Fetterman Leads Democratic Senate Primary with 33%; 37% are Undecided

A new Emerson College Polling/The Hill Poll finds the Republican Senate primary wide open as Senator Pat Toomey (R) retires from office: 51% of voters are undecided and David McCormick and Mehmet Oz receive 14% respectively. No other candidate reaches double digits. Similarly, in the race for Governor, 49% of Republican primary voters are undecided, while Doug Mastriano holds 16% and Lou Barletta 12%.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman leads with 33% in the Democratic primary, followed by US Representative Conor Lamb with 10%. No other candidate reaches double digits; 37% are undecided.

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling noted, “former President Donald Trump’s potential endorsement holds significant weight in the Republican primary: 61% of Republican primary voters say they are more likely to vote for a candidate if he endorses them, while 13% say it makes them less likely to vote for that candidate, and 26% report that it makes no difference.”

When it comes to fair elections, Democrats and Republicans disagree: 75% of Democrats think the state runs fair elections compared to 42% of Independents and just 28% of Republicans. The time a candidate has lived in the state is overwhelmingly important to both parties: 78% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans find it important to their vote.

President Biden’s job approval is at 47% in the state, while 50% disapprove of the job he is doing. Biden has a 77% approval among Democrats while 84% of Republicans and 67% of Independents disapprove of the job he is doing as President. The plurality (38%) of Pennsylvania voters say the economy, including jobs, inflation, and taxes, is the most important issue facing the country, followed by healthcare (17%); no other issue reaches double digits. 

When asked who they blame for the increase in gas prices, 46% blame the Biden administration, 19% blame gas and oil companies, and 18% blame gas and oil sanctions against Russia.

A majority (54%) of Pennsylvania voters think Pennsylvania should allow more hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for oil and natural gas in the state, while 29% think there should be less, and 18% think it should stay the same amount.

Kimball added, “Republican voters are unified in support of more fracking in the state with 75%, whereas Democratic voters are more split: 44% think there should be less fracking and 36% think there should be more.”

A plurality, 49%, of Pennsylvania voters think marijuana should be legalized for recreational purposes with 36% opposed and 16% unsure .

“Among Democratic primary voters, 62% support recreational legalization of marijujana. There are nuances of support for legalization within Democratic primary voters: 75% of Fetterman voters support legalization compared to 48% of Lamb voters,” Kimball said.

Caller ID

The Emerson College/The Hill Pennsylvania poll was conducted March 26-28, 2022. The general election sample consisted of registered voters in Pennsylvania, n=1,069 with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The Republican primary sample consisted of likely voters, n=372, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/-5.0 percentage points. The Democratic primary sample consisted of likely voters, n=471, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/-4.5 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race, and region based on 2020 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an online panel provided by Amazon MTurk, and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines.