Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
York County businessman Tom Wolf is holding firmly onto his wide lead in the Democratic gubernatorial race, according to the first statewide poll on the candidates in about a month.
Wolf has the support of 38 percent of surveyed likely Democratic voters according to a Muhlenberg College/Morning Call survey conducted earlier this week.
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz trailed with 13 percent, state Treasurer Rob McCord had 11 percent, and former state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty took just two percent.
Poll director Chris Borick said it’ll be tough for any single candidate to catch up with Wolf.
“His polling, if anything, has solidified over the last month,” said Borick.
Two Franklin & Marshall College polls taken in mid-February and late March showed Wolf’s support among Democratic voters in Pennsylvania to be at 36 percent and 33 percent, respectively. His numbers had been bolstered by a deluge of television ads beginning in late January. Wolf has donated $10 million to his own campaign ($4 million of it is a bank loan).
“What becomes the game right now in the race is if Schwartz and McCord can’t get enough of the undecided votes by themselves right now, to catch Wolf, they have to bring Wolf back to the pack,” said Borick.
The Morning Call shades in some detail:
Add in undecided voters who are leaning toward one of the candidates and Wolf comes away with 42 percent, Schwartz 16 percent, McCord 14 percent and McGinty 3 percent.
The number of voters describing themselves as unsure is dwindling, but still at 33 percent.
Borick said Schwartz and McCord are trying to find a chink in Wolf’s armor, evidenced by their more aggressive tone of recent ads and debate appearances.
At a debate Wednesday, both McCord and Schwartz called out Wolf for his association to a former York mayor who admitted to being a racist in the 1960s and was acquitted on a murder charge decades later in an investigation of a black woman killed during race rioting. Schwartz has raised questions about Wolf’s campaign financing. McCord has said Wolf’s proposed natural gas extraction tax would sell out the state to drillers.
The poll’s 417 Democratic respondents were likely voters who, according to voter records, had cast ballots in at least two of the last four Democratic primary elections and said they would likely vote on May 20.
The survey was conducted Monday through Wednesday earlier this week. It has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.
Published in State House Sound Bites
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