Schwartz Poll: Schwartz Leads Guv Primary, General [Updated]

Update: PoliticsPA obtained a copy of the polling memo from Schwartz’s campaign (below), which held a press call on the poll Wednesday afternoon.

A few interesting items from the memo and the call:

Mark Bergman is leaving his position with Schwartz’s direct mail firm to serve as her campaign spokesperson.

Bergman said the campaign released the polling today not in response to the changing race (i.e. Wagner’s interest), but instead because they wanted to complete the primary and general polling.

Primary tidbits:

Schwartz’s name ID was the strongest of the 4 candidates tester. Schwartz (37% favorable, 7% unfavorable); McCord (21% favorable, 6% unfavorable); McGinty (22% favorable, 4% unfavorable); and Wolf (17% favorable, 7% unfavorable).

Asked which Dem has the ability to beat Corbett, respondents said Schwartz (36%), McCord (21%), Wolf (19%) and McGinty (9%).

General tidbits:

Corbett’s job approval was negative, but only slightly (50% disapprove, 46% approve).

The most interesting aspect of the poll was that it dealt directly with Schwartz’s past work at a Philadelphia health clinic that provided abortions.

“A lot of people have said, variations on the theme, that they think that Allyson Schwartz is going to have difficulty winning the general election because of her work with the Blackwell Center,” said pollster Pete Brodnitz.

He said that when the campaign has the chance to push back against the initial stigma, they win. Of the two issue descriptions below, respondents chose the pro-Schwartz response 51% to 33%. They broke out white Catholics, who supported the Schwartz position by 56% to 29%.

Here are the competing questions the pollster asked.

1) Supporters of Tom Corbett say prior to running for Congress, Schwartz ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia. In Congress and the State Senate, she has pushed a pro-abortion agenda, including opposing parental notification, supporting partial birth abortions, and voting against the Religious Freedom Act.

2) Supporters of Allyson Schwartz say she helped found the non-profit Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center to provide access to quality, affordable health care. While the center did provide legal abortion services, Schwartz’s goal was to reduce the number of abortions by helping women get access to better health care and contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

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Allyson Schwartz 2013 loresAllyson Schwartz’s campaign wants Jack Wagner, the former Pa. Auditor General who this week floated the possibility of running for Governor, that there isn’t room in the Democratic primary field.

An internal poll released by Schwartz’s campaign to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette shows the Congresswoman ahead of her rivals in a multi-way Democratic primary.

A second internal poll shows her ahead of Gov. Tom Corbett in a general election.

In a four-way matchup of candidates for the Democratic nomination Schwartz takes 34% to 15% for former DEP Sec. Katie McGinty, 11% for former Revenue Sec. Tom Wolf, and 10% for state Treasurer Rob McCord. 30% are undecided.

Schwartz pollster Beneson Strategy Group polled 800 likely 2014 primary voters from July 16 to 18. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.46%.

Schwartz lead in Philly with 61%, but more narrowly in Pittsburgh with just 15%.

The general election poll showed Schwartz leading Corbett 49% to 41%.

It was conducted more recently, from August 6 to 8. It included 600 likely general election voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

As with any internal polls, the results should be taken with a grain of salt. Schwartz’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests by PoliticsPA to see the polls.* The information released to the Post-Gazette appears to have been only a polling memo. Pollsters often craft two memoranda about a survey: one for the public, that plays up the favorable results of the poll; and one for the campaign, which paints a more nuanced picture.

Timing is everything. Schwartz waited until Wednesday to release a poll that was conducted more than a month ago – and she released it first to Wagner’s home town newspaper. The biggest change in the race since the poll was conducted in mid-July is the emergence of Wagner as a possible candidate.* He told several reporters that he would soon decide whether to run.

So far, the Democratic primary field lacks a western Pa. candidate. None of the dozen declared or undeclared candidates resides more than 15 miles west of the Susquehanna River.

Wagner, a well known western Pa. Democrat (who finished 2nd in the primary for Governor in 2010) would significantly alter the dynamics of the campaign. Indeed, Schwartz’s poll found 48% of Democratic primary voters in the Pittsburgh region were undecided.

The memo release could also be a final effort to dissuade McCord, who is widely expected to formally jump into the race sometime after Labor Day.

*See update

Here is the full memo:

Allyson Schwartz August Polling Memo

August 21st, 2013 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Governor, Poll, Top Stories | 14 Comments

14 thoughts on “Schwartz Poll: Schwartz Leads Guv Primary, General [Updated]”

  1. Roger Buchanan says:

    I encourage Allyson not to run from her abortion record, but to run on that record. Her standing with white Catholics is very encouraging in this regard. I believe the voters are ready to endorse a candidate who will kead on the issue of reproductive justice. With this position she will gain the support of many women’s advocacy organizations.

  2. DemPA says:

    It’s hard to believe that we are actually discussing an ‘internet poll?!?’

    Allyson is in panic mode because she understands that her support is wafer thin.

  3. bobguzzardi says:

    The Pro Life issue will not move any voters from the established positions and, unlikely, to be decisive.

    I see Marcellus Shale drilling and production as a defining issue although I am not optimistic that Team Corbett can present Gov. Corbett’s leadership effectively. 2) Pension Reform which Allyson Schwartz will say she is for but everyone knows is not. However, the Rs have lost credibility on the issue as well so this is a draw and 3) Vouchers for All to give parents real control over their kids education and bring the quality and affordability that comes from competition to education. Again, the Rs credibility is not strong and Tom Corbett has not led. I think it comes down to Marcellus Shale v. Sandusky for Corbett.

  4. Golde says:

    The fact that Allyson has been silent on the question of whether she referred clients to notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell speaks volumes.

  5. David Diano says:

    “Asked which Dem has the ability to beat Corbett, respondents said Schwartz (36%), McCord (21%), Wolf (19%) and McGinty (9%).”

    This wording is obviously flawed:
    Had the question been “which Dem has the BEST chance”, then the result might make sense. Otherwise, it means only 36% think Schwartz can beat Corbett.

    The question of who can beat Corbett should allow for selection of multiple candidates. Then you might see several candidates selected 70%.

  6. Charlie Wolfe says:

    Any candidate with western PA to himself/herself would blow the race wide open. Sort of Scott Conklin for LG (almost western PA, definitely not Philly) on steroids.

    Cong. Schwartz is definitely accomplished, but how does she have higher name recognition (by 15+ points) than a statewide row officer? Seems fishy.

  7. Jeremy says:

    I agree with Robert G. Hangar has the best policies while Wolf has the best story. I think Hangar could win but he needs to get his message out.

    Schwartz has a lot of work to do. The “house parties” were a big bust and this was confirmed by multiple sources. McCord needs to declare and start to campaign.

    I hate to say this but this poll maybe skewed to women. Why else would McGinty come in second?

  8. Robert G. says:

    They also leave out John Hanger. What he may lack in name recognition he makes up for in good policy plans. Instead of just going for the person that is most well known (for now), I hope that Democrats do the research and discover which candidate will actually do the most to help PA since just about any Democrat can beat Corbett at this time.

  9. frank says:

    schwartz critz ticket game over.mccord has been treasure for 5 years and still has very low name recognition.they will beat corbett by double digits very easily.

  10. Guy In Philly says:

    This poll doesn’t include Mike Stack, who will cut into Schwartz’s support.

  11. delco observer says:

    I would hope she is ahead in the internal poll her campaign commissioned and her campaign released.
    It is unfortunate for her, but she can’t win in November. It is unfortunate for PA that we will be losing her seniority in Congress.

  12. Mark says:

    She needs to ABORT her campaign.

  13. politigator says:

    The Republicans better get it together FAST and jettison Corbett ASAP before it is too late and Schwartz gets to far ahead in the money race. A bold move by Republicans now with a new candidate would really energize Republican and independent voters. The clock is ticketing!!!!

  14. David Diano says:

    McCord isn’t going to be dissuaded by a month-old internal poll.

    Releasing such an outdated internal poll shows fear, weakness or both.

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