Harper poll: Tom Wolf leads Democratic governor race
Tom Wolf is favored in the Democratic gubernatorial primary by 40 percent of voters, according to poll results released Monday by Harper Polling.
Buoyed by a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, Wolf has stormed to the top of the poll. When Harper conducted a similar poll in November, Wolf only garnered 5 percent of the vote.
Now, Wolf has a significant lead on U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who was favored by 14 percent of voters. Nineteen percent of those polled were unsure which candidate to favor.
Voters were less favorable toward state Treasurer Rob McCord (8 percent), former state Auditor General Jack Wagner (7 percent), John Hanger (7 percent) and Katie McGinty (6 percent). Both Hanger and McGinty previously served as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The poll was conducted Feb. 22 and 23 – just a few days after Wagner declared his candidacy and McGinty received the endorsement of former Vice President Al Gore.
Much has been written about Wagner’s influence on the primary. He is the only candidate from Western Pennsylvania and carries name recognition for his three decades in politics. But he is a late entry and has minimal campaign dollars.
John Baer, of the Philadelphia Daily News, opined that Wagner throws a kink into the strategy of his opponents by being the only candidate from Western Pennsylvania, where voters often support their own. Pollster G. Terry Madonna, of Franklin and Marshall College, and Michael L. Young, a former Penn State University professor, argue that Wagner could either be a “bold game changer” or engaging in a “very public political suicide.”
Wolf is supported most strongly in the state’s South Central region, where he took 56 percent of the vote. In the Southeastern region, he took 37 percent of the vote, bettering Schwartz by 6 percent. He took 36 percent in the Southwest region, topping Wagner by 18 percent.
Wolf also is being supported equally in gender and racial breakdowns. He received 40 percent of the vote among women and 39 percent among men. He also gained 40 percent of the vote among whites and 38 percent among African-Americans.