Wolf still leads the pack

JACQUELINE LARMA / ASSOCIATED PRESS Wolf: TV blitz helped his surge.
JACQUELINE LARMA / ASSOCIATED PRESS Wolf: TV blitz helped his surge.
Posted: April 04, 2014

BUSINESSMAN Tom Wolf continues to lead the pack seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for governor in the May 20 primary election.

A Daily News/Franklin & Marshall College poll of registered Democratic voters shows Wolf well-ahead with 33 percent.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz trails at 7 percent, state Treasurer Rob McCord posted 6 percent and former state Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty is at 4 percent.

The big winner: undecided, with 46 percent, proof that the Democrats seeking to challenge Gov. Corbett's bid for a second term are still fairly unknown.

Television campaign commercials are one way to introduce an unknown candidate to a state that covers 46,055 square miles.

"This is one of the most successful introductions of a candidate that we've seen," pollster G. Terry Madonna said of Wolf's series of biographical commercials.

Wolf, who runs a kitchen cabinet manufacturing company in York, invested $10 million into his campaign, enabling an early broad spread of commercials.

McGinty aired the first commercial in the race on Jan. 28, but has run them less frequently than Wolf, who started airing the first of several commercials Jan. 30.

McCord followed with a commercial on March 21.

Madonna wonders how much McCord, McGinty and Schwartz can cut into Wolf's lead since the candidates agree on major issues, such as imposing an extraction tax on natural-gas drillers and raising state education funding.

And Madonna wonders if Schwartz will gain TV traction late in the primary season with an anticipated last-minute barrage of commercials.

"What happens if they're all flooding the market?" Madonna asked.

A spokesman for Schwartz yesterday said the campaign will offer no "sneak peaks" on when she will run TV commercials.

The poll makes clear where the vast majority of voters are getting the information to shape their opinions. Seven in 10 say they have seen a campaign commercial, with 85 percent of them saying it was a Wolf commercial while 42 percent saw a McCord commercial and 39 percent saw a McGinty commercial.

Just 4 percent said they have watched any of the debates held for the Democratic candidates.

Wolf's lead expands slightly to 38 percent when the pollsters question "super voters," people who have voted in the last four primary elections. The number of people unsure about supporting a candidate drops to 40 percent.

Of the voters polled, 70 percent said they are "certain to vote" while 18 percent said they will "probably vote" and 9 percent put the chance at "50-50."

More than half, 52 percent, said they always vote in primaries while 29 percent said they usually vote, 14 percent said they sometimes vote and 4 percent said they rarely vote.

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout.com

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