Commentary

Poll: McCormick, Barletta lead GOP primary pack; but many still undecided | Friday Morning Coffee

With five weeks to go, a third of GOP Senate voters are undecided, and 27% have yet to make up their mind for governor

April 8, 2022 7:09 am

Republican David McCormick (AdImpact Screenshot)

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

With five weeks to go before the May 17 primary, a new poll lends some additional clarity — but not a ton — to the crowded Republican primary races for United States Senate and governor.

But while the putative leaders of the pack may take some comfort from their positions, the data from the new canvass by Emerson College shows the nominating races are still wide open, and the future belongs to the undecideds.

In the race for U.S. Senate, former hedge fund executive David McCormick is the putative leader of the pack, taking 18% support. But right there in the margin, television physician Mehmet Oz finishes second with 17% support.

Bringing up the rear: Kathy Barnette with 10%; Jeff Bartos with 9%; Carla Sands with 8%; George Bochetto with 4%, and Sean Gale with 3%.

Nearly a third of respondents, 33%, however remain undecided, according to the Emerson poll of 1,000 “very likely” Republican primary voters. The candidates are vying to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, of Lehigh County, who is retiring at year’s end.

(Emerson College poll)

Things got better for McCormick, however, when the undecideds were asked which way they were leaning – his lead increased to 27.2%, while Oz trailed at 20.6 percent, according to the Emerson poll.

Bringing up the rear: Bartos leap-frogged Barnette, taking 17.1% support to Barnette’s 14.8%. Sands improved to 11.4% support, followed by Bochetto, with 4.6%, and Gale with 4.3%.

McCormick has a strong base of support across most demographics that increases when undecided voters are asked who they lean towards, compared to Oz who seems to lack a clear base, and sees less growth than McCormickBartos or Barnette,” Emerson pollster Spencer Kimball said.

Doug Mastriano speaks at an event
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, speaks at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference on Friday, April 1, 2022 in Camp Hill, Pa. next to fellow 2022 gubernatorial hopeful Lou Barletta. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

In the Republican race for governor, former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, of Hazleton, has a tenuous hold on first place, taking 20% support, with state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, nipping at his heels in second place with 19% support.

Dave White, of Delaware County, sits in third place with 12% support, followed by former federal prosecutor Bill McSwain at 8%, according to the poll. Bringing up the rear: Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, 4%; former U.S. Rep. Melissa HartJoseph Gale and Republican strategist Charlie Gerow with 3% each respectively, and Dr. Nche Zama with 2%.

A slightly smaller number of GOP primary voters (27%) are undecided in the GOP nominating contest to replace outgoing Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

And, once again, when those undecideds are asked which way they’re leaning, the primary picture gets a little, but not much, clearer.

Barletta sees his lead widen to 26.2%, compared to Mastriano’s 22.4%, according to the poll. The rest of the pack also gets a bounce with White at 14.2%; McSwain with 11.9%; Corman with 7.6%; Hart with 6.9%; Gale with 4.1%; Gerow with 3.6%, and Zama with 3.1%.

Barletta holds the plurality of support among suburban (28%) and urban (24%) voters, while Mastriano leads Barletta among rural voters 30% to 25%.” Emerson’s Kimball said. “Barletta also leads all age groups except those aged 50-64, where Mastriano holds 29% of this age block’s support.”

The Emerson poll, conducted on April 3 and April 4, had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his final budget address to a joint session of the state House and Senate on Tuesday, 2/8/22 (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

Our Stuff.
As part of his ongoing series of Q&As, Stephen Caruso talks to Democratic governor candidate Josh Shapiro.

Republican opposition to Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed regulations on carbon pricing and charter schools could shape the final months of the Democratic administrationStephen Caruso and Marley Parish report.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson made history on Thursday, becoming the first Black woman to win confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. As you’d expect, U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R) split on the vote. Capital-Star Washington Reporter Jennifer Shutt has the story.

Democratic governor hopeful Josh Shapiro picked up a key endorsement from a quintet of environmental groups on Thursday, Cassie Miller reports.

Democrats blamed the oil industry, Republicans blamed President Joe Biden and oil executives blamed global market forces for rising gas prices. A Hulu sitcom? No, an actual U.S. House hearing. Capital-Star Washington Reporter Jacob Fischler has the details.

Republicans know what the Constitution says about the right to an attorney. But you wouldn’t have believed it this week with the way they were talking about now-Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s work as a federal public defender, I write in a new column.

Temple University officials set off on mountain bikes this week to engage with their North Philly neighbors about collaboration and partnership, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.

On our Commentary Page: Like the United States on a beautiful September morning two decades ago, Europe has been astounded to learn that it is nakedly vulnerable to aggression and hateJohn Nagl, a visiting scholar at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, writes.

En la Estrella-Capital:La administración de Biden detalla un nuevo plan de investigación sobre la enfermedad del ‘COVID Persistente.’ Y la corte de apelaciones del Estado bloquea el sistema de fijación de precios del carbono de Pa. para generadores de energía.

(Getty Images)

Elsewhere.
Political action committees in Harrisburg, funded by millionaire Jeffrey Yass, and run by the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs have spent twice as much to support GOP governor hopeful Bill McSwain in the first three months of 2022 than McSwain raised in nearly seven months, the Inquirer reports.

The total spending in the race for governor, meanwhile, is closing in on $11 millionPennLive reports.

Black leaders in Pittsburgh are celebrating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Post-Gazette reports.

In Lancaster, Gov. Tom Wolf stumped for his Nellie Bly college scholarship programLancasterOnline reports.

York County students testified before Congress on book bans, the York Daily Record reports.

Teachers in Allentown have a new contract that boosts the starting salary to more than $52,000, the Morning Call reports.

After a long search, and no small amount of drama, Luzerne County appears poised to appoint a new county manager, the Citizens’ Voice reports.

WHYY-FM rounds up the latest in Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson’s bribery case.

Reports of potential violence in Pennsylvania’s schools increased last year, according to new data, GoErie reports.

PoliticsPA’s readers say MontCo Commissioner Joe Gale should be the GOP candidate for governor.

Stateline.org profiles the group that’s pushing bills banning encampments for the unhoused.

Some senators say the Pentagon needs to do more to help Ukraine defeat RussiaRoll Call reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by limbo (@iminlimbo_o)


What Goes On
11 am., S. Broad St., York: Pa. Aging Secretary Robert Torres and RepCarol Hill-Evans talk about plans to help seniors stay in their homes using American Rescue Plan funds.

WolfWatch
Gov. Tom Wolf, as of this writing, has no public schedule today.

Heavy Rotation
Here’s one from Depeche Mode to see out the week. From their very first LP, ‘Speak & Spell,’ it’s ‘New Life.’


Friday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link
The Baltimore Orioles kick off their 2022 season today. From the Baltimore Sunhere’s everything you need to know as the new campaign gets underway. The Os start the season away to Tampa this afternoon.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

MORE FROM AUTHOR