F&M poll: Ad campaign helping Tom Wolf lead Democratic governor’s race

York businessman Tom Wolf leads the Democratic gubernatorial primary, according to a poll released today by Franklin & Marshall College.

Wolf was the choice of 36 percent of those polled, easily placing him above his competitors in the Democratic gubernatorial race. However, 48 percent of those polled said they did not know which candidate they would support.

U.S. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz took 9 percent of the vote. State Treasurer Rob McCord received 3 percent while John Hanger and Katie McGinty each received 1 percent. Both Hanger and McGinty previously served as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The poll did not include former state Auditor General Jack Wagner, who declared his candidacy late last week.

The results were similar to a Harper poll released Monday. That poll had Wolf gaining the support of 40 percent of voters. Schwartz took 14 percent.

The F&M poll argued that Wolf’s advantage “likely stems from his television advertising campaign.” For most of the past month, Wolf has been the only Democratic buying airing television ads. McGinty launched an ad campaign earlier this week.

According to the poll, 65 percent of registered Democrats have seen a TV commercial highlighting a gubernatorial candidate. Of those, 88 percent have watched a commercial for Tom Wolf.

Wolf is the favored Democratic gubernatorial candidate of 56 percent of those who have seen his commercials. Among voters who have not seen a Wolf commercial, Schwartz leads Wolf by 2 percent.

The F&M poll also found that education is the top issue for 23 percent of Democratic voters, slightly ahead of the economy, which was selected by 19 percent.

The poll results are based on interviews with 548 Pennsylvania registered Democratic voters conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at F&M from Feb. 18-23.

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