Toomey: 46%/41%, McGinty: 41%/45%). 


United States Senate Ballot

Incumbent Senator Toomey and Democrat Katie McGinty are locked in a dead heat with about 6 weeks remaining until Election Day (42% McGinty-42% Toomey, 8% Clifford, 8% undecided). McGinty voters demonstrate more intensity of support (72% definitely) than Toomey voters (67% definitely). Katie McGinty takes the lead among those who are very enthusiastic about voting (47% McGinty-42% Toomey). McGinty performs at about the level of the generic ballot among Moderates (50-33%), while Toomey outperforms the generic ballot to take the lead among Independents (33-36%). The geographic patterns mirror the generic Senate ballot fairly closely. Toomey generates slightly stronger party support from Republicans (76%) than McGinty does from Democrats (71%). 

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Katie McGinty, Republican Pat Toomey, or Libertarian Edward Clifford?

Q: And would you say you are definitely or probably going to vote for Katie McGinty?

Q: And would you say you are definitely or probably going to vote for Pat Toomey?


Campaign Communications

With millions pouring into the state in television advertising, voters are hearing the same amount about Senator Pat Toomey (74% yes) and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty (74% yes). More voters say what they are hearing about Katie McGinty gives them an unfavorable view of her (32% favorable/52% unfavorable) than what they are hearing about Toomey (30% favorable/44% unfavorable). Toomey’s information flow is negative in all regions of the state, approaching 1-to-1 in the Northern Tier (30%/31%) and South Central (31%/35%), while McGinty’s is negative in all but Philadelphia/Southeast (42%/39%). McGinty’s information flow is slightly stronger than Toomey’s among those who are very enthusiastic about voting (McGinty: 39%/48%, Toomey: 34%/46%). Among those who have seen, read or heard about both candidates, Toomey has a small information flow advantage (Toomey: 31%/47%, McGinty: 31%/53%). 

Q: Have you seen, read or heard anything recently about Senator Pat Toomey?

(Asked only of Yes respondents from previous question)
Q: Has that information given you a more favorable or more unfavorable opinion of Pat Toomey?

Q: Have you seen, read or heard anything recently about Katie McGinty?

(Asked only of Yes respondents from previous question)
Q: Has that information given you a more favorable or more unfavorable opinion of Katie McGinty?


Candidate Ideologies

A plurality of likely voters describe Pat Toomey’s ideology as Somewhat Conservative (41%), followed by just over a quarter who say he is Very Conservative (27%) and 19% who call him Moderate. A majority of both Very Conservatives and Somewhat Conservatives claim him as Somewhat Conservative (VC: 51%, SC: 53%) while Moderates generally mirror the overall results (40% Somewhat Conservative, 29% Very Conservative, 21% Moderate). Two-thirds of Toomey supporters call him Somewhat Conservative (66%). 

Q: How would you describe the political ideology of Pat Toomey: Very Conservative, Somewhat Conservative, Moderate, Somewhat Liberal or Very Liberal?

 
Voters are more divided on the ideology of Katie McGinty, with roughly equal portions calling her Moderate (27%), Somewhat Liberal (28%) or Very Liberal (26%). A plurality of both Moderates (35% Moderate) and Somewhat Liberals (41% Somewhat Liberal) claim her as their ideological match. McGinty’s supporters see her as closer to the center of the ideological spectrum (41% Moderate, 33% Somewhat Liberal). 

Q: How would you describe the political ideology of Katie McGinty: Very Conservative, Somewhat Conservative, Moderate, Somewhat Liberal or Very Liberal?

METHODOLOGY: The sample size for the survey is 500 likely voters in Pennsylvania and the margin of error is +/-4.4%. Reponses were gathered through landline interviews conducted through Interactive Voice Response. The survey was commissioned, paid for and conducted September 21-22, 2016 by Harper Polling. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Harper Polling