Suffolk University/York Daily Record Poll Shows Democrats Leading in Pennsylvania Statewide Races

Graphic shows hands in the air, signifying voters making choices

A Suffolk University/York Daily Record poll of likely midterm voters shows double-digit leads for Democratic candidates in elections for U.S. Senate and governor in Pennsylvania.

Incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (47 percent) leads Republican challenger Lou Barletta (32 percent), and incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf (49 percent) leads Republican Scott Wagner (36 percent).

“Unlike the 2016 presidential election in Pennsylvania, a squeaker that went to Donald Trump, the U.S. Senate and governor’s races show a turning back to the predominant Democratic Party,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.

The latest Keystone State registration statistics show Democrats at 48 percent, compared to 38 percent Republicans and 14 percent classified as unaffiliated/independent or other political designations.

Trump effect

Trump doesn’t have to be on the ballot to factor into how Pennsylvanians cast their votes for U.S. Senate, according to Paleologos. Nineteen percent of respondents said the president is the most important issue they will consider when voting, second only to the economy (20 percent). Forty-four percent of voters said they want their votes in November to change the direction Trump is leading the nation, while 36 percent said their vote would support the president.

Trump’s favorability and job approval ratings continued to tip to the negative side, with 51 percent of Keystone State voters viewing him unfavorably and 41 percent favorably. His job-approval ratings show a similar split (51 percent disapproving, 42 percent approving).

Immigration & gerrymandering

The Trump administration policy that resulted in separating children and parents crossing the border without authorization, which he recently backed away from under heavy public pressure, has divided voters. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said that immigrant families should be kept together despite border security concerns, while 34 percent prioritized a secure border.

“Whether or not separating immigrant children from parents becomes a wedge issue will depend on how well the Trump administration responds to changes in implementing the zero-tolerance policy and how quickly families are reunited,” said Paleologos.

Remapping Pennsylvania congressional districts to eliminate partisan gerrymandering garnered the support of nearly 46 percent of voters, who said they agree or strongly agree with the state Supreme Court’s order to redraw the districts created after the 2000 census; 29 percent disagree with the order.

Gun policy & minimum wage

On gun control, 61 percent of Pennsylvanians said that their next governor should move to ban semiautomatic weapons like the AR-15 rifle, and 68 percent of midterm voters support raising the age requirement to buy a firearm from 18 to 21.

Over 61 percent of likely voters said they support raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to Wolf’s proposed $12 per hour—or more. Twenty-nine percent favor a minimum of $15 per hour or more.

History

In the 2010 Pennsylvania midterm, which also included gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races, the Suffolk poll predicted that Republican Pat Toomey would win the U.S. Senate by 5 points; he won by 2 points. In the governor’s race, the Suffolk poll showed a 7-point victory for Republican Tom Corbett; he won by 10 points.

Methodology

The statewide survey of 500 Pennsylvania likely voters was conducted June 21–June 25. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.