Two new independent polls released early Wednesday morning confirmed that York businessman Tom Wolf has seized the lead in the crowded Democratic primary for governor.
And the surveys show that, on paper at least, Gov. Corbett (R) faces a daunting task to overcome low approval ratings, with a majority of voters saying he has not performed well enough to deserve reelection.
Wolf would defeat Corbett 55 percent to 32 percent if the election were held today, according to the Quinnipiac University poll. That is the best performance among six potential Democratic opponents pollsters tested.
The survey comes after Wolf, who had been virtually unknown in earlier surveys, had unchallenged access to the state’s broadcast TV markets for nearly a month of advertising.
“Tom Wolf springs out of the pack to seize the lead from other Democrats snapping at the heels of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“We have eight months and change and we don’t know what kind of damage Democrats will inflict on each other in a primary campaign, but Wolf is the man of the hour,” Malloy said.
Matchups against other Democratic contenders show:
*U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz leads Corbett 44 – 38 percent;
*State Treasurer Rob McCord is ahead 43 – 36 percent;
*Former State Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger gets 40 percent to Corbett’s 37 percent;
*Former presidential advisor Katie McGinty gets 40 percent to Corbett’s 38 percent;
*Former State Auditor General Jack Wagner over Corbett 44 – 37 percent.
Voters also asaid by 55 percent to 34 percent that Corbett does not deserve reelection.
From February 19 – 24, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,405 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.
A Franklin & Marshall College poll also released Wednesday found Wolf leading the Democratic field by substantial margins.
Wolf was supported by 36 percent of Democrats surveyed, to 9 percent for Schwartz; 3 percent for Rob McCord; 1 percent for John Hanger; 1 percent for Katie McGinty and 1 percent supporting others.
The Frankly & Marshall survey reflects live telephone interviews with 548 Pennsylvania registered Democratic voters, conducted from Feb. 18-23. Results are subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.