Tom Smith is atop the field of Republicans seeking to unseat Sen. Bob Casey, according to a poll released this morning. Smith has 25.7 percent to Sam Rohrer’s 17.9 percent, but a strong 48.2 percent of respondents are still undecided.
The survey was commissioned by the affiliated PAC of Citizens United, a conservative group that endorsed Smith last week. So, while not exactly an internal poll, it should be taken with a grain of salt. The full polling memo and toplines are below.
The results were:
Tom Smith – 25.7%
Sam Rohrer – 17.9%
David Christian – 4.3%
Steven Welch – 2.2%
Marc Scaringi – 1.7%
Not Sure – 48.2%
Polling of the race has varied greatly based on phrasing of the main poll question. Yesterday, Franklin and Marshall released a poll showing Smith with a narrow lead at 9 percent, but 81 percent undecided. In mid March, a Public Policy Polling survey showed Rohrer leading with 16 percent, but 48 percent undecided.
What they have in common is the fact that Smith, who has been on television since December, is gaining name ID. According to the pollster, Smith has caught up to Rohrer in name ID. Rohrer is well known among Pa. conservatives for his gubernatorial bid in 2010. That’s probably why the pollster found that 48 percent of Rohrer’s supporters are committed to supporting him – the highest of any candidate.
From the memo:
The race is a dead heat among TEA Party conservatives, the survey shows, with Smith winning 28% and Rohrer 27%. Smith holds a substantial 30% to 10% lead over Rohrer among traditional conservatives, and a slim 14% to 11% lead among those who identified themselves as political moderates.
While Rohrer held a 20% to 14% lead in the Philadelphia area, Smith leads by substantial margins in the rest of the state with the exception of the Susquehanna Valley and South Central Pennsylvania, where the two candidates are essentially tied. Smith also leads among younger and older voters, while Rohrer holds a small advantage among those likely voters in their 40s and 50s.
The pollster also surveyed the Presidential primary, and found good news for Rick Santorum.
Mitt Romney: 25.9%
Ron Paul: 10.4%
Newt Gingrich: 8.6%
The polling firm is Wenzel Strategies, which conducted a telephone survey of likely Republican primary election voters from March 26-27. The results include 997 respondents, at a margin of error of +/- 3.07 percentage points.
Christian is a veterans advocate and businessman from Bucks County; Rohrer is a former state Rep. from Berks County; Scaringi is an attorney from Cumberland County; Smith is a former coal company owner from Armstrong County; and Welch, the candidate endorsed by GOP state committee, is an entrepreneur from Chester County.