Pennsylvania Statewide Poll 

February 27-28, 2013

Democratic Gubernatorial Primary Ballot

(Democrats only)

If the Democratic primary election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for: John Hanger, Rob McCord, Tom Knox, Allyson Schwartz, Joe Sestak or Tom Wolf?

                                                                      Hanger        1%
                                                                      McCord       7%
                                                                      Knox            3%
                                                                      Schwartz    19%
                                                                      Sestak         20%
                                                                      Wolf              1%
                                                                      Not sure     50%

In the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor, former Congressman Joe Sestak would start with the narrowest of advantages over Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, 20% to 19%.  Treasurer Rob McCord (7%), businessman Tom Knox (3%), and former Rendell cabinet officials Tom Wolf (1%) and John Hanger (1%) bring up the rear.   A full half of all Democratic primary voters are undecided.

Schwartz leads among women 20% to 17% for Sestak.  In turn, Sestak leads among men by 7% over Schwartz 23%-16%.  Although both are from the Philadelphia/Southeast region, Schwartz leads Sestak 44%-17% in that part of the state.  Sestak’s support is more evenly distributed across the state.

At the outset, the two candidates surely benefit largely from higher name identification with voters.  However, building name ID in a state as large as Pennsylvania can be very difficult and expensive.  Just ask Treasurer McCord whose statewide office has done little to improve his standing among Democratic primary voters.

Republican Gubernatorial Primary Ballot

(Republicans Only)

If the Republican primary election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for: Bruce Castor or Tom Corbett?

                                                                     Castor        21%
                                                                     Corbett      49%
                                                                     Not sure    30%

Governor Tom Corbett holds a comfortable lead over Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor.  However, the Governor falls just below the 50% mark sought by incumbents.

There appears to be a significant gender split among GOP men and women.  Among men, Corbett’s lead grows to 61%-20% over Castor.  Among women, Castor shrinks the margin to 14% (36%-22%).   A plurality of women (42%) are undecided.

Castor does not do particularly well in his home Philadelphia/Southeast region (51% Corbett, 21% Castor).  The State College/North-Central part of the state gives Castor his highest percentage at 30%.

Medicaid Expansion

Do you agree or disagree that the state of Pennsylvania should expand Medicaid coverage for low-income individuals as mandated under President Obama’s new health care law?
                                                                      Agree        49%
                                                                      Disagree    39%
                                                                      Not sure    13%

Like all Governors, Tom Corbett is facing a decision about whether to expand Medicaid in his state.  The merits of such things are for others to debate but the voters of Pennsylvania presently back Medicaid expansion 49% to 39%.

The Philadelphia/Southeast region is the strongest backers of expansion at 60%.  Seniors are split 40% in favor and 40% opposed.  Young voters 18 to 35 years old are the strongest in opposition at 53%.

Democrats back Medicaid expansion 80% to 13% opposed.  Republicans disagree with 67% opposed and only 18% in support.

Sandusky Prosecution

Which of the following statements comes closest to your opinion regarding the prosecution of Jerry Sandusky:  Critics of the prosecution argue that the 2-year investigation of Sandusky did not proceed quickly enough and politics may have been the reason why, or Supporters of the prosecution argue that it takes time to build a case that resulted in the conviction of Sandusky on 45 counts and put him in prison for life?
                                  The prosecution was slowed down by politics       38%
                                  It takes times to build a successful prosecution    38%
                                  Not sure                                                                   23%

At this stage, neither side has the more compelling argument regarding the circumstance surrounding the prosecution of Jerry Sandusky.  Thirty-eight percent side with those who say the prosecution was slowed down by politics and an identical 38% agree that the time was necessary to get a successful prosecution.

In the State College/North-Central region, 52% are critical of the prosecution.  Women are more inclined to say politics slowed the prosecution while men believe the length of time was appropriate.

Lottery Contract

Do you agree or disagree with the Attorney General’s decision to stop the privatization of the state lottery system which would have added $50 million in funding this year for programs benefiting Pennsylvania seniors?
                                                                Agree         39%
                                                                Disagree    39%
                                                                Not sure    22%

Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s first significant move in office appears to be a split decision.  Just 39% of voters agree with her decision to void the lottery contract.  On the other hand, only 39% disagree.

Given that her move negates $50 million for senior programs, that’s not a particularly alarming percentage of voters who disagree.  In fact, only 41% of seniors reject Kane’s decision.

You get the sense that the concept of privatization is not trending particularly well in the state.  The ongoing talk out of Washington about big changes to Medicare may contribute to seniors’ reluctance.

Marcellus Shale

Which of the following comes closest to your opinion about production of Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania:  The extraction of shale has serious environmental consequences and threatens water safety, or The production of shale is creating jobs and generating revenue for communities across the state?
                                         Environmental concerns   36%
                                         Economic benefits             46%
                                         Not sure                              17%

The debate over the benefits and effects surrounding Marcellus Shale continues to stir emotions in Pennsylvania.  It has drawn the state into a proxy war between business and environmentalists.  By a margin of 46% to 36%, state voters feel that the economic benefits of Shale outweigh potential environmental costs.

The issue divides the Southwest and Southeast regions of the state.  Fifty-three percent of voters in the Pittsburgh/Southwest region believe in the economic benefits of Shale while 46% of those in the Philadelphia/Southwest region are more concerned about the environmental impact.

Most Respected PA Politician

Which former Pennsylvania politicians do you most respect: Bob Casey Sr., Ed Rendell, Tom Ridge, Rick Santorum, or Arlen Specter?
By a nose, Governor Tom Ridge (24%) bests his successor Governor Ed Rendell (22%) in the balloting for most respected former Pennsylvania politician.  Senator Rick Santorum places third (21%) followed by Governor Robert Casey Sr. (18%) and Senator Arlen Specter (15%).

Ridge gets much of his support from the Erie/Northwest (45%), State College/North-Central (46%) and Harrisburg/South-Central (32%) regions.  Rendell remains the champion of the Southeast with 44% calling the former Mayor their most respected politician.

In addition to the strong support from his home region of Scranton/Northeast (36%), Casey wins the Pittsburgh/Southwest region with 28%.

Santorum edges Ridge 25%-23% among Pennsylvania seniors.  Republicans pick Ridge at 40% with Santorum placing second at 34%.  Thirty-seven percent of Democrats choose Rendell while 28% pick Casey.


Full Results & Methodology

Sample Size: 622
Margin of Error:  +/-3.93%

Harper Polling