Three different polls conducted over the past week came to the same results: York County businessman Tom Wolf has pulled ahead of a crowded field of Democratic candidates for governor.
A Franklin & Marshall College poll released Wednesday showed Wolf far and away leads other Democrats in the gubernatorial race with 36 percent of the support. In a distant second was U.S Rep. Allyson Schwartz from Montgomery County, with nine percent of the support from members of her own party.
State Treasurer Rob McCord, also of Montgomery County, had the backing of three percent of the registered Democrats surveyed. Katie McGinty of Chester County and John Hanger of Dauphin County — both of whom are former heads of the state Department of Environmental Protection — had the support of just one percent of those polled.
But there was good news for those who trailed Wolf.
Forty-eight percent of likely voters said they were undecided.
Also a factor is former state Auditor General Jack Wagner of Allegheny County, the only Western Pennsylvanian in the field, hadn’t announced by the time the poll was conducted, so he wasn’t included.
The survey polled 548 registered Democrats and was conducted Feb. 18 through Sunday and has an error margin of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
A Harper Polling survey released Tuesday also polled only registered Democrats and found Wolf in the lead with 40 percent support of the 501 people asked on Feb. 22 and 23. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.38 percent.
Trailing Wolf in that poll was: Schwartz, with 14 percent; McCord with eight percent; Hanger and Wagner both had seven percent; and McGinty with six percent. Nineteen percent of those polled by Harper were undecided.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday not only showed Wolf in the lead among Democrats but also shows that six of the Democratic candidates for governor would beat incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, if the race were held today.
In a survey over the past week of 1,405 registered voters across the state, the Quinnipiac poll found Wolf would top Corbett, 52–33 percent, if the election was held today.
In other head-to-head match-ups between Corbett and the Democratic candidates:
• Wagner leads Corbett by seven points, 44 percent to 37 percent.
• McCord leads Corbett by seven points, 43 percent to 36 percent.
• Schwartz leads Corbett by six points, 44 percent to 38 percent.
• Hanger leads Corbett by three points, 40 percent to 37 percent.
• McGinty leads Corbett by two points, 40 percent to 38 percent.
“Tom Wolf springs out of the pack to seize the lead from other Democrats snapping at the heels of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “We have eight months and change and we don’t know what kind of damage Democrats will inflict on each other in a primary campaign, but Wolf is the man of the hour.”
Malloy noted the polling shows that if the election were held today, “Gov. Corbett might tie a few possible Democratic challengers, but he beats no one.”
Among other notable Quinnipiac poll findings:
• Fifty-five percent of voters said Corbett does not deserve re-election.
• Seventy percent of voters support raising the state’s $7.25 per hour minimum wage. Broken down by party registration, support is at 94 percent among Democrats and 68 percent among independents. A slim majority of Republicans, 51 percent, said they support such a pay hike.
The Quinnipiac University Poll was conducted Feb. 19-24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.