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).

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(Getty Images)

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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.

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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.

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.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.